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91-year-old to be honored for WWII service

Bradenton resident Patt Meara, an original member of the 1st Air Commando Task Force, will be honored Saturday at the annual U.S. Air Force Air Commando dinner at Herbert Field in Fort Walton Beach.

"We were created on March 4, 1944, by (President) Franklin Roosevelt," Meara said. "We had 123 members and were the first autonomous special-forces unit."

The 91-year-old related how this unit used gliders to get behind Japanese lines in Burma during its first operation.

Dick Cole, 99, will be traveling from Texas to be honored as an original member of what was first called "Project 9," Meara said.

We can only imagine the war stories these two gentlemen have to tell.

Adam and Kathy LaFavre are bursting with pride since their daughter, Gabriella, won runner-up at All-American Miss pageant in Orlando in August.

The 12-year-old also took home trophies for top spokes-model, singing in the talent competition, casual-wear model and top model titles.

Gabriella will be heading to the national pageant in California, since the first-place winner and runner-up both represent Florida.

Ron Sikkema, a partner in West Coast Landscaping, and his wife, Pam, are celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary in Hawaii.

There's only one week left to get your costume ready for the Cosplay Runway contest at the Manatee County Central Library fifth annual Mana-con Comics Convention on Oct. 25.

The event coordinator, Erika Dow, said the exciting news is that the grand prize for the costume contest winner will get two tickets to "An Evening with Stephen King," which will be held at the library in January.

Ages 12 to 18 are eligible and the winner will be picked for exhibiting the most creativity and craftsmanship.

Mana-con will be a full day of events including workshops, student art displays, vendors and crafts.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the central library, 1301 Barcarrota Blvd. W.

Holmes Beach resident Ellen Jaffe Jones is among the finalists for the Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest sponsored by PETA Prime -- a resource for those who want to live a healthy, humane, and rewarding life, according to a press release from the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

An avid runner, Jones is a medal-winning participant in the Gulf Coast Senior Games and the National Senior Games. She credits her vegan diet with helping her lose 25 pounds and with speeding her recovery from races, the press release said.

Another Holmes Beach resident, Nancy Ambrose, recently traveled to the nation's capital to lobby Congress to support policies that help prevent and fight cancer.

Nancy, a cancer survivor, joined 600 other American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteers in urging the lawmakers to increase federal funding for cancer research and prevention programs.

This sounds like a fun and enjoyable evening for the family:

As part of the Bradenton Community Fine Arts Series, there will be a concert of Halloween music from the stage, screen and television at 4 p.m., Sunday, at the First United Methodist Church, 603 11th St. W.

Jim Culver, the church director of music, said in an email there will be the "Phantom of the Opera," "The Addams Family," "Bewitched," "The Munster's," "Harry Potter," "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown" and of course, J.S. Bach's "Toccata and Fugue in D Minor."

No tickets are necessary, but an offering will be taken.

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