Nudi's Neighbors | Bradenton family helps celebrate uncle's 102nd

May 9, 2014 

Family and friends helped longtime Bradenton resident Eric Neumann celebrate his 102nd birthday last Saturday.

Eric's sister, Elsie Olson, traveled from Charlottesville, Va., with her daughter, Laurel Olson, and granddaughter, Amelia Olson. Another daughter of Elsie's, Sandy Olson, of Chicago, met them in Bradenton to join in the celebrations.

Laurel said they had a quiet dinner at home and entertained friends from the community who dropped by to offer their birthday wishes.

Eric lives independently and does everything for himself, she said of her uncle.

• One of the Bradenton Marauders' in-game promotions is firing free T-shirts into the McKechnie Field stands with an air-powered launcher.

Kelsey Grabiak and her cannon of a right arm have enabled the ballclub to leave it in storage.

The M's game-day staffer played third base at Lakewood Ranch High School and Florida International University, and it shows with her deep throws to fans in the upper stands.

"I can throw them as far and I'm more accurate, too," said Kelsey, a Mustang softball assistant who wants to coach her own program one day.

The Marauders are home Saturday against Charlotte and, following an open date Sunday, resume a six-game homestand Monday against Lakeland and Dunedin.

• Congratulations to Matthew Boerner, a 2013 Manatee High School grad who just finished his first year at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

His mother, Jo-Ann Boerner, is so proud of Matthew making the dean's list both semesters and surviving the harsh winter in Boston!

Matt returns to Berklee in the fall to pursue his studies in film scoring.

• Anna and Marty Morrow's son, Michael, just graduated with a bachelor's degree in physics from Florida State University and his parents were there for his commencement.

And, no, they didn't celebrate by taking the new grad to a crab legs dinner.

"I wish I had a dollar for every time somebody's kidded me about that," said Morrow, the Palmetto-based professional photographer, referencing the recent flap over the FSU quarterback shoplifting crab legs.

• Carrie Bendixen is so proud of her two sons, Jackson and Roman, and their team from Rowlett Magnet Elementary School on taking second place in the Odyssey of the Mind state competition.

The team now is headed to Ames, Iowa, for the World Finals competition on May 28.

Roman is the youngest student in Manatee

County to ever make it to Worlds, and Rowlett is the only elementary school team from Manatee County to advance to the World level.

The Odyssey of the Mind program is an international problem-solving and creative thinking competition for elementary through college students.

• Nine-year-old Emma O'Brien makes her first Holy Communion Saturday at Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Church in Lakewood Ranch. The McNeal Elementary School student's proud family are parents Tina and James and sister Meghan.

• You always know Mother's Day is almost here when you see Manatee High School band members and the Sugar Cane Dance Team selling Mums for Mom on Manatee Avenue West and other locations around the county.

The fundraiser helps pay for band and dance activities throughout the year.

Band and dance team members will be selling the potted flowers from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday outside Anna Maria Elementary School, Jessie P. Miller Elementary School, the Bank of America branch at 75th Street and Manatee Avenue West and the First Manatee Bank at 51st Street West and Cortez Road

Foil-wrapped, 8-inch mum plants are offered at $9 each, according to Lynn Walsh, Head Mum, who is coordinating the sale.

• There will be a benefit concert for Manatee Children's Services from 7-11 p.m. Saturday at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Featured at the concert are George Wallace Jr., Jesse Yawn, Rick Derringer and the Billy Rice Band.

General admission at the door is $35, but seating is limited, so call Gina Spicer, events coordinator for the service organization at 941-705-5559 for more information.

Carl Mario Nudi, who retired from the Herald in August 2010 after 44 years in the business, is back with 'Nudi's Neighbors' every Friday. Reach him at

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