Saturday, February 24, 2018
News Roundup

Truck Fest mud bog gets attention of Swiftmud

BROOKSVILLE — The Southwest Florida Water Management District has issued a written complaint to the operators of the Hernando County Fairgrounds for failing to obtain a permit before excavating and grading 3 acres used for a recent mud bogging competition.

Swiftmud engineer John Powanda discovered the excavation work on 1.5 acres near the back of the fairgrounds Feb. 24 and informed Richard Klimas, promoter of last weekend's Truck Fest, that work on the mud bog needed to stop until an environmental resource permit was issued, according to Swiftmud spokeswoman Robyn Felix.

Felix said regulators returned to the site March 1 and found that the bog had doubled in size and included an area close to wetlands. In addition, a drainage ditch had been filled in without permission and the area lacked a sufficient number of absorbent barriers.

The letter sent to the Hernando County Fair Association warned that the organization could face legal action if it doesn't bring the property back in compliance with Swiftmud standards.

Fair association president Sandra Nicholson said Thursday she had not seen the letter and was unaware that any unauthorized work had occurred.

"I never talked to anyone from Swiftmud," Nicholson said. "They were there at least three times, and as far as I know they seemed happy with everything we were doing."

Klimas, a groundskeeper at the fairgrounds, called the complaint "greatly exaggerated" and said Swiftmud officials never told him that he needed a permit before doing the work.

"We discussed it, and they told us that we would eventually need a permit if we wanted to keep the bog," he said.

Klimas said he and his staff put up silt barriers around the mud bog to prevent the runoff of any contaminants, and installed a 12-inch plastic pipe to maintain the drainage ditch.

"We checked every truck that entered closely for gas and oil leaks," he said. "We got the okay from the fire department that we were all good as far as safety is concerned."

Klimas also said that the site is being restored to its original condition so that it can be ready for the county fair, April 6 to 14.

That may fly in the face of Swiftmud, which has ordered all work on the site to cease until the agency is contacted.

"Any activities conducted following the receipt of this letter but prior to the resolution of any permit requirements may result in increased penalties," the Swiftmud letter said.

The fair association has run into permitting problems before. In 2009, the organization was forced to pay additional fees to the city for not obtaining permits to complete a rodeo arena and other construction projects.

The association has until March 20 to contact Swiftmud to get the matter resolved.

Nicholson said she intends to do just that.

"We'll get it done," she said. "We have a fair coming up, and I want to make sure there aren't any problems cropping up."

Logan Neill can be reached at (352) 848-1435 or [email protected]

Comments
Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

Police: Man, 60, arrested for fleeing from fatal Largo pedestrian crash

LARGO — A 60-year-old man who police said was the driver in a fatal pedestrian hit-and-run on East Bay Drive from three days prior was arrested by Largo Police on Saturday, the department said.Victor Bonavita was arrested on three charges in relation...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

Sheriff: Roads reopen after Tampa crash results in natural gas leak near Citrus Park Mall

TAMPA — Officials reopened roads near Citrus Park Mall Saturday evening that had been closed in the afternoon for a natural gas leak caused by a car crash, the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office said. The Sheriff’s Office and Hillsborough County Fi...
Updated: 5 hours ago

boca ratonState lawmakerencourages Scott to remove sheriffA lawmaker is calling on Florida Gov. Rick Scott to remove Broward County Sheriff Scott Israel from office after the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. In a letter sent to ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Two airlinescut ties withNRA aftershootings

The National Rifle Association lashed out at corporations rushing to abandon it on Saturday, as companies from United Airlines to Best Western have cut ties with the gun lobby organization.Without context, twin announcements from Delta and United air...
Updated: 6 hours ago

‘Up to States’ to armteachers, Trump tweets

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is "Up to S...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

Security Council demands30-day cease-fire in Syria

UNITED NATIONS — The U.N. Security Council unanimously approved a resolution Saturday demanding a 30-day cease-fire across Syria "without delay" to deliver humanitarian aid to millions and evacuate the critically ill and wounded. U.N. humanitarian ch...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Updated: 7 hours ago
Call her more than just a survivor

Call her more than just a survivor

TAMPA — On the quiet morning of Oct. 8, 2011, a 30-ton freight truck ran a stop sign in the small town of Clinton, Conn.It ran over Colleen Kelly Alexander, who was riding a bicycle.The truck's front wheels crushed her, then spit her to the bac...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

Police: Male motorcyclist crashed, then the driver was run over by two cars

TAMPA — A male motorcyclist died early Saturday morning on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, the Tampa Police Department said.About 1:35 a.m., the victim rode his motorcycle west on the Courtney Campbell at high speeds, police said. The motorcycle stru...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

Northeast High alumnus Jon Mott wins 3rd Gasparilla 15K crown

TAMPA — Roughly 20 minutes into Saturday morning's Publix Gasparilla Distance Classic 15K, reigning champ A.J. Richmond glanced over his left shoulder to former college teammate Jon Mott and flashed a quick hand signal."He was telling me that t...
Updated: 11 hours ago