+ Top spot
McNeal Elementary students took first-place in accuracy during the catapult portion of the annual Manatee Technology Student Association (TSA) district competition Dec. 5 at Bayshore High School.
Eight elementary schools and 130 students competed in that category, McNeal engineering teacher Denise Touchberry said.
"They all work together so well," Touchberry said. "They respect each other's ideas, and that's what helped them take first."
The competition was open to elementary, middle and high school students countywide, so students could show off their technology and multimedia projects. More than 700 students attended and competed in a range of categories, such as structure, water tower, catapult, leadership strategies and system control.
+ Dancing with the stars
Russian ballerina Olga Pavlova, who has toured in more than 30 countries and has performed with various ballet companies, and Ukraine dancer Sergiy Sidorenko are helping East County's School of Russian Ballet prepare for its 2015 performance of "The Nutcracker," which will be held Sunday, Dec. 13 at 4 p.m. at the Venice Performing Arts Center.
"They are stars, special dancers," said Darya Fedotova, director at the School of Russian Ballet.
+ Main Street welcome
The Sheridan at Lakewood Ranch, a senior assisted living and memory care facility, added its first Welcome Center Dec 3 to Main Street in Lakewood Ranch.
A ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the opening of the center, which will supply information about the facility which is scheduled to open early in 2016. The Welcome Center will have staff on site 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday and by appointment on Sundays.
"The Sheridan is an ideal place for someone who wants to live independently but maybe can't keep up with the housework, grocery shopping and other tasks," The Sheridan Executive Director Kathy White said. "People can be independent here, while living in a vibrant community that takes care of the hassles of day-to-day life."