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ManateE-zine “For employees by employees.”

May 2010

Tents for Haiti: Some Reflections BY MIKE SOSADEETER

Within four weeks of the Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, Sarasota Haitian native, Manno Lusma’s family, my wife, Frances, and I raised more than $10,000 to purchase ten 10-person tents, water purifiers, hand-crank lanterns and other survival supplies, coupled with donated blankets, clothes and stuffed animals. Manno and I flew to Haiti to hand-deliver the tents to families in and around Port-auPrince, in the mountains above Petionville and in Petit Goave, west of the capital near the quake’s epicenter. Each family received all of the supplies mentioned, plus more than $300 for food and other necessities. The families were extremely grateful, particularly because we arrived before the rainy season. We gave stuffed animals to 60 children in an orphanage so “the kids would have something to hug,” according to our nephew Alex Frontera, a 10 year old donor. We also delivered donated first aid supplies to Matthew 25, a non-profit guest-house-turned-tent city/ clinic. Many areas of Port-au-Prince were either completely destroyed or damaged beyond repair. The centuries old Catholic cathedral, government buildings (including their White House) and businesses were in ruins. Nearly 300,000 people (roughly the population of Manatee County) perished in the earthquake. At night the dark city streets reminded me of a futuristic movie in which the world had been destroyed, with only a few hardy souls left to scratch out an existence around small campfires in the midst of the destruction. Tent/tarp cities existed everywhere, including those of international aid organizations and governments. Families had pitched tent/


tarp structures in the middle of streets, parking lots, golf courses, back yards and almost anywhere there was a flat, open area. West of Port-au-Prince small enclaves of homes were completely flattened, small towns suffered major damage, the main highway had huge cracks in it and, again, there were tent/tarp cities everywhere. Manno and I camped in a tent in a backyard of the home of Manno’s cousins in Carrefour, outside of Port-au-Prince. The four families who called the two-story block building home were also sleeping in the back yard in fear that another tremor would flatten their home with them inside. These families will live in tents/tarp structures for years until people either move beyond their fear and/or the government helps provide people with safe homes. All of our links are now underlined for your convenience.

One evening we had dinner at Manno’s relatives’ “home” in a huge tent city in Petionville. “Home” was an area the size of 10 soccer fields with wall-to-wall 10ft. x 10ft. tarp-covered areas with dirt floors, beds, cooking areas and a few chairs for guests. There were thousands of people living in this “city.” The cousins all shared in lively “we haven’t seen you for such a long time” conversations while we dined on a delicious meal of rice and beans, plantains, a vegetable dish, and pop. Port-a-potties lined the entrance to the “city.” I don’t know where people bathed. Sidewalks were 3-foot-wide dirt paths that also served as drainage ditches when it rained. It was a surreal evening. Only two hours to the north people call this “camping.” The “tent trip” was a rough, but thoroughly uplifting nine days. At each home we visited, there were probably between 10 and 100 other families requesting tents and other types of assistance. Manno and I took down names and tried to assess each situation as best we could; asking if children needed scholarships for school, if adults had business skills they could put to use if start-up money was available and, of course, if they could use a tent for their family. Most families answered “yes.” We hope to return with additional help in the near future. Haitians, are, for the most part, very hopeful and hard working people. In the midst of so much destruction, following centuries of slavery, constant political unrest, international neglect, and living conditions Americans would not allow our pets to reside in, the people of Haiti smile and move on, hopeful that they and their children will see a better tomorrow.

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If you would like to help, contact Mike or Frances Sosadeeter at 941-921-3368 or call Mike at 941-749-4501 ext. 3689 at work.


The deadline for the Employee Photo Contest is May 17. Be sure to get your pictures to Simone Peterson by May 17 at 5 p.m.

Manatee County Coquina Beach Project Awarded Honorable Mention

Landscaped islands were designed for aesthetic appeal, utilizing indigenous, coastal trees. Delineated parking spaces create pedestrian-friendly parking areas which also serve to prevent vehicles from environmentally sensitive areas.

