Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Hernando keeps control of Little Rock Cannery as lease idea is withdrawn

BROOKSVILLE — Faced with a roomful of people sporting bright yellow "I Can" T-shirts, Spring Hill veterinarian Keely Smith withdrew her offer Tuesday to lease and run the Little Rock Cannery.

Cannery supporters urged the Hernando County Commission to retain control of the facility, and commissioners agreed — at least for now.

Supporters talked about the cannery and its history in Hernando. They said it's needed now as much as ever, because of the poor economy, as a way of helping people save money.

They also noted that an anonymous donor has given the county $31,907 to pay the salary of Flossie Raines, the sole cannery employee. About $35,000 of the $55,000 annual cost has been raised, they said.

That works out to about 15 cents per Hernando resident, said former County Commissioner June Ester. She illustrated the point by asking a woman in the audience if she would be willing to pay to save the cannery, and the woman gave Ester 25 cents.

Ester gave the two bits to Commission Chairman Dave Russell. "I'd like to give that 25 cents to you as her donation,'' she said.

Ester said cannery supporters wanted the chance to get more donations and grants. Ultimately, that's what they got. Commissioners will dip into reserves to pay for whatever donors do not raise for the budget year that starts Oct. 1.

Early on, Keely Smith spoke of the value of passing along canning and preserving skills. She envisioned a place where citizens could learn about nutrition, needlework and fiber art as well as other art.

Smith vowed to provide funding from her own resources, donations and fundraisers, to become a certified staff member for the facility herself and to update equipment.

But some supporters were concerned about a lease. John Scharch, a member of the county's Budget and Finance Committee, said that whoever takes over the cannery is going to need to have a detailed plan. "What we heard about were her goals and objectives, not a business plan, and we need a business plan,'' Scharch said.

The commission initially looked at a lease to Smith for $1 a year, but Commissioner Jim Adkins suggested tapping into library grants to run the libraries for the coming year and then allowing general fund money that the libraries would have needed to go instead to the cannery.

Russell suggested a six-month period when supporters could look for funds and work with Smith, aiming for another discussion of a lease next spring. But cannery supporters indicated they would rather have a year.

Then, Smith said she would withdraw her lease offer.

Commissioners praised Smith for offering a possible solution to the cannery issue and urged her to work with the supporters.

Barbara Behrendt can be reached at or (352) 848-1434.

Hernando keeps control of Little Rock Cannery as lease idea is withdrawn 07/28/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, July 28, 2009 10:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Video: Heroic Hooters manager helps two sheriff's deputies subdue unruly customer


    BRANDON — The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office praised a heroic Hooters Restaurant manager Wednesday for coming to the aid of two deputies struggling to subdue an unruly customer.

    It took two deputies and a Hooter's manager to get control of Ashton B. Toney after he threatened to kill an employee who refused to serve him alcohol at a Hooter's in Brandon, the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office reported.
[Booking photo from the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  2. Editorial: Turn the heat up on AC problem in Hillsborough schools


    Hillsborough County School District students do not want to hear that their buildings are decrepit. They do not want to hear that Florida's legislators are complicit. All they want to hear is the sweet sound of a classroom air conditioner kicking in at full power. Anything less creates uncomfortably hot classrooms and …

    Superintendent Jeff Eakins and the current Hillsborough County School Board did not create this air conditioning mess, but they own it now.
  3. Man in bunny mask part of trio that breaks into Odessa McDonald's to haul away ATM


    ODESSA — A man in a bunny mask and two also-masked accomplices broke into a McDonald's early Wednesday, hoisted an automatic teller machine into a stolen minivan, then dumped the ATM and the van into a pond, deputies say.

    Three masked men, including one in a bunny mask, broke into an Odessa McDonald's early Wednesday and stole the ATM.
 [Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office]
  4. Plan your weekend Aug. 25-27: Craig Morgan, Wearable Art 13, SNL's Pete Davidson, Rodeo Fest


    Plan your weekend


    Pete Davidson: Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson will headline this year's University of South Florida Round-Up Comedy Show, a back-to-school tradition at USF. Expect to hear about his recent trip to rehab, since he's known for his confessional …

    The 12th annual Wearable art Fashion Show was held at the Dunedin Fine Art Center on Saturday evening, August 27, 2016.
DAVID W DOONAN | Special To The Times
  5. Richard Corcoran takes aim at public financing of campaigns

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O'Lakes, may not be running for governor — not yet anyway — but his latest idea will get the attention of those who are.

    House Speaker Richard Corcoran, R- Land O' Lakes, is proposing an end to public financing of campaigns. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]