Blue Lightning Is Fast As Lightning

SPRING HILL –
Marc Taglienti vacuumed cars while an undergraduate.

There was a lot of sweat and grit involved.

“It’s not easy work,” he said. “It’s hard.”

While studying at the University of Central Florida he knew he wanted to run a business. He turned to what he knew. He wasn’t afraid of hard work.

Taglienti, 33, owns and manages Blue Lightning Car Wash. He has two locations – one in Spring Hill and another in Hudson.

Before putting in his own money for a car wash, he moved up the latter at a large chain. He was a regional trainer, general manager and assisted investors with their openings.

Nowadays, he offers Suncoast-area motorists inexpensive washes and free, unlimited vacuuming.

He employs eight people. He oversees all the drums, hoses and brushes and makes certain they are working properly. A computer controls 72 machine functions.

It doesn’t take much to get Taglienti talking about his business. He is proud of it and isn’t afraid to show it. He jumped right into explaining the step-by-step washing system in full detail.

It is more than merely a sales pitch. He is proud of his business. He believes he provides quality and services not found at a garden-variety self-serve wash, let alone a gas station.

“For the top washes, you should do it about once per month,” said Taglienti, the proud owner of a sparkling Infiniti M35, which he washed twice Friday. “When the summer comes around and you get all those bugs, you need to get them in here quickly.”

Taglienti regularly sees a Rolls-Royce Phantom roll onto his lot, not to mention several Corvettes, Mercedes Benzes and Lexuses.

The washes last three minutes, which provides the owner with an irresistible gimmick – a three-minute wash for $3.

He also offers higher-end washes, which range from $5 to $12. The latter is an Ultimate Express wash, which includes UV fade protection, wheel cleaner, weather-shield spray wax and of course, a free vacuum.

Rain-X also can be added to any wash for an additional $3.

There is a touch screen, which is accompanied by an audio response that provides easy-to-follow instructions.

The driver selects which wash he or she wants and can pay with cash or a credit or debit card.

There are three lanes at the touch screen, but only one gate will open at a time.

Two attendants guide the vehicle onto the washing track. They also point to a large sign that reminds drivers to put the car in neutral, take their foot off the brake and keep their hands off the steering wheel.

The rest of the wash is predictable – the sounds of whirring brushes and micro fibers spinning against the front, back, sides and top of the car. Brushes clean the tires and rims and the underbody also is cleaned.

The high-pressure system “hits all the fine grooves of the car,” Taglienti said.

At the end of the wash is a set of dryers that dispenses winds of up to 180 miles per hour.

The controls are programmed for energy efficiency. Most of the water is recycled and a reverse osmosis machine ensures there will be no spots on the vehicle, Taglienti said.

Even the water is cleaned before it goes into the sewer.

He uses soft cloth brushes and no harsh chemicals. He demonstrated by sticking his hand and forearm into a drum of soap.

“See? It’s very delicate,” he said.

The sensors turn on and off so that there is no waste of water while the car is going through the wash.

There are no extra charges for sport utility vehicles, vans or pickup trucks.

An early bird special is offered from 8 to 9 a.m. every day. Customers can wash their cars for $2 during that hour.

Biz at a glance:

Name of biz – Blue Lightning Car Wash

Owner – Marc Taglienti

What it is – Hands-free car wash

Where it is – 4330 Commercial Way, Spring Hill

Hours of operation – 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days per week

Get in touch – 727-868-7130

On the Web – www.bluelightningcarwash.com.

Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or wholt@hernandotoday.com.

Withlacoochee River Electric – Friend Or Foe?

In a Nov. 14 Hernando Today front-page article regarding electric utility rates, David Lambert, manager of public relations for Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative Inc., lays questionable groundwork for justifying a suggested 4 to 7 percent rate increase. He says, and I quote: “We know everyone is feeling the pain,” and adds that Withlacoochee, and its procurer, Seminole Electric Cooperative Inc., are feeling the pain, too.

May I remind Mr. Lambert, several thousand Hernando County schoolteachers are feeling the pain; they’re not getting a 4 to 7 percent (superintendent excluded) pay raise. They’re getting a 2.39 percent pay increase. Several thousand other Hernando County residents will receive no pay raises at all. In fact, they’ve lost their jobs. Mr. Lambert, that’s pain. Lambert laments, the meters just aren’t spinning. Well, Mr. Lambert, when the meters aren’t spinning, Withlacoochee can’t keep on winning; they must make “real world” adjustments.

Next Mr. Lambert launches the “mother spin” when he says “the cost of fuel to produce electricity has decreased slightly.” One of the fuels he refers to as decreasing slightly is natural gas, which has gone from $14 a thousand to around $7 a thousand. That’s a reduction of 50 percent. Rather than passing that price reduction on to its customers, Withlacoochee increased rates by 11 percent, and now wants to increase rates another 4 to 7 percent. This isn’t the first time Withlacoochee has trotted out this horse. It’s happened at least eight times previously, resulting in the fuel cost adjustment portion of monthly utility bills now exceeding base fuel costs by more than 100 percent.

Finally Mr. Spin says we should all feel lucky, as he compares Withlacoochee’s rates with their price gouging cousins, Tampa Electric and Progress Energy. Mr. Lambert, here’s a little “no spin/no bull” for you. We the people, your customers have our bellies full of bovine scatology (BS), all the way from bailouts, to tax breaks, to billion dollar CEO bonuses and unjustifiable utility rate increases. Withlacoochee Electric is sucking over $1 million a month from Hernando County residents using unjustifiably high utility rates.

Bottom line, stop raping us, and then trying to convince us it’s consensual love. If you’re interested in inviting Mr. Lambert to a local meeting, you may contact the author of this letter to the editor at jg@americaretoday.com.

Jim Gries

Weeki Wachee

WREC Rate Hike: No More Than 7.25%

BROOKSVILLE –
In an era of double-digit utility rate hikes, Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative customers might rest a little easier knowing they won’t be zapped with a double-digit hike next year.

The public cooperative known as WREC won’t settle on a final number until later this month but has set a range of 4.5 to 7.25 percent, said David Lambert, manager of member relations.

The goal is to keep the hike as close to that first number as possible, Lambert said.

“We know everyone is feeling the pain” in this economy, he said.

