Old West Show Coming To Town April 26


Wanted! From the 1880s’ Old West, another mystery dinner show fundraiser on Sunday, April 26, at 5 p.m. “Bordello of The Damned.” This is not just another night at the Masaryktown Saloon and Bordello; it will be more deadly than usual. Cost is $15 per person, which includes dinner and dessert. There will be a cash bar and a costume contest. There is limited seating, and tickets are going fast. For an early roundup of tickets and more information and tickets, call Becky at 352-397-3758.

Big thank yous from the community on the recent polka dance, which was a success. And from Holy Trinity Lutheran Church on their very successful spaghetti dinner dance at VFW Post 8681. The proceeds went to the food pantry. Whatever food that is not donated has to be bought, and currently they are feeding 60 to 80 folks weekly. So if you can help, please do so.

Sunday, at our big Masaryktown birthday celebration dinner and dance at the Community Hall on Lincoln Avenue, added to the program besides, “The Beseda,” back from New York, Steve Aldridge and Malia Ondrejka will entertain you. Serving starts at 11:30 a.m. and if you just want to dance, the cost is $6.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, at the Harmony House Family Restaurant. The restaurant will be open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. They will serve corned beef and cabbage. Located on U.S. 41 south next to the Handy Plaza. Their head baker and chef, Pete, has created a new raspberry torte. This makes No. 8 in the torte line of flavors, besides the strudels and napoleons. For more information, call 848-0828.

Autumn Blaha came home from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, for a short day visit end of February visiting family and close friends. Then off to Pensacola with Mom Dee Blaha and Grandmother Jean Lane of Brooksville (who went so they could have more time with Autumn.) Autumn was an attendant at her college friend’s wedding. Then back off to the islands. She and her boyfriend Nick Terry of Milwaukee, Wis. are planning to leave St. Croix in May and continue to travel and dive (work) in the waters of Belize. Dee and Mike are filing for passports. What else would parents do?

The Blahas have also practiced natural and chemical hormone and antibiotic free meats, and vegetables, and even natural pet food and bones. They have now added a CSA (customer supported agriculture) program.

They will now year round add to the value of meats, eggs to a typical veggie plan only. You can check out their Web site at www.rabbitsetc.us for current information on rabbits, etc., at the Blaha Farm.

They also have composted worm manure for your own soil. You are welcome to a tour of their farm in the middle of Masaryktown, but please call 352-796-0459, as they work the farm and cannot stop at any time. Call and they will be delighted to make arrangements for a tour.

On Feb. 29, Helen Havens, her daughter Helen Parsolano and daughters/granddaughters Stephanie and Rebecca Parsolano attended a baby shower in St. Petersburg at the home of Mrs. Kathleen Norsteins, overlooking the bay. The shower was for Helen’s great-grandson, Logan Maximus Chintoyloy. He was born on Jan. 29 and weighed 6 pounds 3 ounces. Proud parents are Roger and Kathleen Chintoyloy of Orlando.

More than 30 guests enjoyed a spectacular array of finger foods. All had a very delightful time.

Sympathies, get wells & birthdays

Sympathies to the Evans family. Mark, Becky and daughter Chelsea and Alison were in Danville, Va. for several weeks last month. They attended the funeral of 89-year-old father of Becky, George Savage, who passed on Feb. 16.

Get well wishes to our town secretary Linda Lovelady who is home convalescing. We wish you a speedy recovery.

Happy birthdays: Jenna Forte, Cathy Bond, Adeline Meyhoff, March 15; Helen Havens, Andrea Holmes, March 16; Linda Alexsuk, Samantha Coney, March 17; Larry Farrow, Philip Undestad, Don Wilcox, Kody Stampler, Myrtle Hentachel, March 18; James Carter, Marion Schlott, Joseph Gottsman, Jim Loughen, March 19; Goldie Johnson, March 20; Kendell Hebert, Jane Turner, March 21.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, y’all.

S Bohom

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (97% score)

Bright House Raises Cable Rates

Brooksville –
County commissioners don’t like it and they are even drafting a letter saying so.

But there’s nothing they can really do about it.

Bright House, the county’s only major local cable company, is raising cable rates again.

Starting with the March bills, customers will see their bills go up $3 a month, from $49.49 to $52.49. That includes both the basic service and cable programming service tiers.

Digital cable customers will see the same $3 change per month.

Additionally, the price for individual premium services will increase $1 per month. Premium packages with two or more premium services will increase up to a maximum of $2 per month.

At the request of Commissioner Jim Adkins, commissioners agreed to fire off a letter to Bright House informing them they are not pleased with this latest increase.

Commissioner Jeff Stabins said constituents are concerned and want to know if there will be competing cable companies coming into Hernando County.

Community Relations Coordinator Brenda Frazier said she has sent letters out to other companies but so far, no response.

Adkins asked whether Bright House has to justify these increases to the Federal Communications Commission.

County Attorney Garth Coller reminded the board that the company is allowed to hike the rates as long as there is “effective competition” in the county. That competition does exist in the form of the satellite dish systems available to customers, he said.

