Thursday, November 23, 2017
News Roundup

Revived King Day parade in Brooksville expected to be biggest ever


BROOKSVILLE — The organizers of Brooksville's Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade came up with an ambitious theme for this year's tribute to one of the greatest defenders of equality in American history: "Dream beyond measures."

It's a message they first had to apply to the parade itself.

In recent years, the parade — really more of a march — had struggled to remain relevant, with poor organization and little effort. The past two years, it had been canceled.

But this year, it is experiencing a revival, largely with the backing of a major corporate sponsor, Walmart.

It's expected to be the grandest one yet, organizers say.

"I don't think we've ever had a big one in Brooksville," said Billy Healis, a human resources manager with Walmart who is spearheading the effort. "It's always just been a small group of folks that have not garnered much support from the business community."

Says Hernando NAACP president Paul Douglas: "This is the very first time they've had this kind of participation in Hernando County for the MLK celebration. This is almost historic."

About 60 groups are scheduled to participate in Monday morning's parade, including five high school bands and a middle school band that will be participating in a "battle of the bands" from across the Tampa Bay area during the parade.

Walmart is covering the expenses of some of the bands and giving each group $1,000 for participating, Healis said.

There was no registration fee for any of the parade entries.

The parade is different from celebrations in the past for another reason: the route itself.

It won't follow a path from south Brooksville to the lawn of Hernando County's historic courthouse, as some marches have in the past; instead the route will mirror that of the annual Hernando High homecoming parade.

The parade, which begins at 10 a.m., will start near Hernando High, on the north side of town.

Healis said it was a difficult decision to ditch the more traditional route, but it was ultimately the best for parade-goers.

"There was some initial heartburn over that fact, but the committee agreed the best thing to move this parade forward was to move its location," he said.

The parade will have widespread participation from the community and local government, including a number of elected officials and businesses, student groups and local fire departments.

Healis estimated the cost of putting on the parade at about $15,000, though he said much of it is in the form of in-kind donations.

The parade has been three months in the making.

Healis says the King parade is important, given the history of racial tension in Hernando County.

"It's one of those things that I think, it's an injustice when we don't celebrate the life of someone like Martin Luther King Jr.," he said. "At the end of the day, he might not have wanted a big parade and corporate sponsorships, but it's going to raise a lot of awareness on how important his vision was and is, especially to a community like Hernando County and Brooksville."

Douglas says the widespread community involvement in this year's event has been phenomenal.

"It's been something we did not expect," he said. "They are coming out of the wall. It's just about anybody and everybody you could think."

He said the response clearly illustrates that the day is for everyone, regardless of race.

"When it became a national holiday, you would have thought it would have become a national holiday here," he said. "I can honestly say that, more than likely, a lot of the citizenry didn't recognize that they could participate.

"This is a holiday that everybody should celebrate."

Danny Valentine can be reached at [email protected] or (352) 848-1432. On Twitter:@HernandoTimes.

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Jon Mott wins record fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

By BOB PUTNAMCLEARWATER — The Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot has long been a fixture on Jon Mott’s sporting calendar. Not even a 103-degree fever Tuesday could keep him away from the event, in its 39th year. Mott, a record four-time 10k champion, added ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

Bucs players, coaches say they cherish getting game balls for special feats

TAMPA — In the jubilant moments after a Bucs win, Dirk Koetter will sometimes ask for a game-used ball from his equipment staff, hold it high in the locker room and present it to the player who was most crucial to the victory.NFL players can ask for ...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago

Updated: 3 hours ago
Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

Woman killed in Largo motorcycle crash could ‘out-game any dude’

LARGO — Sydney Pender, 27, loved riding her motorcycle, even though she knew the dangers. Three years ago, her friend said, a delivery truck hit her. But she kept riding. On Thanksgiving, it was a crash with a taxi cab that killed her.Pender, a St. P...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Valrico intersection closed after car-sized hole opens in road

VALRICO — A hole the size of a vehicle opened up beneath the intersection of Nature’s Way Boulevard and Elm Grove Lane, Hillsborough officials said.The cause of the depression is unclear, but the intersection was blocked off to traffic.Hillsborough C...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

Days after a high fever, Jon Mott wins his fifth Times Turkey Trot 10K

CLEARWATER — On Tuesday, Jon Mott had a 103-degree fever. That was not enough to keep him from maintaining his dominance Thursday at the 39th Tampa Bay Times Turkey Trot.The former Northeast standout added to his record with his fifth title in the ev...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Update: Mother, toddler hit by car in critical condition at TGH

TAMPA — A mother and one of her two small children who were hit by a car while trying to cross Dale Mabry Highway on Wednesday were still in the hospital on Thanksgiving, according to Tampa General Hospital.Cassandra Marie Spicola, 29, and 18-month-o...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Pasco County put under immediate tornado warning

The National Weather Service has put out a tornado warning for Pasco County. Thunderstorms capable of producing a tornado and strong winds are expected over Jasmine Estates, New Port Richey and Hudson until 1:15 p.m., according to the NWS warning. Ba...
Updated: 12 hours ago
Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

Thanksgiving forecast: Rain today, but sunny skies this weekend

It’s going to be a wet Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay, but sunny skies are coming during the long weekend, according to WTSP 10Weather meteorologist Ric Kearbey. 10News WTSPThe latest Tampa Bay-area radar 10...
Published: 11/23/17