If the cooperative does decide on a 7.25 percent hike, the cost for 1,000 kilowatt hours – a little less than what the average WREC customer uses each month – would rise from about $113 to about $121.

WREC and the Seminole Electric Cooperative of which it is a part are feeling the pain of a souring economy, too, Lambert said.

WREC is suffering from a record number of foreclosures and the slowed pace of development. The co-op has paid millions for new infrastructure to serve developments that are far behind schedule, Lambert said.

“The meters just aren’t spinning,” Lambert said.

The cost of fuel – natural gas and coal – to produce electricity has decreased slightly, Lambert said.

But CSX Transportation plans to nearly double the fees it charges to move coal by rail to Seminole’s Palatka power plant. That will wipe away much of the savings the cooperative has enjoyed by streamlining its operation, Lambert said.

“It’s been a critical issue for us,” he said.

Seminole has filed a formal complaint against CSX with the federal Surface Transportation Board, contending the increases are unreasonably high.

An increase of 7 percent would still be less than the hikes approved by the state this week for Tampa Electric Co. and Progress Energy, which will raise rates by 12 percent and 25 percent respectively.

Lambert also pointed out that WREC does not have tiered rates that rise with power use. The company also gives back profit to WREC customers, or “members,” through credits on a December bill. The credits are divided up based on the amount of energy used and the duration of membership.

The co-op expects to give back some $14 million this year and roughly the same amount of credits as last year to its more than 71,000 customers in Hernando County, Lambert said.

That’s fine, but any increase hurts, said George Gubitose, first vice-president for the Brookridge Homeowners Association. The retirement community has some 2,700 homes and is served by WREC.

The power co-op already increased rates by 11 percent earlier this year.

“If they’re going up over a half a percent, it’s too high,” Gubitose said. “We have too many fixed-income people here. These people, they don’t have it.”

The new rates will take effect Jan. 1.

How much would WREC bill surge?

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative hasn’t settled on a final number, but officials say they will keep a rate increase for next year to no more than 7.25 percent. At that percentage, the cost for 1,000 kilowatt hours – a little less than what the average WREC customer uses each month – would rise from about $113 to about $121.

Reporter Tony Marrero can be reached at 352-544-5286 or lmarrero@hernandotoday.com.

Is Pulling Over For Funeral Processions A Dying Tradition?

It’s a common enough sight: a police cruiser with its lights flashing to clear the road ahead for a hearse and the chain of cars behind it.

What’s less understood is the appropriate response from the motorists approaching the funeral procession.

Southern tradition holds that it’s respectful to pull over and allow the cortege to pass – regardless of what side of the road a motorist is on. But in this age of heavier traffic on wider roads, is it time to let the custom die in the interest of safety?

The answer is mixed.

There’s the one side that completely ignores the procession altogether. As folks who work in local funeral homes can tell you, respect for the dead has declined.

“It’s a sign of the time,” said Doug McCaul, funeral director and owner of Pinecrest Funeral Chapels. “It’s sad, it really is. But that’s what we have to live with.”

McCaul recalls two instances when his hearse was nearly broadsided by distracted drivers. But those are the exceptions, not the rule, he said.

Others interviewed gave similar accounts of motorists cutting into the procession, honking horns and ignoring traffic directions by deputies.

“It’s not like the old days,” said Ellen Hartmann, who works at the Brewer and Sons chapel on Mariner Boulevard. Occasionally, she’ll help direct traffic and it’s not uncommon to hear irritated drivers honking their horns, she said.

For Hartmann, it boils down to respect. People “would have a heart attack” if motorists were whizzing by their family, she said.

Mark Downing, owner of Downing Funeral Home, says motorists will take advantage of any gaps in the procession to cut across lanes. Typically there are no more than 10 or 12 cars in the procession, so Downing doesn’t see what the rush is about.

“It upsets the family that there’s no respect,” he said.

Downing usually hires a minimum of two deputies to escort the cortege for safety reasons.

There are exceptions. Generally, the older generations will pull over and occasionally put their hands over their hearts. McCaul has noticed that rock truck drivers typically pull over and line workers for the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative remove their hats or helmets as a funeral procession passes by.

In Florida, yielding to a funeral procession is not only considered courtesy, but the law. State statutes say a funeral procession has the privilege to pass through intersections regardless of a traffic light’s color or stop sign. It further states that all motorists and pedestrians will yield the right of way to a funeral procession.

It’s not a complete carte blanche. Lead vehicles must have the proper lights and markings to distinguish that it is a funeral procession. Cars and trucks in the cortege have to turn on their lights and yield to approaching emergency vehicles.

Ronda Rich, an 11th generation southerner and author of “What Southern Women Know (That Every Woman Should),” believes pulling over for a funeral procession is a firm tradition in the former Confederacy.

Rich never witnessed the act when she lived outside the South, for one. And there have been times when she has had to explain the tradition to “outraged” Northerners who visit her Georgia town.

“They think it’s a ridiculous practice,” she said, but she explains “that Southerners have always had a respect for death.”

From a personal standpoint, Rich has lost her mother and brother this year and seeing motorists take a minute to pull over eased her sorrow. Motorists on major interstates and thoroughfares can get a pass because it can be dangerous to pull over.

But on normal roads and through small towns, “it is still possible and there really is no safety issue,” she said.

Reporter Kyle Martin can be reached at 352-544-5271 or kmartin@hernandotoday.com.

Wingnuts’ First Poker Run Is Nov. 15

BROOKSVILLE –
To recruit more “trikers,” Larry Goulet took an unorthodox approach.

When he passed someone along a two-lane highway, he turned around, coaxed him to stop and gave him his best sales pitch. He was starting a trike club and he wanted more members.

“People would pass us and we’d make a u-turn and flag them down,” Goulet said. “It worked.”

On Saturday, Nov. 15, a large collection of trike riders will be passing through town – stretching from Weeki Wachee to Inverness.

Goulet’s club – the Spring Hill Wingnuts – is organizing its first poker run. The winning hand will win $500. The 82-mile run will end in front of Trikes by Tony, a shop in Inverness where several of the local riders are customers.

The proceeds will benefit the Hernando Food Bank.

In the 1950s, those driving their roadsters with the top down would wave to each other while passing along the highway. If they were pumping gas at the same station, they likely would strike up a conversation about their chrome-wheeled machines.

