Bradenton man appointed by Gov. Scott to Tampa council

April 1, 2014 

Bradenton man named to regional council

TALLAHASSEE -- Gov. Rick Scott named a Bradenton man among six appointments to the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council, Region 8.

John Neal, 39, of Bradenton, is president of Neal Land Ventures Inc. He fills a vacant seat for a term beginning March 31 and ending Oct. 1, 2016.

Other apppointees: Mike Moore, 43, Wesley Chapel; Robert Sebesta, 49, Seminole; Scott Sheridan, 41, Temple Terrace; Mary Yeargan, 58, Brandon; and Timothy Schock, 41, Tampa.

The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

First Lincoln Middle Garden Gala set for Friday

PALMETTO -- The Lincoln Middle School FFA is holding its first Garden Gala from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday at 305 17th St. E. in Palmetto.

Learn how best to grow vegetables, fruits and herbs at this free event.

Free interactive game booths with prizes and giveaways. Free cooking demos with fresh Florida produce.

'Go Manatees' Relay for Life fundraiser set Thursday

MANATEE -- The Go Manatee Relay for Life Team has scheduled a fund raiser at 5 p.m. Thursday at the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota softball field where the Manatees will play Polk State College.

The event, rescheduled from March 25, benefits the American Cancer Society,

Fans can play a ball drop game for $1 for three balls. General admission is $4, senior admission is $2. Admission free for SCF faculty, staff and students.

All admission and ball drop proceeds benefit the Go Manatees Relay for Life Team fundraising.

Information: 941-752-5261 or email

Koper Jr., Gould win top honors from fire chiefs

MANATEE -- Manatee County Public Safety Director Ron Koper Jr. and Southern Manatee Battalion Chief Chris Gould have received top awards from the Manatee County Fire Chiefs' Association.

Koper was named 2013 Manatee County Chief Fire Chief Officer of the Year while Gould was named 2013 Manatee County Fire Officer of the Year.

The honors were bestowed during the annual awards ceremony Thursday at the Manatee County Public Safety Center.

Koper was recognized for "providing strong support" and for "being an advocate for the Manatee County Fire Chiefs with Manatee County government."

Gould showed "exemplary leadership and commitment to the Manatee County Hazardous Materials Team and dedication to maintain their readiness during the transition of leadership over the past year," according to the award presenters.

Handbell Ensemble Concert rings at SCF Sunday

BRADENTON -- Ring Sarasota Handbell Ensemble will present a concert at 3 p.m. Sunday at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, 5840 26th St. W., in Neel Performing Arts Center, building 11 East.

Founded in 2010, Ring Sarasota Handbell Ensemble includes auditioned advanced handbell ringers from New Port Richey to Sarasota. Directed by Rick Holdsworth, the ensemble performs music ranging from classical literature to original compositions written for handbells.

"Music From Around the World" features music from Japan, Hungary, Russia, England, United States and other parts of the world. The group uses five octaves of Malmark Handbells, four and a half octaves of Malmark Choir chimes and two octaves of Malmark Cymbells.

General admission is $10. Tickets are $5 for students and SCF employees.

Information: 941-752-5252 or the music department at 941-752-5351.

SCF occupational therapy open house set Thursday

MANATEE -- The State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota's Occupational Therapy Assistant program open house is set from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Thursday at SCF Bradenton, 5840 26th St. W., building 28, room 121.

Faculty members will answer questions about the profession, the SCF OTA program, career opportunities, salaries, work settings and job mobility. Students will share program perspectives, and a student services adviser will provide information about the OTA application process.

Refreshments and a drawing for prizes.

Information: 941-752-5346.

Manatee families asked to host students from Europe

MANATEE -- This summer, host families in Bradenton will open their homes for a few weeks to 60 Spanish and French students.

"Education First Homestay" is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting international student exchange, according to a news release.

Students will sharpen their English skills by immersion with Bradenton host families. Students will have field trips twice a week to Southwest Florida locations.

Spanish students will be in Bradenton July 2-28 and the French students from July 8-28.

"If you are able to provide a bed, meals and a welcoming environment, then you have what it takes to share your life with an eager student from abroad," according to the release. Students come fully insured with their own spending money.

The goal is to bring different nations together to promote friendship, peace and understanding of other cultures, according to the release.

Information: 941-284-4529, email or go to

Bradenton Marauders will stage Home Run races

BRADENTON -- The Bradenton Marauders will hold the first "Pirates & Princesses 5K Home Run" in connection with the Florida State League All-Star Game this summer.

"Pirates & Princesses" will include a 5K "Home Run" race at 7 p.m. Friday, June 13, and a family 1-mile fun run at 7:05 p.m. the same evening.

Winners will be recognized on field during the All-Star Game Saturday, June 14, at McKechnie Field.

Participants receive a commemorative T-shirt and ticket voucher for one ticket to the Florida State League All-Star Game.

The Marauders are encouraging participants to dress as a pirate or princess for the race.

The 5K Home Run registration deadline is June 10 and fees are $30 for adults and $20 for kids age 12 and younger. Fees for the Family 1-mile Fun Run are $25 for adults and $15 for children age 12 and younger.

The race course is along Riverwalk and downtown Bradenton.

Register online: or call 941-747-3031.

-- Herald staff reports

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