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Manatee County teachers awarded grants

Manatee County teachers awarded grants

MANATEE COUNTY, Florida -- Twenty Manatee County teachers and one private school teacher were among the 206 educators across the District's 16-county region awarded Splash! school grants on Dec. 20 through the Southwest Florida Management District.

Mary Margaret Hull, lead communications coordinator, attributed the effectiveness of the grant program in Manatee County to the strong partnership with Manatee County Schools, which helped get the word out to teachers. Judy Griffin, Manatee County curriculum specialist, serves as the District’s liaison to teachers.

“These teachers are receiving a small amount of money but are able to accomplish so much,” Hull said in a statement. “Grant recipients also use the District’s collection of curriculum materials and other free educational resources.”

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Bradenton man tries to set fire at post office

Bradenton man tries to set fire at post office

Bradenton, FL -- A Bradenton man has been charged with trying to set mail on fire at his local post office.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff's Office, witnesses saw a man later identified as Rafiaele Mazzucco, 51, light a piece of paper on fire Wednesday afternoon, throw it into a mail receptacle and drive off. Postal employees put out the fire before any mail was damaged.

One witness wrote down Mazzucco's license plate number, and deputies used it to track him down.

Deputies say Mazzucco admitted to setting the fire because he thought postal workers had opened his mail. He also questioned whether he had committed an actual crime, since no damage was done.

Mazzucco was charged with arson and two misdemeanors. He was being held on $50,870 bond.

Downtown Bradenton's first New Year's Eve celebration

Downtown Bradenton's first New Year's Eve celebration

Bradenton, FL -- For the first time, the City of Bradenton will host a New Year's Eve celebration on Old Main Street.

The celebration starts at 7 p.m. and will feature a ball drop at midnight and music on two stages. Between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m., the band, Shinola, will perform near Manatee Avenue and rock out until 12:30 a.m. on one of the stages. There will be another act, which hasn't been announced yet, that will perform on Fourth Avenue until 11 p.m.

Face-painting and a bounce house will be available for children early in the evening.

To find out more on this event visit, bradenton.com.

Long-time executive Lajoie passes away

Long-time executive Lajoie passes away

Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Bill Lajoie, a long-time major league baseball executive who lived near Sarasota, passed away Tuesday at the age of 76. He had most recently served as a special assistant to Pittsburgh Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.


"Mr. Lajoie impacted the lives and careers of a countless number of players, scouts and front office executives," Huntington said. "He was a terrific evaluator of talent, an outstanding baseball man, a tremendous mentor and a better friend."


Following his nine-year playing career in the minor leagues, Lajoie began his front office career as a scout with the Tigers in 1974.


He rose to assistant general manager five years later and was the general manager of the 1984 Detroit team that won the World Series. He was also in charge of putting together the Tigers' 1987 American League East-winning team that fell in the League Championship Series to Minnesota.

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Escaped prisoner caught in Bradenton

Bradenton, Florida -- Deputies have recaptured a prisoner who escaped Dec. 17th from the Central Florida Reception Center in Orlando, the sheriff's office said Tuesday night.

James Russell, 35, was arrested without incident at the Paradise Bay Hotel at 4406 102nd St West in Bradenton. The sheriff's office was assisted by the Office of Inspector general.

Russell stole a Department of Corrections van when he escaped. The van is still missing. He's been charged with Escape and Grand Theft Auto.

He had been serving time at the Orange County center for heroin convictions in Manatee County, and has some two dozen other convictions for various offenses dating back to 1998.

Marine, wife attacked by unruly teens at theater

Marine, wife attacked by unruly teens at theater

MANATEE, Florida (AP) -- A group of unruly teenagers attacked a 27-year-old Marine and his wife who had asked them to be quiet during a Christmas night showing of "Little Fockers."

The attack happened as the couple left the theater near Bradenton Saturday night. Authorities say the fight attracted about 300 bystanders.

Federico Freire, home on leave from Afghanistan, says they left the theater shortly after the teens were asked to leave.

The couple was kicked and punched in the parking lot before a gun-brandishing witness told the crowd to step back just before deputies arrived.

Five teens were arrested, including a 17-year-old who struck a deputy and was stunned by a Taser.

The fracas caused the theater manager to close early.

 

A near-riot at a local movie theater leads to five arrests

A near-riot at a local movie theater leads to five arrests

Bradenton, FL -- Manatee County deputies arrested five at the Royal Palm Movie Theater on Christmas night during a near-riot that left one juvenile stunned.

According to the Herald Tribune, deputies responded around 9:50 p.m. to a call that two juveniles had assaulted a man and his wife. While officers were trying to arrest the juveniles a struggled ensued. Destiny McNeil, 20, a relative of one of the teenagers was arrested while trying to intervene. Another teenager that jumped into the chaos, hit a deputy, and was shocked with a stun gun and put under arrest.

During the disturbance the crowd grew to more than 300 hundred people.