Gary Cassard, vice president and general manager of Bright House, wrote in a letter that the increases are necessary because of “technological advancements” in the telecommunications industry and the addition of several high-definition channels.

Commissioner David Russell instructed Frazier to draft the letter to company officials, telling them to “knock it off.”

Reporter Michael D. Bates can be reached at 352-544-5290 or mbates@hernandotoday.com.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)

Mom of Hernando Captain Killed In Crash Speaks Of Her Loss

Maureen Bierwiler’s son Frank came to her home tell her the news.

One of her children, he told her, was killed while driving to work that day. Hernando County Sheriff’s Capt. Scott Bierwiler was 42 when he died during Thursday’s head-on crash with a teenager in Brooksville.

“I said, ‘It just can’t be. It can’t be,’ ” Maureen Bierwiler said after hearing the news of her son’s death. “And we still can’t believe it. But we know he is … We’re all going to make it because we have great faith and great friends and wonderful family.”

Maureen Bierwiler spoke Friday night to News Channel 8.

She said Scott Bierwiler had wanted to be a policeman since he was 3. The family called him “our quiet strength” because he was humble but strong. He was competent, loving and compassionate, she said.

The father of three – two daughters and a son – had supervised the operations bureau, which includes patrol, aviation and canine units, since January 2008.

“And we can’t understand this, but we can accept it as God’s will,” she said of his death. “We know it’s going to be such an extreme void for our family, but it’s also going to be such a tremendous loss for the sheriff’s department.”

Visitations and a funeral Mass for Bierwiler have been scheduled for next week and will be open to the public.

The teenager involved in the crash has been downgraded to critical condition, troopers said. Andrew Frank Morris, 16, of Weeki Wachee, drove a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero head-on into Bierwiler’s unmarked 1999 Ford Crown Victoria cruiser on Powell Road about 5:45 a.m. Thursday, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Morris, a student at Nature Coast Technical High School, was airlifted to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa after the crash. On Thursday, Morris was listed in serious but stable condition, but on Friday was listed in critical condition, said Sgt. Steve Gaskins, a highway patrol spokesman.

Several aspects of the crash remain under investigation, said Gaskins, noting that the full review will take about 90 days.

Visitations for Bierwiler will be Monday and Tuesday between 2 and 4 p.m. and 6 and 8 p.m. at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, 1107 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. The funeral Mass will be at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the church. The burial will take place after the Mass.

Bierwiler is survived by his wife, Angie, daughters Kayla, 18, and Kiley, 16, and son, Scottie, 9.

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (97% score)

Hernando Sheriff’s Captain Killed In Brooksville Car Crash

A veteran law enforcement captain died in a head-on collision this morning with a 16-year-old driver who wrote an open letter online cautioning others to be careful when driving.

Hernando County sheriff’s Capt. Scott Bierwiler, 42, died about 5:45 a.m., when a 2002 Mitsubishi Montero smashed head-on into his 1999 Ford Crown Victoria on Powell Road.

The father of two daughters and a son, Bierwiler had been driving to work and was in the habit of arriving early. He has supervised the Operations Bureau, which includes patrol, aviation and canine units, since January 2008.

Hernando Sheriff Rich Nugent fought back tears today as he described speaking with Bierwiler’s mother and family to offer condolences. He called the captain a “consummate professional.”

“This is not how you expect for this to happen,” Nugent said. “It’s a loss for the community, for the agency and for his family.”

The Florida Highway Patrol said Andrew Frank Morris of Weeki Wachee was driving the Mitsubishi, which crossed from the westbound lanes into eastbound traffic.

Morris, a student at nearby Nature Coast High School, was transported to St. Joseph’s Hospital in Tampa. Troopers said he is in serious but stable condition.

The highway patrol said Morris’ mother owns the Mitsubishi; investigators were sorting out whether he had permission to use it.

Routine tests are being conducted to determine whether Morris was under the influence of alcohol.

According to his profile on the online social network MySpace, Morris is an only child who has competed on the school’s wrestling and cross-country teams.

In November, he posted an open letter on the page in reference to 10 people he knew who had had died.

“Listen up, this year has been a very hard year for ALOT of people. The reasons why? Well, everyone is getting into car accidents, drugs are killing them, or suicides,” he wrote.

He urged readers to be kind to each other: “[M]ake the world a better place so when it’s your time to go people will be like, ‘Hey he/she did a great thing for me the other day.'”

Morris also wrote for his friends to be careful when driving: “[W]hen you get in your car to drive somewhere, or to drive someone else somewhere, be aware of your surroundings. Do not have the music too loud, or be messing with your cell phone or iPod. Please, this is important to say that hundreds of people die a year from car crashes. Do not get into a car with someone who has been drinking. Listen, please be careful out there and before someone you love gets severely injured or killed in a car crash or suicide.”

Morris’ neighbor, Linda Peterson, said the teenager was helpful and would do small jobs such as feeding their cat and yard work.