BY LEANNA GRAUEL

Information on the 2010 EPC Information on the 2009 EPC Need help checking the size of your photo? Need help in changing the file format? ManateE-zine coverage of the 2009 EPC

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On March 19 at the 18th annual Future of the Region Awards luncheon, the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council awarded Manatee County with Honorable Mention Award for Preserve Our Beautiful Beaches (POBB) project at Coquina Beach.

The reconfigured parking lot at Coquina Beach promotes public safety and was designed following Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles to align and compartmentalize the parking areas adjacent to the trail and beach to provide a safe and enjoyable environment. Commissioner Larry Bustle and Parks and Since the redesign, the gang activity has Recreation’s Leonard Carswell and Candie decreased significantly at Coquina Beach Pederson accepted the award. The County was Park. Local residents and families have recognized for a project that “brought families returned to the beach. back to a scenic, accessible and safe environment for their outdoor enjoyment with the The Preserve Our Beautiful Beaches project addition of a 1.5-mile beach trail and redeat Coquina Beach the Parks and Recreation signed parking layout with native tree isDepartment’s mission statement: lands.” The POBB project began as a plan to enhance the beach experience for Manatee County visitors and residents. An increase in gang activity which culminated in a shooting on Easter Sunday in April 2007 led to a redesign of the beach park, developed with help from the City of Bradenton Beach, the Scenic Highway Committee, Manatee County and the POBB Task Force. The Coquina Beach trail is a paved, multi-use recreational trail designed for runners, cyclists, walkers, baby strollers, in-line skaters and wheelchairs. The trail follows along the beach, beneath a canopy of pines, and affords a cool place to exercise or stroll outdoors in the hot summer months. Other amenities along the trail include benches, an ADA-accessible chilled water fountain, a picnic pavilion with ADAaccessible tables, bicycle racks and native landscaping.

“To create lifelong memories for you by offering diverse leisure activities in a safe and beautiful environment that will enhance your quality of life in Manatee County.”

Employee Health Benefits

Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, afflicting more than two million Americans each year, a number that is rising rapidly. It is also the easiest to cure, if diagnosed and treated early.


If it’s allowed to progress, however, skin cancer can result in disfigurement and even death. Visit Manatee YourChoice online. All Qualifying Events Information and Forms are available at this Web site. In addition you will find information regarding health benefits and wellness programs.

Chronic, unresolved stress has been linked to increased risks of heart attack, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, headaches and even obesity and infertility. Experts recommend that we get a minimum of 20 minutes of stress relief throughout our day to reduce these risks.

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Here are a few tips: ● Apply one ounce (2 tablespoons) of sunscreen to your entire body 30 minutes before going outside.Reapply every two hours, or immediately after swimming or excessive sweating. ● If you spot it, DON’T OVERLOOK IT. See a dermatologist or plastic surgeon immediately if you note any change in an existing mole, freckle, or spot or if you find a new one. ● When in the sun, seek shade, cover up, wear a hat and sunglasses, and use sunscreen with an SPF of 15 or higher every day. This month plastic surgeon, Dr. Fernandez is scheduled at the following work sites. He will give a presentation that shows examples of worrisome moles or “spots” as well as success stories. He will also talk about prevention and the differences between a dermatologist and a plastic surgeon for skin issues. Call ext. 3979 to register for the following presentations. May 13 noon to 1 p.m. MSO Operations Center May 20, noon to 1 p.m. Public Works June 3 noon to 1 p.m. Port Authority

County Employees De-Stress with Chair Massage and Hula Hooping In honor of “Healthy County’s Week” in April, the YourChoice Center for Health & Lifestyle Management offered a De-Stress Open House

at the County Admin Fountain Room for all employees. A variety of activities and samples were available for employees who wanted to take a minute or more to de-stress. Some activities included chair massage, stress ball practice with a free stress ball, herbal tea, blood pressure screenings, information on herbs used for relaxation, desk stretches, slinky & hula hooping (fun and laughing are stress relieving!) and a Stress Relief word scramble. Everyone especially loved the healthy snack samples (dry roasted edamame [baby soy beans] and trail mix) that were provided. You can make your own trail mix and have available for your afternoon energy break, remember serving size and moderation are key.

