Tuesday, November 21, 2017
News Roundup

Hernando offers $250,000 settlement in lawsuit over work on Osowaw Boulevard

RECOMMENDED READING


BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County has offered a $250,000 cash settlement to resolve a lawsuit brought by the road-building company that made much-criticized improvements to Osowaw Boulevard.

County commissioners unanimously approved making the settlement offer on Tuesday after meeting with their attorneys. The offer was limited to the cash settlement, which would expire after five work days, and wouldn't include a series of other provisions asked for by the contractor.

In a letter dated June 28, Scott Machnik, the attorney for B.R.W. Contracting Inc. of Land O'Lakes, asked for the $250,000 plus the county's agreement to say that the "primary cause of the road defects and poor rideability of the road were due to unsuitable design or incomplete testing of the existing condition of the roadway.''

Machnik also wanted the county to agree that B.R.W. wasn't responsible for the road defects and that "while the county's termination of B.R.W. was perhaps an understandable reaction in light of the appearance of defects in the road and numerous complaints from driving regarding the quality of the road, such termination was ultimately unjustified,'' according to the letter.

In addition, B.R.W. sought to have the county agree that it would not "suspend, bar, exclude or otherwise prevent or hinder B.R.W.'s ability to bid future projects in the county based on the project or the lawsuit.''

The county has barred the contractor for the last two years from bidding on projects because of the Osowaw work and other projects that ran into problems.

The attorney noted that the non-monetary items he was seeking for his client were "not intended to shame the county so much as to redeem or preserve B.R.W.'s reputation — especially to its surety and Pasco County — and are in lieu of any potential damages incurred as a result of the defamation of B.R.W. and its reputation due to the dispute with Hernando County.''

In May of last year, B.R.W. filed legal action against Hernando County for breach of contract. The county had hired the company in February 2015 for $571,979 to make improvements to Osowaw Boulevard, west of U.S. 19, including bike lanes, a sidewalk and pavement overlay.

But soon after the pavement was placed and traffic began using the road, residents began complaining that the wavy surface reminded them of a washboard. The complaints came as the contractor came under increasing scrutiny for delays, using inferior materials and construction problems on several other county road projects.

The contractor's lawsuit sought $281,269 the county still owed it for the job. County officials said the work wasn't done properly. Contractor representatives said the county's design and specifications were wrong.

Last year, former company official Phyllis Blankenship was found guilty on 10 misdemeanor counts of perjury for signing sworn affidavits that none of the company's officers had been convicted of a public entity crime. Her ex-husband, Randy Blankenship, B.R.W.'s president, had served two years in federal prison on a variety of charges, including conspiracy to defraud the federal government.

Comments
Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

Rick and Tom podcast: Debunking the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories

In their latest podcast, Rick Stroud and Tom Jones debunk the Jameis Winston conspiracy theories as he will miss a third consecutive game this weekend in Atlanta.The guys explain that Winston’s absence is purely medical and has nothing to do with the...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Jury to decide Matos’ fate; details into Halladay’s plane crash; barriers help secure North Straub Park through holidays; sexual assault reports down at MacDill

The Daystarter: Jury to decide Matos’ fate; details into Halladay’s plane crash; barriers help secure North Straub Park through holidays; sexual assault reports down at MacDill

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Expect rain today and through the rest of the week, according to 10Weather WTSP. It will likely be a wet Thanksgiving.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecast• As you head out fo...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Jury to decide whether Adam Matos be put to death in Hudson quadruple-murder

Jury to decide whether Adam Matos be put to death in Hudson quadruple-murder

NEW PORT RICHEY — A jury today could decide that the man convicted in the brutal slaying of four — including his former girlfriend — should be put to death.The jury in the Adam Matos trial returns at 9:30 a.m. to hear closing arguments and begin deli...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Crash involving bicyclist closes EB lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard in downtown Tampa

TAMPA — Eastbound lanes on W Kennedy Boulevard were reopened by 6:30 a.m. at S Parker Street in downtown Tampa after a bicyclist was struck early Tuesday morning.The crash occurred in front of the University of Tampa, according to broadcast reports.W...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Clouds build, setting stage for a soggy Thanksgiving across Tampa Bay

Clouds and temperatures are increasing — and so are rain chances – as Thanksgiving could be a soggy one across the Tampa Bay region.[WTSP]Check the latest Tampa Bay-area live radar: The wet outlook is due to a systems that will produce spotty shower...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront

Barricades reinforce security for holiday events on St. Petersburg’s downtown waterfront

Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG — World and national tragedies are changing the city’s approach to security for special events at North Straub Park.With the approach of the holidays, concrete barricades have been erected at a section of the park’s ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
‘Last Flag Flying’ is kind of a puzzling follow-up to 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’

‘Last Flag Flying’ is kind of a puzzling follow-up to 1973’s ‘The Last Detail’

Richard Linklater called 2016’s Everybody Wants Some!! a "spiritual sequel" to his last-century breakout Dazed and Confused. Different characters, same youthful, life-exploring vibe.Linklater’s latest, Last Flag Flying, can be considered a spiritual ...
Published: 11/21/17
Five ideas for cooking with fresh cranberries

Five ideas for cooking with fresh cranberries

Cranberry sauce has long been a fixture on the holiday table. According to the Chicago Tribune, Ocean Spray, the popular producer of cranberry sauce, cans about 70 million tins of the stuff a year, 85 percent of which gets sold between Thanksgiving a...
Published: 11/21/17
Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Five ideas for easy Thanksgiving appetizers

Thanksgiving can put a heavy burden on the host. We’ve assembled five appetizers that are quick and easy to prep. Some, like our risotto balls and goat-cheese figs, cater to vegetarian diets, so you can be sure to please all your guests. Even if you’...
Published: 11/21/17
Give thanks: Florida’s higher gas prices starting to dip again for holiday

Give thanks: Florida’s higher gas prices starting to dip again for holiday

TAMPA — As 5.5 million Americans hit the road this week, gas prices will be the highest for the Thanksgiving holiday in three years though they are starting to dip. The average for regular gasoline in Florida is $2.50, 40 cents more than a year ago,...
Updated: 17 minutes ago