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Community Manatee Movers and Shakers, 10/25/12


F.E.L.T. Fundraiser at Ritz Carlton Golf Club


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The Sarasota Ritz Carlton will be hosting a special golf tournament to help Feeding Empty Little Tummies, a local non-profit that provides backpacks filled with food to sustain homeless children in Manatee County schools through the weekend during each school year.


The Tournament is Monday November 19 at the Ritz Carlton Golf Club. Participation is limited to the first 128 paid entries, so don't miss out. Play will include up to two $5 mulligans and prizes for the longest drive and closest to the pin.


The entry fee is $125 per player, which includes Ritz green fee, cart, practice balls, a “Ritzy” cookout buffet and a silent auction. $50 tickets are available for “Ritzy” luncheon and silent auction only. To register, or for sponsorship opportunities, contact FELT founder and President Jane Evers at 941. 747.8804

Out of the Darkness Walk for Suicide Prevention

The local AFSP chapter is hosting their annual Out of the Darkness Walk at Siesta Key this Sunday, October 28th at 9am. This walk is unique in that it is not a race but a place for people who have been touched by suicide in any way to come together with others and work on their healing process

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

The Sarasota Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention serves South West Florida along the Suncoast Region including the following counties: Charlotte, Coillier, DeSoto, Glades, Hendry, Hillsborough, Lee, Manatee, Pasco, Pinellas, and Sarasota. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.Combining local and national efforts, our chapter promotes educating the community towards Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention.

The latest data available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that 38,364 suicide deaths were reported in the U.S. in 2010. This latest rise places suicide again as the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. Nationally, the suicide rate increased 3.9 percent over 2009 to equal approximately 12.4 suicides per 100,000 people. The rate of suicide has been increasing since 2000. This is the highest rate of suicide in 15 years.

The 4th Annual Chowdown For Charity


The Manatee Chapter of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) is presenting the 4th annual “Chowdown for Charity,” Thursday, October 25,6-8 p.m., at Riverhouse Banquets and Weddings, 955 Riverside Drive in Palmetto. Tickets start at $30 and are available for purchase at http://www.chowdown2012.eventbrite.com or by calling 941-545-3620.

Guests are invited to rub elbows with exceptional chefs from 10 of the area's top restaurants and sample their finest fare. Dishes will be judged on appearance, creativity and taste in order to be qualified for the coveted “Best in Show” award and attendees will be able to sample these inspired dishes.

The event also features a student culinary competition. Guests will be treated to mouthwatering desserts prepared by culinary students from Manatee Technical Institute, Manatee High School, Southeast High School ,and USF Sarasota-Manatee's College of Hospitality and Technology. Local celebrity chefs, Tommy Klauber (Pattigeorge’s and Polo Grill) and Ray Arpke (Euphemia Haye) will judge the student entries, awarding gold, silver and bronze recognitions.

This event raises funds to help support and continue culinary education in Manatee County. These programs help students become job-ready candidates while providing vital life and job skills. In addition, a percentage of the funds raised will be donated to the Food Bank of Manatee.

“Our 4th Annual Chowdown for Charity promises to be our best ever," says Manatee Chapter FRLA board president Fred Hurley. "We have 10 of the finest restaurants, four schools participating and the greatest group of judges anywhere! Where else can you go and be treated to the best fare while supporting our youth? This is a not-to-miss event!” 

Event chair Susan Kopstad agrees. "I’m so proud to be involved again this year as chairperson," she says. "Our community's culinary students have so much talent and promise. I firmly believe it's vital to support them and their pursuits of careers in the hospitality field.”

Tickets are available at http://www.chowdown2012.eventbrite.com or by calling 941-545-3620. For inquires or press pass requests, contact Kate Atkin at (941) 955-3663 or kate@freshoriginals.com.

SMR Farms is Tropicana Grower of the Year


SMR Farms has once again been selected as a Tropicana Grower of the Year for the 2011-2012 citrus harvesting season. This is the fourth year in a row that SMR Farms has received this designation from Tropicana Products, Inc. The Grower of the Year award is based on fruit quality, load quality, fruit variety mix and agribusiness management. The management practices component of the award looks at harvesting methods, grove practices, labor programs and commitment to agricultural sustainability.