Mother’s Day the MCG Employee Way Though the main purpose of Mother’s Day is to celebrate and honor mothers and motherhood in general, there are many ways to show how much Mom is loved and appreciated every day. When asked how they celebrate Mother’s Day or how they have been honored, Manatee County employees sounded off: “My mom never pampers herself so I always send her a gift card for a treatment or spa day. Last year I bought her a membership to Test Tube Beauty which sends a giant test tube of


the latest anti-aging and beauty products to her quarterly.”

Natalie Johnson, Employee Health Benefits “We have breakfast on the beach and go kayaking through Robinson Preserve.”

Scott Jalwan, Parks & Recreation “I cook breakfast and serve it to my mom in bed.”

Sage Fradley, Parks & Recreation

“My wife and I will go to the east coast and spend the day with my mother-in-law.”

Brian Nell, Parks & Recreation Father’s Day is June 20. If you’d like to share how you celebrate Father’s Day, send your comment to manateezine@ mymanatee.org.

“I take my mom to dinner and buy her a gift or flowers.”

Jeff Stoddard, Parks & Recreation

“My children treat me to a day of no cooking and cleaning. Since my mother and sisters live out of state, I give them gift certificates to their local plant nursery.”

Cheri Coryea, Neighborhood Services “I like to give my mom a call and I usually send flowers or some sort of goody basket with finest meats and cheeses.”

Nick Azzara, Information Outreach “When we lived in Venezuela, we celebrated Mother’s Day with the whole family. I cooked barbecue, and everybody provided a dish. This year will be special because last December my mom moved from Venezuela to Bradenton and it will be the first year after six years that we are going to celebrate Mother’s Day together again.

Rossina Leider, Planning

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“I bought a ring for my mom that had the birthstones of my sibings and I circling my mom’s birthstone.”

James Thomas, Neighborhood Services “This year we are having a backyard cookout pool party for the moms in my family. There are five moms we will be celebrating. We give gifts and enjoy time together.”

Fred Pierce, Information Services

“When my husband was away on active duty a couple of years ago, my boys were dressed in tuxedoes from a wedding they attended. They woke me up with a list they typed on the PC with breakfast items. I had to choose my drink, food and how I wanted it. They had me stay in bed and they served me! They even picked flowers from the back yard and put them in a glass. I was missing my husband and that was the best Mother’s Day I ever had to this day.”

Theresa Kersey, Human Resources

Did you know?

According to IBISWorld, a publisher of business research, each Mother’s Day Americans spend approximately: $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts—like spa treatments $68 million on greeting cards. What’s your most desired Mother’s Day gift? Time with my family 63 % Quiet time 25 % Flowers 10 % Chocolate 3 % What would be your dream Mother’s Day present? A surprise family vacation to Disney World 37 % A surprise island getaway 29 % A surprise trip to Las Vegas 8 % A nice relaxing day at home 26 %


