+ Ancient Oak Gun Club opens
The Ancient Oak Gun Club held its grand opening June 22.
The sporting clays course in Lakewood Ranch, at 16800 State Road 64 E., Bradenton, opened for tournament play April 28, with the Roger Hill Memorial Shoot.
Shooters can choose from two courses: a 10-station north course for beginners and intermediates and a 14-station course for tournament-level performers.
Sporting clays differs from trap and skeet, games of repeatable, target presentations, in its unpredictability: Orange clays shoot out of two green-and-blue automatic, battery-powered clay machines at different angles, speeds and heights.
Shooters try to hit the most clays out of 100, at a pace similar to playing a round of golf. One round through a course can take two-and-a-half hours.
Club Manager Wayne Evans announced the club began offering free “Women and Kids Clinics” June 23. The beginner course is focused on eye dominance, gun fit and safety.
The grand opening comes after the course, a Schroeder-Manatee Ranch project, endured a tumultuous approval process. Construction of the course was delayed because of concerns officials and parents at the Center for Montessori School and Bayside Community Church, who were worried about the proposed gun club’s proximity to their facilities and the noise from gunfire, raised.
Sound engineers testified noise was not an issue.
+ Businessmen purchase State Road 64 property
Myakka City farmer John Falkner and Tom Brown Sr., a developer and real-estate broker with Wagner Realty, have purchased 19.58 acres of vacant commercial land on State Road 64 E.
They bought the land, located at 5704 State Road 64 E., for $2.38 million — a price equal to $121,297 per acre — from the North Carolina firm, Second Step Asset Management Co.
Falkner, a vegetable farmer in Myakka, is one of Manatee County’s largest private landowners.
Falkner did not return calls for comment by press time Tuesday.
Brown said the partners purchased the property, which borders State Road 64 and 57th Street East, as an investment and have no immediate plans for it.
“I presented (Falkner) with this opportunity, and he said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Brown said. “I believe in this area. It’s a dynamic area, and we have a lot of options.”
Brown said the spot is an ideal location for an auto dealership or an assisted-living facility.
Brown has developed multiple properties along State Road 64, including the property on which Bright House Networks sits and a 10-acre parcel by Hancock Bank.
+ Manatee School District names new leadership
Manatee County Schools Superintendent Rick Mills has hired a new executive director of middle schools and executive director of high schools.
Mills tapped Mary Murray, the principal of Immokalee High School, in Naples, as director of high schools and Cynthia Saunders, the principal of Lake Weir High School in Ocala, as director of middle schools.
School Board members approved the appointment of Murray and Saunders at a meeting Monday, June 24.
Both women start work July 1 and receive annual salaries of $115,265.
The district has not announced the new director of elementary schools, and has reposted that job.
Mills created the three positions this year to replace director positions held by Joe Stokes and Jim Pauley.
The School Board also formally approved 4-1 a contract with the law firm Dye, Deitrich, Petruff and St. Paul, of Bradenton.
The company will provide legal services for the district starting next month. School Board attorney John Bowen retires June 30.