Vin's People: Manatee JROTC at state competition in Lake Wales

December 7, 2012 

Another Manatee High School team is in a state championship hunt this weekend.

It's Manatee's JROTC Rangers who compete today and Saturday at the Florida State Raider challenge championships at the Flaming Arrow Boy Scout Camp in Lake Wales.

Led by Command Sergeant Major (Ret.) Thomas Zoch, they are Jonathan Alt, Challen Arellano, Hugo Arellano, Hivon Betancourt, Chris Booth, Aaron Boyer, Martinez Carolina, Christian Diaz, Mathew Hyatt, Alex Ladue, Jared Maguire, Christian Marsden, Cameron Ogle, Nick Paserillo, Connor Powers, Oscar Rodriguez, Rachel Rohde, Louis Rottes and Alexandria Salinas.

n There's a Hurricane Watch Party at Beef 'O' Brady's, 4925 Cortez Road, for tonight's Class 7A state semifinal between Manatee and St. Thomas Aquinas in Fort Lauderdale.

It's the online feed from and kickoff is 7:30 p.m.

Call 798-6939 for details.


n Oh, no! Jean Wojcik is about to hit the Big 4-0! The milestone arrives Sunday for the longtime Manatee Memorial Hospital x-ray tech. Cheers from Paul, Dylan and Drew.

n The Lee Magnet Middle School for Fine Arts Dance Department, under the direction of Donna McElhiney, presents "Visions of Sugar Plums Ballet," at 7 p.m. Dec. 13.

Entry is one nonperishable food item, or $2.

Call 941-727-6500, ext. 2063.

n Melissa Smith graduates this month from Virginia Tech with a master's in structural engineering.

Hurray! from parents Janet and Mike, sisters Hilary Kahn and Lindsay Hussey and brothers-in-law Alex and Steven.

n County Commissioner Carol Whitmore is 29. Again. And Again.

n When the "So You Think You Can Dance" tour hit Tampa last Tuesday night, among the lucky Manatee School for the Arts students with backstage passes at the Straz Center were Colton Heier, Nicoletta Lanese, Devan McDuffie, Brandon Pavon, Lauren Pierce and Blossom Viruet.

They got them courtesy of the National Dance

Association and were accompanied by MSA's Kelly Burnette, the NDA National K-12 Dance Educator of the Year in 2007.

n The 2012 Bradenton Turkey Trot raised 1,039 pounds of donated food for Food Bank of Manatee and a $500 donation from the Bradenton Runners Club.

n Mary Lou Zoback, daughter of former County Commissioner Kent Chetlain and his late wife, Joanne, was one of eight appointees to the Nuclear Waste Technical Review Board by President Obama. Mary Lou went to school here 1957- 1969 and is a consulting professor in the Environmental Earth System Science Department at Stanford University.

n Grandma Marlene Tallmadge says happy 16th to Hurricane sophomore hurler P.J. Reed.

n Visit Santa's Magical Workshop, 1703 Palma Sola Blvd., and help the Gulf Shore Animal League.

It's 6-9:30 p.m. Dec. 15-16, 22-23. Call 941-747-2284, or visit

n Students and teachers at St. Joseph Catholic School helped raise $500 through the fifth-grade's "Gobble Grams" -- turkey-shaped notes with a special Thanksgiving message -- to donate a heifer through Heifer International and feed poor families.

n Chris Conley was one of nine Ole Miss student-athletes selected to the 2012-13 Who's Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges. The Rebel place-kick holder and backup punter graduates in May, but will play one more year and earn his MBA. Ole Miss (6-6) plays Pitt (6-6) in the BBVA Compass Bowl Jan. 5 in Birmingham, Ala.

n Bradenton's Salvation Army, 1204 14th St. W., needs hams for its Christmas Day Meal for the Homeless, 4-6 p.m. Dec. 25. Call 748-5110.

Vin's People, is by local columnist Vin Mannix. He can be reached at 941-745-7055.

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