03/07/14 Human Interest
BROOKSVILLE — They arrive at Brooksville-Tampa Bay Regional Airport just after dawn, ready to race.
Some are mere novices when it comes to autocross. They simply pay their fee, don a helmet and line up to take a turn at maneuvering the family grocery-getter through a twisting, half-mile obstacle course marked by orange traffic cones.
Then there are the more serious efforts of drivers such as Darren Seltzer, who runs a sleek, highly modified Formula 500 car powered by a motorcycle engine, expressly built for autocross. Recently crowned as the Sports Car Club of America's F Modified National Solo Champion, Seltzer is considered to be one of the country's top autocross drivers....
03/06/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Fair Association has been given the green light by the state to have its annual county fair in April.
Carl Penn, fair program administrator with the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, confirmed in an email Thursday that the department had received the required documents from the fair association, including proof of liability insurance and a verified 2013 financial report....
03/04/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The sun may finally be setting on Brooksville's red-light cameras — the object of citizen protests, business backlash and legal challenges.
On Monday night, the Brooksville City Council declined to extend the contract with camera vendor Sensys America.
That means that if the agreement does continue beyond its termination date, it will happen because of the vote of newly elected council members. Already, at least two of the candidates for council have said they oppose the cameras....
SPRING LAKE — The ability to weave verse and melody into eloquent musical visions made Will McLean an instant hero to fellow Florida singer and songwriter Dale Crider, who first met McLean at the 1963 White Springs Folk Festival.
At the time, Crider was a new transplant to the Sunshine State, a young biologist with the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission who on weekends would grab his guitar and head for any place where folk musicians gathered....
BROOKSVILLE — Though withered from age and neglect, Brooksville's storied Rogers' Christmas House Village almost seemed ready to welcome jubilant visitors once again. The sun shining down Friday cast a brilliant light on dozens of azaleas blooming out front, as a handful of local residents gathered near the entrance.
But they were there for only one reason: to see who, if anyone, was willing to sink at least $200,000 into purchasing the place that was being sold "as is."...
02/28/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — For months, questions have been mounting about the city's red-light cameras. And many of those queries have come from the governing body that voted to implement the traffic enforcement program.
On Monday, Brooksville City Council members will begin to explore options for the program, which is up for renewal in October. They will be presented with five scenarios, which include allowing the current contract to expire, keeping the system in place using upgraded technology, and modifying the rules for some enforcement aspects. ...
02/27/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — For weeks, there has been uncertainty among participants over whether this year's Hernando County Fair and Youth Livestock Show would take place.
Fair organizers have yet to present to the state Department of Agriculture the documents needed to obtain an operational permit, raising concerns in the agriculture community that the fair's annual livestock show and auction would be scrubbed....
02/26/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — At their first budget workshop of the year, Brooksville City Council members got pretty much the same cautious, yet optimistic message that City Manager Jennene Norman-Vacha has delivered the past two years: The city's financial picture is getting brighter, but there's no reason yet for a grand celebration.
Norman-Vacha pointed to several positive factors in 2013. Sales of city-owned cemetery plots are up, building permits have increased significantly and revenue from sales and communication taxes are on the upswing. B...
02/21/14 Human Interest
BROOKSVILLE — For Tim Battersby, it seems a little strange to be at home this time of year.
Normally, he and his wife, Laura, performing as the Battersby Duo, would be out on the road, entertaining young children with their lively songs, witty banter and funny antics. These days, however, find the couple sticking close to their Hill 'n Dale residence, happy to still be creating the kind of tunes that over 35 years have won them numerous industry accolades, including a Grammy Award in 2012....
02/17/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — An internal investigation of the Hernando County Fair Association criticizes the organization's leadership for inefficiencies and a lack of interoffice discipline, which it says "has created an impression of impropriety where none may actually exist."
The investigation was conducted at the direction of the fair association board. The four-page report was prepared by board members Elliott Ambrose, Jim Gordon and Teresa Voiles, and deals primarily with concerns that were raised this month when fair representatives went before the Hernando County Commission to request financial assistance for this year's fair, which is scheduled to open April 4....
BROOKSVILLE — The citizens task force evaluating commercial properties for Brooksville's federally funded Brownfields program will meet Wednesday to determine which ones warrant further investigation for contaminants.
An initial list of more than 80 potentially hazard-laced properties has been pared down to 10, based on a scoring and ranking method that also considered the likelihood that hazardous wastes might still be present, as well as the parcel's future commercial viability....
BROOKSVILLE — Pierre Sanfacon sees positive things for the future of his business, and he believes Brookville offers the ideal climate for them to happen.
The owner of Med-Nap, a small manufacturing company that makes antiseptic towelettes like the ones handed out in restaurants, Sanfacon said he thought hard before deciding last year to relocate his 7-year-old business from New Hampshire to south Brooksville. A big part of his decision came down to one simple factor: the weather....
02/11/14 Music & Concerts
SPRING LAKE — Organizers of the Broken String Fling music gathering like to describe it quite simply as a "loosely knitted, duct-taped-together, no-armband music fling."
For that reason, there's virtually no pretense to the annual event, which celebrates "peace through music" while raising a few bucks for the nonprofit Sertoma Youth Ranch, where it is held.
The festival, which takes place this weekend, is the brainchild of Tampa musicians Bobbie Dusenberry and Bill Fawcett, who organized the first event seven years ago simply as a camp-in for friends. A few dozen folks joined them for a weekend of peaceful camaraderie, Dusenberry recalled....
02/07/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Ty Mullis had been tending the livestock gate at the 2013 Hernando County Fair for hours.
As the livestock auction and his day of volunteer work drew to a close, Mullis knew he looked a little disheveled, so he headed into the fair office to tuck in his shirt. The only area for some privacy was a small closet.
He slipped in and straightened himself up, then spotted something unexpected. A bag stuffed with money was lying unsecured on top of the safe....
02/05/14 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County Sheriff's Office has opened an investigation into the operations and finances of the Hernando County Fair Association.
A detective with the agency visited the home of fair association president Robin McAndrew late last week, requesting a list of documents that included time sheets for fair employees, said Sandra Nicholson, past president and spokeswoman for the association....