Employee of the Month

Paula Reid Murphy 1. What does your job entail? Why is it important? I work for Public Works at the Highway Maintenance division. I receive calls from the public and Citizens Action Center concerning road surface problems, drainage issues, tree trimming/removing, mowing needs and traffic sign/signal malfunctions. I assign a service request to the area supervisor for inspection. After the inspection, I answer the request in the system and create a work order for the activity that needs to be performed. I also account for the hours and the work performed in the field by our maintenance technicians, so that it can be accurately accounted for. Our department is the eyes and ears for the Manatee County citizens. 2. What is the most interesting part of your job? Working with the citizens and the guys out in the field to provide exceptional customer service. 3. What is the strangest thing that has happened on the job? One day I got a call from a citizen about a cat down in a storm drain so I dispatched one of the supervisors (Jack) to see if he could get the cat out. Jack radioed back that it was a very small, red-headed kitten and asked if I would take him home if he could get him out. I said yes. And, of course, I named him Jack. 4. Where are you from? I am originally from St. Louis. I came to Palmetto in 1998 for some rest and relaxation and I never left. 5.What are your hobbies? Hanging out with my parents, my son, daughter-in-law and two grand kids. Kids grow up so fast! 6. Did you attend college? Where? What did you study? No I didn’t. I am not a good book study. I prefer hands-on learning, so I went to work. I did attend about a year of business school for accounting after I graduated high school. 7. If you were stranded on an island and could have 3 items, what would they be and why? A kayak, a paddle and an unlimited supply of beverages, so I could try to get back home. 8. What did you want to be when you were a kid? A veterinarian. I changed my mind when I found out how long you had to go to school.

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9. Do you have any pets? Yes, Jack the sociopathic attack cat. He is so grateful for the rescue that he has to bite me daily to thank me. 10. What’s your favorite song at the moment? Chris Allen’s “Live Like We’re Dying.”


Kudos Corner Community Services Kudos to Lee Washington, Veterans Services counselor from Bill Koepp. Mr. Koepp writes, “I want to thank you for your help and counsel in getting my VA Department’s written decision on my claim for service-connected compensation. I appreciate the way in which you made me feel at ease and comfortable while talking to you about this issue. It was your professional manner, knowledge and genuine concern for my well being which gained my respect for your decisions. The result of your counsel is demonstrated by the quick and positive results of my claim. Thank you!!” Kudos to John Weldon, Senior Veterans Services counselor from Fredie Gallion, who writes, “I would like to take this opportunity to express me heartfelt thanks to John Weldon. Mr. Weldon has assisted me many times by advising me of the benefits I am entitled to receive as a disabled veteran. He has always responded promptly to my requests for help in completing forms and always advised me of the appropriate action required. I have no doubt that I would not have been as successful in receiving my benefits without his knowledge and skills. Please pass on my sincere appreciation for his efforts and support.” Kudos to Lori Hostetter, Transit Mobility coordinator from William Barnhard, who writes, “I think you should know how much I appreciated the professionalism and consideration shown during my interview! It was a refreshing change from my last experience.”

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Natural Resources Kudos to Bill Bors, Urban Forestry Manager from Daniel Powers, who writes, “Golf Villas Homeowners Association would like to commend Bill Bors for his help as he guided us through a difficult time of oak tree removal in Tara Preserve. In 2009 we started to experience back flows exploding on our 45’ wide lots due to root expansion. Oak trees were planted in front of every newly developed property. Mr. Bors has helped us by planning, guiding, directing and controlling our protocol to accomplish our goal. We are in a three-

phase procedure of removal that will last three years. We are sincerely grateful for the assistance of a true professional, Mr. Bill Bors.” Utilities Kudos to Dana Mae Catlett Customer Service Representative, from Rick Russotto, who writes, “A few days ago I spoke to you briefly, complementing an awesome young lady on your staff, Dana Mae Catlett. I thought I would follow-up that phone conversation with a more descriptive assessment of her ability to make my problems seem not as dire as I anticipated they would be. Dana Mae’s professionalism, “can do” attitude and genuine desire to help me will not be forgotten. I was just a voice on the end of the phone line and Dana Mae made me feel uplifted and special.” Parks & Recreation Kudos to Dwyane Odell from Tina Neri, who writes, “Recently, we held my three-yearold daughter’s birthday party at G.T. Bray Park. It was 4 p.m. and I realized that I did not have a screwdriver to install the battery for the bubble blowers. I walked over to maintenance hoping to catch someone before they closed. I found Dwyane Odell just preparing to leave. He looked but did not find the right size screwdriver. I returned to the party and later Dwyane pulled up in his truck. He brought us his own pocket tool with a smaller screwdriver. He had no idea I was a County employee. All of this was after what I’m sure was a long work day for him, as this was the same day as the annual Easter egg hunt. His behavior exemplifies how all County employees should strive to be. He was friendly, patient and sincere – even on his own time. His outstanding service deserves to be recognized.” Kudos to Leon Daughtry and Joe Alderfer from William Phillips, who writes, “We own property in the Palma Sola area and have been vacationing there for the past three years. An integral part of our pleasure during our stays is our daily use of Palma Sola Park. Our dog, Roger, looks forward to his regular walks in the area adjacent to the ball fields and so do we. The parks area is always meticulously maintained


