The Challenger Baseball team coached by Rich Carroll welcomed sensational news from the Atlanta Braves. Mike Dunn, vice president of operations announced the Braves were donating $50,000 to help the team build its baseball fields on Foxworthy Campus at Bypass Park in Venice. One of the fields will feature a rubberized surface making it easier for athletes in wheelchairs and with walkers to maneuver and participate in games.

The beauty of Challenger Baseball is the program serves challenged athletes but, as important, it gives the community a chance to volunteer with the group helping athletes play baseball and enjoy the fun and cheering crowd.

After the opening ceremonies and Little League games, Challenger athletes played their first game. Special thanks to all the volunteers including Steve Price and Justin Taylor. For schedules and info about donating and volunteering, visit venicechallengerbaseball.org.

Venice Museum and Archives

Check the website and be sure to stop by the Museum to enjoy the new Venice Avenue exhibit and see the spectacular newly refurbished Woodmere Eagle Pointe Bell located at the entrance of the building.

Jewish Food Festival

Members of the Jewish Center of Venice invite the community for an afternoon of homemade food, music and fun on Feb 17. Treasure seekers can enjoy the flea market, and the bake sale always sells out. From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. members of the Center will welcome everyone for a chance to eat at the center enjoying music and entertainment or choosing take out. Three cheers to volunteers who have been working for months to make this event a success.

One of our best

The special person of this week is Atlanta Braves V.P of Operations Mike Dunn. This avid baseball fan participated in the opening ceremonies for Challenger Baseball at Chuck Reiter Field in Venice. He threw out the first pitch and batter Julia smiled all the way to her waiting team high fiving everyone there.

Mike has a great community spirit. Whenever he is at an event, he is most welcoming answering questions and always listening to baseball stories. While he is the face of the Braves, he has a heart for people and sharing the baseball spirit so many of us love.

We look forward to getting to know Mike and enjoying his work in this community. Mike Dunn is one of the men who make Venice a great place to live.

Fran Valencic is the social columnist for the Venice Gondolier Sun. She welcomes your tips and ideas. Contact her at franvalencic@comcast.net.^p

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