Nowadays, local trikers are the ones who enjoy a culture that harks back to the roadster days from 50 years ago. When someone sees a Honda Gold Wing parked outside a restaurant, he or she often will circle around it and nod in approval.

A trike is a three-wheeled version of a motorcycle. The most popular “converted motorcycle” is the Gold Wing, Goulet said.

In six months, membership has grown from five members to 75. The Spring Hill Wingnuts is the first and largest trike-riding club in Florida, according to its Web site.

“We have an absolutely delightful club,” said Goulet, who is the club’s president. “We have some nice-looking machines and a great membership.”

Most of the members are retired, including Richard De Angelo, of High Point. He said the club’s long-term goal is to increase its already robust membership and continue raising money for local charities.

Hernando-Pasco Hospice will be among those he hopes will benefit from future poker runs.

“Anything that comes up, we’ll do it,” he said.

For him, triking is a safer way to enjoy the open road. It’s also best-suited for those who are intimidated by motorcycles.

“Most of us are retired. We don’t feel safe on two-wheelers anymore, but this still keeps us young,” De Angelo said.

The Wingnuts regularly take day and overnight trips. A number of them recently returned from Key West, Goulet said.

For more information about the club, visit http://fl-1wingnuts.trisite.org.

Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or wholt@hernandotoday.com.

Nine County Gridders Feted by FACA District 8

BROOKSVILLE –
On Monday night at Nature Coast Technical, the Sharks filled a huge void.
For the first time its five-year existence, the Sharks finally had some representatives voted on to annual Florida Athletic Coaches Association (FACA) District 8 football meeting.
The 10th ranked Sharks, who tied the school record with their eighth straight win last Friday against Hernando, saw four players and a coach named to FACA Senior All-Star team.
Springstead, which improved to 6-2 with a win Friday over Ridgewood, was a stride behind with four selections.
The 29-member schools that comprise District 8 could not decide on a District Most Valuable Player, settling instead on a co-MVPs.
Groveland-South Lake’s mammoth offensive tackle, Jon Harrison (6-foot-4, 290 pounds, 3.90 grade point average) and East Ridge’s elusive tailback Jeremy Wright (202 attempts, 2,038 yards, 19 touchdowns) tied for top honors. The assembled coaches voted three times, but could not unlock the tie between the duo.
As District 8 co-MVPs, both Lake County players have the inside track on berths in the North/South Senior All-Star Game to be played Dec. 23 at Bryant Stadium in Lakeland.
Any of the 24 senior FACA District 8 selections, however, may be selected to play in the all-star contest representing the expansive five-county (Hernando, Pasco, Citrus, Lake, Sumter), 29-member school district.
On Monday night, 16 schools were represented (only attending FACA member head coaches or a representative could nominate or vote for players) including: Groveland-South Lake, Clermont-East Ridge, Wildwood, The Villages, Bushnell-South Sumter, Land O’Lakes, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills, Spring Hill-Springstead, Brooksville-Nature Coast, Brooksville-Central, Crystal River, NPR-River Ridge, Hudson, Shady Hills-Bishop McLaughlin Catholic and Brooksville-Hernando.
North Suncoast coaching no shows included: Brooksville-Hernando Christian Academy, Lecanto, New Port Richey-Ridgewood, Dade City-Pasco, Inverness-Citrus, New Port Richey-Gulf, NPR-Mitchell, Leesburg, Eustis, Tavares, Mount Dora, Umatilla and Mount Dora Bible.
Participating coaches voted on two all-star squads beginning with the Senior All-District Team.
Another All-District squad was selected including all underclassmen. But in that balloting no non-senior players cracked that select group.
Each all-star squad had 24 allotted positions (including 11 players on offense, 11 on defense, plus one place kicker and one punter) as only the top vote getters were honored.
Also, each classification selected a Player of the Year and a corresponding Coach of the Year.

Sharks rule

The Sharks, who had never before had a player voted on to the FACA District 8 Senior All-Star team, was paced by Class 3A’s Coach of the Year, Jamie Joyner, 3A’s Player of the Year Michael Fields, along with Chad Dampier, D.J. Williams and Britt Langley.
What did it mean for Joyner to receive COY?
“It’s humbling,” explained the fifth-year skipper. “Especially when you look around and see the class that’s in the room. It’s really an honor. What this really means is I have a great coaching staff that works its tail off and we have players that not only put in the effort, but also perform as well. The real credit belongs to the assistant coaches and players.”
Springstead High’s 11th-year Head Coach Bill Vonada agreed with Joyner’s selection?
“Jamie has done a real good job building the program there.”
On Dampier, “He’s kinda been a behind the scenes guy,” described Joyner of his 6-foot-1, 250-pound offensive guard. “He’s done everything we’ve asked to prepare for football season. Last year, he was kinda our sixth man up front. He was the only guy with any real experience coming in. It’s great to see him get his time to lead.”
Three members of Shark defense highlighted the squad.
D.J. Williams enters his ninth game with 51 tackles, including seven for a loss, plus 10 hurries.
On D.J. Williams, “As a sophomore he played great,” commented Joyner. “Then he was hurt for most of his junior year. He finally got back on track this year. He’s a tremendous leader. He loves to do all the dirty work that linemen do. He’s the guy that keeps blockers off our linebackers, so they can make plays. It’s good to see the coaches show some respect for one of our guys in the trenches.”
Langley journeys to South Lake this week behind a team-best 93 tackles, two sacks and five hurries.
On Langley, “Michael (Fields) is the face our defense. (Alfredo) Lindo is our emotional leader. D.J (Williams) is the personality, but Tadd (Govedich) and Britt (Langley) are our quiet assassins. I mean, you never see them and then wham they make the tackle.
“When was the last time you saw a 100-meter champ lead any team in tackles? That’s Britt,” exclaimed Joyner. “Every year, he’s elevated his game. This year, he put the defense on his back. He’s one determined young man.”
Fields enters the South Lake game with 32 tackles, five passes defended and three interceptions. He’s returned two fumbles and one interception for touchdowns this season.
On Fields, “He’s better than he was during his All-State year (when he registered 10 INTs),” said Joyner. “Nobody knew about him last year. This year, no one is throwing toward him. He’s a ball hawk back there at safety. He’s the face of our defense. What’s overlooked is how physical he can be.
“He’s a tremendous athlete,” added Joyner. “If we were a passing team, I’d have no problems throwing the ball 10-12 times his way during the game. He’s a tremendous competitor.”

