Thursday, February 27, 2014

Summerfield Youth Fishing Tournament winners crowned

Congrats to the winners of last weekend's annual Youth Fishing Tournament at Summerfield Lake in Lakewood Ranch:
From left: Connor Kirk, Peyton Ramos, Emma O'Brien, Remy DeVictor, Gabriel Klein, Isabella Juliano. PHOTO PROVIDED
See more photos of the 2014 fishing tournament in our Click! gallery online.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Harvest UMC to donate $17K, host meal packaging party Sunday

LAKEWOOD RANCH — Harvest United Methodist Church will donate $17,227 — half of its 2013 Christmas Eve offering — to Stop Hunger Now on Sunday at an interactive meal packaging party at the church.

Harvest expects almost 40,000 meals will be packed to support Stop Hunger Now’s worldwide work, which includes ongoing hunger relief operations in the Philippines in response to Typhoon Haiyan.

Harvest invites the community to join the more than 100 expected church members for the meal packaging party from 1-3 p.m. Sunday. Participants can register to serve at the event online.

The church is located at 14305 Covenant Way, Lakewood Ranch.

More than 250,000 volunteers have packaged meals through Stop Hunger Now’s meal packaging program. The parties are fun, hands-on mission projects suitable for all ages. Their assembly process combines rice, soy, dehydrated vegetables and a flavoring mix including 21 essential vitamins and minerals into small meal packages. These meal packages are shipped around the world to support school feeding programs and crisis relief. The food stores easily, transports quickly and has a shelf-life of two years.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Grand Ovation sets attendance record

Grand Ovation, the annual open-air street festival held on Lakewood Ranch Main Street, enjoyed a "record-setting attendance" Feb. 1 as it celebrated its seventh year, organizers said Thursday.

“We had some very positive feedback and a wonderful response from the community as far as people wanting to perform," said Linda Gross, co-manager of the event and owner of public relations agency Advice Solutions, Inc., in a media release. "This event gets bigger and better every year."

Attendees enjoyed free outdoor performances from folk singers, musicians, ballerinas, threater troupes and more on three stages. View a photo gallery from the event at

Organizers are already accepting applications from performers and sponsors for next year's Grand Ovation. For more information, visit or call Rachel Gray at 941-757-1548 or Linda Gross at 941-907-9507.

Olivia Ratner, Eddie Duffey and Ashley Rutherford at Grand Ovation, an arts festival held Feb. 1 on Lakewood Ranch Main Street. The annual celebration attracted musicians, dancers and other performers from around the community. Diane Harrish/Special to the Herald

Read more here:

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

East Manatee Fire announces promotions, awards

The East Manatee Fire Rescue District announced two promotions and honored several employees during Monday's meeting of the board of fire commissioners.

Firefighter Chad Hoeksema, who has represented the district in state and international "Toughest Competitor Alive" competitions, was named 2013 Firefighter of the Year, and Battalion Chief Derrick Toney was recognized as the 2013 Fire Officer of the Year, according to a news release.

Chief Byron Teates announced the promotions of of engineers Casey Lambert and Adam McDaniel to lieutenant.

Length of service awards were presented to:

  • Firefighter Andrew Stark (10 years of county service)
  • Lt. Kim Luther (10 years)
  • Engineer Steve Gossett (15 years)
  • Lt. Erik Nicholson (15 years)
  • Lt. Fred Young (15 years)
  • Battalion Chief Derrick Toney (15 years)
  • Battalion Chief Stacey Bailey (20 years)
  • Commissioner James BonAmi (20 years)
  • Lt. Brian Kalmbach (25 years)
  • Lt. Richard Dunkum (30 years)
  • Chief Byron Teates (30 years)
  • Deputy Chief Lee Whitehurst (35 years)
Also presented were certificates of recognition to:
  • (A shift) Engineer Chris Galbraith and Lt. Fred Young
  • (B shift) Firefighter Josh Dillard and engineer Danny Chappell
  • (C shift) Firefighter James Darby and engineer Adam McDaniel

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Manatee High School places first in Envirothon competition

Studying the Envirothon score board. (provided photo)
At the annual Manasota Regional Envirothon on Feb. 6, 90 students representing seven Manatee and Sarasota county high schools competed at Oscar Scherer State Park in Osprey,  reports Gail Cameron Somodi,  Soil Conservation supervisor, Manatee Agriculture and Extension Service Division.

