10/03/15 Local Government
HERNANDO BEACH — Dollar General stores have been popping up all over Central Florida in recent years. But in this Hernando County waterfront community, the chain is hardly being welcomed with open arms.
Some residents are preparing to take on the retail giant, which boasts 12,200 stores in 43 states. They argue that the 9,100-square-foot store proposed for 1.4 acres on Shoal Line Boulevard, just south of Companaro Entra, amounts to blight and is not compatible with the community's character....
10/01/15 Local Government
SPRING HILL — Christopher Russo is doing what any other businessman does.
He has found a niche to fill, developed a business plan and, in the final analysis, hopes to serve the community and put food on his family's table.
But Russo's plan is not going over well with his potential new neighbors near the gated Glen Lakes community, off U.S. 19 north of Weeki Wachee.
"We are looking at opening a gun store and outdoor gun range," Russo said. "Our first and foremost goal and agenda is the safety of the community.''...
10/01/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — In the mess that became Hernando County's final budget hearing last week, Clerk of the Circuit Court Don Barbee went from being hero to villain.
But Barbee says he was only trying to make sure that county commissioners had all of the information they needed about his budget before they settled their own.
The timing of the delivery of Barbee's information, and the incomplete nature of it, was what tripped up commissioners, who were anxious to find an easy answer to a vexing problem — coming up with enough money to provide the funding requested by Sheriff Al Nienhuis and Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson....
09/28/15 Local Government
HERNANDO BEACH — David Freda believes it is time to take off the training wheels and secure full independence for the Hernando Beach Volunteer Fire Department.
Freda, who has served as the department's chief for the past three years, told the residents last week that the department intends to present a proposed bill to the Hernando County legislative delegation that would create an independent special district, switching the governance and taxing authority of the 40-year-old fire department from the county to a board that would be elected by Hernando Beach residents....
09/24/15 Local Government
When Brooksville fire Chief Tim Mossgrove walks out of his office for the last time next week, he will take with him nearly 30 years of satisfying memories watching the Brooksville Fire Department and the community grow and improve. • Mossgrove was just 19 years old when he started at the department, working his way up through the ranks and taking advantage of opportunities to improve his education and earn special certifications along the way....
Hernando commission taps into reserve account to meet budget demands of sheriff, elections supervisor09/23/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — With an ending that matched the drama leading up to it, the Hernando County Commission brought its 2015-16 budget deliberations to a close Tuesday night with a surprise — finding enough money to give Sheriff Al Nienhuis and Supervisor of Elections Shirley Anderson all of the funding they requested.
But the process turned out to be a bit bait-and-switch.
At the start of the final public hearing on the budget, Clerk of the Court Don Barbee announced that he was going to be able to return more than half a million additional dollars to the county at the close of the current fiscal year....
09/22/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — In the minutes leading up to the start of this week's Hernando County Commission meeting, there were plenty of whispers about what might transpire.
Would Nick Nicholson step down as commission chairman? Would he resign?
There were calls for both. But instead of condemnation, Nicholson walked away from the meeting with the verbal support of the majority of his commission colleagues, led by the sole Democrat, Diane Rowden....
09/19/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — State environmental regulators are preparing to temporarily renew the air operation permit for Cemex's Brooksville South cement plant, and residents who have been keeping an eye on the mining company are protesting.
Because of the opposition, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection has scheduled a community open house from 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lake House on Kenlake Avenue in Spring Hill....
09/17/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — One after another, residents who live in rural and semirural neighborhoods around a multiuse development planned for the corner of Powell and Gloucester roads told about their current frustration with road congestion.
They showed pictures of the crosses where wrecks have happened and photos of lined-up cars on Powell stalled in traffic. And they told stories of children trying to get to nearby schools in all that chaos....
09/16/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — In the week since Hernando County Commission Chairman Nick Nicholson's past relationship with a drug-addicted stripper came to light, among the most asked questions has been: Why did this surface now?
Some speculate that the timing relates to the public feud Nicholson is having with Sheriff Al Nienhuis over next year's budget for the Sheriff's Office. The County Commission has dug in its heels over giving the sheriff additional revenue....
Hernando commissioner's relationship with stripper was investigated as part of 2012 drug, abuse case09/14/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — In the months leading up to his election in November 2012, then-Hernando County Commission candidate Nick Nicholson met a stripper at Calendar Girls in Pasco County and befriended her, according to an investigation by state law enforcement officials.
He went to her home in Spring Hill regularly, had sex with her, left her money for bills, brought her food and drove her to friends' homes where she was said to be buying drugs....
09/09/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Residents of Oakwood Acres and other nearby communities are distressed about a proposed rezoning that would change an adjacent 37.6-acre rural residential and agricultural parcel to a mix of office professional, apartments and single-family homes.
The rezoning request by applicant Mohamed Shahout for property at Powell and Gloucester roads will be heard by the Hernando County Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday....
09/03/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Plans for improvements at the busy intersection of Cortez Boulevard and Barclay Avenue hit a roadblock late last month when the Hernando County Commission decided to abandon efforts to acquire a key piece of right-of-way.
The decision brought to an end a legal squabble in which the attorney of the landowner claimed Hernando County didn't follow the rules for taking private property for public use....
09/03/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Hernando County commissioners listened recently as a parade of concerned citizens urged the board to adopt an ordinance that would prohibit dog owners from tethering their pets outside unattended.
From a woman who wore a leash around her neck and pulled it tight as she talked about the need for the new law, to a couple who live next to a man with 10 pit bulls tied up in his yard, the residents argued that an anti-tethering ordinance would prevent dog cruelty and also keep the public safe....
08/27/15 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — All eyes will likely be on Sheriff Al Nienhuis on Sept. 3, when the Hernando County Commission holds the first of two public hearings on the county's 2015-16 budget.
Several weeks ago, the commission set its property tax rates for the new spending plan, freezing all of the rates except for a small tentative increase for emergency medical services. That action in essence cut $4.18 million in spending from the wish lists of the departments controlled by the commission, the sheriff and the supervisor of elections....