Nudi's Neighbors | Local historian to sign copies of her new novel

July 4, 2014 

Local historian Cathy Slusser will sign copies of her newly published historical novel, "From a Heavenly Land: Julia's Story," at 6:15 p.m. July 14 at the Manatee Village Historical Park, 1404 Manatee Ave. E.

Slusser, the director of the Historical Resources Department in the Manatee County Clerk of the Circuit Court office, will then give a book talk starting at 6:30 p.m., with more book signing afterward.

This is her second novel in her Heavenly Land trilogy.

The first told the story of Eliza Atzeroth, Julia "Madam Joe" Atzeroth's daughter, the focus of the second novel.

The new novel will answer the question, "Why did they come to America," Slusser said.

According to a press release, the novel "carries you from 19th century Germany to the wilds of Florida as one woman's true story shows the determination and faith necessary to make a new home in the Florida wilderness."

Sounds exciting.

The novels are based on historical documents on the Atzeroth family, the first permanent settlers of Terra Ceia Island, which means Heavenly Land.

• Courtney Klemish, 12, will be heading to Orlando on Aug. 2-3 to compete as a state finalist in the National American Miss Florida Pageant.

Courtney, who lives in Parrish with her parents, Lori and Bill Klemish, just finished sixth grade at Manatee School for the Arts in Palmetto and enjoys tap dancing, drawing, theatre, music and volunteering.

Her mother said Courtney has always been shy, but when she saw the application for the area pageant she was excited and wanted to try it help her get become more confident.

"She's only doing this to challenge herself," Lori said.

The National American Miss program promotes self-confidence, and the competition is based on a personal introduction, individual interviews, formal wear modeling and a community service project.

Courtney also decided to do a challenge and will do a tap dance routine.

Courtney's grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins are rooting for her, along with her parents.

• Danny Pearson celebrated her 98th birthday on June 22.

"She is a beautiful lady and looks no more than 80," said her friend, Terry Myer.

Danny's birthday was celebrated with many friends at the Village on the Greens, Terry said.

•Speaking of birthday days, June Huss celebrated her 95th June 28.

Huss had her own band, The June Huss Trio, and played for many years the Sarasota Senior Center, according to Terry Myer, the same person who told us

about Danny Pearson.

After they left there, the band would also entertain at other senior living assisted facilities.

June presently resides at Village on the Greens, which was El Rancho Village before the name change.

• The U.S. Navy is proud of their sailors, and so are we, so they sent us this information:

Airman Austin Martinez, an aviation boatswain's mate from Sarasota, is serving aboard one of the world's largest warships, the Norfolk, Va.-based aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman.

Austin graduated from Port Charlotte High School in 2013.

The Navy wants us to know that the USS Harry S. Truman is a Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier and one of only 10 operational aircraft carriers in the Navy.

Approximately 2,500 men and women make up the ship's company, which keeps all parts of the aircraft carrier running smoothly. This includes everything from washing dishes and preparing meals to handling weaponry and maintaining the nuclear reactors, according to a press release from the Naval information office in Norfolk.

Another 2,500 or so form the air wing, of which Austin is one, the people who actually fly and maintain the aircraft.

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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