“He’s a good kid,” she said.

Morris was not wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash, but the captain was, troopers said.

Gerald Kline, whose backyard abuts Powell Road and California Street, said he called 911 after hearing the crash. He said arriving deputies were devastated to find one of their supervisors was involved.

“They were all tore up,” he said.

Deputy Steve Klapka, president of the local Fraternal Order of Police chapter, remembered his longtime friend as a “gentleman’s gentleman.”

It was Bierwiler who influenced Klapka to move from the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office in 1987 to a budding town called Spring Hill. After a few hours riding patrol with Bierwiler – who was just fresh out of training – Klapka was impressed with his positive attitude.

“I’ve been proud to know him from that day forward,” a tearful Klapka said.

Bierwiler was well-liked as a supervisor because he never forgot his roots in patrol. From his rise from sergeant, to lieutenant to captain, “he treated everyone the same,” Klapka said.

Bierwiler’s reputation extended beyond Hernando County’s borders. Today, Klapka was fielding calls from police union chapters across Central Florida expressing their condolences.

Bierwiler spent the weekend at the Daytona 500 with his 9-year-son, Scottie, Nugent said. Survivors also include his wife, Angie, and daughters Kayla, 18, and Kiley, 16.

A native of Cold Spring, N.Y., Bierwiler joined the sheriff’s office as a deputy in 1986. He was one of a select few law enforcement officers across the country to graduate last year from a three-month class at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va., sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. Jim Powers said.

He received several awards during his career, including one for helping track down a man who shot and killed a New Jersey police officer in 2003.

Many at the sheriff’s office felt close to Bierwiler because the new Emergency Operations Center is named for his father, Sgt. Frank Bierwiler, a former public information officer for the agency.

“We’ve been a family for a long time,” Nugent said. Now Bierwiler “is at rest and is in the arms of his father in heaven.”

1 vote, 5.00 avg. rating (97% score)

AARP Tax-Aide Assistance Available

Tax-Aide, the AARP income tax assistance and tax preparation program, began on Monday, Feb. 2, in Hernando County.
AARP Tax-Aide volunteers, trained in cooperation with the IRS, will offer free tax preparation assistance to low- and middle-income taxpayers at various sites throughout the county. Special attention will be given to those 60 years of age and older, and both AARP members and non-members are welcome. Free electronic filing (e-file) will be available at all sites.
To participate, taxpayers must bring photo ID and Social Security card (including Social Security cards for all dependents), a copy of last year’s tax return, all applicable tax records for 2008 showing income, deductions and credits, evidence of paid real estate tax bills, amount of 2007 Economic Stimulus Payment, and a canceled check with bank routing and account numbers for direct deposit of any refund.
The service will be offered from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday, Feb. 2 through Wednesday, April 15, at the below-listed sites. Appointments are not required, so it is not necessary to call the individual locations. For more information, call toll-free at 1-888-227-7669 or visit www.aarp.org/taxaide

Mondays: Holy Cross Lutheran Church, 6193 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill; Grace World Outreach Church (dome church), 20366 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.

Tuesdays: First United Methodist Church, 9344 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

Wednesdays: High Point Community, P.O. Club, 12249 Clubhouse Road, Brooksville.

Thursdays: First United Methodist Church, 9344 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill; and Spring Hill Enrichment Center (behind Oak Hill Hospital), 11375 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.

Fridays: Brookridge Clubhouse, 8150 Hampton St., Brooksville.

Mid Florida Services
Offering Tax Preparation

Mid Florida Community Services will offer free tax preparation from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays at its office located at 820 Kennedy Blvd., Brooksville. The service will be available for taxpayers with income under $50,000 and will be provided by certified volunteers through the VITA program.
To participate, taxpayers must bring Social Security or Individual Taxpayer Identification cards for self, spouse, and dependents; a photo proof of identification for self and spouse; current year’s tax package, label and all of the income forms (W-2 and 1099s); information for all deductions/credits; a copy of last year’s tax return; and proof of account for direct deposit of refund (e.g. voided check).
Please note that Community Services’ office will be closed on Monday, Feb. 16. For more information, call Mid Florida Community Services at 352-796-8117.

1 vote, 2.00 avg. rating (67% score)

Burn Ban In Effect For County

Drought-like conditions prompted county commissioners Wednesday to issue a burn ban.

After weeks of little or no rain, the grass and foliage is like a tinderbox in Hernando County.

According to County Fire Chief Michael Nickerson, Hernando County on Wednesday posted a 611 on the Keetch-Byram dryness index. The index goes as high as 800, which signifies desert conditions.

“We are fast approaching the desert level,” Nickerson said.

Nickerson said his department’s response to brush fires is up 100 percent since the first of the year. In all, firefighters have responded to 36 brush fires, 12 since Monday.

More than 180 acres have burned in the county since Jan. 1, he said.

Once the rains return in earnest and dry conditions are alleviated, Nickerson said he will recommend rescinding the ban.

