Hand gesture means fine, return to court
With a finger and a flourish, James Laughery said Wednesday he was leaving the courtroom and never coming back. But Circuit Judge Jack Springstead made sure he will return when he found him in contempt of court after the accused drug offender made a hand gesture on his way out of the courtroom. Laughery, 35, of North Port had been sentenced to probation on a charge of unlawfully trying to acquire a controlled substance by fraud. When Springstead observed Laughery's gesture, he ordered him back into the courtroom and made him wait until all the other cases had been cleared. He then told Laughery the sign was "disrespectful." Laughery said he meant no disrespect, only that he was relieved to be done with his case. "I just wanted to get out of here," he said. Laughery was fined $300 and must return to Springstead's court on Jan. 21 with proof that he paid the fine.
Safe to swim again at park
The swimming advisory for Linda Pedersen Park has been lifted now that fecal coliform bacteria levels in the water have returned to the acceptable range, the Hernando County Health Department announced Wednesday. Health officials put up warning signs at the swimming area on Dec. 14 after tests showed levels of bacteria that could be harmful to swimmers. The park is on Shoal Line Boulevard. For information, call the health department at (352) 540-6800.
Holiday camp needs food
Shiloh Problem Solvers is in need of food donations for its upcoming free Holiday Camp that is today, Monday through Dec. 31 and again from Jan. 4-7 at Kennedy Park. Between 75 and 100 youth will participate in the program during the break from school. Donations needed include breakfast and lunch menu items, such as fruit, cereals, pop tarts, and other items that are quick and simple to prepare for the children. Those who can help can drop off donations at the park, 875 Kennedy Blvd., between noon and 6 p.m. today, or between 8 a.m. and 2 p.m. any day during the program, which starts next week. For information, call Pastor Clark at (352) 345-9596.
There is a free lunch today
Christmas Eve Luncheon with Jericho Road Ministries will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. today First United Methodist Church, 109 S Broad St., Brooksville. This is a free family event open to everyone. There will be music and song. (352) 799-2912, ext. 111.
Market to reopen Jan. 2
The weekly "Saturday at the Market" farmers market will be closed this Saturday and will reopen Jan. 2 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. along 20 N Main St., Brooksville. Funds raised benefit Love Your Neighbor, a non-profit group that feeds the homeless and needy. For information, call (352) 428-9275.