12/03/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The Brooksville City Council gave its blessing Monday night to a community revitalization group's effort to rid downtown of two one-way highways that the group says impede business and make the city less desirable to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
The unanimous support of a resolution backing the nonprofit Brooksville Vision Foundation's desire to return stretches of U.S. 41 (Broad Street) and U.S. 98 (Jefferson Street) to two-way traffic is the first step in bringing the matter before the state Department Of Transportation, said the organization's president, Cliff Manuel....
12/03/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — The action needed Tuesday to restore fluoride to Brooksville's water supply was deceptively easy.
According to utilities director Will Smith, the process involved little more than hooking up a 15-gallon tank containing hydrofluorosilic acid, making a few adjustments to the automatic metering system, and letting gravity take its course.
Indeed, delivering the tooth decay-fighting chemical into residents' homes seemed almost anticlimactic compared to the battle over fluoridation that raged over the course of several months earlier this year....
SPRING HILL — It's been a long time since Richard Bowden played a round of golf on one of his favorite Spring Hill courses — more than two years.
That was just before the Spring Hill Golf and Country Club went dormant. Since then, Bowden and other golfers who enjoy playing the course have been hoping for the day when they could once again drive a ball down the long, lush fairways or putt on what many once considered some of the best greens in Hernando County....
11/27/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — Built during an era when horse-drawn carriages rolled down Howell Avenue in downtown Brooksville, the section of sidewalk stretching north about four blocks from Fort Dade Avenue to the First Baptist Church has been showing its age for the past few decades.
Invading tree roots and settling soil have caused concrete sections along the east side of the road to twist and buckle, increasing the danger of someone falling into the busy roadway....
Bluegrass music has had its share of standout musicians who hail from places far from the genre's Southern origins. So it's no surprise that one of the most talked about groups these days comes from way north of the Mason-Dixon Line.
The Spinney Brothers, from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia, embrace the music's deepest traditional roots, and that's what caught the ear of promoter Mitch Lind, who puts together the lineup for this week's annual Sertoma Youth Ranch Thanksgiving Bluegrass Festival. Lind gave one listen to the quartet and was immediately sold on the group....
SPRING HILL — Dr. David McGrew knows well just how precious life is, especially the final moments, when apologies, regrets and forgiveness are no longer concerns that can be put off.
Through three decades as a tending physician and medical director for HPH Hospice, McGrew can recall thousands of happy endings when family members gathered to comfort a loved one and worked together to help make the transition from the living world a loving, peaceful one....
11/19/13 Local Government
BROOKSVILLE — As the heavy bass beat throbbed from the black Chevy SUV parked 92 feet away, Brooksville Vice Mayor Kevin Hohn covered his ears and grimaced.
"That really gets to you," Hohn said, turning to police Chief George Turner. "I can't imagine someone trying to drive a car with that going on."
But people do. And although the city has reinstated a car stereo ordinance, designed to curb the sound coming from "boom" cars, some City Council members believe it needs to be tweaked to be more fair to drivers whose sound systems aren't so offensive....
BROOKSVILLE — Many owners of historic homes are faced with a dilemma when they consider enhancing their property with storage sheds, garage space and other outbuildings. Options tend to be limited and often come down to choosing between a prefabricated structure with little or no aesthetic appeal or hiring a contractor to build one from scratch.
Jo-Anne Peck and her husband, Craig DeRoin, thought there should be a better alternative, one that would offer a handsome, affordable structure to better complement the existing edifice and that could be built to modern standards....
A prehistoric stone bowl, dozens of old bottles, a corroded cap pistol from the 1940s, discarded car tires, a shard from a 15th century Spanish ceramic plate.
Divers working on a restoration project at Chassahowitzka Springs over the summer never knew what they were going to find and bring to the surface.
The vast trove of treasures and trash — either tossed or lost — was on public display Wednesday at the Chassahowitzka River Campground as officials from the Southwest Florida Water Management District and other state environmental agencies presented a wrap-up of the first phase of a water quality improvement project intended to rid the spring of noxious algae and make it more habitable for wildlife....
SPRING HILL — Forty years ago, the startup community of Spring Hill had little to offer its new residents in the way of culture, especially for those who were interested in the visual arts. There were no public art galleries, not even a local store that specialized in art supplies.
But a determined group of like-minded painters, sculptors and crafters sought to change that.
The establishment of the nonprofit Spring Hill Art League in April 1974 created a spark of enthusiasm that even today focuses on giving local artists their due, said Sandra Bonadonna, who serves as the league's historian....
11/08/13 Human Interest
BROOKSVILLE — For Jan Knowles, the time to celebrate has come at last.
For the past four years, Knowles and other members of the Friends of Chinesgut Hill have poured their hearts and souls into saving the historic manor house at Chinsegut Hill. Destined to end up on the state's list of surplus properties, the effort was touch-and-go as the nonprofit group desperately sought a partner that believed the 165-year-old landmark was worth keeping in public hands....
On a sunny Tuesday, the door to Andrew Jackson American Legion Post 99's canteen is wide open as John and Linda Swald finish up maintenance chores.
The couple stop by often during the week to help out with whatever needs to be done. Rarely is there not a need at the 56-year-old hall on Fort Dade Avenue in downtown Brooksville.
In addition to woes ranging from plumbing problems to constant damage by vandals, the building is showing its age. A new roof and other major repairs have remained on hold for some time. Fundraisers have helped with some of the money, but they haven't done much to address all of the post's needs....
Brooksville native Frazier Mountain remembers that for more than five decades the Sinclair gas station at Broad Street and Brooksville Avenue served as a popular hub of activity while he was growing up.
The handsome white stucco building with the red Spanish tile roof sat directly across from the Hernando County Courthouse and right next to the Tamiami Cafe. Right around the corner was the police station and City Hall. To Mountain, who used to fold newspapers with his brother on the sidewalk prior to delivering them, there were few times when he didn't see someone he knew at the gas station....
When Chris Knight sings a song, you sit there and listen. That's all. In exchange you get a raw, unvarnished look at the way people learn to survive when their worlds constantly dish out dejection, frustration and disappointment.
Unlike today's country radio tunesmiths, who crank out song after song about bonfire parties and pretty women dancing on the tailgates of pickups, Knight's vision of rural America is more likely to paint a somber picture of a guy who's hoping to get his worn-out Ford F-250 running again so he can continue to earn a living....
11/01/13 Human Interest
SPRING HILL — If you stop in at the McDonald's restaurant in the Suncoast Crossing shopping plaza on Spring Hill Drive some morning, you're likely to come across assistant manager Lakeyra Langley behind the counter.
She's the one with the ponytail and everlasting smile who bounces with every step as she fills customers' orders.
But while the 24-year-old enjoys her job, she doesn't hide the fact that she wants folks to someday be able to say they "knew her when." That's because Langley is one of 25 U.S. semifinalists vying for the $25,000 top prize in the worldwide Voice of McDonald's employee singing contest....