There is no rain in the forecast until Saturday. Florida’s rainy season typically is from June through September.

Also at Wednesday’s Land Use Hearing, county commissioners:

•Voted 5-0 to approve spending $130,000 to purchase a single-family home and adjoining lot located on the southeast corner of the old Department of Public Works compound in Brooksville.

The property owners, Essie Mae Holmes and Sandra Holmes, have agreed to release the county from any future personal injury claims arising from the old DPW site, which was found to be contaminated.

• Postponed action on setting a date and location for a Hernando Progress economic workshop.

Reporter Michael D. Bates can be reached at 352-544-5290 or mbates@hernandotoday.com.

0 votes, 0.00 avg. rating (0% score)


Start Smart baseball program begins March 3

BROOKSVILLE – The Start Smart Sports Development Program will be offered for eight weeks on Tuesdays from 5:45-6:45 p.m. beginning March 3 at the Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Pl., Brooksville.
The program brings parents and children (ages 3-5) together to work on pre-sport skills such as catching, throwing and batting in a fun, non-competitive environment. This eight-lesson program that costs $50 includes a program T-Shirt.
Start Smart curriculum teaches parents how to best work with their children to develop motor skills that will give both parent and child a positive and successful start in sports.
To register, the Jerome Brown Community Center at (352) 540-3835.

HHS cheerleaders excel during Super Bowl competition

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando High School varsity cheerleaders participated in the Super Bowl cheerleading and spirit competition on Jan. 24 in Tampa.
The competition was held at the NFL Experience at Raymond James Stadium, and featured cheer and dance teams from across Florida.
Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson was in attendance, along with Buccaneers cheerleaders and players.
The Leopard cheerleaders took home the second-place trophy in the High School Jazz division.
Members of the team included: Melinda Blount, Crystale Torres, Scotti Browning, Allison Donato, Kim Chipelo, LeAnn Shafer, Alyson Buggle, Cassie Rollins, Alex Hayden, Ashley Spradlin, Carly Moore, and Rachael Minjarez.
The team is coached by Tanya Goodwin and Debra Parnell.

Fit N Fun “4” Kids exercise program

BROOKSVILLE – Fit N Fun “4” Kids is a new one-hour exercise program offered by the City of Brooksville Recreation Department that allows children the opportunity to play video games powered by GameBikes, which are stationery bikes that are used to play the games.
The program is offered to children, ages 7-14, from 4:30-5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays at the Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Place, Brooksville.
The program is free to youth who are more than 85 percent of the recommended Body Mass Index (BMI).
For additional information, contact JoAnn Munford at 352-540-3835.

Challenger K-8’s Berube fifth Killearn CC

TALLAHASSEE – Orlando’s Joey Petronio and Annie Park of Lake Mary were victorious in this weekend’s 13-15 year-old divisions at the Florida Junior Golf Tour’s (FJT) event at Killearn Country Club and Inn in Leon County.
Petronio was in a four-way tie for first after a one-over par 73 in round one on the 6,702-yard course. After firing a two-under par 70 in the second round, he won his first FJT title by three strokes.
James Yoon, of Bradenton, took home second place honors after shooting 74-72-146 total. Ryan Orr, of Belleair, was third behind a 74-74–147.
Brooksville’s Zack Teele tied for 35th overall behind an 18-hole 84-86-170 total.
Park, playing in her first FJT event, shot a two-under par 70 in the first round, the only under par score for the day. Returning with a 73 in the second round, she captured her initial FJT title by seven strokes.
Three players tied for second place. Sisters Anna and AJ Newell of Tampa, shooting rounds of 78-72 and 73-77 respectively, tied with Samantha Wagner, of Celebration, who shot 72-78, for a 150 total.
Challenger K-8 eighth-grader Megan Berube finished fifth behind a 12-over-par, 81-75-156 total.
Conducted by the Florida State Golf Association, the Florida Junior Tour (FJT) is a junior golf tour offering highly competitive and affordable competitions for juniors in Florida.
The 2008-2009 season consists of 23 events for juniors, male and female, ages 13-18. Beginning September and running through May, the FJT schedule will play at some of the state’s top courses including LPGA International Golf Club and Sara Bay Country Club. This year will also feature 54-hole events over the Thanksgiving and Memorial Day weekends. The FJT’s focus is on quality, affordability and integrity. Tournaments consist of 36 holes conducted over 2 days, typically weekends, with an entry fee of $95. Scholarship entry is available to junior golfers unable to afford the entry fee.
Working closely with the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA), FJT top competitors will receive exemptions and performance points towards AJGA events. The FJT is the only Florida tour to participate in the AJGA’s Performance Based Process. In addition, FJT events will be ranked by the Junior Golf Scoreboard, which helps junior golfers market themselves without having to travel the country. The FJT will maintain a points list to assist in determining Junior Player-of-the-Year and invitations to other tournaments.
To view complete pairings, tee times, and results, please see www.floridajuniortour.org.

