Blue Fins win big at Winter Haven swim meet

 PHOTO PROVIDED    Englewood resident Jack Oliver won third place overall in the boys 6 and under division at the Winter Haven Fall Opener swim meet Sept. 20-22 for the Charlotte County Blue Fins swim team.

PHOTO PROVIDED
Englewood resident Jack Oliver won third place overall in the boys 6 and under division at the Winter Haven Fall Opener swim meet Sept. 20-22 for the Charlotte County Blue Fins swim team.

Mary Jurkowski has reason to be proud of her daughter, Gracelee Lukas. She won first place in the girls 8 and under division at the Winter Haven Fall Opener swim meet, for the Charlotte County Swimming Blue Fins.

Jurkowski is a board member and secretary of Englewood Aquatics, which is part of the Fins.

“We had nine swimmers compete,” Jurkowski said. “We had 35 personal best times. We had 12-year-old Gage Denson, and he had set six personal best times. He dropped 11 seconds on his 200 (meter) freestyle.”

Jurkowski said the Englewood swim team trains five days a week for two hours a day at the Oyster Creek Regional Pool.

“The (swimmers) continue to carry personal achievements and have (awards),” she said. “Swimming is such a positive part of the kids’ lives. It’s become a nice family.”

Ryan Oliver’s sons, Jack and Joey, participate on the swim team. Jack won third place in the boys 6 and under category at the meet.

“(My sons) understand it’s not necessarily about competition, it’s about improving themselves and their times,” Ryan said. “They still like winning trophies and ribbons. This is the first time we’ve seen a trophy for this.”

He said his sons also enjoy playing baseball and basketball.

“Swimming will be more seasonal for them,” he said. “Swimming helps them with discipline. I see them striving to do better. It’s a very good discipline sport, and it’s good exercise.”

Kristin May supported the Blue Fins as a mother before becoming an assistant coach a month ago.

“Every day at practice, we try to get their stroke down and their technique,” May said. “Every day is a little triumph, and they turn bigger ones.”

May said swimming is different from any other sport because it’s both an individual and a team sport.

“It’s about getting a better time, and they’re competing against themselves,” May said.

May used to swim competitively in high school, and she remembered what it meant to her.

“I miss the practice,” she said. “You can clear your head and think about your stroke. It’s kind of … euphoric, being one with the water. I love swimming, whether … it’s recreationally or competitive.” For more information, visit http://www.teamunify.com  .

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A night out in ‘crimetime’

ENGLEWOOD — Englewood mother Kelly Stone encouraged her daughter, Ava Fisher, as she explored the inside of a Sarasota County SWAT vehicle at the National Night Out Against Crime at the Englewood Sports Complex Tuesday. “I heard about the event … Continue reading

Expect little impact from Karen

Emergency officials in Charlotte and Sarasota counties say not to worry about Tropical Storm Karen’s impact in our area.

“If (Karen) holds track, we’ll see very few effects,” Wayne Sallade, Charlotte County’s Emergency Management director said Thursday. “We’ll see an uptick in rip currents, and tides will run a foot above normal.”

Sallade said rip currents are dangerous, especially to small children. According to the National Weather Service, rip currents can be identified by the following characteristics — a channel of churning, choppy water; an area having a notable difference in water color; a line of foam, seaweed or debris moving steadily seaward; and a break in the incoming wave pattern.

Andrew McKaughan, a meteorologist with the NWS, said there’s no need for concern.

“Forecasts would indicate minimal impact,” McKaughan said. “Rain chances may go up.”

McKaughan said the consensus between forecast models would indicate the storm most likely will hit the north part of the Gulf. The projected path, according to the National Hurricane Center, indicates it will make landfall somewhere from Louisiana to the Florida Panhandle.

“From what we’re being told, we’re getting mostly fringe effects offshore,” said Ed McCrane, Sarasota County Emergency Management chief. “(The) majority of effects will be on the Gulf. There should be small-craft advisories if things get worse. We’re not in the cone and most models agree, it’s not coming here.”

McCrane said his office and all appropriate agencies have been alerted and updated. He cautions residents to remain vigilant, as hurricane season runs through Nov. 30.

“It’s not over yet,” he said.

Senior softball team defends championship in Las Vegas

 PHOTO PROVIDED    The Venice-based Center for Sight 80-plus softball team is competing at the United States Senior Softball Association’s World Masters Championship in Las Vegas through Thursday. The team won last year. Back row from left: Hugh Brotherton, Don Doran, Joe Sykes, Don Drown, Jerry Jones, Ed Shultz, Fred Glasr and Billie Weddle. Front row from left: Walter Provost, Bruce Rumage, Bo Deaton, Bob Darnell, Ferrell Sparks and manager Al Murray.