Eagles: four picks

Springstead was represented by wide receiver Ben Noury and three members from Mike Garofano’s defensive unit: lineman Stan Miele, linebacker Nate Schafer and safety Domnique Roberson.
Noury collected 29 passes for 470 yards and three TDs, besides rushing for 320 yards and adding three scores.
On Noury, “He’s a four-year starter,” described Vonada. “He caught our eye at a very young age. He does whatever we ask him to do, no hesitation. This year, he’s become more of a leader. Definitely, his strength is his versatility. What I like most is he is so cool under pressure. And when the game’s on the line, he wants the ball.”
The 6-foot-2, 255-pound Miele has collected 53 tackles, two sacks and caused two fumbles.
On Miele, “His strength is his motor,” smiled Vonada. “It’s always going. We throw the word relentless a lot when we describe Miele. If he starts left, there’s no hesitation for him to finish on right and be in on the hit. If he makes a mistake, he does not succumb to that mistake.”
Schafer leads the Eagles with 102 tackles, 2½ sacks and two hurries.
On Schafer, “He’s one of those guys that has great ability,” pointed out Vonada. “Now, we’ve complimented him with some more players. He’s a guy who arrives game ready. He recognizes things a lot better this year because of his devotion to film study.”
Roberson has swiped three passes, caused two fumbles and scored twice on defense.
On Roberson, “First and foremost, he’s a playmaker on defense,” described Vonada. “He’s a throwback to how we used to prepare for games. He comes into games totally focused. He’s a visualization guy. And most importantly, he’s a young man with character. We’re fortunate to have a lot of characters guys this year.”

Sports Editor Tony Castro can be reached at (352) 544-5278 or online at acastro@hernandotoday.com.

2008 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Denzel Smith S. Sumter 6-2 200
TB – Jeremy Wright E. Ridge 5-10 185
FB – Brandon Rose The Villages 5-8 155
WR – Ben Noury Springstead 6-1 175
WR – Alex Sampson Zephyrhills 5-11 175
TE – Hunter Newton Hudson 5-9 185
OT – Jon Harrison South Lake 6-4 290
OT – Akeem Marsh Wildwood 6-7 295
OG – Michael Bellamy S. Sumter 6-2 285
OG – Chad Dampier NCT 6-1 250
CT – Kamran Joyer W. Chapel 6-3 307
PK – Alex Spock Land O’Lakes 6-1 195

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Christian Renner Land O’Lakes 6-1 265
DL – Montana Barnes S. Sumter 6-1 200
DL – Stan Miele Springstead 6-2 255
DL – D.J. Williams NCT 5’10” 238
LB – Sean Raymond Wildwood 6-2 230
LB – Nate Schafer Springstead 5-11 200
LB – Collin Robinson Land O’Lakes 5-11 215
LB – Britt Langley NCT 5-9 180
CB – Michael Fields NCT 6-1 140
CB – Demetrice McCray Wildwood 6-0 170
SS – Domnique Roberson Springstead 6-2 165
PT – Alex Spock Land O’Lakes 6-1 195

District 8 CO-MVPs
Position Player School HT WT
OT – Jon Harrison South Lake 6-4 290
TB – Jeremy Wright E. Ridge 5’10” 185
Coach of the Year: Jamie Joyner – Nature Coast Technical

District 8 Players of the Year
Class 1A MVP – n/a
Class 1B MVP – Jeff Pope, Bishop McLaughlin
Class 2A MVP – Michael Bellamy, South Sumter
Class 2B MVP – D’Andre Mitchell, Wildwood
Class 3A MVP – Michael Fields, NCT
Class 4A MVP – Jon Harrison, South Lake
Class 5A MVP – Alex Spock, Land O’Lakes
Class 6A MVP – Jeremy Wright, East Ridge

District 8 Coaches of the Year
Class 1A – n/a
Class 1B – Marty Williams, Bishop McLaughlin (4-4)
Class 2A – Inman Sherman, South Sumter (8-1)
Class 2B – Matt Thompson, Wildwood (7-1)
Class 3A – Jamie Joyner, NCT (8-0)
Class 4A – John Benedetto, Land O’Lakes (6-2)
Class 5A – n/a
Class 6A – Bud O’Hara, East Ridge (8-1).

All-Star Game Coach Nominations:
John Benedetto – Land O’Lakes

2008 FACA District 8 All-Star Team (seniors and underclassmen)
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Denzel Smith S. Sumter 6-2 200
TB – Jeremy Wright E. Ridge 5-10 185
FB – Brandon Rose The Villages 5-8 155
WR – Ben Noury Springstead 6-1 175
WR – Alex Sampson Zephyrhills 5-11 175
TE – Hunter Newton Hudson 5-9 185
OT – Jon Harrison South Lake 6-4 290
OT – Akeem Marsh Wildwood 6-7 295
OG – Michael Bellamy S. Sumter 6-2 285
OG – Chad Dampier NCT 6-1 250
CT – Kamran Joyer W. Chapel 6-3 307
PK – Alex Spock Land O’Lakes 6-1 195

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Christian Renner Land O’Lakes 6-1 265
DL – Montana Barnes S. Sumter 6-1 200
DL – Stan Miele Springstead 6-2 255
DL – D.J. Williams NCT 5’10” 238
LB – Sean Raymond Wildwood 6-2 230
LB – Nate Schafer Springstead 5-11 200
LB – Collin Robinson Land O’Lakes 5-11 215
LB – Britt Langley NCT 5-9 180
CB – Michael Fields NCT 6-1 140
CB – Demetrice McCray Wildwood 6-0 170
SS – Domnique Roberson Springstead 6-2 165
PT – Alex Spock Land O’Lakes 6-1 195

2007 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Tate Humphrey Mitchell 5-10 190
RB – Byrone Arline Ridgewood 6-0 230
FB – Sean Scott Hudson 5-8 190
FL – Jerome Harrison Land O’Lakes 6-3 170
SE – Tyrone Hendrix Mitchell 5-9 160
TE – Nick Castellano Land O’Lakes 6-4 205
OL – John Karakaris Ridgewood 6-5 290
OL – Randy Foucha Wildwood 5-11 200
OL – Tom Doman Mitchell 6-0 235
OL – Reis Morrison Zephyrhills 6-5 230
OL – Raleigh Bamberg Land O’Lakes 6-3 257
PK – Eric Karcinski River Ridge 5-9 160

