Between the Lines 20140918

Breaking Hernando county news, local sports and events, and weather from Hernando Today | | Hernando Today
Tuesday, Jul 07, 2015
Weather station KBKV in BROOKSVILLE reports 74 degrees Fahrenheit and Clear. Winds from the at 0 mph.74°

Published: September 18, 2014 | Updated: September 19, 2014 at 05:11 PM
Girls Scouts running event

SAFETY HARBOR – On Sept. 27, Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (GSWCF) will host its second annual Thin Mint Sprint and Tagalong Trot in downtown Safety Harbor. This year’s event is expected to draw 1,000 participants from elite runners to walkers.

The Thin Mint Sprint, a 5K (3.1 mile) race, will begin at 8 a.m. The Tagalong Trot, a one-mile fun run/walk designed for younger racers or those who do not wish to participate in the 5K, will begin at 9 a.m.

Both will start in front of the Safety Harbor Marina (110 Veterans Memorial Lane).

Registration is available online at through Friday. Entry fees are $30 for the Thin Mint Sprint and $20 for the Tagalong Trot.

There will be an awards ceremony for the top three male and female finishers following the 5K race. The top 50 male and top 50 female 5K finishers will also receive a box of their favorite Girl Scout Cookies, compliments of FITniche. Every runner or walker who finishes their race event will receive a medal.

Post-race, all participants will have access to a celebration area complete with refreshments, music and Girl Scout Cookies.

For those unable to attend in person, there’s also the option to participate in spirit as a virtual runner. GSWCF will send a running bib and race shirt to all virtual runners so they can run or walk at their convenience. The cost to participate in the virtual race is $20 through Friday.

All proceeds from the event will support the nearly 21,000 girls and nearly 8,500 adult members served by GSWCF in Citrus, Hernando, Hillsborough, Marion, Pasco, Pinellas, Polk and Sumter counties.

For more information, contact Terri Costello, development manager at (813) 262-1688 or

Sport Shooting Festivals coming

TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s Sunshine State Games Sport Shooting Festivals return to the range in the fall and registration is now open for the three regional festivals, featuring 19 events, to be held at seven venues.

Not only is there a variety of events being held in September and October, they’re geographically spread out around the state.

The Gulf Coast Shooting Festival takes place Oct. 25-26, with six events to be held between Hernando Sportsman’s Club, as well as Sarasota Military Academy, and Skyway Trap and Skeet Club with United States Clay Target Academy in St. Petersburg.

Events of the Gulf Coast Shooting Festival will have lesser restrictions and rules than normal Olympic-style shooting events to encourage more participation and introduce athletes to an Olympic-style event.

All Florida residents who have lived in the state for at least 30 days prior to the date of competition are eligible if they meet the requirements specified by each sport. Non-resident guest athletes/teams may participate upon approval by the Florida Sports Foundation.

Age divisions, levels of expertise and types of qualification vary with each sport.

For the festival at the Hernando Sportsman’s Club, located at 16121 Commercial Way (U.S. Hwy 19), registration starts at 7:30 a.m. and closes at 8 a.m.

The festival will showcase the following competitions: international style pistol – standard pistol, air pistol, centerfire and sport pistol; smallbore rifle prone and 3-position – international style rifle and sporter rifle.

The smallbore rifle (3-position at 50 yards) competition will be limited to the first 80 entries.

The pistol completion will be limited to the first 40 entries.

To preregister, visit: Mail-in registration forms can be found at Deadline for mail-in registrations is Oct. 20. Fees are $25 for preregistration, $35 for on-site registration. Preregistration must be received by Oct. 20 or register online until Oct. 23.

For more information, visit:, or

For further information, contact Sarah Kirchberg at (727) 724-3082 or

Senior Games online registration open

TALLAHASSEE – Registration is now open for the 2014 Florida International Senior Games and State Championships, to be held Dec. 6-14 in Lee County and the City of Cape Coral.

Visit to register for the 23rd annual Olympic-style sports festival for athletes age 50 and over.

The 2014 Florida International Senior Games and State Championships is a qualifier for the 2015 National Senior Games, to be held, in Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington, Minn. in the summer of 2015.

Entry fees begin at $11 per event and vary by sport. Sports with multiple events carry additional charges per event. Team sports have a team entry fee. The deadline for online registration is Nov. 21.

The Florida International Senior Games and State Championships feature 24 sports and events over nine days of competition. Some sports and events require a qualifying performance at a local Senior Games event to participate at the State Championships. Those sports include: 3-on-3 basketball, basketball shooting, bowling, cycling, golf, horseshoes, pickleball, shuffleboard, swimming, table tennis, tennis, and track and field.

Sports that are open to all athletes without a qualifying performance at a local Senior Games include: archery, bag toss, billiards, bocce, croquet, fencing, powerlifting, power walk, race walk, racquetball, road race (5K and 10K) and volleyball.

