News Columns & Blogs

Bradenton writer reverses field after bridge building

Bradenton's Wesley Banks thought he wanted to be a civil engineer.

Got bachelor's and master's degrees in the field from the University of Florida, too.

After seven years of building movable bridges from Miami to Seattle, the Manatee High alum bagged that career for his real passion: writing.

So Wesley moved wife, Lindsey, and their dogs from West Palm Beach to Bend, Ore., to write and revel in the great outdoors.

His first novel, "Hope in Every Raindrop," is out and is drawing good reviews. It's about a young woman who travels to a rural South Carolina town to write a book and learns about a rare breed of dogs being raised by a doctor and his son, with whom she gets involved.

You can find it at

Chris Manring, marketing and communications guru at State College of Florida, is 39. Again.

A bow to Sarah Kinsey. The Florida State cum laude graduate in nursing just started work at Tampa General as an RN in the hospital's surgical trauma ICU.

Derek, Helena and Reese Williams say congrats to Tyler Williams and his Braden River High pals and fellow grads, Ron Lamore, Mitchell McCormick, Luke Morris, John Perren, John Ray and Keegan Wong.

Williams and Morris will go to Florida. Lamore will attend Santa Fe Community College. McCormick is bound for West Point. Perren and Ray will go to Central Florida. Wong will attend State College of Florida. Sounds like there's a Shake Pit party in store for these lucky lads.

That wily ol' stork is making a return trip for Jennifer and Keith

Young in Charlotte, N.C. Their 2-year-old twin boys, Wyatt and Colby, will get a baby brother in October.

Mike Suchy's West Virginia Power took two out of three from Cord Sandberg's Lakewood (N.J.) Blue Claws in a Jersey Shore matchup of the Class A South Atlantic League North's second- and fourth-place ballclubs, respectively.

A Southeast grad in his second season in the Pirates minors, Suchy was 3-for-10 and scored three runs in the series and hit a two-run homer in Wednesday's 11-inning, 7-6 loss.

A Manatee alum in his third season in the Phillies organization, Sandberg was 4-for-14 in the series, including two doubles Wednesday in Lakewood's season-high 15 hits.

Lakewood Ranch grad Mike Ohlman homered for the second time this season for the Double-A Springfield (Mo.) Cardinals, albeit in a 10-1 Texas League loss Tuesday to the Frisco RoughRiders at Frisco, Texas.

Oh, no! Say it ain't so! Debbie Mason, the real brains at HomeBanc in Lakewood Ranch, has hit the Big 5-0!

B'town's Morgan Healey and Sasha Brun-Wibaux move in some fast company. Morgan took first and Sasha took third in Rok Cup USA at Homestead last weekend. They were the only two girls in the Senior Rok class, kart racing against drivers ages 16 to 32. Morgan graduates Friday from Saint Stephens. Sasha attends Out-of-Door Academy.

University of South Florida head football coach Willie Taggart and a retinue of USF head coaches will be at Lee Roy Selmon's, 8253 Cooper Creek Blvd., 6-8 p.m. Monday. It's part of the Bulls on Parade USF Coaches Tour and it's free to the public. for details.

Vin's People, which appears Fridays, welcomes reader contributions. Email: or call 941-962-5944.