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Mike Williams Wildwood 6-1 207
DL – Travis Tindell Hudson 5-10 250
DL – Joe Robinson Land O’Lakes 6-2 220
DL – Taylor Rotunda Hernando 6-3 235
LB – Ben Perry Ridgewood 5-11 230
LB – Raymond Rauch Wesley Chapel6-0 190
LB – Nick Pauliot Hernando 5-8 200
CB – Allyn Williamson Ridgewood 5-10 150
CB – Ely Payne Land O’Lakes 6-4 175
SS – Aaron Jackson Ridgewood 5-10 190
FS – Frank Downie Ridgewood 5-10 170
PT – Lance Babcock River Ridge 6-5 175

District 8 MVP
Position Player School HT WT
RB – Byrone Arline Ridgewood 6-0 230

All-Star Game Coach Nominations:
John Benedetto – Land O’Lakes

District 8 Players of the Year
Class 1A MVP – n/a
Class 1B MVP – n/a
Class 2A MVP – Yourhighness Morgan, South Sumter
Class 2B MVP – Tory Davis, Wildwood
Class 3A MVP – Travis Tindell, Hudson
Class 4A MVP – Byronell Arline, Ridgewood
Class 5A MVP – Tate Humphrey, Mitchell
Class 6A MVP – n/a

District 8 Coaches of the Year
Class 1A – n/a
Class 1B – n/a
Class 2A – Wade Beal, Mount Dora (6-4)
Class 2B – Robert Lindsey, Wildwood (7-4)
Class 3A – Tom McHugh, Pasco (6-5)
Class 4A – Chris Taylor, Ridgewood (9-2)
Class 5A – n/a
Class 6A – n/a

2007 FACA District 8 All-Star Team (seniors and underclassmen)
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Tate Humphrey Mitchell 5-10 190
RB – Byrone Arline Ridgewood 6-0 230
FB – Sean Scott Hudson 5-8 190
FL – Jerome Harrison Land O’Lakes 6-3 170
SE – Tyrone Hendrix Mitchell 5-9 160
TE – Nick Castellano Land O’Lakes 6-4 205
OL – John Karakaris Ridgewood 6-5 290
OL – Randy Foucha Wildwood 5-11 200
OL – Tom Doman Mitchell 6-0 235
OL – Reis Morrison Zephyrhills 6-5 230
OL – Raleigh Bamberg Land O’Lakes 6-3 257
PK – Alex Spock (11th) Land O’Lakes 6-1 185

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Damon Evans Eustis 6-2 190
DL – Quinton Willis Tavares 6-4 240
DL – Rhode McPherson South Lake 6-0 205
DL – Cameron Pope Pasco 6-2 295
DL Chris Harris Umatilla 5-10 240
LB – Kendall Smith South Sumter 6-0 207
LB – Greg Lloyd East Ridge 6-3 215
LB – Josh Linam Tavares 6-3 235
CB – Michael Floyd Zephyrhills 5-10 170
CB – Lannie Graham Land O’Lakes 5-10 170
SS – Terry Mobley South Sumter 5-10 165
FS – Curtis Dewberry East Ridge 6-1 192
PT – Lance Pemble Leesburg 6-3 185

2006 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Joe Weatherford Land O’Lakes 6-4 200
RB – DuJuan Harris Central 5-7 180
FB – Richard Kelly South Sumter 6-0 240
FL – Matt Shepherd Leesburg 6-1 170
SE – Develyn Robinson Land O’Lakes 6-0 175
TE – Chris Doran Hernando 6-3 215
CT – Lee Smith LandO’Lakes 6-0 220
OG – Justin Blake Leesburg 6-1 280
OG – Hudson Harrison Eustis 6-4 230
OT – Bo Massey South Sumter 6-1 288
OT – Josh Guthrie South Lake 6-5 320
PK – Kody Stump Sumter Sumter6-1 170

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Damon Evans Eustis 6-2 190
DL – Quinton Willis Tavares 6-4 240
DL – Rhode McPherson South Lake 6-0 205
DL – Cameron Pope Pasco 6-2 295
DL Chris Harris Umatilla 5-10 240
LB – Kendall Smith South Sumter 6-0 207
LB – Greg Lloyd East Ridge 6-3 215
LB – Josh Linam Tavares 6-3 235
CB – Michael Floyd Zephyrhills 5-10 170
CB – Lannie Graham Land O’Lakes 5-10 170
SS – Terry Mobley South Sumter 5-10 165
FS – Curtis Dewberry East Ridge 6-1 192
PT – Lance Pemble Leesburg 6-3 185

District 8 MVP
Position Player School HT WT
LB – Kendall Smith South Sumter 6-0 207

All-Star Game Coach Nominations:
Steve Moser – Eustis
Cliff Lohrey – Central

District 8 Players of the Year
Class 1A MVP – Ontario McCaleb, Fort Meade
Class 1B MVP – Stephen Johnson, Hernando Christian Academy
Class 2A MVP – Kendall Smith, South Sumter
Class 2B MVP – Kelvin Jackson, Wildwood
Class 3A MVP – Josh Linam, Tavares
Class 4A MVP – DuJuan Harris, Central
Class 5A MVP – Joe Weatherford, Land O’Lakes
Class 6A MVP – Greg Lloyd, East Ridge

District 8 Coaches of the Year
Class 1A – Mike Hayde, Fort Meade (5-4)
Class 1B – Steve Johnson, Hernando Christian Academy (5-5)
Class 2A – Inman Sherman, South Sumter (9-1)
Class 2B – Robert Lindsey, Wildwood (4-5)
Class 3A – Tom Fisher, Zephyrhills (8-1)
Class 4A – Cliff Lohrey, Central (7-2)
Class 5A – John Benedetto, Land O’Lakes (8-1)
Class 6A – Bud O’Hara, East Ridge (7-2)