The Pensacola Senior Games began on Sept. 8 and continue through Sunday.

Other remaining local Senior Games include: Tampa Bay Senior Games, Sept. 29-Oct. 17; Gainesville Senior Games, Oct. 3-12; Jacksonville Senior Games, Oct. 6-11; Ormond Beach Senior Games, Oct. 25-Nov. 1; Martin County Senior Games (Stuart), Nov. 1-10; and Golden Age Games (Sanford), Nov. 8-15.

For more information, visit or call toll-free 1-866-FLGAMES (354-2637).

4-H Benefit Trap Tournament

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando Sportsman’s Club is hosting a 4-H Benefit Trap Tournament on Oct. 4, at the club’s trap range, located at 16121 Commercial Way (U.S. 19).

All proceeds are to benefit the youth of the Hernando Sportsman’s 4-H Club.

The trap tournament consists of four rounds of 25 shots each, for a total of 100 shots. Trophies will be awarded in three categories: youth, adult and senior. The winner is determined by most targets hit.

Cost is $40 per trap shooter, $35 if preregistered by Sept. 27. Lunch is provided to all participants.

To preregister, mail in this registration form to the club: .

Registration for shooters begin at 8 a.m. Shooting will start at 9 a.m. Please bring your own shotgun, ammo and lawn chair.

For more information, contact Ken at (352) 797-0409.

Wounded Warriors event

BROOKSVILLE – A Wounded Warriors Project event will be held at the Hernando Sportsman’s Club, located at 16121 Commercial Way (U.S. 19) on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event is being held for local veterans to shoot various kinds of firearms for free, from pistols, to rifles, to full auto-style heavy firearms.

All the firearms and ammo have been donated for use that day for vets and their families. A bounce house will be on site for kids.

Texas Roadhouse and Golden Corral will both donate lunch for the veterans and their families. The public is welcome to attend as spectators for free.

Any veterans who wish to participate should contact Rick Cicero at (434) 294-5883 or

For more information, visit

Running series coming to Florida

Texas 10 Race Management, LLC, in conjunction with WinWin Events, will launch an all-new 10-mile running series in Florida on the heels of the already successful Texas 10 Series.

Event management is offering runners a primary 10-mile race in addition to companion five-mile and kid’s one-mile events.

The 2014 Florida 10 Series will kick off in Lakeland on Oct. 19 and be followed with an event in Sarasota on Dec. 7.

The inaugural Florida10 Lakeland event will take place in northern Lakeland near Florida Polytechnic University.

All 10-mile finishers earn points to be eligible for up to $7,800 prize money in the Ponce De Leon Cup competition, which will be divided among the male and female age groups. Additionally, clubs can earn up to $2,600 in the Everglade Cup Competition, which is based on the finishers in all three Florida 10 Series distances.

The Susan G. Komen Florida Suncoast Chapter has been selected as the highlight charity of the Florida 10 Charity Challenge powered by Reason2Race.

With this program, athletes may race for and in honor of the highlight charity or any other 501 (c)(3) charity.

Event management will provide a $1,000 prize purse for the top fundraisers’ charities at each Florida 10 Series race.

The top overall fundraiser wins a $500 donation with the second-place fundraiser’s charity receiving a $200 donation. The third- through fifth-place fundraisers will receive $100 contributions toward their charities.

As with any active lifestyle event, volunteers are a must and a Florida 10 event – where approximately 100 volunteers will be needed — is no different. Volunteer groups or organizations may receive donations for serving with as few as 15 volunteers.

Online registration for all future events and details of the Florida 10 Charity Challenge and the Ponce De Leon and Everglade Club Cup competitions is available at

Kiwanis Club golf tournament

SPRING HILL – The Kiwanis Club of Spring Hill is holding its 10th annual Children’s Charity Golf Invitational on Sept. 26 at Silverthorn Country Club.

The club, which is partnering with the City of Brooksville and The 1st Tee of Brooksville, is seeking corporate sponsors as well as players/teams.

For more information, visit

Grass volleyball series coming

TALLAHASSEE – Florida’s Sunshine State Games begins a new Grass Volleyball Series, in partnership with the Florida Region of USA Volleyball, with a series of events for volleyball enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels.

Two local events each in September and October lead up to a State Championships in November.

Divisions are available for Recreational Adult Coed 6’s, Competitive Adult Coed 4’s and Junior 6’s (girls/boys age 16 and up only). The Junior 6 division will not be available at all locations.

Dates and locations include: Saturday, Estero Recreation Center in Fort Myers; Oct. 11, 17th Street Park in Sarasota; Oct. 25, Holiday Inn Sports Complex in Fort Lauderdale; and State Championships, Nov. 8, Hickory Point Recreation Park in Tavares.

