Noteworthy advances on film festival, rowing park, child adoption

Score another coup for downtown Bradenton and the Manatee Performing Arts Center. The inaugural Skyway Film Festival's opening night drew a crowd so large people sat in the aisles, exciting organizers. Thrilled with the way Bradenton supported the festival, the promoters didn't quite commit to a 2016 festival, but we figure that's going to happen. This would be another feather in the cap of the local cultural scene, growing as it is.

And the region's ever-rising sports scene scored another coup by capturing the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in rowing at Nathan Benderson Park, just south of the Manatee-Sarasota county line. If you haven't been to this outstanding venue, we highly recommend a visit to catch an event. Or just a drive around the lake.

Starbucks is now serving up something entirely different, an adoption album titled, "Open This Book to Change a Life!" Eleven local stores are displaying that book. The regional Starbucks company partnered with the Safe Children Coalition-Sarasota YMCA to promote the free adoption of children who suffered abuse, abandonment or neglect -- kids in great need of a stable and affirming family. In Pensacola, the local adoption agency found success over the course of a year with a dozen placements.