2006 FACA District 8 All-Star Team (seniors and underclassmen)
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Joe Weatherford Land O’Lakes 6-4 200
RB – Jeff Demps South Lake 5-9 170
FB – Richard Kelly South Sumter 6-0 240
FL – Matt Shepherd Leesburg 6-1 170
SE – Develyn Robinson Land O’Lakes 6-0 175
TE – Chris Doran Hernando 6-3 215
CT – Lee Smith LandO’Lakes 6-0 220
OG – Justin Blake Leesburg 6-1 280
OG – Hudson Harrison Eustis 6-4 230
OT – Bo Massey South Sumter 6-1 288
OT – Josh Guthrie South Lake 6-5 320
PK – Kody Stump Sumter Sumter6-1 170

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Damon Evans Eustis 6-2 190
DL – Quinton Willis Tavares 6-4 240
DL – Rhode McPherson South Lake 6-0 205
DL – Cameron Pope Pasco 6-2 295
DL Chris Harris Umatilla 5-10 240
LB – Kendall Smith South Sumter 6-0 207
LB – Greg Lloyd East Ridge 6-3 215
LB – Josh Linam Tavares 6-3 235
CB – Michael Floyd Zephyrhills 5-10 170
CB – Lannie Graham Land O’Lakes 5-10 170
SS – Terry Mobley South Sumter 5-10 165
FS – Curtis Dewberry East Ridge 6-1 192
PT – Lance Pemble Leesburg 6-3 185

2005 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Jarrod Fleming South Sumter 5-11 173
RB – Ricardo Gillard Villages 5-10 165
FB – Seth Metz Springstead 5-9 190
FL – Carlos Everett South Sumter 6-4 200
SE – Richard Jackson East Ridge 6-4 200
TE – Caz Piurowski Land O’Lakes 6-7 250
CT – Chris Bender Center 6-0 245
OG – Demsey Tavo Mitchell 5-10 235
OG – John Walsh Ridgewood 6-2 275
OT – Chris Sibilia Springstead 6-3 275
OT – Russ Hughes Land O’Lakes 6-3 220
PK – Danny Green South Lake 5-11 185

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Caz Piurowski Land O’Lakes 6-7 250
DL – Mike Willis Tavares 6-5 240
DL – Brandon Ward South Sumter 6-5 210
DL – Mark Revelia Wesley Chapel6-0 230
DL Chris Harris Umatilla 5-10 240
LB – Chris Patrick East Ridge 6-2 215
LB – Kadero Terrell Eustis 6-3 230
LB – Joe Brandau Mitchell 5-9 185
CB – Bryan Thomas Zephyrhills 6-3 190
CB – Lannie Graham Land O’Lakes 5-10 170
SS – Andrew Ortiz Springstead 6-1 195
FS – Richard Chaney Lecanto 6-1 190
PT – C.J. Hnilicia Ridgewood 6-0 180

District 8 MVP
Position Player School HT WT
WR/CB – Bryan Thomas Zephyrhills 6-3 190

2004 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
QB – Ian Wald Springstead 6-0 185
RB – Carl Robinson Wildwood 6-2 185
FB – Nathan Toole Hudson 6-2 215
FL – Charles Dodson Umatilla 6-0 165
SE – Jeremy Flowers Central 6-0 180
TE – Izryal Webb Citrus 6-2 195
CT – Khalil Madani Wesley Chapel6-3 300
OG – Lee Shaver East Ridge 6-3 315
OG – William Wilson Springstead 6-0 255
OT – Danny Tolley Wesley Chapel6-6 305
OT – Colin Roddy East Ridge 6-2 275
PK – Justin DeMutiis Springstead 5-7 150

Defensive Selections
POS. PLAYER SCHOOL HT WGT
DL – Ryan Pace East Ridge 5-11 190
DL – Jerry Carter Pasco 6-3 275
DL – Casey Smith Mitchell 6-1 225
DL – James Jones Leesburg 5-11 225
LB – Scott Mays Land O’Lakes 5-10 208
LB – Pedro Jasso South Sumter 6-0 225
LB – Daniel Harris Central 5-10 195
CB – Joe Burnett Eustis 5-10 185
CB – Joe Huggins East Ridge 5-10 180
SS – Nate Youngblood South Sumter 5-10 180
FS – Fabian Wilson South Sumter 5-11 170
PT – John Heiser Wesley Chapel6-1 175

District 8 MVP
Position Player School HT WT
RB/CB – Joe Burnett Eustis 5-10 185

2003 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
QB – Drew Weatherford Land O’Lakes 6-3 210
RB – Dante O’Neal Pasco 5-9 160
RB – Dontrel Lewis Umatilla 5-9 275
FL – Johnny Peyton Pasco 6-5 180
SE – Josh Hladky South Lake 6-1 175
TE – Jordan Hoolihan River Ridge 6-1 200
C – Seth Fabin Wesley Chapel6-3 285
OG – Daniel Cerf Zephyrhills 6-1 245
OG – Casey Martin South Sumter 6-3 260
OT – Drew Noe South Sumter 6-4 300
OT – Charles Gonyea Springstead 6-0 255
PK – Mike Hibbert Central 5-11 175

Defensive Selections
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
NG – Daniel Cerf Zephyrhills 6-1 245
DT – Jesse Sheffer South Sumter 6-1 265
DT – Rob Kennedy South Lake 6-1 245
DE – David McLeod Umatilla 6-0 185
DE – Chuck Emerson Wesley Chapel5-11 170
LB – Luke Leininger South Lake 6-2 215
LB – Darnell Craig Central 6-2 200
CB – Rod Roberts Hernando 5-9 180
CB – Derrick Johnson Eustis 5-11 180
SS – Josh Faust Umatilla 6-3 190
FS – Chris Bunch Crystal River 6-3 180
PT – Gabriel Montelongo Wesley Chapel6-2 185

District 8 MVP
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
QB – Drew Weatherford Land O’Lakes 6-3 210

Top Offensive Players
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
QB – Drew Weatherford Land O’Lakes 6-3 210
WR – Johnny Peyton Pasco 6-5 180

Top Defensive Players
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
FS – Chris Bunch Crystal River 6-3 180
DT – Daniel Cerf Zephyrhills 6-1 245