Florida Junior Tour – Killearn CC (13-15)
02/07/2009 – 02/08/2009
Killearn Country Club, Tallahassee, FL

Boys 13-15 Par: 72 Yardage: 6,702
Joey Petronio, Orlando, FL 73-70–143
James Yoon, Bradenton, FL 74-72–146
Ryan Orr, Belleair, FL 73-74–147
Ian Facey, Miami, FL 73-77–150
Jeffrey Meltzer, Guanajuato, Mexico 76-74–150
Jason Zhou, Skillman, NJ 74-77–151
Jesse Perkins, North Babylon, NY 76-75–151
Wade Chen, Orlando, FL 74-77–151
Trey Rule, Palm Beach, FL 78-74–152
Davis Riley, Hattiesburg, MS 75-78–153
Jared Carver, Weston, FL 79-74–153
Joshua Lee, Orange Park, FL 73-80–153
Reed Berry, Longwood, FL 75-78–153
David Varga, Saint Augustine, FL 77-77–154
Jack Hernandez, Fort Myers, FL 81-74–155
Conor Richardson, West Palm Beach, FL 75-82–157
Nick Celestino, Sarasota, FL 80-77–157
Alex Perkins, Jacksonville, FL 76-82–158
Andrew Wong, Deerfield Beach, FL 81-77–158
Dylan Larson, Wesley Chapel, FL 80-78–158
Mark Giardino, Homosassa, FL 78-80–158
Matthew Plunkett, Saint Augustine, FL 81-77–158
Otto Mand, Caerwent, United Kingdom 81-77–158
Domenico Geminiani, Bradenton, FL 82-77–159
Corey Carlson, Green Cove Springs, FL 79-81–160
Michael Visacki, Sarasota, FL 79-81–160
Tyler Gentilella, Parkland, FL 84-76–160
Gabriel Ormachea, Aventura, FL 79-82–161
Evan Byrd, Ocala, FL 78-86–164
Richard Zhang, Bradenton, FL 82-82–164
Anthony King, Deland, FL 78-87–165
Marcus Plunkett, Saint Augustine, FL 82-83–165
Taylor Yohner, Tallahassee, FL 85-82–167
C J Wagner, Celebration, FL 84-84–168
Kevin Liu, Bradenton, FL 90-80–170
Zack Teele, Brooksville, FL 84-86–170
Dillon Deemer, Tavares, FL 85-87–172
Halley Lewis, Tallahassee, FL 86-86–172
Joseph Aguirre, Navarre, FL 87-89–176
Dillon Board, Jacksonville, FL 94-84–178
Brecken Whitfield, Gainesville, FL 87-92–179
Oliver Fisher, Rye Brook, NY 97-94–191
Tildon Spikes, Panama City, Florida 100-102–202
Samuel Murphy, Fort Myers, FL 99-WD–WD

Girls 13-15 Par: 72 Yardage: 5,896
Annie Park, Lake Mary, FL 70-73–143
A J Newell, Tampa, FL 73-77–150
Anna Newell, Tampa, FL 78-72–150
Samantha Wagner, Celebration, FL 72-78–150
Megan Berube, Spring Hill, FL 81-75–156
Ashley Holder, Orlando, FL 81-76–157
Stephanie Liu, Bradenton, FL 80-77–157
Lauren Gros, Gainesville, FL 78-81–159
Madison Opfer, Plant City, FL 83-80–163
Stefanie Mitchell, Sarasota, FL 85-80–165
Julia McQuilken, Riverview, FL 86-81–167
Epiphany Prophet, Hialeah, FL 83-85–168
Angela Gaines, Ocala, FL 89-90–179
Haley Hill, Tallahassee, FL 102-97–199

Adult Baseball League seeking players

SPRING HILL – The Pasco-Hernando Area Senior Baseball League (PHASBL) is offering a 15-game summer season beginning March 29.
The adult league expects to field six teams of players, age 16 and over.
Games will be played primarily on Sundays, with the possibility of some weeknight games later in the season.
Games will be played on various high school and park fields throughout western Pasco County as well as the Spring Hill/Brooksville area in Hernando County.
The league is continuing to hold registration.
To register or to get more information, contact Dave Conrad at 683-1692 before March 1.

HYL sets softball, T-Ball sign-ups

BROOKSVILLE – Hernando Youth League (HYL) will hold softball and T-Ball evaluations for ages 4-12, from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14.
Cost is $40 dollars for ages, 4-12, and $45 dollars for ages, 13-18.
For additional information, contact Tracy Sinwelski at 544-1021 or Kathy Hayden at 754-9573.

U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary boating courses

HERNANDO BEACH – The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be offering safe boating courses over the coming weeks at the Auxiliary Building at 4340 Caliente St., Hernando Beach.
How to Read a Nautical Chart runs from 9 a.m. until noon on Feb. 14. Fee is $35 and includes excellent text on charts. Subjects include types of charts, capabilities and limitations of charts, interpretation of symbols and how to select a chart for your use.
Hernando Beach Coastal Navigation runs from 9 a.m. until noon on Feb. 21. Fee is $15. Learn how to navigate the area through the use of charts, instruments used in plotting courses and a compass. Practical exercises on development of routes on the coast of Hernando Beach will be conducted.
For more information, contact Cathy at 754-1104 to reserve a seat for any of the above courses or visit the Web site at http:/a0701508.uscgaux.info/.