Registration fee for the Competitive Adult Coed 4’s division teams is $100, Recreational Adult Coed 6’s is $150 and Junior 6’s (girls age 16-18) is $100.

Team VIP fees are also available for an additional cost. The VIP fees include lunch, water during the event, and access to the VIP area. Each of the six stops will benefit a local charity.

All teams participating in one of the six Florida stops are eligible to compete in the State Championships.

Registration and competition information is currently available at

Firearms safety classes

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando Sportsman’s Club is offering several firearms safety classes over the next few months.

The class dates are Oct. 1, Oct. 18, Nov. 5, Nov. 15, and Dec. 3. A special “ladies only” firearms safety course will be held on Sept. 20 and Dec. 20.

All classes are from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Hernando Sportsman’s Club, 16121 Commercial Way.

This is an introductory “First Steps” orientation class for new shooters. The courses cover lessons about the basics of firearms safety around the home; intro to pistol safety, parts and operation; intro to ammo and the fundamentals of pistol shooting; intro to pistol shooting from the seated and standing position; and intro to pistol cleaning and storage.

The classes include instruction, live-fire training on the range and a lunch break. All materials and equipment needed for the class and live-fire training is provided to students, including the use of a .22-caliber firearm, ammo, earplugs and eye protection.

The cost is $60. Successful completion of this class also provides required documentation to apply for a Florida concealed carry permit if desired.

Pre-registration is required. Please call (352) 597-9931 to preregister.

For information on the club, visit

Ride to Defeat ALS

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH – The ALS Association Florida Chapter is pleased to announce that UnitedHealthcare is once again sponsoring its annual Ride to Defeat ALS, a one-day cycling event that raises funds to fight Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The event takes place Nov. 8 at The Holiday Inn Harbourside Hotel, located at 401 2nd St. in Indian Rocks Beach. The event kicks off at 8 a.m.

UnitedHealthcare is sponsoring a portion of the ride titled “The UnitedHealthcare Metric Century,” a 62-mile route that parallels the Gulf of Mexico and passes through historic Fort De Soto Park on Mullet Key.

Nearly 500 cyclists are expected to participate. Funds raised during this event will support research, programs and services for people living with ALS in Florida. This fundraising community event also serves to generate hope and action around the fight to conquer Lou Gehrig’s Disease.

The day’s ride concludes with a lunch and family celebration at The Holiday Inn Harbourside Hotel. Along with cyclists, many volunteers are also needed before, during and after the event.

To register for the ride or sign up to help, visit

Project Appleseed rifle marksmanship clinic

BROOKSVILLE – The Project Appleseed marksmanship clinic will be held Oct. 11-12 and Nov. 29-30 at the Hernando Sportsman’s Club, located at 16121 Commercial Way (U.S. Hwy. 19).

Registration begins at 8 a.m. The clinic starts at 8:30 a.m. and will continue until 5 p.m.

Project Appleseed is an activity of The Revolutionary War Veterans Association and dedicated to teaching every American our shared heritage and history as well as traditional rifle marksmanship skills. The Revolutionary War Veterans Association is a non-profit organization operated by volunteer instructors.

Their heritage program vividly portrays the Battles of Lexington and Concord. Modern listeners are confronted with the danger, the fear, and the heartbreaking separations that arose out of the choices made on April 19, 1775. They are also reminded of the marksmanship skills and masterful organization that ultimately helped set the colonists on the path to success. Those who attend gain a better understanding of the fundamental choices faced by our ancestors as they began to set the stage for the nation we now enjoy.

Participants are taught fundamental rifle marksmanship skills that allow a rifleman to be accurate out to 400 yards, with iron sights, standard rifle and surplus ammo. Most of the instruction at a Project Appleseed event is conducted on the firing range at 25 meters, at reduced-size targets to simulate 100 to 400 yards. Students will learn safe gun handling, proper use of a sling and Revolutionary War history.

Please bring ear/eye protection, rifle with sling and ammo, rifle mat, bug repellent, hat, sunscreen, a packed lunch, snacks and drinks. Please bring plenty of water to stay hydrated. Food and beverages are also available for purchase for lunch in the clubhouse.

A .22-caliber rifle is recommended due to the cost of ammo, but a centerfire rifle can be used if preferred. About 500 rounds of ammo will be needed per day.

Marksmanship Clinic fees are $60 for adults, $20 for youth under age 18. Active military, Guard and Reserve, law enforcement officers with ID, disabled, elected officials and Revolutionary re-enactors in costume are free. Additional club range fees of $14 per day apply for adults and children age 12 and older.

To register online, go to For more information, contact Trey Dawson at (727) 452-4650 or

J.C. Karate offering classes

RIDGE MANOR – J.C. Karate is currently offering classes starting for only $30 a month.