2002 FACA District 8 Senior All-Star Team
Offensive Selections
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
QB – Ben Alford Pasco 6-2 185
RB – Tyrone Tomlin Wesley Chapel6-1 210
RB – Tim Gaynor Central 5-11 190
FL – Logan Payne Land O’Lakes 6-2 180
SE – Wes Reynolds South Lake 5-10 165
TE – Dustin Collins Land O’Lakes 6-1 190
C – Bobby O’Dell Land O’Lakes 6-3 305
OG – Clay Styncomb Umatilla 6-1 218
OG – Walter Truzack Hudson 6-1 245
OT – Joey Tuttle Land O’Lakes 6-3 235
OT – Carlton Medder South Lake 6-6 320
PK – Bobby Batista Central 6-0 200

Defensive Selections
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
NG – Doug Burden Zephyrhills 5-7 160
DT – Derrick Gentles Wesley Chapel6-6 265
DT – Shane Hand Zephyrhills 6-2 300
DE – Kirk Moats Pasco 6-2 210
DE – Adamm Oliver Ridgewood 6-4 240
LB – Ben Moffitt South Sumter 6-2 235
LB – Joel Maple Umatilla 6-2 190
CB – Sam Miller South Sumter 5-10 190
CB – Marcus Allen Pasco 5-9 165
SS – Earl Everett South Sumter 6-3 210
FS – Derek Henry Umatilla 6-1 170
PT – Ben Alford Pasco 6-2 185

District 8 MVP
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
SS – Earl Everett South Sumter 6-3 210
Top Offensive Players

POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
WR – Logan Payne Land O’Lakes 6-2 180
OT – Carlton Medder South Lake 6-6 320

Top Defensive Players
POS PLAYER SCHOOL HT WT
SS – Earl Everett South Sumter 6-3 210
DE – Adamm Oliver Ridgewood 6-4 240

Another Publix To Open Off County Line Road

SPRING HILL –
The eighth Publix store in Hernando County will be built along County Line Road, a company spokeswoman said.

The Villages of Avalon – a housing development and new plaza opening at the corner of Anderson Snow Road – will include a 45,000-square-foot store with a bakery and pharmacy.

“It’s our typical, average-sized store,” said Publix spokeswoman Shannon Patten.

It will be located less than four miles from the store located at Mariner Boulevard and less than three miles from the one at the corner of Barclay Avenue and Spring Hill Drive.

Despite the proximity to the other stores, there is no fear of overlap.

“It’s not going to be a replacement store,” Patten said. “There are no plans to close any locations there.”

Construction has not yet begun, but stores generally open within nine months of the groundbreaking, she said. That could mean it would be ready to open by summer 2009.

Since Publix announced it would purchase 49 Albertsons last summer, several stores are being transitioned.

In Hudson, the former Albertsons at Tower Oaks Terrace, located at 12101 Little Road, will become a Publix before the end of the year.

The grocery chain is following its pattern of opening new locations within a few miles of existing stores.

The Hudson store will be located less than four miles from the Publix located at the corner of Hudson Avenue.

Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or wholt@hernandotoday.com.

Pit Bulls Are Shaped By Their Environment

OK, now it is time to take the test. Would you know a pit bull if you saw one? If you look to the right of this article, you will see a pit bull recognition test – the answers are in the box below.

Here are the facts about pit bulls: They are not a specific breed of dog. This is a term usually used to describe dogs from the heritage of three different breeds: American Staffordshire Terriers (AKC), Staffordshire Bull Terriers (AKC) and the American Pit Bull Terrier (UKC).

The public is consistently exposed to the negative stories in the media. Pit Bulls in loving families who are raised as any other pet dog would be, are wonderful companions. The problem dogs are the ones that are poorly bred and/or raised by irresponsible or unscrupulous owners.

It is true that pit bulls have been bred for decades, if not centuries to fight other dogs; a reprehensible practice. But, in all these years of dog fighting, these dogs were not documented as being human aggressive. This has evolved from human irresponsibility. Dog fighting needs to be stopped, there is no question about this, but this still does not equate to human aggression.

While these dogs have been bred for strength and endurance, there other qualities are immense loyalty and gentleness. Even the terrible people who fight these poor dogs would not tolerate human aggression. While these dogs were used for fighting, they were also the family pet. Dogs that exhibited human aggression were destroyed and only the human friendly dogs were allowed to continue breeding.

Dog aggression does not translate to human aggression. Pit bulls being human aggressive is a myth. Poorly bred and poorly treated dogs, of any breed, leads to aggression towards humans.

Pit bulls by nature crave human companionship. Their whole body will quake with excitement at the approach of someone who will pet them and they love human contact and affection. Many of these poor dogs have endured physical abuse due to the myth that they are human aggressive. Even after abuse, they want nothing more than to be part of a family to love and play with.

As with all breeds there are exceptions to the expected behavior and temperament of the nature of the dog and this is true of humans as well. There are good people and bad people, acceptable behavior and unacceptable behavior.

The other myth is that all pit bulls are animal aggressive. This is also false. It is how any animal is trained and treated that will trigger aggression. This is a human failing, not the failing for the poor animal.

We, as owners, need to be responsible in our treatment of all animals. That is the solution to any aggression issues with pets.

Joanne Schoch is the executive director of the Humane Society of the Nature Coast. Got a pet-related question? Send it to For Pet’s Sake, c/o the Humane Society of the Nature Coast, Inc., P.O. Box 10328, Brooksville, FL 34603.

Citrus County Deaths Of Mom, 3 Kids May Be Murder-Suicide

FLORAL CITY – Greg Maslowski called 911 and told them to come quickly. He had just found his stepdaughter and her three boys, all younger than 4, dead in his home.

“I’m outside the house. I’m not going in the house,” he told a 911 operator at about 10 a.m. Friday as his wife screamed and shrieked in the background. “I’m not even going in the room.”

As he spoke with the operator, his wife cried, “Please God. No, no, no.”

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office is treating the deaths at 4983 E. Stoer Lane in Floral City as a murder-suicide, said Heather Yates, a sheriff’s spokeswoman. Authorities said a firearm was recovered nearby.

The woman, 23-year-old Alicia Chomic, was found in a bedroom with her sons, Anthony Michael Lietz Jr., 15 months; Damian Michael Lietz, 2; and Thomas Anthony Goldsmith Jr., 3. Deputies say the four likely died sometime Thursday night.

Chomic, who has recently lived in Pasco County, and her older children were on a bed; her youngest child was in a bassinet.

