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Ruth and Elmer Berkel
Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 23, 2011 6 years ago

Sarasota: Our Town


+ Picture this: a Fourth of July photo-op
This annual photo contest is as American as apple pie. And, you still have a chance to snap up a slice of American life for our “Spirit of America” contest. Submit your photos by Saturday, June 25 online at Vote for your favorite photo up to 10 times a day from June 25 through June 27, by clicking on your favorite photo. The grand-prize winner will receive a digital camera and be featured in the “Spirit of America” special section, which will be published June 30.

+ Isn’t she lovely?
Ruth Berkel wanted to be crowned Ms. Puerto Rico this year. Because there was no one else running, and therefore no contest, she decided to write the committee a letter, just to see what would happen.

“I applied for the position, and they gave it to me,” Berkel said.

The 75-year-old packed her bags and left Monday for Puerto Rico, where she’ll be crowned Ms. Puerto Rico Senior America 2011.

But that’s not her only title she’s won. In 2009, she was crowned Ms. Florida Senior America.

Her motto: “Relax and enjoy.”

+ Every little thing she does is magic
Admiral Travel’s Malaka Hilton is doing what we’re all dreaming of during the workday — she’s traveling the world, eating delicious food, sipping wine and, of course, hanging out with celebrities such as Sting.

The international travel guru’s most recent AuthentEscapes excursion took her to Il Palagio, the Tuscany, Italy, home of Sting and Trudie Styler. The party culminated with “Divino Tuscany,” a culturally immersive trip through Tuscany that began in Florence, Italy, with a concert by Joshua Bell.

“‘Surreal’ is the only word to describe it,” Hilton said. “It was a life-changing event.”

+ Director of film featured in Diversions changes title
At press time, the title of the film featured this week in Diversions was “The Witching Hours.” However, the film’s title changed this week.

“For creative reasons, Relic Films has decided to change the title of its feature film,” said Director Greg Rivera. “Relic Films does not wish to confuse the public with the best-selling novel, ‘The Witching Hour,’ by Anne Rice.”

The film’s website is The film is still featured on under “The Witching Hours.”

+ ‘Boat Tea’ celebrates Suncoast Grand Prix Fest
 Local Coffee + Tea has a tea for almost everything — Bertha Palmer, Mote Marine, Selby Gardens. Most recently, the company has released “Boat Tea,” a caffeine- and sugar-free, fruit-and-herb tea with apple, peaches, hibiscus, rose hips and elderberries.

The tea celebrates the Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival, which runs June 25 through July 4. At least 20% of all revenue generated by the tea will be donated to the Suncoast Charities for Children.

“I sincerely believe when you drink ‘Boat Tea,’ your boat goes a little bit faster,” said Michael Duranko, of Local Coffee + Tea. “We are proud to help raise funds for the Suncoast Charities for Children, one of our local treasures.”

“Boat Tea” will be available during Powerboats by the Bay July 1 and July 2, at Centennial Park. For information, visit

Some like it hot
Scott Anderson, gift planning officer for the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, moved 21 years ago to Sarasota from Cleveland. And his family has gathered here every summer ever since. Anderson kicked off this year’s get together by taking his dad and mom, John and Jeanne Anderson, to the June 18 opening night of “Forever Blonde,” at the Asolo Repertory Theatre. Other family members coming this summer are Anderson’s sister, brother-in-law and nephew, Jan and Bob Spaulding and Marc Spaulding, from Brunswick, Ohio; his niece, Amanda Reeder, her husband, Bill Reeder, and their 3-month-old son, Jack, from Medina, Ohio; and Bill Reeder’s parents, Bill and Mary Kay Reeder, from Columbia Station, Ohio. They all love the heat and rent an assortment of condos on Siesta Key. They make sure to hit al the tourist hotspots, including Mote Marine, the Ringling Museum, Myakka River, parasailing and St. Armands Circle.


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