Spartans seek players

SPRING HILL – The Spring Hill Spartans, a competitive Under 11 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel ball baseball team, is seeking additional players. Players cannot turn 12 before May 1, 2009.
Practices will be held at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex in Spring Hill and Kennedy Park in Brooksville.
For more information, contact Jeff Hamilton at 346-1802, Gary Myers at 650-9070, or Angelo Sparacia at 428-9032 or online at asparacia@tampabay.rr.com.

AAU Bombers 13-U seeking players

BROOKSVILLE – The Bombers Baseball Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) travel ball team is seeking players 13-and-under.
For a tryout, contact Shawn Laferty at 813-267-8530 or online at claferty5@yahoo.com.

Free vessel check

HERNANDO BEACH – The U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary is offering free vessel safety checks.
The auxiliary will come to your boat wherever you keep it.
Contact Jackie at 666-7239 to set up an appointment.
For more information on the auxiliary visit online at http:/a0701508.uscgaux.info.

West Florida Panthers baseball tryouts

SPRING HILL – The West Florida Panthers, a 14-and-under Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) elite travel baseball team based in Hernando County, will be hosting open tryouts for the spring season.
If you wish to play at a higher competitive level, contact Coach Scott Treverton at 263-9302 or email him at trev7172@bellsouth.net.

SH Wrestling Club seeks additional members

SPRING HILL – The Spring Hill Wrestling Club is the place to learn the fundamentals of wrestling.
Practices run through March, 2009 in the wrestling room at Springstead High School. Grades K-3 will practice from 6-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; Grades 4-8 from 7-8 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Cost is $80. Checks should be made out to Springstead Wrestling. For more information, visit online at www.springhillwrestling.com or contact Springstead Head Coach Eric Swensen at 797-7010, Ext. 347.

Learn to scuba

SPRING HILL – Learn to scuba at the Hernando County Family YMCA. Classes begin Feb. 10 and run Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-9:30 p.m.
This course includes six class and pool sessions for ages 12 and older in good physical health and comfortable in and under the water.
There will also be classes from 8:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. for ages 10 and older, plus open water dives on Thursday and Friday in the Gulf of Mexico or Rainbow River at $20 per day.
Upon completion of the classes persons will be certified as Open Water Scuba Diver, recognized worldwide.
The cost is $120 for YMCA members and $140 for non-members, plus $60 for use of scuba equipment.
Personal equipment, mask, fins and snorkel are not included, but can be purchased at a discount from instructors: Jack Farrell at 727-861-3483 or 800-633-1633 and Mark Butler at 352-214-1171, who are YMCA, PADI and NAUI instructors.
For additional information, contact Olivia Matles at the YMCA at 688-9622.

Doubles Tennis Tourney in Citrus County

HOMOSASSA – The 1st Annual Doubles Classic Tennis Tournament takes place Feb. 28-Mar. 1 at the Oak Village Tennis Center in Sugarmill Woods. The event benefits ATC Youth Group.
The tourney is open to men’s, women’s, mixed doubles and senior players (60+) for A-B-C levels.
Two matches are guaranteed. There will be complimentary T-shirts to all entrants and awards for winners in each division.
Entry deadline is Tuesday, Feb 25. Entry fee is $20 per person (1st event), $10 (second event).
U.S.T.A. rules and “the code” will govern play.
Matches will be best 2-of-3 sets with a 12-point tiebreaker played when the score is 6-6. Balls will be provided. The tournament director will evaluate all entries.
Check-in is 30 minutes before each scheduled match.
To register contact tournament directors: Rick Scholl at 352-382-0353 or online at rscholl@atlantic.net; A.J. Glenn at 796-3363, Ext.207, or online at ajglenn03@gmail.com or Sally deMontfort at 352-795-9693 or online at deMont@embarqmail.com.

WWJB (AM) 1450 and Golf, Etc. sponsor benefit golf event

BROOKSVILLE – Golf, Etc. is teaming up with WWJB (AM) 1450 to present a benefit golf tournament at Southern Hills Plantation Club, on Tuesday, Feb. 17.
The tourney, which features a 4-person team scramble, offers registration at 8 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at 10 a.m.
Cost is $85 for single players and $320 per foursome.
There will be an awards presentation with a buffet following play, plus a ticket raffle.
For more information, contact Golf, Etc at 597-5994 or go to WWJB.com to download an entry form for your team.
All the tourney proceeds go to the Hernando County Veteran’s Round Table to help local veterans and their families.

Junior Golfers Nights at Golf, Etc.

