News Columns & Blogs

Go-kart collision youth’s ‘brush with greatness’

No doubt Morgan Healey was disappointed at finishing fourth runnerup in the Little Miss division of the Miss Manatee County Fair Pageant last Saturday.

But not so much.

That’s because, in between the pageant’s interview sessions, the 11-year-old ran into 2005 Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon.


After the first session, Morgan and mom Renee went to Andersen RacePark in Palmetto where she practices go-kart racing.

Wheldon, a St. Petersburg resident, was racing there, too, and they collided in the first turn.

“I’ve never seen anyone so excited about a collision,” Mom joked. "She had a brush with greatness."

n MHS honors sophomore Stephenie Myers is “Sweet 16.”

n Rolo Brunsell is 90 years young.

n Bradenton’s City Council honored recently retired Master Patrol Officer Linda Stoops, the first woman in the history of the Bradenton Police Department to serve 20 years, with a 20-year service plaque.

Stoops began her BPD career as a patrol officer, but became a school resource officer, traffic officer and crime prevention officer. She also started the Explorer Post, a program for students interested in law enforcement.

Vice-Mayor Bemis Smith credited the Explorers for helping improve his east Bradenton neighborhood, and hopes Stoops stays involved in the community.

“I can’t count how many neighborhood association meetings you guys come to,” he said. “We sure appreciate all the hard work you guys put in.”

n Nana Francine Jefferson brags on granddaughter Christina Jefferson, who is 14 over in Maitland. Cheers, too, from the birthday girl’s folks, Regina and Terrell Hollis.

n MHS infielder Matt Sons is 19. Cheers from Jessica and Tim.

n Daniel Dykes, a senior MHS wrestler who is ranked in the state’s top three at 145 pounds in Class 2A, is 18.

Cheers from parents Emmett and Debbie, siblings Tessa, Josey and Robert, sister Katie and husband Wes Hamm, sister Carin and Danny Hall, grands Hugh and Louise Dykes, Diane and Bruce Deese, Don and Flo Cooper and great-grandmother Doris Cooper.

Vin’s People, runs Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Have a column item? A photo you want to share? Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, Fla. 34206 or email him at Please include a phone number for verification.