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East County Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2011 9 years ago

News Briefs


+ SCF hosts Workforce Forum
State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota hosted the Educating and Certifying Florida’s Manufacturing Workforce Forum June 16 at SCF’s Lakewood Ranch campus.

The statewide forum was designed to encourage dialogue between manufacturers and educators about preparing students for careers in manufacturing. The event was sponsored by the Manufacturers Association of Florida.

About 60 people from the Florida Department of Education, the Manufacturers Association and various technical schools throughout the state participated. Speakers included Nancy Stephens, executive director of the Manufacturers Association of Florida; Jennifer McNelly, senior vice president of The Manufacturing Institute; Dr. Eric Roe, director of Employ Florida Banner Center for Advanced Manufacturing, Polk State College; Don Upton, president of Fairfield Index Inc.; Daisy Vulovich, associate vice president of SCF’s Corporate and Community Development; Dr. Eric Owens, education supervisor at Florida Department of Education.

+ Manatee FCAT scores improve
Test grades released by the Florida Department of Education June 30 show Manatee County public elementary and middle school students are performing better in the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.

In the East County, all non-charter elementary schools but two earned A grades. Myakka Elementary dropped from a B to a C, while Braden River Elementary dropped from an A to a B. All three middle schools maintained A grades. Imagine School at Lakewood Ranch, a charter school, maintained a B.

In total, results in Manatee schools showed 19 of 52 elementary and middle schools, or 37%, earned an A from the state. Last year, only 32% of schools made an A grade.

Additionally, 36 district schools received an A or B score — an improvement of 15 percentage points compared to last year.

In Manatee, 16 schools improved. Bashaw Elementary went from a C grade to an A, as did Prine and Abel elementary schools. High school scores are expected to be released in the fall.

+ We Care Manatee seeks donations
We Care Manatee, an organization that provides medical treatment to Manatee County residents at or below 200% of the federally established poverty level, is launching a campaign to fund post-surgery expenses for its clients.

Through the Gulf Coast Gives initiative of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, We Care Manatee hopes to raise $900 between now and July 31. The monies will provide six surgical patients with medical supplies needed after their surgery.

“A healthy community depends on its residents being healthy in all aspects of life including access to healthcare,” said Jill Gass, executive director for We Care Manatee. “If we are missing one link in the chain, we are failing our community and therefore, unable to flourish and grow.”

The funds raised specifically will provide orthopedic and neurosurgical patients with walkers, crutches and collars needed after surgery. If We Care Manatee is not able to provide post-surgical supplies to patients, surgeries may not be an option.

To support the program, visit Pledges are tax deductible.

OBSERVERS top weeklies in state

Longboat, East County and Sarasota Observers were named the top three weeklies in the state in the Florida Press Association’s 2010 Better Weekly Newspaper Contest. The Observer Group Inc. received the awards at the Florida Press Association’s Annual Convention July 1 at The Vinoy Resort in St. Petersburg.

The Observer Group swept the General Excellence category, taking first (Longboat), second (East County) and third (Sarasota). The company’s website,, also won first place in Website Development.

In addition, the Longboat Observer won first place in Overall Graphic Design (Nancy Schwartz) and Religion Writing (Robin Hartill).

The East County Observer won first place in Sports Game Day Story (Jen Blanco), Sports Feature Story (Jen Blanco) and Spot News Picture (Michael Eng).

The Sarasota Observer won first place in Community History (Loren Mayo).

Other awards included

Longboat Observer
Second place — Editorial Award (Matt Walsh)
Third place — Community History (Robin Hartill)

East County Observer
Second place — Sports Picture (Jen Blanco)
Second place — Portfolio Photography (Michael Eng)
Third place — Special Issue, Section (15 Years Strong)
Third place — Overall Graphic Design (Jessica Eng)

Sarasota Observer
Second place — Overall Graphic Design (Nancy Schwartz)
Third place — Special Issue, Section or Supplement (Season)
Third place — Spot News Picture (Loren Mayo)


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