SMR Farms currently is partnering with Tropicana on a multi-year citrus fertilization project aimed at comparing traditional fertilizers with low-carbon-footprint products as part of Tropicana’s widely-acclaimed global sustainability efforts.

“We value very highly our long-time relationship with Tropicana, and certainly appreciate this recognition” said SMR Farms President, Mac Carraway. According to Steve John, SMR Farms Citrus Production Manager, “Working with Tropicana is great. Their standards are very high and we work hard to meet those standards every day, which is tough with the many challenges facing Florida citrus producers these days.”

Other growers receiving the award are Bentley Brothers, Inc. (Winter Haven), Pines Ranch, Inc. (Lorida) and Sunny South Packing Company, Inc. (Arcadia).

TreeUmph! Adventure Course Breaks Ground in Bradenton and Plans December 2012 Grand Opening

$2 Million Estimated Economic Impact, Hiring Local Firms and Creating Jobs

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TreeUmph! Adventure Course, Southwest Florida’s first treetop obstacle course, broke ground at a new 14-acre property in East Bradenton on Thursday, October 11, 2012. The groundbreaking kicks off construction of an exciting new recreational venue for local residents and visitors to the area. Located 10 minutes east of I-75 on State Road 70, the destination park is being built by Outplay Adventures, the New York distributor of Quebec-based TreeGo, an international leader in aerial adventure courses. A Grand Opening celebration is scheduled for December 2012.

With five progressively difficult courses for adults and children ages 7 and up, adventurers of all skill levels will make their way along a self-guided tour through the treetops. The challenges include wobbly bridges, hanging nets, bungee swings, an exhilarating 650-foot-long ZIP line and more. Visitors can stop at any time and are always harnessed to the industry’s most sophisticated safety equipment. Seniors can enjoy the games too, with a special half-course ticket option. See the video clip at: http://youtu.be/Gh8ZVdMS1Yk

“It has been our dream to bring an outdoor adventure park to this community,” said Aaron Corr, who owns TreeUmph! Adventure Park with his wife and partner, Kathy. “We’re creating an exciting new way to spend the day outdoors with friends and family, challenge yourself and experience a truly unique adventure. These destination parks are growing in popularity around the world but are brand-new to our area.”

Relying on a combination of international expertise from TreeGo and Outplay Adventures for the design, building and installation of the obstacle course, plus a team of local businesses, TreeUmph! Adventure Course is dedicated to preserving the beauty of Florida’s pine woods and oak groves. Innovative construction techniques protect the trees and allow them to continue to grow naturally. The courses will be designed to minimize root damage, and sensitive habitats such as wetlands will be left in their natural condition.

The natural setting and unique experience make the park an ideal gathering place for community, corporate, church, youth, fundraising and social events. The owners plan to participate in the philanthropic spirit of Manatee and Sarasota Counties, and are committed to the community via various charitable initiatives.

The Base Camp will include ticket sales, a visitor’s center, snack bar, gift shop and picnic area. Every visitor is required to complete the Harness Course, where they will learn the rules of the park, how to use the climbing gear and the mandatory safety procedures. Some height, weight and age restrictions do apply. Special offers and weekday discounts are available, with standard pricing ranging from $25.95 for the Children’s Course to $34.95 for the Adult Half Course and $49.95 for the Adult Full Course.

TreeUmph! Adventure Course plans to hire 16 employees by the December opening. The company has hired several local businesses, with financing provided by Gateway Bank of Southwest Florida, Sarasota architect Steve Isaacson designing the Base Camp, site engineering provided by Lombardo, Foley & Kolarik of Palmetto, Base Camp construction and site development by Holland Construction of Sarasota, and advertising, marketing and public relations by Grapevine Communications of Sarasota.

Open year-round from 7:30 a.m. until dusk, TreeUmph! Adventure Course offers online reservations at www.TreeUmph.com or by calling 941-322-2130 or toll-free at 855-322-2130.


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