Come out and train under Soke Master Jason P. Chase Sr., a two-time Triple Crown state champion and 2011 National Instructor of the Year, with no hidden fees or surprise costs, in a family-friendly environment where character development and life skills along with martial arts training will taught.

J.C. Karate is located in Ridge Manor at 31162 Cortez Blvd., in the Winn-Dixie plaza.

For more information, contact (352) 467-0506 or

Tennis camp and classes

SPRING HILL – Ace Performance Tennis is offering Quick Start Drills Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Delta Woods Park.

The cost is $10.00 per class. Drills and games are designed for beginning players using the USTA-approved strategies for 60-foot court players.

Learn to play tennis quickly with age- and size-appropriate equipment and modified courts.

Additionally, Ace Performance Tennis is offering a Ladies Night Out, Mondays from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Delta Woods Park.

The cost is $10 per class. Women of beginning and intermediate skill levels will learn to play in a fun social setting.

For more information on the camp and classes, contact John or Louise Downey at (352) 666-0658 or

LeBlanc: Hurricane Season and Dementia

For the past six years I have written articles about the challenges of caring for someone with dementia during hurricane season. To all caregivers I recommend being prepared at all times of the year, in case evacuation becomes necessary.

As significant as these articles were, I worry about being repetitious. But this year I have great news for all Florida residents. A bill passed this year by the Senate and House, and signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott, requires the Division of Emergency Management to develop a special needs shelter registration program for those with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. This law takes effect Jan. 1 and will be implemented fully by March 1.

The lack of concern for these special facilities has troubled me in recent years. I found it shocking how few counties in Florida had Alzheimer’s or dementia listed as a disability on emergency shelter forms.

There’s no question that here in Florida we understand the serious amount of damage these storms can generate. It’s amazing how a simple summer thunderstorm can develop into something tropical and turn our world upside down.

So, caregivers everywhere, let’s talk about the importance of developing and putting an evacuation plan in place. You do not want to end up in a regular emergency shelter. Your loved one would feed off of the heightened anxiety in that building, causing his or her confusion level and behavior to rise to the hilt.

Here’s my suggestion: If possible, stay away from all shelters completely. If you have family or friends who live outside of the path of the storm, consider staying with them. (Have this plan in place far in advance, of course.) If you do not have this option, see if your county has dementia on its list for shelters that accommodate disabled people. As I noted earlier, if the new law is implemented as planned, this all will be in place by next year’s tropical storm season.

My biggest concern today is whether staffers in these shelters will be properly trained on dementia care. Maybe training them will be another important undertaking for those of us who are knowledgeable in the field.

Caregivers, make sure you have your evacuation kits ready to go. Also, a list of contacts for both you and your loved one to keep in your possession — just in case you get separated. And don’t forget about your pets! Reassure your loved one that his or her pet is going to be OK. Otherwise you might never get them out of the house!

Having to evacuate your home is stressful enough; having to do so while caring for someone with dementia is a task I don’t wish on anyone.

There is a free guide from the National Institute on Aging called “Disaster Preparedness — Alzheimer’s Caregiving Tips” that you can download through the website:

Unfortunately it’s not just the storm, but also its aftermath, for which we need to prepare. After a particular hurricane my dad and I had no electricity for 13 days — which meant no water, because we had a well that ran on electricity. Those were the longest 13 days of my life!

Think ahead and plan for the worst. And thank you to our Florida leaders who realized that dementia is, without a doubt, a disability.

For a decade Gary Joseph LeBlanc was the primary caregiver of his father, after his father was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. He can be reached at His newly released book “Managing Alzheimer’s and Dementia Behaviors,” and his other books “While I Still Can” and an expanded edition of “Staying Afloat in a Sea of Forgetfullness,” can be found at

Brooksville man charged in beating, deputies say

A Brooksville man was charged Saturday with aggravated assault and battery after beating a man with his fists and threatening him with a wooden stick, Hernando deputies said.

Cory Ray Griest was being held at the Hernando County Detention Center on $5,500 bond.

Griest attacked the man at his residence in the 1100 block of Jackson Avenue, deputies said.

During the attack, the victim grabbed a four-foot stick to defend himself and Griest took it from him and raised it over his head in an attempt to hit him, according to an arrest report.

The stick didn’t hit the victim but Griest stuck him with his fists several more times, causing injuries to the left side of his head, face and shoulder area, deputies said.

Three witnesses corroborated the victim’s report, deputies said.

Griest was found a short distance from the incident and arrested.

He told deputies he didn’t know what happened at the scene and had no contact with the victim, deputies said.

Woman gets 5 months for telling judge she works for DEA

BROOKSVILLE – A 36-year-old Spring Hill woman was arrested in a Hernando County courtroom Thursday after misrepresenting herself as a Drug Enforcement Administration agent.