BROOKSVILLE – Golf, Etc. is offering FREE lessons to children, 12 and under, each Monday for 15 minutes between 4-7 p.m.
The lessons will include tips on utilizing a full swing, stance, grip, putting and chipping.
Golf, Etc. is located in the Western Way Shopping Center, 13045 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.
For additional information, contact Golf, Etc. at 597-5994.

Do you live and breathe sports?

BROOKSVILLE – If you love sports — all kinds of athletics — perhaps you would like to write about local games for Hernando Today.
We are always looking for aspiring sports writers. You won’t make a lot of money, but you’ll attend games free and write a report on the game for publication.
Being a sports correspondent enables you to talk with the coaches and players.
If you’re not a journalist, we’ll help you tell your story so readers will understand the game.
We will give you tips on exciting sports writing style and story formatting.
Necessary tools? Aspiring writers need a computer (preferably a laptop), a cell phone, dependable transportation and a willingness to learn.
If you are interested, talk with sports editor, Tony Castro, by calling him at 544-5278.

Seeking boys volleyball players

SPRING HILL – The Hernando Juniors (nonprofit volleyball club) is looking to form boys volleyball teams in three age groups (16U, 14U and 12U).
To register or for additional information, contact Doug Liddle at 556-8054 or Dan Murphy at 650-7363 or visit www.hernandojuniors.com.

Youth baseball, softball coaching clinics

BROOKSVILLE – The City of Brooksville Recreation Department is hosting a series of educational coach training clinics for all youth baseball and softball coaches. The clinic is offered through the National Youth Sports Coaches Association.
A baseball coaches clinic is set from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 14 and from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18 at the Jerome Brown Community Center, 99 Jerome Brown Pl., Brooksville.
A softball coaches clinic is set from 1-4 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 21 and from 6-9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 25, also at the Jerome Brown Community Center.
The cost of each clinic is $20.
Pre-registration is required.
To signup or for additional information, contact the City of Brooksville Recreation staff at 540-3835.

Sheriff’s Office Youth Education Golf Tourney

BROOKSVILLE – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Youth Education Services will be hosting its 23rd Annual Scramblers Golf Tournament on Saturday, March 14, at Brooksville Golf and Country Club.
Hole sponsorships are $50 and registration is $75 per player, which includes a buffet lunch. Donated items that could be used as prizes are also being accepted and all donors/sponsors will be recognized at the event.
All proceeds from this annual event will benefit the Hernando County Sheriff’s Office Youth Education Services (Y.E.S.), which is a non-profit organization that was formed to develop programs for our growing youth population.
To register or for additional information, visit www.hernandosheriff.org for a printable registration form for both sponsorships and registrations; or call 754-6830, Ext 53660.

3-on-3 Hoop Tourney

SPRING HILL – The West Hernando Cougars Youth Football league is sponsoring a King of the Courts 3-on-3 basketball tournament, ages 12-14, 15-17 and 18-up, from Feb. 28 through March 1 at Delta Woods Park. There will be a maximum four players per team. The event will feature a 3-point shooting contest and dunk contest for $10 per player.
Cost is $60 per team. All checks are made payable to West Hernando Cougars, 8263 Nuzum Road, Brooksville, FL 34613.
Trophies will be given in each division.
Registration deadline is Feb. 20.
To signup or for additional information, contact Bobby McFarland at (352) 585-6524.

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Central Bears Girls Weightlifting Results
Head Coach – Cliff Lohrey (6th Year: 0-5 overall)
Date Opponent Site Result/Time
12-10 Lecanto Away L 31-50
12-17 Springstead Away L 26-63
01-07 NCT+ Away L 16-48
01-07 Hernando+ Away L 16-41
01-14 County Meet# Away 4th/4 teams
01-21 Citrus Away Canceled
01-23 Lecanto Home L 20-66
01-31 Section 5 Qualifier^ Away 0 state qualifiers/6 lifters
+ Denotes Tri-Meet at Hernando
# Denotes County Meet @ Hernando
^ Denotes Section V Qualifier @ Belleview

Hernando Leopards Girls Weightlifting Results
Head Coach – Shawn Bingham (1st Year: 2-3 overall)
Date Opponent Site Result
12-08 Lecanto Home L 28-55
12-10 Springstead Away L 27-50
12-17 Crystal River Home W 49-31
01-07 NCT^ Home L 41-48
01-07 Central^ Home W 48-16
01-14 County Meet Home 2nd/4 teams
01-28 Citrus Away Canceled
01-31 Section 5 Qualifier+ Away 3 state qualifiers/ 15 lifters
02-14 State Championship= Away 10 a.m.
^ Denotes Tri-Meet @ NCT
+ Denotes Section V Qualifier @ Belleview
= Denotes State Championship @ River Ridge

Nature Coast Technical Sharks Results
Head Coach – Ryan Wilson (4th Year: 5-1 overall)
Date Opponent Site Result
12-10 The Villages Away W 48-33
12-18 Lecanto Home W 45-41
01-07 Hernando+ Away W 48-41
01-07 Central+ Away W 48-16
01-14 County Meet Away 3rd/4 teams
01-21 South Sumter% Away L 38-43
01-21 Crystal River% Away W 38-27
01-31 Section 5 Qualifier^ Away 0 state qualifiers/6 lifters
+ Denotes Tri-Meet @ Hernando
% Denotes Tri-Meet @ Crystal River.
^ Denotes Section V Qualifier @ Belleview

