Business briefs

January 29, 2014 

MANATEE -- Florida Blue and its subsidiary, Florida Blue HMO, announced Tuesday that they finalized a participation agreement with Manatee Healthcare System, comprised of Manatee Memorial Hospital and Lakewood Ranch Medical Center. The agreement prevents any disruption in the participation status of Manatee Healthcare System for the BlueCare (Health Options Inc.), BlueChoice (PPC), BlueOptions (NewworkBlue), Advantage65, BlueMedicare PPO and Traditional Indemnity plans, according to a press release issued by Manatee Memorial Hospital.

If members have any questions, they are being asked to contact the customer service number on the back their member identification card.

Lee Wetherington adds employees for 2014

SARASOTA -- With new home sales increasing and a strong performance in 2013, Lee Wetherington Homes is expanding and has hired two new construction supervisors, Steve Birtwistle and Sarah Hoiby.

"This is a great way to start off 2014," said Peter D. Mason, vice president of sales and marketing for Lee Wetherington Homes. "It's no secret that the housing industry is recovering quickly, and our company is growing."

Steve Birtwistle has worked in construction since he was 15, when he specialized in the cabinet design field and co-owned a family run high-end cabinet remodeling company. Sarah Hoiby has worked in the construction field since 2004. Both are returning employees to Lee Wetherington.

Breakfast of Champions: 'Let's Play Ball'

LAKEWOOD RANCH -- The Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance's "Breakfast of Champions" has been set for 7:30-9 a.m. Feb. 12 at the Lakewood Ranch Golf & Country Club. Steve Blass, a former Major League Baseball pitcher and current broadcast announcer for the Pittsburgh Pirates, will share stories and lessons he learned from his career in baseball. The event will also include an update on McKechnie Field and the events held there. Registration is available at

Palmetto BBQ sauces to star in cooking class

PALMETTO -- Chef Dave West and The Rolling Pin Kitchen Emporium in Brandon are conducting a Super Bowl tailgate cooking class featuring E's Best Barbecue Sauces, the local business startup at 1906 Fifth St. W. in Palmetto that is now carried in 50 locations in five southeastern states.

The class begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Rolling Pin Culinary Center, 2080 Badlands Drive in Brandon, and attendees will be served five recipes using E's Best Smoky and Killer Sauces. The class is $50 per person and features Chef West demonstrating how to prepare a variety of favorite recipes using E's Best products. Dinner, house wine

and beer, sparkling water, and soft drinks are included, and item in the Emporium will be 10 percent off to class attendees that evening. E's Best owners E and Jan will be on hand to share how the business got started and answer questions.

To make reservations, call the Rolling Pin in Brandon at 813-653-2418.

-- Herald staff report

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