During a domestic violence hearing in front of Circuit Judge Stephen Toner, Jo Leigh Allen said she was a federal DEA agent.
Jo Leigh Allen
Jo Leigh Allen

Judge Toner stopped the hearing, according to the sheriff’s office, and asked deputies to investigate her claim.

After finding out Allen was not in drug enforcement, Toner found her in direct civil contempt and sentenced her to 5 months and 29 days in the Hernando County Jail.

Court records show Allen filed the petition for a domestic violence injunction on Jan. 3. Records also show Allen filed an injunction in December, which was later dismissed.

Allen was arrested on charges of grand theft of a motor vehicle in November, and spent 33 days in the jail before prosecutors dropped the charges.

In the past, Allen has been convicted of falsely reporting a crime, driving with a suspended license, felony petit theft, grand theft, possession of a controlled substance, DUI, fleeing and eluding police, resisting an officer, possession of cocaine and possession of cocaine with intent to sell.

Bus driver flees when questioned about pot smell

It’s something out of an episode of “The Simpsons.”

Hernando High School’s Lady Leopard softball team beat the Lady Buccaneers 3-1 at Gulf High School Tuesday night, then loaded up their gear and headed to the bus for the hour-long ride home.

But there was something different about the school bus, the softball team noticed: that weed smell, according to witnesses at the scene.

For unspecified reasons, the driver, Donna Mae Rogers, 59, of Brooksville, came under heavy scrutiny, and fled when questioned by police.

She did not outrun the police, witnesses said.

“I was notified that we had a driver being arrested last night,” Transportation Director Doug Compton said.

“We sent another driver down to take care of the bus, and notified all the people we needed to notify, and sent it over to human resources.”

Stranded 40 miles from home in another county on a school night that was steadily approaching a school day, the student-athletes waited. Hernando High School coach and Athletic Director Kevin Bittinger declined comment.

Rogers was arrested Tuesday night by New Port Richey Police Department, charged Wednesday morning with one count of resisting arrest without violence, and was booked at the Land O’Lakes Detention Center, according to the Pasco Sheriff’s Office.

As of Wednesday morning, Rogers remains in the jail on $150 bond.

School Superintendent Bryan Blavatt said law enforcement responded quickly to the scene and that once the district sees the official charges and reports about the incident, they will convene and determine an appropriate course of action.

Blavatt also mentioned insurance charges the district could incur.

“I understand we’ll move forward with suspension from duty, and we will base a lot of it on what the sheriff’s office investigation has to say about the charges on the end of this one,” Blavatt said.

“With something like this, she’s certainly not going to go back behind the wheel with us.”

Compton said he notified the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and executive director of business services last night regarding Rogers’ arrest.

“Obviously we needed to send another driver down to take care of the bus,” he said.

(352) 544-5271

Brosher taken by Mets in draft’s final day

A historic 2013 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft for Hernando County concluded on Saturday with Springstead first baseman/pitcher Brandon Brosher getting selected in the 36th round (1,076 overall) by the New York Mets.

Brosher is the first former Eagle to earn a selection since Steve Livesey in 1991, and only the third overall. Livesey was also taken out of high school in 1986, and J.D. Noland out of college in 1988.

The same draft that saw the county’s first player taken in the first round (Hernando’s Christian Arroyo) and first Nature Coast player ever picked (Mike Adams) also set a new county record with three selections.

This is also the first time the county has had two players picked within the top 10 rounds. Adams went in the seventh round.

The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Brosher, a right-hander, signed with Division I Oral Roberts University prior to his senior season, in which he hit .451 with four doubles, two triples and four home runs. He drove in 29 runs and scored 27 times.

On the mound, he went 5-3 with a 2.42 earned run average, striking out 81 batters in 55 innings.

Springstead head coach Jim Diven admitted that Major League teams may have been scared off by Brosher’s strong commitment to Oral Roberts.

“I thought he’d go between 5-10 (rounds). I don’t know what happened,” Diven said. “It didn’t turn out the way I thought it would. But I think they knew he wasn’t going to go unless they gave him a substantial amount of money.”

Still, Diven looked at Brosher’s drafting as another positive chapter in a season that included a district championship and the program’s first two regional victories. It was marred by a controversial Elite Eight loss at Orlando-Edgewater, a 6-5 defeat in a game shortened by rain.

“It’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Diven said of Brosher getting drafted. “It was an absolute storybook year for Springstead High School, even with the way it ended. It’s a season nobody will forget.

“Brandon, I think, will wind up in the pros someday. Brandon Brosher is a special guy and I will miss him next year dearly and sorely.”

Hernando’s Brandon Lawson, who went 11-0 with a 0.27 ERA as a senior this past season after signing with USF, did not end up getting picked, though he said in an email to Hernando Today that the opportunity presented itself.