2008-09 Springstead Eagles Girls Weightlifting Recap
Head Coach – Mike Garofano (2nd Year: 4-0 overall; 9-1 lifetime)
Date Opponent Site Result/Time
12-10 Hernando Away W 60-27
12-17 Central Home W 63-26
01-09 Citrus Home W 51-38
01-14 County Meet Away 1st/4 teams
01-21 Lecanto Home W 59-31
01-31 Section V Qualifier+ Away 3 state qualifiers/9 lifters
02-14 State Championship= Away 10 a.m.
+ Denotes Section V Qualifier @ Belleview
= Denotes 6th annual State Championship @ River Ridge

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

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Suspect Named In Fatal Hit-And-Run

Police say they have the man responsible for running over a homeless man on Tuesday night.

Darrin Spivey, 31, of 14312 Leisure Lane, was arrested Thursday on charges of leaving the scene of an accident causing death and tampering with evidence.

No one actually witnessed the 8 p.m. collision on Broad Street, but good tips from people who suspected Spivey’s involvement or heard the crash helped crack the case for investigators, according to Police Chief George Turner.

Detectives spent most of Thursday trying to track down Spivey and finally convinced him to come to the police station for an interview. There, Spivey eventually confessed to striking the victim, David Williams, 51, with his green Chevy pickup and leaving the scene, the police chief said.

Spivey’s defense was that he “panicked” and that he didn’t think authorities would believe his story because he is a registered sex offender, Turner said.

Regardless of motives, Spivey drove for as long as he could on the truck’s flat tire before pulling over and calling a friend for a ride. The next day, he went to Tampa to buy a new hood for his truck, which had a “coconut-sized” dent, and a replacement headlight, the police chief said.

Spivey reportedly hid the damaged hood in his mother’s garage. Turner said she had no knowledge of the crash.

The police chief said Spivey didn’t drive his pickup to the police department for his interview Thursday.

On Friday, investigators were verifying the chain of events leading up to the crash. Spivey told detectives that he had spent the day fishing before dropping by his girlfriend’s house for a few hours.

He was driving north on Broad Street, in between Saxon Avenue and Mondon Hill Road, when he struck Williams from behind, Turner said. Investigators believe Williams was riding his bicycle on the pavement, but outside the white line. He was wearing dark clothing at the time of his death.

Police were summoned to help about 30 minutes after the 8 p.m. collision.

Records show Spivey has an arrest record dating back to age 17, when he was convicted of grand theft and vehicle burglary. In 1998, he pleaded guilty to committing a sex act in the presence of a minor and was labeled a sex offender. In 2007, he was sentenced to a year’s probation for DUI.

Turner said Spivey admitted to drinking a few beers while fishing, but detectives are still determining whether alcohol or drugs played any role in the crash.

Tribune researcher Stephanie Pincus contributed to this report. Reporter Kyle Martin can be reached at 352-544-5271 or kmartin@hernandotoday.com.

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Police: Suspect Strangled Van Slyke

Monty Albright was homeless on Wednesday.

Now he’s got a bed at the county jail.

Albright, 35, was brought in by Brooksville police late Wednesday afternoon to answer some questions about the homicide of property appraiser Steven Van Slyke. At 10:45 p.m., he was led out of the Brooksville Police Department in handcuffs, accused of first-degree murder.

Police Chief George Turner said Albright confessed to the killing and that he offered this account to investigators:

On Monday, Jan. 19, the suspect went to Van Slyke’s house at 27 Cherry St., off Howell Avenue, just south of Hernando High School. Albright and the victim knew each other, but the depth of their relationship is unclear, Turner said.

While at the house, Albright bound Van Slyke to his bed and stole his bank card. He used Van Slyke’s car to drive to a local bank cash machine and withdraw cash. With money in hand, Albright returned to Cherry Street and strangled Van Slyke with a “ligature,” according to a press release.

A ligature is something used to bind (like a rope), but Turner wouldn’t identify exactly what type of ligature was used to kill Van Slyke. Albright hid the victim under the bed and tried to clean up the scene before leaving in Van Slyke’s gold Volvo.

On Tuesday afternoon, one of Van Slyke’s friends came over to check on him. He found the body and called authorities.

Turner wouldn’t give any specifics as to what led investigators to Albright, except for witness interviews and retracing Van Slyke’s steps. A press release mentions that Albright continued to use the victim’s bank card after his death.

Earlier in the investigation, detectives said they were looking for two other men who were with Albright Tuesday night. Turner said they’ve identified those men, one of whom was brought in for questioning at the police department Wednesday.

At this point, though, all indications are that Albright acted alone, Turner said.

Albright is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder, but only a grand jury can officially indict him on that charge.

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

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