Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

Quick Hits: Mixing work with porn; progress at the Quarry and on the Good Neighbor Trail

Porn at work ...

By the end of last week, I couldn't say the name Desiree Henegar without adding, "poor lady."

On the front page of the Tampa Bay Times twice for posting online pornography and nasty comments about her superiors and co-workers while on the clock as the Hernando County schools' chief finance officer. Her name forever linked on the Internet with the phrase "sex blog." Her story picked up by publications as far away as England's Mail Online, even though, as one reader commented on tampabay.com, hating your boss and liking porn doesn't exactly make you an outlier in our culture.

Okay, but we're talking about a tremendous amount of porn, and a tremendous number of nasty comments. When Times reporter Danny Valentine got done printing out the contents of Henegar's Tumblr account from just July and August, the stack of paper was as thick as an unabridged dictionary. (Remember those?) And she was one of the higher-paid employees in the district, making $78,800 per year.

So, there's no question that this was a story and that it deserved prominent play, especially because a couple of decades into the Internet age, everybody — and especially everybody in the public realm — should know that you don't do porn at work.

In fact, one of the most surprising revelations of the story was that the school district does not have a policy in place specifically forbidding this, which, it seems, could have complicated matters had Henegar decided to fight for her job rather than resigning.

So, even if it's common knowledge that people need to avoid pornography at work, shouldn't the district make it clear it's aware of this, too?

Quarry Golf ...

It's been a little more than a year since a private owner, Bob Carson, started leasing the city of Brooksville's Quarry Golf Course next to Tom Varn Park.

Back then, in October 2011, the level of neglect was one step up from appalling — fungus-infested greens, tee boxes so sandy they looked almost like traps, waist-high weeds on the fringes of the fairways.

But on Sunday, when my younger son and I played the course, we found it in the best shape I've seen it, maybe forever.

Yeah, Florida courses always tend to look better when they're planted in winter rye; the real test will come in the summer, when we'll get to see how well the permanent turf holds up.

But for now, it seems as though this is the lesson to be learned: Whether the city has a white elephant on its hands, which is how it seemed for years, or a community asset, which is how the Quarry looks now, depends largely on whether the people in charge act like they give a flip.

Another potential asset ...

There's news regarding the Good Neighbor Trail, the progress of which I've watched like the growth of my own sons — only for so long it's been more like watching a bristlecone pine. (One of the oldest and slowest-growing organisms on earth, for those of you who didn't catch the strained reference.)

Roughly 20 years after people started talking about the trail, which is planned to connect Russell Street, near downtown Brooksville, with the Withlacoochee State Trail, 9 miles to the east, it's still a toddler, a seedling. Only about 2 miles, to Mondon Hill, have been completed.

But now, a cycling friend of mine tells me, enough work has been done on the next stretch that you can make it through the cleared path from Mondon Hill to Weatherly Road on a mountain bike. And from there, on the unpaved surfaces of Richbarn Road and then Forest Road 10, you can pedal deep into the Withlacoochee State Forest and even all the way to the Withlacoochee Trail.

I'm not advocating that mountain bikers actually take this route because I'm sure the part of the trail under construction isn't officially open to the public. I'm just reporting it as a welcome sign — finally! — of progress.

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