“I got the call (Saturday) from the New York Mets in the 17th round asking if I would accept their offer to become their draft pick,” Lawson said, “but I declined the offer and I am going to college.”

(352) 544-5288

By the numbers: All-time Hernando County Draft Picks (June Amateur Draft)

Year Name School Team Round (Overall)

1976 Charles Farmer Hernando Detroit 9 (194)

1984 Mike Walker Hernando Montreal 14 (353)

1986 Eddie Looper* Hernando St. Louis 21 (546)

1986 Steve Livesey Springstead New York (AL) 29 (725)

1988 Tyrone Woods Hernando Montreal 5 (128)

1988 J.D. Noland* Springstead San Diego 13 (318)

1989 Avery Duval Hernando Texas 54 (1,334)

1991 Steve Livesey* Springstead New York (AL) 35 (907)

1993 Brent Stentz Hernando San Diego 45 (1,258)

1993 Landon Hessler Hernando Houston 23 (644)

1994 Landon Hessler* Hernando Minnesota 43 (1,184)

1994 Brent Stentz* Hernando Detroit 33 (921)

1995 Bronson Arroyo Hernando Pittsburgh 3 (69)

1998 Bert Snow* Hernando Oakland 10 (285)

2005 Dee Brown* Hernando Washington 10 (294)

2005 Patrick Ryan* Central Milwaukee 19 (565)

2011 Brett Maggard Hernando Philadelphia 38 (1,171)

2013 Christian Arroyo Hernando San Francisco 1 (25)

2013 Mike Adams* Nature Coast Boston 7 (203)

2013 Brandon Brosher Springstead New York (NL) 36 (1,076)

* Drafted out of college

Beryl gives Hernando much-needed soak

The beads of rain from Tropical Storm Beryl kept coming Monday and Tuesday, but emergency calls were at a minimum across Hernando County.

And while Memorial Day weekend was cut short for some people, there was optimism the rainfall would provide some long-awaited drought relief.

“Basically, we’re seeing some improvement from this,” said Paul Close, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Ruskin. “The whole event has brought in a lot of rain.”

A flood warning remained in effect until late Tuesday afternoon as the last band of rain clouds – expected to bring another 2 to 3 inches – cascaded over the southern portion of the Nature Coast.

Some areas of northern Hernando got as much as 6 to 8 inches of rain, Close said.

About 3,000 customers with Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative were without power early Tuesday.

Another 250 customers with Progress Energy lost power during the second wave of rain that same afternoon. Most of the Progress Energy homes without power Tuesday were along the U.S. 98 corridor near Lake Lindsey, said company spokeswoman Suzanne Grant.

“We knew the possibility of this happening with all of the rain in the forecast,” she said. “We had extra crews standing by ready to respond.”

The low-lying areas of the county – from Ridge Manor to Pine Island – had some standing water.

Pine Island Drive was flooded Tuesday morning, but that was “not unexpected,” said Cecilia Patella, director of Hernando County Emergency Management.

At least one vessel – a 14-foot airboat along a Pine Island canal – was submerged by the rising waters. No injuries were reported.

Some typical low-lying areas, particularly along the east side of the county near the Withlacoochee River, did not flood because of the existing draught conditions.

“The river has been so dry there was plenty of room for rain,” Patella said.

Some trees fell over during the overnight storms, but everything was cleared by Tuesday morning.

“There was a little bit of street flooding, but no big complaints were called in,” said Lt. Michael Burzumato, a spokesman for the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office.

Beryl, which was downgraded to a tropical depression as of Tuesday, dumped large amounts of rain across northern Florida and southern Georgia. Some areas, including Jacksonville, received up to 10 inches of rain, according to weather reports.

Photograph Fred Bellet contributed to this report. (352) 544-5283

IB Programs and the Marxist revolution

I was thoroughly intrigued by the piece by Domenick J. Maglio, traditional realist and conservative revisionist, about the indoctrinating Marxist doctrines set forth by the International Baccalaureate (IB) Program.

Reading Mr. Maglio’s analysis brought forth the image of a modern day Paul Revere, pocket Constitution in hand, shouting “the Marxists are coming, the Marxists are coming,” all while driving a non-Hybrid SUV, blasting a John Philip Sousa march and sporting a plethora of anti-Obama and “Take America Back!” bumper stickers that resemble more of a right-winged Picasso than a rear window.

Mr. Maglio’s ignorant rhetoric is reminiscent of Father Charles Coughlin, the anti-Semitic Catholic Priest, who drew upon American emotions and fears to draw opposition to New Deal programs during the Great Depression.

Fear is a powerful vehicle to further ignorance and intolerance, as Maglio’s article clearly reflects. As concerned students, parents and stakeholders in this community, I am sure you are asking the obvious. Does the IB Program truly advance a leftist agenda? As an IB teacher in the greater Tampa area, I would like to provide some insight.