Citrus County records list Greg and Vickie Maslowski as the owners of the property, identified as a mobile home.

The Maslowskis were taken to an area hospital, suffering from distress after discovering of the bodies, deputies say. They weren’t there when the deaths occurred.Citrus County Sheriff Jeff Dawsy said Chomic’s mother was so upset authorities were not able to talk to her much.

“It’s very tough for us to pull a lot of information out,” Dawsy said. “We will be interviewing her again tomorrow, but we felt right now that we have enough information.”

Deputies said Chomic had moved back to the home of her mother and stepfather with the children in the past week. Public records indicate she had lived for the past several years in Pasco County.

Chomic’s mother, Vickie Maslowski, and stepfather came home Thursday night and noticed that the door to the room Chomic shared with her sons was closed. The stepfather said on the 911 call that the couple thought Chomic and the children were sleeping.

“There was no sort of movement or anything,” Dawsy said. “So they never went in and checked. So we’re taking it from there and moving back on a timeline.”

Friday morning, Chomic’s mother went into the room and found the bodies.

“The problem is, is I’ve got three people that look like they’re passed away in my … three children,” Greg Maslowski, 45, told the 911 operator. “My wife’s going crazy.”

Investigators have contacted the boys’ fathers and said they had not found a suicide note or letter.

Reached Friday evening, Greg Maslowski declined to comment.

Little was known late Friday about Chomic’s background or what might have led her to kill her three children and then herself. Public records show she had lived in Pasco County from at least 2004 to 2007, at several addresses in New Port Richey and Port Richey.

One of those addresses was the Ebenezer Vincent apartments in New Port Richey, a small apartment complex of about two dozen units, populated mostly by lower-income residents. Several neighbors at the complex contacted Friday evening said they did not know Chomic.

Floral City is a rural community about 60 miles north of Tampa. The home where the apparent murder-suicide occurred is on a quiet street near farms and open fields.

Neighbors said they didn’t hear anything unusual Thursday night or Friday morning and couldn’t recall having seen the mother and her children before.

Neighbor Tammy Shelton said she didn’t hear gunshots and that her three dogs – who normally respond to anything, even car lights – didn’t appear to hear anything, either.

Neighbor Alicia Diamond said her own father heard the victim’s first name and rushed home from work, worrying that his daughter was dead.

Tribune reporter Josh Poltilove, and News Channel 8 reporter Peter Bernard contributed to this report. Information from the Associated Press also was used in this report.

Hooters Gal Makes Second Swimsuit Calendar

SPRING HILL –
The scenery is a major draw for any Hooters restaurant.

Beautiful women like 19-year-old Kaylie Kushmer greet you, serve you food and say “goodbye” as you walk out the door.

For a lucky few, they had a close-up view of a photo shoot – one that included the local Hooters waitress in a black, two-piece swimsuit decorated with sparkling rhinestones.

“The customers were coming in and they were getting a behind-the-scenes experience,” said a giggling Kushmer.

They might have had the closest look at the bubbly brunette, but they surely are not the only ones who were able to see her don the skimpy swimwear.

For the second year in a row, Kushmer has been featured in the annual Hooters Calendar. Her latest photo can be found at the bottom of the June page of the 2009 edition, which is on sale at all Hooters locations and online.

The tanned and slender business student stands 5 feet 9 inches tall. She has long curly hair and her bright eyes change color whenever there is a change in her mood, she said.

They were a grayish-blue on a recent afternoon as she gleefully talked about her calendar shoot, her fondness of Hooters and her future.

Kushmer is a full-time student at Pasco-Hernando Community College and plans to transfer to the University of South Florida next year. After that, she wishes to attend law school.

The Central High School graduate was born in Brandon and relocated to Hernando Beach while a sophomore in high school.

Her managers at the Spring Hill restaurant learned of her second consecutive inclusion in the calendar before she did. Instead of simply telling Kushmer, they threw her a surprise party and announced it then.

Up to 15 percent of the waitresses across the country sent photos to the calendar committee. The judges chose about 80 out of the thousands of submitted photos.

Kushmer was not the only one from the Spring Hill location who tried out for a chance to be in the calendar. The competition side was the one thing she found unappealing. Her smile vanished for the first and only time during the interview when she mentioned it.

“There are others here who tried out who should have made it,” she said.

Kushmer first applied at Hooters when she was 16 years old. To be a hostess, one must be 17. The minimum age requirement for a waitress is 18.

The hiring manager politely turned her away following her first visit, but as promised, she reapplied on her 17th birthday and was hired. One year later, on the day she turned 18, she worked as a waitress for the first time. It was a double shift.

She wore a sash that advertised her birthday to everyone. She set a personal record for tips.

Kushmer’s photo is seen by managers as an inducement for customers to spend more money – or at least buy more calendars. She laughs whenever they remind her.

“They try to convince us it helps sales,” she said. “They’ll tell us (before our shift), ‘You have to sell 500 calendars and there’s no excuse not to because Kaylie’s working today.'”

Her inclusion in the 2009 calendar also allows her to take part in activities with the other models. When the group visited Kushmer’s location for a recent appearance, they warmed her heart with compliments about her co-workers and customers.

“They kept saying, ‘That’s the nicest (restaurant) we’ve ever been to,'” she said.

She wasn’t surprised by the comments. She remains employed at the U.S. 19 location because of the comfortable atmosphere. When she attends school in Tampa, she might entertain the idea of signing on at a second Hooters, but she has vowed to continue waitressing in Spring Hill during the weekends.

“This restaurant is much different from the others,” Kushmer said. “It’s a lot more fun and easygoing.”

Because she goes to school during the week, most of her work hours are scheduled for the weekends. Football season is particularly busy and draws the most regulars.

She loves the chain so much she has hopes for a successful, lucrative career as a business attorney that would grant her the capital to purchase her own Hooters restaurant.

In the meantime, she plans to focus on her studies, relish her job and pile on more happy memories.

As long as future calendar shoots remain a possibility, Kushmer’s bosses do their best to ensure she doesn’t detach from her roots. Tampa might be bigger and the lights might be brighter, but Hernando County is home. Those reminders never stop coming.

“They keep telling me that under my name it had better say, ‘from Spring Hill, Florida,'” she said. “It will. I love it here.”

Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or wholt@hernandotoday.com.