Bandshell Bash ran its course
When it was started in 2006, the Bandshell Bash was a premier event for the city of Brooksville. It did, indeed, bring thousands of people to Hernando Park each month. The event also won the State of Florida Cultural Enhancement Award in 2007. The Hernando County Fine Arts Council was the sponsor of the event. Although several members of the organizing committee, the Bandshell Bash Committee, have been members of the board of directors of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council, the council did not organize the event and did not choose nor pay for the acts that appeared.
Although the Bandshell Bash was funded through a challenge grant from the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, the grant period was for two years. The grant money had to be spent within the grant period. The Bandshell Bash Committee was meant to find business sponsors within that two-year period, to continue the event after the grant money was spent, which did not happen.
The decision by the council to no longer sponsor the Bandshell Bash was in response to a complaint by a community member after the December Bandshell Bash. Average attendance for the event was down to about 60 people. We no longer felt that the event was reaching the people of Hernando County. Attempts to work with the Bandshell Bash Committee to revamp the event to attract a larger audience were thwarted. Although present in the building at the time of the discussion, the two members of the council's board who supported the continuation of the Bandshell Bash, Wayne Lowe and Mikel Hannigan, did not attend the board meeting in which the vote was taken to end support.
The Hernando County Fine Arts Council strives to provide quality cultural events to the citizens of Hernando County and West Central Florida. We have several upcoming events, including a new concert series, that will do just that. The mission of the Hernando County Fine Arts Council is "To encourage, promote and support all the creative arts in Hernando County and provide a means to showcase the arts." We continue to work hard to meet that mission each and every day for the people of Hernando County.
Myndee Fleury Washington
Executive director, Hernando County Fine Arts Council
Chip in to help in rough economy
Frightening foreclosures, giant job losses, business busts across the county with store closings and scaled-down industrial output, public school shifts in time schedules and curricula distribution and County Commission agendas constantly calling for budget and personnel cuts — all provide additional images that our county is falling over the brink in a weak economy. Hernando County Tourist Development has a tough job overcoming all this.
Tourist development depends on revenues from overnight hotel and motel customers, the consumption of recreation and travel to our county's signature mermaid shows and Christmas house, but conventions are short-shrift; still, we are left with soccer and baseball tournaments along with successes in attracting bowling tournaments.
The county does need an Olympic-size swimming facility, and Brooksville needs a public swimming pool to accommodate its premier park facilities.
County Parks and Recreation facilities are far ahead of the curve in meeting the needs of not only local constituents but also for league purposes and do or can contribute to tourist development. More focus needs to be shared among our county departments to attract recreation and tournaments, league competition and smaller conventions.
The county population is small enough for enthusiastic parents and small businesses that are always eager to sponsor our young athletes in their endeavors in every sport that attracts competition. Hernando County does have the promise Sue Rupe's department touts; and more departments, businesses and people need to offer her all the support she can commit to her continuing services to the public.
Deron Mikal, Brooksville
Influx of gifted students will hurt
Moving the gifted program to Challenger will actually affect the students at Challenger. I am a parent of an eighth-grader at Challenger K-8 so the changes will not affect my child. However, as an educator I am always concerned about offering the best education to students.
The influx of the gifted students will make the school overcrowded, they will have to add portables and some teachers will have to co-teach, having many more students in their classroom. Every classroom teacher knows that a class of 22 or 25 with one teacher isn't the same as a class of 35 or 40 with two teachers. The latter imposes many managerial as well as instructional limitations.
To meet class-size reduction obligations, many electives will have to be cut, so the magnet school for science will not have any science electives. The gifted students get in before any other student so there will not be any new students allowed there for the next two years. Is Challenger really a magnet school anymore or is it a school for the gifted?
Explorer was made for the gifted; why can't we figure out why it failed and fix it or come up with an alternative? It seems like we want to take Challenger, which for the most part is a very good school, and ruin it. It is about time this School Board keeps what works and changes only the things that don't.
Maria Witherell, Spring Hill
Forgotten pets need our help, too
People disregard animals during these tough economic times. I live in Hernando Beach and have taken in several stray animals that seem to always find my house. One was a poor black emaciated cat that I found out had belonged to an owner a couple blocks away. The owner had been evicted and abandoned it when they took the other animals to Animal Control. It took me a couple of months to gain the cat's trust, bring it to the vet to get neutered and to get it shots, but it is now a beauty.
Another poor stray came to me after its owner, who had kept the cat on his boat, moved away and left it. Again, the cat was not neutered.
I feel it is so important to make people aware of how animals depend on us to be responsible owners and to thank people who will stop and help an abandoned stray. There are some amazing people out there and some amazing forgotten pets.
Eileen Benak, Hernando Beach
Ordering to go? Remember server
You are never too old to learn something new. Recently, I was made aware of the fact that when you place a to-go order at restaurants, the servers bringing you your order do much more than just walking out the door to collect the money and deliver your food.
These servers rely on tips for their pay just like the inside servers. I never paid much attention until I was recently told how they take the order, prepare the order, package the food, get all those little extras that you requested, collect the money due, and then deliver your food — food you expect to be hot and ready upon your arrival. Yet, they rarely receive tips.
Next time you order your food to go, remember they are working hard to get your order prepared and are very deserving of a tip.
Brian Flannigan, Spring Hill
Listen to your heart and give
There has been some miscommunication. I am not at the United Way of Hernando County and have not been affiliated with it since the summer of 2006. I am medically unable to work.
I truly miss so many of the people and organizations that made my stay at United Way so wonderful. I know that the organizations in the county that provide so many vital services, as well as those that have endured unspeakable times in Haiti will once again know your generosity. Citizens fighting to keep the lights on and food on the table right here, right now will still help those less fortunate.
Everyone embrace an agency close to your heart and give to them. Whether it is volunteering or well-needed money assistance, giving will help these agencies optimize your generosity.
Valerie Orshal-Hunt, Crystal River