I woke up this morning and felt absolutely no need to recite passages from the Communist Manifesto to acquire inspiration for the day. Nor did I feel compelled to throw darts at a life-size Joe “the plumber” poster. I certainly did not entertain the idea of attending my community HOA meeting and suggest plotting a coup of the HOA president or organize my gated community into communes.

When I review my lesson plans, they do not include any learning objectives that focus on the principles of income redistribution, advocating the merits of anarchy or evening trampling on the U.S. Constitution.

However, according to Mr. Maglio, all IB students are “indoctrinated” to learn a history from a Marxist perspective and are “being propagandized to despise their own country.” I do have a few questions for Mr. Maglio. Did he ask any students of their IB experience? Has Mr. Maglio attended IB training to verify his suspicion of Marxist driven goals? Where on the IB website does it advocate “One-World Government Rule?” What data has he uncovered to support his views?

The IB program encourages students to become well-rounded learners. Over the course of a two-year curriculum, they acquire skills, strategies, maturity, drive and initiative — American qualities. Their success in the program hinges upon their individual ability to succeed, much like the framework of a free-market system.

Nothing is given to them and yet everything is expected. They are academic entrepreneurs seeking to blaze their own path through life. They exit the program as life-long learners with a greater understanding of the “course of human events” and in possession of certain qualities that makes them not left or right but future contributors to our American society.

In closing, the only ideological conspiracy present in the IB program is the right-wing fear mongering orchestrated by Domenick Maglio as presented in his editorial “contribution.”

Thankfully, the same Constitution and republican form of government that Mr. Maglio claims to be trampled by the IB Program protects us from the unbridled passions of individuals such as himself.

Thank you, Mr. Maglio, for presenting a forum to discuss such a “heated” and “conspiratorial” topic. Free thinkers of the world, Unite!

Clifford L. Wagner

IB coordinator,

Springstead High School

‘Rachel’s Law’ provides uniform standards for police informants

Larry was in trouble.

Soon after leaving a drug dealer’s house, deputies pulled him over for a traffic violation.

They found cocaine.

But instead of going straight to jail, Larry was brought to the sheriff’s office. A detective offered him a deal: Work for us and we’ll give you a break.

Faced with three felonies, Larry agreed. He called the dealer, Brock Shade, again. A rendezvous was set up. Around 9 p.m., Larry met up with the detectives in a church parking lot, not far from Shade’s house in Da Mac Estates, north of Brooksville.

Larry was patted down to make sure he was drug-free. His car was also thoroughly searched for contraband. Satisfied, detectives wired Larry with a receiver about the size of a cigarette box. He was given $30.

At Shade’s house, the cash was exchanged for powder cocaine. Larry returned to the church and the drug was turned over to detectives. His work was done.

Larry’s name is fictional. His role in dismantling one of the largest drug rings in the county’s history is not.

As a confidential informant, Larry was one of a handful of people detectives used to gather intelligence and buy drugs during a months-long investigation in 2007. Shade was determined to be a top lieutenant in the ring that had ties to Polk County cop-killer Angilo Freeland.

Both Brooksville police and the sheriff’s office use people like Larry on a regular basis to assist in their investigations. Both agencies have protocol and procedure for their use, but up until recently there was no statewide standard.

“Rachel’s Law,” which goes into effect today, changes that. It’s named after Rachel Hoffman, 23, a confidential informant who was shot to death during a police-authorized drug buy in 2008.

The law requires police to inform a potential informant they do not have the authority to change the outcome of pending charges. Only judges and prosecutors can do that. Candidates also have the right to consult an attorney before agreeing to a deal.

Police also have to weigh the candidate’s background, including their maturity level and their history with substance abuse.

Neither of Hernando County’s agencies could foresee major changes to their existing policies. Both embraced the push for increased security.

“We’ve always had that high on our priority list,” said Police Chief George Turner.

At the sheriff’s office, confidential informants are assigned numbers for report purposes and their true identities are kept in a locked file cabinet.

When it comes to screening potential informants, Capt. James Walker at the sheriff’s office said there is “quite a review process.”

“We look at the totality of circumstances,” he said.

Candidates also have to sign a waiver, acknowledging that they don’t work for the sheriff’s office and that they cannot engage in any illegal activity while on the job.

They also cannot coerce or threaten anyone to commit crimes they are not already doing or capable of doing.

As Turner points out, confidential informants are not altruistic citizens trying to do a good deed. They’re usually in it to work off serious criminal charges.

But, Turner said, “information is power. And in this business, we need all the information we can get.”

