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Tax collector employees recognized

Three employees at the Manatee County Tax Collector's office were recently recognized for their work and community service.

"The 2014 Lillie Robinson Humanitarian Award recipient is Patty Martin, who has contributed to the betterment of the community by helping children and youth through 4-H, FFA, the Manatee County Fair and the Florida State Fair," according to an email from Jan Bray Hilker, assistant to county tax collector Ken Burton Jr.

LaToya Benton was selected by her peers as the Most Valuable Employee 2014. An employee since 2007, LaToya is an assistant manager in the Current Collections department, DeSoto office.

And Antonia Medina was selected as the Employee of the Fourth Quarter 2014. Antonia is an accountant in the Financial Services department.

We reported last week that Holmes Beach resident Ellen Jaffe Jones is among the finalists for the Sexiest Vegan Over 50 contest sponsored by PETA Prime.

Well, congratulations are in order. After more than 1,100 votes were counted, Ellen, 61, beat out dozens of other entrants to be crowned the female winner, according to an email from the animal rights organization.

The author of two health books, "Paleo Vegan" and "Eat Vegan on $4 a Day," she won a three-night trip to the Guatemalan eco-resort, Laguna Lodge, and a photo-shoot in Los Angeles.

Most of us love to watch a marching band, and for those who want to see several in action, more than 1,400 performers representing 15 marching bands will be performing Saturday.

The Manatee High School Marching 'Canes will host the Florida Bandmasters Association District 11 Marching Band Festival at 5 p.m. Saturday at Hawkins Stadium.

Bands will be from Manatee, Charlotte, DeSoto, Hardee, Hillsborough and Sarasota counties.

It is the 27th year the festival is being hosted by Manatee High School, 902 33rd St. Court W.

"This is a tremendous opportunity to see our area's high school bands at their best," said Jim Bruce, Manatee High's longtime band director, in an email. "The bands work all season toward this event. We encourage our community to come out, support the kids and watch some impressive performances."

Tickets will be available at the festival. Prices are $7 for ages 13 and up and $5 for ages 6-12. Children 6-under are free. Parking is $3 per car.

Middle school band students may get a voucher from their band directors to attend the festival free.

All gate proceeds support the bands in District 11 of the Florida Bandmasters Association.

For details, call Manatee High at 941-714-7300, ext. 2182 or 2093.

Registration for the Heroes Welcome Home and Bobby's Clubhouse Inaugural Veterans Day Golf Tournament is Nov. 1.

What better way for golfers to spend their Veterans Day on Nov. 11 than playing golf and supporting an organization that assists veterans in becoming home owners?

The tournament will be held at the Bobby Jones Golf Complex, 1000 Circus Blvd., Sarasota,

For more information, call 941-330-8200. To register, check out the web site at

The Rummage for Rescues, a garage sale held Oct. 3-5, to benefit four local no-kill animal rescue groups, raised $3,063, according to Caryn Hodge, founder of Picture Them Adopted.

The four rescue organizations, Moonracer No Kill Animal Rescue Inc., Forget Me Not No Kill Animal Rescue, Gulf Shore Animal League, and Animal Network Inc., will receive $765.75 each.

"The event could not have happened without help from many people," Caryn said in an email. "We will be holding the sale next year so start saving your great stuff now."

For more information on Rummage for Rescues call 941-713-3105.

For information on the many ways you can help the homeless pets of Manatee County visit or call Sam Wolfe at 941-742-5933 ext. 8308.

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 941-708-7774 or via email at