and Leo and Joe were always cordial and conscientious. They are happy to stop and answer questions while at the same time clearly on a regular maintenance and improvement regimen. Other dog owners we encounter share similar positive experiences. One needs to recognize and applaud a job well done, day after day.” Manatee County Government “Kudos to a group of people who are responsible for the County Administrative Center’s new and improved on-hold telephone message. Bonnie Belford, Carol Richards, Dana Catlett, Heather Whelan, Jonathan Sabin, Stacey Stinton, Steve Simpson and Blair Getz lent their vocal talents to the project and Simone Peterson guided the group through a few technical hiccups. Everyone did a nice job and the on-hold message sounds better than ever.” Public Works Kudos to Greg Burchett, James Boglarsky, Darin Rushnell, Dan Griffin from the Sunny Acres Mobile Home Park. A resident writes, “We are extremely appreciative of the improvements you have completed in the creek area at the back of our mobile homes. The creek banks look much nicer and the water is flowing with no obstructions. All the workers have been very pleasant and hard working. A special thanks to Jimmy who drove the machinery that cleaned the creek and fixed the banks, Darin who seeded the banks, Danny Griffin who supervised the work gang and finally thanks to the work gang.”

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Kudos to Tom Gerstenberger and Danielle McKee from Robert Schmitt in Planning, who writes, “These folks are courteous and professional in their demeanor and are always willing to step up and help the team. Some recent examples include: 1) Tom’s participation in neighborhood meetings that he didn’t need to attend. He volunteered before being asked and provided valuable input. 2) Danielle’s volunteering to do things beyond her normal scope of duties in meetings – mainly assisting with smart board technology and Buzzsaw. Both really understand the “new way of doing business” in Manatee County. There are countless exam-

ples of customer service-related thoughts and ideas. They try to figure out solutions instead of finding ways to say ‘no.’ ” Kudos to Salvatore Bordonaro, Jr., Project Manager from Mike Pendley, Executive Planner with the Manatee County School District, who writes, “I wanted to take this opportunity to express my sincere appreciation for the County’s participation in the remediation and intersection replacement project near Myakka Elementary School. This collaborative effort was a tremendous success. In particular, Salvatore Bordonaro was exemplary. Sal maintained open communication, was organized, made key decisions, was responsive and exactly what he promised. Sal is a tremendous asset to the County if this job is at all indicative of Sal’s typical performance. Thanks again.” Kudos to Steve Brouhard, Darrell Whitfield and Wesley McClellan and Dennis from Dana Wyman, who writes, “I just want you to know what a fine job your crew did. They were professional and caring in their work. It was a pleasure to watch them start filling in dirt and stabilizing the creek bank. Many thanks for a job well done.” Neighborhood Services Kudos to Ann Marie Harper, Nuisance Abatement from John Bowen, School Board attorney, who writes, “On behalf of the District, thank you for your relentless efforts resulting in the successful boarding up of an abandoned property in Palmetto. The property was posing as a safety risk to students and neighboring children, as well as serving as a possible haven for drug trafficking and other illegal activity in the area. Your constant contact with my assistant to keep the district abreast of the progress of your communications with SunTrust and its counsel is equally appreciated.” Public Safety Kudos to Robert Lendermon and Jeremy Malmstedt from Thea, who writes, “The crew was fantastic and I felt comfortable and assured of their presence of mind. Great job!”