PHOTO PROVIDED
The Venice-based Center for Sight 80-plus softball team is competing at the United States Senior Softball Association’s World Masters Championship in Las Vegas through Thursday. The team won last year. Back row from left: Hugh Brotherton, Don Doran, Joe Sykes, Don Drown, Jerry Jones, Ed Shultz, Fred Glasr and Billie Weddle. Front row from left: Walter Provost, Bruce Rumage, Bo Deaton, Bob Darnell, Ferrell Sparks and manager Al Murray.

Members of the Venice-based Center for Sight’s 80-plus softball team are not looking like they’re slowing down anytime soon.

The octogenarians won the last three masters championships in the country, and this week they’re defending their United States Senior Softball Association World Masters championship in Las Vegas.

Englewood resident Hugh Brotherton, who played baseball up to his late 20s, started playing softball when he was 62. Turning 82 in November, Brotherton said keeping busy and having a positive attitude are the keys to his success.

“If you wake up with (a positive attitude), all sorts of good things happen,” the infielder said. “We’ve won 50 championships through the years. In order to play this game well, you got to be in shape. When you’re playing strong competition, you got to be at the top of your game or you’ll be beat.”

Player-manager Al Murray has been with the team for 14 years.

“I took over (managing) for Jack (Hudson), who did it for 13 years,” Murray said. “I’m taking it one day at a time. The players just show up and are doing the best they can. That’s all you can ask for.”

Murray pitches for the team and previously played second base.

“You have to put time into it when you pitch,” Murray said. “I played high school baseball. I’ve been playing slow pitch (softball) since I was in my 30s. I was in fast pitch until I was 35.”

Murray said building team chemistry becomes a challenge.

“You always have to bring in new players,” he said. “We’re starting from scratch. In about a month, we should have better chemistry.”

Murray bats last in the lineup.

“I don’t mind it,” he said. “It’s manager privilege. I like to ‘Punch and Judy’(hit with less than full power) and hit line drives.”

The team will be playing up to eight games in a field of 13 teams in the age 80-plus category at the tournament, which runs through Thursday.

Brotherton said they’ll play up to seven games a week year-round.

“We’re too old to take breaks,” Brotherton said. “If we stop, we may never get started again. As long as I can play this game well, I can do anything else well.”    Murray said he’s thankful for Center for Sight and all its support.

Realtor ‘fights like a girl’ against breast cancer

 PHOTO PROVIDED    Friends and family of Englewood Realtor Diana Legg wore “fight like a girl” T-shirts at an Aug. 3 photo shoot at Lemon Bay Park, in support of her fight against breast cancer.

PHOTO PROVIDED
Friends and family of Englewood Realtor Diana Legg wore “fight like a girl” T-shirts at an Aug. 3 photo shoot at Lemon Bay Park, in support of her fight against breast cancer.

ENGLEWOOD — Since being diagnosed with breast cancer, local Realtor and property manager Diana Legg has become a source of inspiration.

As a show of support, friends and family decided to wear a shirt with her adopted motto, “Fight like a girl” for an Aug. 3 photo shoot at Lemon Bay Park. Legg said she’s distributed more than 100 shirts from Englewood to as far as Colorado and Michigan.

Dana Lutz, owner of Thoroughbred Golf Carts, donated a golf cart for the shoot.

“I’ve known her for about seven years,” Lutz said. “She’s a wonderful person. I was devastated when I first heard (about her diagnosis). I wanted to do everything I could for her. She knows we’re there to support her.”

Lutz said she got herself and her daughters the “Fight like a girl” T-shirt.

“We wear them in support, and she’s happy whenever anybody wears the shirt,” she said. “We love Diana. She’s an amazing person.”

Lutz said 30 participated in the shoot, set up by Debbie Maki Photography.

Legg has seen support from all over the Englewood community with Relay for Life, the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation and the Placida Rotary Club. Lutz said of the 30 in the shoot, more than 20 will be a part of “Team Diana” at Relay for Life next year. Legg said there will be a team at the EACF event in February.

“(Diana) was the treasurer (of the Placida Rotary),” said Lou Long, president of the EACF and the Placida Rotary. “She was named to the board (of Placida Rotary) this year. She’s also a cancer warrior and (a) real active member of (the) Englewood Area Cancer Foundation.”

Long said Legg is still hard at work despite her diagnosis in May.

“We’ve rallied around her,” he said. “Whatever activity we have, she and her husband Steve are always around, even before she was diagnosed. She’s still working. Despite all her treatments, she still has a smile on her face. As a fellow cancer warrior, whenever we talk to each other, we know it’s each other’s best interest.”

Legg said the journey to fight the disease hasn’t been easy, with her recovery from surgery and chemotherapy.

