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  • | 11:00 p.m. December 22, 2014
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+ East County high schools excel in graduation rates
Not only are students of East County schools graduating, but they’re also attending grade “A” institutions, a recent study of the 2013-14 school year shows.

The Manatee County School District released a Florida Department of Education study Dec. 18 that showed Braden River and Lakewood Ranch high schools earned “A” grades for the third consecutive year.

Schools’ grades are determined by students’ performance on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT), graduation rate and college preparedness, among other factors.

The two East County high schools are among the district’s eight traditional high schools, which exceeded the state’s graduation average.

Data show 95% of Lakewood Ranch High students graduated last school year. Braden River High graduated 93% of its students last year.

The state graduation average is 76.1%.

+ Adoption numbers rising
Manatee County Animal Services is another step closer to relieving the stress of too many animals around the holidays at its adoption center in Palmetto.

Animal Services’ adoption specials, which marked prices of cats down to $20 Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, created a record-breaking number of adoptions.

Sixty-six dogs and cats were adopted.

On adoption, pets receive a check-up, spay or neuter, vaccinations and microchips.

New adoption hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday.

For more information on adoptions and available animals, call 742-5933 or visit

+ Music on Main acts set
Motown, disco, classic rock, blues or top 40 hits — no matter your music preference, Lakewood Ranch Main Street aims to please its audience with its free monthly concert series performers.

Lakewood Ranch Commercial Realty announced the shopping strip’s Music on Main acts through June 2015.

Bands range in genre and each month a different band will take the stage during the First Friday festivities in the Ranch.

The organizations benefiting from food, beer and wine sales at the free event were also announced.

All performances run from 6 to 9 p.m., with occasional breaks for performers.

Leashed pets and chairs are welcome. No coolers are permitted.

On Jan. 2, The Soul Sensations will play Motown and blues.

For a complete lineup through June, visit

The January through June lineup is as follows:

• Jan. 2: The Soul Sensations, plays Motown and blues and benefits Foundation for Dreams

• Feb. 6: Parsley Craze, plays pop rock and ‘60s and benefits Take Stock in Children of Manatee

• March 6: Melanie Massell & Hot Item, plays disco, blues, country, pop and rock and benefits Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance

• April 3: Shaman, plays pop, rock, top 40 and disco — Alzheimer’s Association, Gulf Coast

• May 1: Big Night Out, plays Latin, top 40 and rock and benefits Family Network on Disabilities

• June 5: Billy Rice Band, plays country and classic rock and benefits Children’s Dream Fund

For more information, visit

County offices will be closed Dec. 24, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1 in observation of the holidays.

Public parks, preserves and beaches will remain open during the county’s closures.

Garbage, yard waste and recycling will not be collected on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.

Collection services are postponed one day for the remainder of the week until Jan. 5.

Public libraries will be closed Christmas Eve, Christmas and New Year’s Day.



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