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A look back at people in Hernando County who made news in 2013

There were honors and awards for some, significant prison time for others. And 2013 also marked the end of long careers for several people in Hernando County. Today, we look back at some of the names that made headlines during the past year.

Joe Clifford: He retired in January as principal of Central High School after 30-plus years as a teacher, counselor and administrator.

Bethann Brooks: She was named last January as 2013 Hernando County Teacher of the Year. She is a health science teacher at Central High School.

DiOGi and Stella: The two dogs — a Spinone Italiano and a bluetick coonhound, respectively — were best of breed winners in February's Westminster Kennel Club show in New York City, and their owners are from the Brooksville area. Debbie Perrott and Shirley Knipe own DiOGi, and Charles E. Woods and Tena Kastner own Stella.

Brittany Miles: She was found guilty in March of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison after she drove her Dodge Ram pickup through a busy intersection at the Pasco-Hernando line in May 2011 and slammed into Henry McCain, a funeral director who was on his way to meet friends in Hudson.

Jo Ann Hartge: She was voted in as the new president of the Hernando Classroom Teachers Association in April, replacing Joe Vitalo.

Donna Burdzinski: She took over as the leader of the North Campus of Pasco-Hernando Community College last spring after Stan Giannet left to lead the new Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch in Wesley Chapel.

Stanley Eckard: He was sentenced in May to 50 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of killing his brother, Sean, in 2010 and then burying the body in the yard of the family's Spring Hill home. Before electing to go to trial, Eckard turned down a plea offer that would have capped his sentence at 20 years.

Elijah Samaroo: The 11-year-old boy was allowed to keep his miniature therapy horse, Daisy, last summer after county officials had originally found the horse to be a violation of zoning laws.

Patrick MacGregor: Twelve-year-old Patrick made news in June after county officials shut down his shoeshine business outside the county government center because he didn't have liability insurance. He was allowed back after he became a volunteer with a local charitable organization that had insurance.

Christian Arroyo and Mike Adams: Both young men were selected in June's Major League Baseball draft. Arroyo, a Hernando High graduate who plays shortstop, was taken by the San Francisco Giants, becoming the first first-round pick in county history. Adams, a pitcher who attended the University of Tampa, was taken in the seventh round by the Boston Red Sox, the first Nature Coast Technical High School graduate to be drafted in any pro sport.

Ed Allison: Allison, 56, of Brooksville, died in July after he asked his wife to remove him from life support. Ten days earlier, he had crashed his bicycle in the Withlacoochee State Forest, an accident that left him a quadriplegic.

Rick Cicero: The Weeki Wachee man, a private military contractor, was honored by the Canadian defense minister in July for helping to save a Canadian engineer's life in Afghanistan.

Marcia Terry: She called it quits in July after working 16-plus years as a mermaid at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.

John Rizzuto: The Spring Hill man was awarded $12.6 million by a jury in August after he sued two tobacco companies, claiming years of smoking led to his serious health problems.

John C. Emerson: The developer and philanthropist, who died in 1951, was named 2013 Great Brooksvillian.

Mike McHugh: He resigned in September as Hernando County's longtime economic development manager to pursue an opportunity in the private sector.

Brenda Frazier: She retired in September after 37 years of working in county government, most recently as community relations coordinator.

Raymond and Elna Mae Hastings: The Brooksville couple, former pastors and missionaries, celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary in October.

Michael James Anthony: He was sentenced to life in prison in October after a jury found him guilty of attempted murder and other charges in connection with the July 2011 death of Hernando sheriff's Deputy John Mecklenburg. Anthony still faces murder charges in Pasco, where Mecklenburg died during a chase.

Lakeyra Langley: The McDonald's assistant manager from Brooksville made it to the semifinal round this fall in the national Voice of McDonald's singing competition.

Dr. David McGrew: Hernando-Pasco Hospice's medical director, a Spring Hill resident, was recognized this fall by the Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine as one of the world's 30 most influential leaders in hospice care.

Joanne Schoch: She announced in December that she will resign in February as longtime executive director of the Humane Society of the Nature Coast.

Compiled by Mike Konrad, Hernando Times editor

A look back at people in Hernando County who made news in 2013 12/31/13 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 31, 2013 4:46pm]

    

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