Donors always make a difference
Manatee County’s generous spirit burst forth over the past eight days with individual five-figure donations targeting the safety of law enforcement officers, college education for at-rish youth and a pivotal campaign to stem the proliferation of unwanted pets.
▪ One anonymous donor cut a sizable check and sent the money to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation to give to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office for the purchase of tactical helmets for patrol deputies. Those officers are most likely the first line of defense in active shooter situations, and the helmets will provide better protection from high-powered rifles. The $112,840 will buy 280 helmets, which cost $403 apiece. In a statement, the donor honored law enforcement for the daily sacrifices all in the name of community safety. Cheers to that civic-minded individual.
▪ Dr. Mark DiSclafani first came across Take Stock in Children of Manatee County when seeking advice about his father’s estate from a Bradenton financial management company. The good doctor, whose father advocated for education and children, decided to honor his legacy with a $60,000 donation to Take Stock in Children. The money will fund college scholarships to six low-income, at-risk youth who have agreed to accept mentoring and other program conditions before high school graduation. The Florida Prepaid Foundation matches Take Stock’s amount, doubling the scholarship to $20,000. Higher education will be a major career boost for youth with few opportunities to escape a low-income future. Kudos to Dr. DiSclafani.
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▪ Manatee County Animal Services exhausted its $60,000 budget tagged for a spay-and-neuter program six months into this fiscal year. Up steps the Bill and Maryann Vinall Fund with a $10,000 grant, sent via the Manatee Community Foundation. Plus, the foundation will match additional public contributions up to $5,000 received before Sept. 15. That would double the grant, further helping low-income, qualified residents receive free spay or neuter surgery for up to two pets. The county is plagued with an over-population of unwanted pets, and this program helps reduce that problem. Cheers to the Bill and Maryann Vinall Fund.
A hazard to boats, docks and more
Jeers to irresponsible and brainless boat owners who abandon their derelict vessels and flee, leaving someone else to clear their mess — usually taxpayers footing the bill for extraction by private contractors paid by government. Since 2010, Manatee County alone has spent $204,200 on the removal of 92 boats, money better spent on public service and programs.
Reckless is another apt description of these public enemies because these wrecks present a hazard to navigation and damage to docks, other boats and shoreline property during high winds and rough storms. Some are partially sunk, leaving the worst kind of eyesore — something visitors are likely to remember in a bad way. Other decrepit craft don’t present a positive picture either.
Herald reporters Amaris Castillo and Janelle O’Dea brought this stubborn scourge to light in a recent In Depth package of articles. Weak state laws handcuff local authorities from controlling this neglect. Tougher laws are needed to control the situation.
Got a soft spot for older dogs? Get one
Who knew that an animal sanctuary for aging dogs exists right here — anywhere, for that matter. Kudos to Vintage Paws Sanctuary of Sarasota, which showcased some of their senior citizens at Bradenton’s Motorworks Brewing on Sunday during the monthly “Yappy Hour” at the popular craft brewpub.
These older canines need forever homes just as much as the youngsters, even more so considering their condition — blindness, deafness, dementia, walking difficulties and more. Foster homes are also vital. Either way, Vintage covers the costs of dog food and veterinary care. What a deal.
Puppy challenges and training? Nope. These older, well mannered dogs come experienced in the ways of the world. No chewing up shoes or digging holes in the yard.
Adoption is only $125. Check out the rescue organization’s website, vintagepaws.org, or call 941-921-4355 for information.
Quote of the week
“I want to thank the (Manatee County) commission for what they are doing for Rubonia. We waited and we prayed and finally our prayers were answered. We want to thank you today, and continue to help us.”
— Agnes Brooks of Rubonia, commenting at Tuesday’s commission meeting about the approval of the Rubonia Neighborhood Action Plan, which verifies the area meets the state definition of blighted and thus qualifies for federal grants to improve community infrastructure.