Kudos to Bob Tollise from Mark C. with Southern Manatee Fire & Rescue District, who writes, “Thanks for all the work you did with the recent command staff training at Tropicana! I know a lot of your time and effort went into this drill. It was awesome to see the numbers of emergency and Tropicana personnel involved with this training. This was a great training experience and the scale of participation is what was needed as we could see people from all parts of the county responding.”

Remember... For special occasion or anytime gift giving, Gift Certificates are available for Recreation Memberships and Programs. Information? Call 941 742 5926. Gift cards for golf or merchandise are also available. Call or visit the pro shop for gift cards. Information? Call 941 792 6773.

County Administrator Thank you to Karen Windon, Deputy County Administrator from Renee Isom, Public Safety Department, who writes, “I have been attending the Leadership Academy courses over the past nine weeks and it has been extremely beneficial for me. Along with the Leadership Academy I am a member of Power Speakers of MCG. Between both the Leadership Academy and Toastmasters, I have grown both personally and professionally. I would like to thank Mr. Hunzeker, Dan Schlandt and you for supporting both these programs and making them available to County employees. I truly believe you are raising some pretty terrific leaders for our County. Because I am in both programs, I have realized how the combination of them has benefited me. I have learned new leadership skills and greatly improved my communication and public speaking skills all during the last year. Personally, I think the two programs combined have resulted in me being a more confident and stronger employee for Manatee County. I would like to encourage all employees who have or are planning on enrolling in the Leadership Academy to also consider joining Power Speakers of MCG. As you know, a good leader needs to be a good communicator and thanks to our County Administration both programs are available and accessible for a very small amount of money.”

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them. Over the last 20 years, children have been coming to this program to participate in structured recreational activities which include swimming, sports, games, movies and special events. We also provide one-on-one homework assistance. Participants are transported by school bus or van from the following schools: Arts & Science, Bayshore, Lee, Miller, Moody, Palma Sola, Prine, Seabreeze, St. Joseph Catholic, St. Stephen’s Episcopal, Stewart and Sugg. Our program is available Monday - Friday, from school’s dismissal to 6 p.m. and full days when schools are closed. After School Scholarship Program The Manatee County Parks and Recreation Department is committed to providing a safe, quality supervised program for the youth of Manatee County regardless of their economic status. Our goal is to offer our After School Program to those families who cannot afford to send their children to a safe haven after school. Therefore, the Lifelong Memories Scholarship was created to offer the youth of Manatee County this opportunity. All applicants wishing to be considered for a scholarship must meet the following criteria: • Resident of Manatee County – proof of Manatee County residency is required • 15 years old or under – copy of birth certificate required

Calendar of Events

• Eligible to participate in the Manatee County School Free or Reduced Lunch Program; or meets the Federal income guidelines.

After School Blast Program If you are looking for a safe haven to send your child after school, this is the program for

For information, please contact the Youth Camps Program at G.T. Bray Park at 941-7425974.


Summer Blast Camp has been in existence for more than 20 years and we have served thousands of children. This camp is a structured recreational day camp for children ages 5 to 14 years old. Your child will have the opportunity to enjoy a variety of games and activities such as swimming, cooperative sports, arts and crafts, special events, movies and field trips. We strive to maintain a staffto-child ratio of 1:15. The camp takes place at G.T. Bray Park and Lakewood Ranch High School. Our camp is renowned for its quality programs and caring staff. 4-on-4 Flag Football Team Fee is $325 (8 player roster). Two seasons: Winter and Summer. Adults ages 18 and up. Games are on Wednesday evenings. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list; e-mail Ed.Maro@mymanatee.org 7-on-7 Flag Football Team Fee is $585 (15-player roster). Two seasons: Fall and Spring. Adults ages 18 and up. Games are on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list; e-mail Ed.Maro@mymanatee.org Teen Camp If your children are too old to go to camp, too young to get a job, and wants to make new friends and enjoy the outdoors this summer, enroll them in our Teen Camp. This camp will take place at G.T Bray Park and serve teens between 12 and 16 years old. Your child will enjoy swimming, sports activities and a weekly field trip. Junior Counselor Program This summer become a Junior Counselor in our Summer Blast Program; and help organize and lead activities, swim, and participate in field trips. This exciting volunteer opportunity for ages 15 to 17, will provide you with leadership experience, and earn the required 75 community service hours for students participating in the Florida Undergraduate Scholarship Program.

