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2014 — The Year In Review

Interactive: The top Associated Press stories of 2014

The top news stories of 2014, as voted on in an Associated Press poll.

Interactive: Notable obituaries from 2014

An interactive roll call of some of 2014's most notable obituaries.

  1. Fair association's operations questioned, examined

    Local Government

    The Hernando County Fair Association struggled with financial and public relations issues in 2014.

  2. Mining proposal west of Brooksville stirs up opposition

    Local Government

    A proposal to mine lime rock for 20 years on more than 500 acres just west of Brooksville stirred opposition among hundreds of residents but won initial support from the County Commission in 2014.

  3. Grade changes involving School Board member's son scrutinized


    Documents seemed to show that the son of Hernando County School Board member John Sweeney got special treatment in making up substandard grades.

    Hernando School Board member John Sweeney lost re-election to what would have been his third term.
  4. With help of grant, historic Chinsegut manor house is restored


    At one point, the state was prepared to sell the historic Chinsegut Hill Manor House and its surrounding property to the highest bidder.

    September: The project is complete and Chinsegut Hill Manor House is now reopened.
  5. Search continues for home for education, tourism center

    Local Government

    With $3 million in hand from the state and a promise to match that with $3 million in local money, Hernando County leaders have struggled for months to find the right home for the planned Nature Coast Education and Tourism Center.

  6. Triple slaying called one of worst crimes in Brooksville's history


    Police Chief George Turner called it one of the most "horrific" crimes in Brooksville history.

    Ralph Peyton, 29, Mason’s half brother, was one of three people shot and killed at the home in south Brooksville.
  7. Two troubled Hernando schools show improvement


    Eastside Elementary School, which became the first school in Hernando County history to earn an F grade from the state in 2013, rebounded dramatically in 2014, scoring a C.

    A student practices her writing during an FCAT boot camp at Eastside Elementary School in Brooksville in January. A new standardized test is replacing the highly criticized FCAT.
  8. Voters give thumbs down on sales-tax referendum

    Local Government

    Hernando County business leaders, along with County Administrator Len Sossamon, came up with what they thought might be a solution to years of declining tax revenue — a 1-cent sales tax.

  9. High courts save two Hernando convicts from death


    High courts removed the threat of execution during the past year for two Hernando County killers who had spent decades on death row: Paul Hildwin and Freddie Lee Hall.

    DNA testing prompted the state high court to overturn the conviction of Paul Hildwin, 54.
  10. After fire, Papa Joe's in Brooksville prepares to reopen March 3


    First came the fire at Papa Joe's Italian Restaurant. Then the rallying of a grateful community. Now the rebuilding.

    Brooksville’s iconic Papa Joe’s Italian Restaurant was engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived at 3 a.m. on Jan. 24. The slightly larger restaurant, with the same friendly atmosphere, is set to reopen on March 3.