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Community Manatee Spotlight December 2, 2012


A 1912 Florida Cracker Christmas at Manatee Village Historical Park

The Stephens House parlor dressed in Victorian Christmas fineryCelebrate 100 years of Christmas tradition in Florida, on Saturday, December 15, from 10 am to 3 pm. Manatee Village Historical Park, the museum, historic buildings, Whistle Stop Gift Shop and “Old Cabbage Head” will be decked in traditional colors and Victorian-Era decor.  

ENTERTAINMENT: Enjoy seasonal music provided by the Manatee Players’ Dickens Christmas Carolers, Southeast High School Chamber Orchestra, the Bashaw Elementary School Chorus and Peace Lutheran School Junior Chimes who will ring in the holidays with their heavenly sounds.


  • Santa’s “Rein-dogs” will visit the Park and you may even adopt your new “furrever friend” at the Manatee County Animal Services booth.
  • Bring your own camera for pictures with a Victorian Santa. You’re never too old to whisper in his ear what you’re wishing for this holiday!
  • The Sugarcreekers Model Railroaders will return to delight all ages with their elaborate N-gauge train displays and marvelous miniature villages.

HERITAGE SHOPPING:  A varied group of artisans and skilled craftsmen will have their unique wares available for purchase.

HANDS-ON CRAFTS:  Visit stations around the park where adults or youth can make seasonal crafts such as citrus pomanders, lacy Victorian cards, traditional cornucopia ornaments or reindeer lollipops.

FILM:   View rare and enchanting vintage silent films such as the 1905 version of “The Night Before Christmas” and a 1910 version of Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”, both produced at Thomas Edison’s studios.

FOOD:  Food vendors will be on site with hearty refreshments available for purchase.

*Special Event Admission* $5.00 for Adults; children twelve and under are free.

*Proceeds for this event support continued community and educational programs of the Manatee County Historical Commission. Parking is free. For event information or directions to the Park located at 1404 Manatee Avenue East, (State Road 64) Bradenton, Florida please call: (941) 741-4075.

Local Veteran's AMVETS Post #301 Holding Fundraiser 

In support of Manasota Operation Troop Support and the Honor Flight of Southwest Florida, Post #301 in Ellenton is holding an old-fashioned hogroast on December 8th from 1:00 to 6:00pm., Complete with corn on the cob and lots of live music, it's an open event to everyone for two great causes. The Ralph Mantel AMVETS post located at 2443 US Highway 301 North will be having entertainment all day, a silent auction and bake sale, and $1.00 drafts.  The Anna Maria Privateers will also be their with their "jail", so bring someone who can bail you out! A meal donation is requested, $8 pre-paid or $10 at the door. 
Manasota Operation Troop Support helps families of local troops deployed in the Middle East and sends monthly care packages to the soldier or Marine filled with food and mail.
Honor Flight of Southwest Florida is dedicated to transporting World War II Veterans to be honored at their memorial in Washington, D.C.

County and School Board Employees Join Adult Kickball League

The Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department’s Adult Co-ed Kickball League has grown significantly in the past few years.  Created in the Fall of 2003, the league only consisted of nine teams. Since then, interest has sparked throughout the community capturing new teams and players from surrounding areas.  In the Spring of 2010, a division was created at Lakewood Ranch Park catering to those participants who live out east.  Within the last few years, we have consistently served over 25 teams each season. 

As the league continues to grow, we are pleased to announce that a new division was created this Winter 2012-2013 season for our County and School Board Employees.  With a record breaking 11 teams (220 total participants) for their first season, the County and School Board employees are enjoying themselves as they share an athletic interest with their peers in a social setting outside of the office. 

With the addition of the County and School Board division, we have hit an all-time high of 41 participating teams this season.  Games are played on Friday evenings at G.T. Bray and Lakewood Ranch Park.  The regular season will end on December 21 and playoffs will be held on January 4 and 11.  We are looking to add more officials to our staff as we continue to grow each season.  For more information contact Ashley D’Arpino at 941-742-5926 or by email at ashley.darpino@mymanatee.org


“Under the Stars – Keeping Students Wearing Blue”

Join the Palmetto High School FFA and the Lincoln Middle School FFA Alumni for the first annual Under the Stars – Keeping Students Wearing Blue fundraiser.

This joint effort celebrates the FFA (Future Farmers of America) and recognizes 4-H for the work they do to help students to strive in the Agri-sciences to become future urban gardeners, scientists, farmers and more!

The event will be Saturday, January 5, 2013 from 4pm -7pm at the Tractor Supply parking lot 4404 E. State Road 64, Bradenton, Florida 34208. The entertainment starts with WCTQ 106.5 and live blue grass music followed by a Pork BBQ dinner with cole slaw, roll, beverage and a cookie provided by Palmetto High School FFA. A fashion show featuring FFA students and friends modeling Tractor Supply clothing and footwear will wrap up the evening.

Also on display will be student projects and FFA information.

Tickets are on sale now for $8 per person and available from Palmetto High School FFA; Lincoln Middle School FFA Alumni members; Big L Restaurant – 4219 US 301, Ellenton; and Popi’s Place Too – 815 8th Avenue West, Palmetto; Casa Di Pizza – 4658 E. State Rd. 64, Bradenton and Conley Buick GMC – 800 Cortez Rd. West, Bradenton. A limited supply of tickets is available. It is recommended to get tickets in advance to guarantee availability.

For more information contact Julie Tillet at 941-723-4848, Extention 2069 or by email tillettj@manateeschools.net.

Past & Present Members of the Manatee Glens Board Celebrate 25th Anniversary of CEO Ruiz and 20th of COO Kostroun

Manatee Glens President/CEO Mary Ruiz presents Rep. Rouson with a painting created by a Manatee Glens Client/ArtistMembers of the Manatee Glens Board of Directors celebrated President/CEO Mary Ruiz’s 25 years with the organization. Deborah Kostroun COO also received honors for 20 years of service.  The event included former board members who had served at various times over the past three decades. As a special tribute, State Representative Darryl Rouson, Dist. 70, shared his journey of recovery from alcohol and drugs and praised the work of Manatee Glens in turning lives around.

“It’s because of a place like Manatee Glens that I am able to accomplish what I have,” said Rouson. “We are so fortunate to have someone like Mary who is tireless in her efforts to fight for funding for mental health and addictions services. She is a force to be reckoned with in Tallahassee.”

Ruiz in turn spoke of how Kostroun nurtured the careers and achievements of each of the officers who now serve as Vice Presidents at Manatee Glens.

“I was there when Mary first came, and I think she’s been wonderful for Manatee Glens,” said JoAnne Duke, who served on the board for 40 years. “Mary has worked very hard to make Manatee Glens well-liked in the community. A lot of that is because of her personality and reaching out. A lot of people have come to realize how important Manatee Glens is to the community… She’s on top of everything. She looks ahead and plans, she’s prepared.”

Also in recognition of Ruiz’s leadership, former Board Member Luan Morrow stated, “I began serving on the board about the same time Mary joined Manatee Glens. She was a young, bright executive who took on each challenge willingly…Her leadership and advocacy for Manatee Glens and the community has benefited both.”

Rev. James T. Golden who is a long-time board member, stated, “Mary exhibits leadership, through both good and bad times, that our communities mental health problems are not obstacles to be overcome with force, but rather they are opportunities to be embraced with love.”


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