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Aquafit This is a water aerobics program for everyone, and especially great for seniors. It helps burn

fat, build strength, aerobic capacity and increase range of motion and benefits people suffering from arthritis. The buoyancy in water reduces the risk of joint injury or muscle strain and it is gentler on the whole body. Routines are adjusted to suit individual needs, restrictions and fitness levels. Youth Basketball Cost is $65 per player. Boys/Girls ages 5-17. Two seasons: Spring and Fall. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list; e-mail Marcus.Francis@ mymanatee.org. Dodgeball: Team Fee is $250 (10 player roster). Season begins in June. Adults ages 18 and up. Games are played at G.T. Bray Park Gymnasium. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list, e-mail Marcus. Francis@mymanatee.org. Adult Softball Team Fee for Men’s & Women’s softball teams is $400 (20 player roster). Team fee for co-ed is $300 (20 player roster). Sponsor fee is determined at the organizational meeting before each season. Three seasons: Spring, Summer, and Fall Games are played at G.T. Bray Park and/or Blackstone Park. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list e-mail mike.boman@mymanatee.org Swim America Swim Lessons Teach your children to swim! Learning how to swim is so important, especially in Florida. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), of all children 1-4 years old who died, 26 percent died from drowning. Drowning remains the second-leading cause of unintentional injury-related death for children ages 1 to 14 years. In this progression-based system, children will learn and advance through skills levels at their own pace. Every level is taught with an emphasis on water safety while learning basic swimming skills. Co-Ed Kickball Team Fee is $400 (20 player roster). Two seasons begin December and May. Adults ages 18 an up. Games are played on Friday evenings. For more information or to be placed on the mailing list, e-mail Ed.Maro@mymanatee.org. Adult Basketball Team Fee: TBD (10 player roster). Two seasons begin January and June. Adults ages 18 and up. Games played Monday Thursday evenings at G.T. Bray Park Gymnasium.


For more information or to be placed on the mailing list, e-mail Mike.Boman@mymanatee.org Adult Tennis League Open registration for the adult tennis leagues at the Walton Racquet Center located in G.T. Bray Park begin May 17. The league runs from June 14 - Aug. 9 with intermediate mixed doubles and men’s doubles on Monday; men’s and women’s singles on Tuesday; women’s doubles on Wednesday; and mixed doubles on Thursday. The cost ranges from $26 -$40 for members, $40 - $65 for non-members. For more information call 941-742-5973.

ManateE-zine One Year Anniversary BY NICHOLAS AZZARA

Wow. It’s been an entire year already. Twelve editions of the ManateE-zine delivered to your inbox in a (usually) timely fashion at the end of each month. We send our regrets for the delayed ManateE-zine over the past two months. Things are more hectic than ever for our limited E-zine team! We’d like to extend a huge ‘thank you’ to all of you for reading the E-zine and an even bigger thanks to all those who write for us on a regular basis. Without you we could not continue to publish an electronic newsletter to keep employees informed on current events. When we launched the first E-zine in May 2009, our editorial staff provided most of the content. But we asked you to respond with your stories. Boy, did you heed the call. Soon after we asked for your help, inspirational stories came pouring in from every corner of the County.