“I was only able to withstand one chemo treatment,” she said. “I was supposed to have done four treatments over a seven-week period. I went toxic, but I recovered in a month.”

Legg opted for radiation treatment, which targets the affected area directly. Chemo, Legg said, affects the whole body.

“Chemo kills cancer and good cells,” she said. “It’s normal side effects that makes you susceptible to infection. Radiation treats the tissue itself. It isolates the affected area.”

“Diana Legg represents everything about the Englewood Area Cancer Foundation; that we never quit,” Long said.

Ninth Rotary fishing tourney

A change of venue was just the thing the Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary Club Fantasea Fishing Tournament needed, according to club member John Mead.    The ninth tournament is going to be held at 5 p.m. Oct. 5 at the Englewood Event Center 3069 S. McCall Road.

“I think we’re the first event (after its renovation),” Mead said. “From what I’ve heard, it’s a real nice remodeling job they’ve done.”

The center has been under a series of renovations, according to director Scott Barber.

“The renovations are coming along great,” Barber said. “They aren’t fully complete yet, just phase one. We’re working on it still. We’re proud of it and it looks fantastic.”

The tournament was previously held at the Elks Lodge.

“The change of venue is nice, because it was starting to get stagnant,” said Bryan McDaniel, chairperson of the event.

Mead said the tournament is unlike any other fishing tournament since it’s held indoors.

“It’s one of a kind,” McDaniel said. “We have fishing poles with magnets. The fish have a bar code and we keep track of it electronically.”

McDaniel said prizes will be awarded the top three places based on aggregate scoring. Entry is $125, which includes dinner and entertainment.

“We also have a third round of fishing and it will be an extra charge,” McDaniel said. “The entry for the third round is $20. We also do a 50/50 for smallest aggregate weight. It’s called the Calcutta.”

McDaniel said he anticipates up to 200 fisherman participating.

“We’ll try to have more prizes,” he said. “We’ll (also) try to have more cash prizes. We have $6,000 in cash prizes.”

McDaniel said there will be a silent auction and entertainment will be provided by Torched, a Fort Myers-based band.

“We’re happy they’ve chosen us to host the fishing tournament,” Barber said. “It will be fun, good food and entertainment.”

All proceeds benefit Lemon Bay Sunrise Rotary charities. For more information, visit http://www.lemonbaysunriserotary.com  , or call 941-270-3129.

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Bay City Grille opens on Dearborn

SUN PHOTO BY TOM CHANG Chef Lyman Hussey III and general manager John Asendorf III operate the new Bay City Grille restaurant on 115 W. Dearborn St. in Englewood.

ENGLEWOOD — Dearborn Street’s newest restaurant, Bay City Grille, opened its doors last week.

The business has come a long way since construction started last year, according to general manager and chef John Asendorf III.

“Opening a restaurant is never easy,” Asendorf said. “It always has its obstacles, especially when you start with a building that was literally nothing when we got it.”

The building was constructed from the ground up at 115 W. Dearborn St.

The restaurant’s motto is “casual elegance.”

“The appearance from the outside, it looks like we’ve been done for quite some time, because of the aesthetics in front of the house,” he said. “Back of the house takes a bit longer. It was just a matter of getting all the different inspectors, (Sarasota) county officials and all that nonsense to work together.”

Asendorf said business is going well since the opening. His most popular appetizers are their flatbread pizzas and pulled pork nachos, which is his best-seller.

“All of our flatbreads come out really well,” he said. “Our chicken pesto panini is delicious. I actually eat this every day for lunch. That’s how good it is.”

Bay City Grille features a full-service bar, but focuses more on the restaurant aspect. It also has high-definition televisions for sports programming and will have wireless Internet.

Asendorf said selections are a combination of best-sellers as well as trial and error dishes based on his experience in the restaurant business.

“I wrote up the menu and everyone seems to like it so far,” he said.

Menu items include an assortment of salads, sandwiches, burgers, steaks, chicken, seafood and desserts.

Asendorf said the restaurant has more than 20 people on staff.

“Everything is in the works,” he said. “Right now, we’re focused on getting our staff trained and getting all the computer glitches worked out, normal startup stuff.”

Asendorf said he feels the restaurant will fit with what’s on Dearborn.

“Everybody on the street has a great niche going on so far,” he said “We’re no different. Our restaurant is different from everyone else. I think we got an amazing street here. I just hope us being here can work together with the other restaurants. We’re trying to bring these streets together and incorporate all the restaurants on the street and cross-promoting together. I don’t do breakfast because Mango Bistro has a great breakfast. I don’t do live bands because Tony and Merrill at Englewoods (on Dearborn restaurant) have that beautiful patio out back.”

Bay City Grille is open 11 a.m. to midnight Sundays-Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 941-460-6868.