Reporter Kyle Martin can be reached at 352-544-5271 or

Panhandling A Common Sight

Heather Hasenstaub feels sharp pain each day.
She cannot walk without a cane. She recently suffered burn injuries on her right arm and leg. Three of her top teeth were broken during a fall. She was trying to escape a burning house.
Doctors advised her not to be on her feet for more than 15 minutes at a time.
She stands on street corners for up to five hours straight. Her house was gutted due to the fire, and she is not receiving any government aid in spite of her physical difficulties, she said.
It is either beg for money or go hungry.
The physical pain is one thing. Her self-esteem hurts more.
“This is humiliating,” Hasenstaub said as she stared blankly toward Shady Hills Road. “When I was better off, I used to see people with these signs and automatically assume they were hustling.”
Solicitation along medians, streets and highways is illegal in Hernando County. The statute is meant to “prevent dangers to persons and property, to prevent delays and to avoid interference with the traffic flow,” the law states.
Cities across the country are looking to crack down on panhandling, including High Point, N.C., Spokane, Wash., and Des Moines, Iowa.
Sheriff’s deputies have told Hasenstaub, 33, and her family to move elsewhere. They stand on the Pasco County side of the road and have been seen there for several weeks.
Most motorists stop at the traffic light and anxiously look ahead. They pretend they don’t see Hasenstaub, or her fiancée and 17-year-old daughter.
Some give cash and coins, but it seems most people who acknowledge them are not feeling as charitable.
Hasenstaub and her daughter, Tiffany Heitz, 17, will see obscene gestures or hear screams and swearing.
“I’ve seen people I’ve known before and they’re laughing at me,” said Heitz. “It’s an eye-opener. You have no idea how hard it is.”
Her body aches every day. She is often joined by her boyfriend. They will either stay at a friend’s house or sleep in a two-door Chevrolet Monte Carlo along with her mother and fiancé. It is difficult for four people to sleep in a small-sized sedan, she said.
Hasenstaub said their home was damaged by fire several months ago, but she couldn’t recall the exact date. Neither could her fiancé. But that’s not how they lost their home.
The concrete walls were salvaged, they said, but the floor, ceiling and interior required a lot of repair. They didn’t have insurance, so they tried to live in their scorched home amidst the smell of burned wood and ashes.
The house, which is located in Gulf Highlands in Port Richey, eventually was foreclosed.
Whenever Hasenstaub and her daughter see a school bus heading toward them along County Line Road, they will turn around and hide in the bushes, she said.
The high school students are the worst hecklers.
One day, Hasenstaub was struck in the forehead by a quarter. The person who threw it yelled, “Get a job!”
“My feelings were hurt more than anything,” she said.
Less than five miles away from where Hasenstaub and her family stood Wednesday morning was another panhandler.
Jim Hughes, 52, was at the corner of Barclay Avenue and Spring Hill Drive. He was looking for money and a ride to Port Charlotte. But first, he wanted to get a drink and find someone willing to drive him to U.S. 41.
He has a post office box in Port Charlotte, he said. He also likes the food served by the homeless shelter there, not to mention the showering facilities he can use along the way in Sarasota.
It was mid-morning and he already smelled of alcohol. The money he collected that day – about $12 – was going to be spent on booze at the nearby 7-Eleven. He admitted it.
“I want to find work,” he said when asked what he ultimately wants. “I want to get off the street.”
He pulled a cigarette from a pack of Pall Malls he was given earlier that day.
Hughes wore a red and white baseball cap, blue jeans, black tennis shoes, a blue T-shirt and a leather jacket. The clothes looked relatively new.
The rest of him looked ragged. He had not showered in more than two weeks and he had dirt under his fingernails. His brown and gray beard extended to his breast bone.
Hughes spent the previous night in jail. He was arrested in Spring Hill for public drunkenness, he said.
“The nurse told me I stunk,” he said. “I told her, ‘You walk 25 or 35 miles a day for two weeks and see if you stink.'”
Hughes was standing on the median across from Advanced Auto Parts. He crossed the street and sat down on the curb along the parking lot.
He clutched a sign that read, “On the road. I need help. God bless you.” It also contained a peace sign.
At that moment, Mary Beers, of Spring Hill, pulled over in her Chevrolet sport utility vehicle and gave Hughes a $5 bill.
He kissed her hand twice.
“Get something to eat and buy a lottery ticket – a scratch off or something,” Beers told him. “You might get lucky.”
“I just got lucky,” he said.
Another woman pulled up a minute later and gave him two more dollars. She wished him a Merry Christmas.
Hughes said he used to be a machine operator for a furniture chain while he lived in North Carolina.
During the last 10 years, he has been living in various places across the country – mostly in the South. He lives off what people give him. He spends most of it on liquor and beer, he said.
“I don’t have any choice,” when asked why he solicits along street corners. “I have no money.”

Reporter Tony Holt can be reached at 352-544-5283 or