Thursday, September 11, 2014

Get your downward facing dog on: Yoga festival in East Manatee to benefit All Faiths Food Bank

Heartwood Retreat Center,  17507 Waterline Road, East Manatee, celebrates National Yoga Month with a fundraising yoga festival 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 13.

Afterward there will be community music by Kirtan 5-7 p.m.

The festival features a full day of events, including eight  yoga classes in a variety of styles and levels, special interest workshops, Sutra lectures, a kid’s yoga zone from 10 a.m.-1 p.m., a yoga art gallery, yoga art activities, music entertainment, more than 30 healthy lifestyle and food vendors, dance performances, and more.

Several of the area’s leading yoga facilities, ReFlex Arts Yoga, Prana Yoga and Garden of the Heart Yoga are represented to support this celebration for a community cause. Tickets are $25 for the full day’s events and all money collected will be donated to the All Faith’s Food Bank.

 For more information or a schedule of activities, visit

Tickets are available online at Eventbrite,, ReFlex Arts, Prana Yoga or Garden of the Heart Yoga as well.

 For more information, call 941 359-9642.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Former Lakewood Ranch High School student Alisha Erozer wins state speech contest

Alisha Erozer, shown in November of 2013, at the Manatee Agriculture Hall of Fame annual luncheon, recently won a state speech contest. Herald file photo
Alisha Erozer, a former Lakewood Ranch High School student, recently won a state speech contest sponsored by the  Association of Florida Conservation Districts in Ocala.

The contest was designed to develop leadership through participation in public speaking activities and to stimulate interest in conserving natural resources,

Students in grades six through 12 gave six-eight minute speeches. The topic this year was “Dig Deeper -- What are the Mysteries in the Soil?”

Erozer, who competed against students representing other Soil and Water Conservation Districts in the state, placed first and was awarded a prize of $500.

Last school year at Lakewood Ranch High School, Erozer served as Junior Advisory Board president, was a student government member, and started a speech and debate club.

Shortly after winning the state contest, Erozer left for Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina where she will be attending the United World College for the next two years, as one of four Americans in the pre-university college accelerated International Baccalaureate program.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Parrish resident Carmine DeMilio specializes in keeping them safe and happy at Manatee parks, playgrounds and beaches

Carmine DeMillio tries out a swing at the county's G. T. Bray Park. Bradenton Herald photo by James A. Jones Jr.

You've got to like what Parrish resident Carmine DeMilio does for a living.

"My responsibility to all park patrons is to provide safe playgrounds and facilities as well as aesthetically pleasing parks and beaches," he said.

As property management grounds operations manager for Manatee County, those responsibilities include three beaches -- Anna Maria Bayfront Park, Coquina, and Manatee -- as well as 52 parks and playgrounds.

The New Jersey native had similar responsibilities in North Brunswick, N. J., during a 22.5 year career before moving to Manatee County about five years ago. Except that what he was doing in New Jersey was not quite as broad. There, he had responsibility for 23 parks and 17 playgrounds.

"This is a great state and there are great people here," he said.

The DeMilios rented when they first moved to Parrish, and ended up liking the community so much that they bought a home there.

Even though DeMilo has 27 years in the business, he says there is more to learn.

He recently earned national certification as a Park and Recreational Professional. All the better to help keep parks and beaches users safe and having a good time, he said.

DeMilio plans to next seek certification as a Park and Recreation Executive.

"The bar has been raised in the recreation and parks profession," he said.

He is particularly proud of the changing stations that are going up at Manatee beaches.

For more about that, see story by Amaris Castillo (@AmarisCastillo):