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The Building Department kept us updated with regular reports of their team-building exercises. We read of the heartwarming tale of a soldier’s surprise visit home for Mother’s Day to see his parents

Tom and Sally Cook, two Building

Department employees. The Cooks burst with pride over their two children serving in combat zones overseas. This month we’ve heard first-hand accounts of the devastating Haitian earthquake from Property Management’s Mike Sosadeeter, an employee who embodies the humanitarian spirit of local government. We read regular updates from the Leadership Academy, which resulted in a record number of applicants for the popular program. We also used the ManateE-zine to spread information on important topics such as the new timekeeping system, the Employee Photo Contest, the Swine Flu and team and individual awards. We like to think the Employee of the Month corner is the most popular section of the E-zine, since it gives everyone a glimpse at the personal side of our excellent staffers. That’s why we’re hoping for even more personal stories in the coming year. We received a monthly dose of healthy tips from our most regular contributors, Employee Health Benefits. Their team is a well-oiled machine for supplying employees with important information. You submitted stories on your holiday traditions and offered financial advice. You let us know what to expect during the 2010 census. And you shared your photos with us from fun events like the DeSoto Parade and awards luncheons. In short we couldn’t compile this monthly newsletter without you, our “reporters.” That’s why we’re asking you to keep up the good work! Please continue to send us your success stories and teamwork advice. Let us know if you think there’s a way to build a better bridge, so to speak. Thanks again for helping to make the ManateE-zine such a success over the past year. Over the next year, we’re looking forward to improving the look and feel of the newsletter. But more than that, we look forward to hearing even more from you.


The Final Word

“These employees take with them a combined 681 years of dedication and service...” Below is a list of the 30 employees who have chosen to take advantage of the Voluntary Separation Incentive Program (VSIP). As you may recall, this program was developed last year with the review and approval of the County Attorney’s Office to assist in efforts to minimize organizational downsizing and to realign salaries within the new pay scales. The program provides incentives for any eligible employee who chooses to receive enhanced pay and benefits for voluntarily separating from the County. As in years past, eligibility was extended to employees who have 25 or more years with the Florida Retirement System (FRS). This year, in an effort to allow more employees to participate, the program eligibility was expanded to include DROP participants whose end date falls after Oct. 1, 2010, regardless of length of service; and DROP rehires, regardless of length of service. No additional appropriations are required, as the current year’s budget will accommodate the VSIP separation packages. There were more than 140 employees eligible for this voluntary program and 30 chose to participate. These employees take with them a combined 681 years of dedication and service to our organization. That is a staggering wealth of historical and institutional knowledge that will truly be missed. We wish everyone taking part in VSIP well in the next phase of their lives.

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Billy High, Community Services 5 years William Singletary, Community Services 17.3 years Willie Mae Clark, Community Services 29.7 years Luerine Bennett, Community Services 31.9 years Fred Loveland, Community Services 33.6 years Larry White, Convention and Visitors Bureau 18.4 years Barbara Fuhlbruck, Board of County Commissioners 18.1 years Mary Ann Russell, Financial Management 8.2 years Thomas Cook, Financial Management 24.9 years Barbara Carrier, Neighborhood Services 8.3 years Patricia Schubert, Neighborhood Services 10 years Barbara Vanwormer, Parks and Recreation 24.6 years Leonard Carswell, Parks and Recreation 8.6 years Janette Lawson, Planning 10.4 years Alfonso Houston, Property Management 7.1 years Stanley Allen, Public Safety 30.4 years Wendall Whidden, Public Works 36.4 years Leon Kotecki, Public Works 23 years James C. England, Public Works 30.2 years Daniel McKee, Public Works 11.5 years (Homer) Wayne Roberts, Public Works 31.7 years Arthur Chesley, Public Works 35.1 years Howard Pence, Public Works 31.2 years Harry Mendenhall, Public Works 24.3 years James Bentley, Public Works 35.9 years Steven Burket, Utilities 21.11 years Linda Burns, Utilities 30.11 years Daniel High, Utilities 35.11 years Lupe Turner, Utilities 25.4 years Jack Morehead, Utilities 24.3 years


ManateE-zine May 2010