 The Envirothon is an outdoor environmental team competition for high school students, testing their knowledge of aquatics, forestry, soils, wildlife, and a current topic: "Sustainable Local Agriculture/Locally Grown."

Placing first for Manatee County was ‘Amoeba Alert’ from Manatee High School. Two more Manatee High School teams, ‘The Feds’ and ‘Zaggin’, placed second and third respectively.

The ‘Tree Thuggers’ from Sarasota High School placed first for Sarasota County. Suncoast Polytechnical High School ‘Renegades Orange’ placed second, and the ‘Kale Krew’ from Sarasota High School finished third.

First place teams from each county are eligible to compete in the State Envirothon to be held at the Beau Turner Youth Conservation Center in Lamont, Fla., in May.

Top teams from each state will compete in the Canon North American Envirothon, during the summer at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga.

Manatee River Soil and Water Conservation District along with Sarasota Soil and Water Conservation District sponsor the competition. Lunch was  donated by the Manatee Fish and Game Association and prepared by the Florida Forest Service.

The Mosaic Company and Sarasota County Farm Bureau sponsored the event T-shirts and Keep Manatee Beautiful sponsored the awards for Manatee County students.

Also involved were Manatee County Community Services Department/Agriculture and Extension Service Division, Sarasota County Water Quality Planning, Florida Forest Service, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service, Oscar Scherer State Park volunteers, and UF/IFAS Sarasota County
Extension Service.

Manatee first place team. (provided photo)

Sarasota first-place team. (provided photo)

Team takes soils test. (provided photo)

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Jazzy Ladies Fashion Show comes to Lakewood Ranch Country Club

ArtCenter Manatee will host its Jazzy Ladies Fashion Show and Luncheon from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 8, at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club.

Enjoy an afternoon of food, fashion and fun at this biennial fundraiser, which will include local artists, jazz music, a fashion show, silent auction and raffles.

Tickets are $38 and must be purchased in advance. Visit or call 941-746-2862 for more information.

The 2012 Jazzy Ladies Fashion Show and Luncheon. PROVIDED PHOTO

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Three cheers for Grand Ovation at Lakewood Ranch!

Kaila Amato and Jazlynn Stuart with Diamonds & Pearls Dance Studios at Grand Ovation in Lakewood Ranch. DIANE HARRISH/Special to the Herald

Three cheers for Grand Ovation at Lakewood Ranch!

The newly rebranded arts and music festival (formerly just Ovation) brought performers from all over the community to Main Street for its seventh annual celebration this past weekend.

Here is a photo gallery of all the action. Did our camera spot you?

Herald photographers are out each weekend snapping pics for our Click! galleries, which appear online at and in print in the pages of the Herald each Friday.

Have an event we should shoot? Email us at and let us know.

The Lakewood Ranch Silver Stars Dance Team at Grand Ovation. DIANE HARRISH/Special to the Herald

Saturday, February 1, 2014

LWR Women's Club invites you to 'Laugh Your Abs Off'

The Lakewood Ranch Women’s Club is holding an inaugural fundraising event for its charities (HOPE Family Services; SMART, Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy; and SOLVE Maternity Homes) on Feb. 26 at The Francis in Sarasota.

The featured speaker is Tim Wilkins, author of “Laugh Your Abs Off” and an internationally recognized stand-up comedian, fitness speaker, writer and healthy TV chef.

Doors will open 11:30 a.m., with lunch to follow at 12:30 p.m. and the speaker at 1 p.m. at The Francis, 1289 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota.

The cost is $35 for members, $40 for guests.

For reservation questions, contact Helene Levin at 941-400-2512 or or click on the flyer below.