Sheriff Richard Nugent introduced the county's first "red light-running enforcement lights" on Dec. 10.
Representatives from the Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Community Traffic Safety Team attended a news conference at Mariner Boulevard and Spring Hill Drive, where the first lights are in operation.
White lights hang directly underneath the traffic lights and glow when a traffic signal turns red. This allows a deputy to monitor red-light offenders from virtually anywhere in the vicinity. Until now, an officer had to be behind a vehicle to determine if a motorist had run a red light.
The west-central Florida Community Traffic Safety Team is largely responsible for getting the state to help fund the devices. The team is made up of representatives from law enforcement and other community safety organizations. They meet monthly to identify and push for action on traffic-related issues. Nugent's representatives on the team are Tracy DiMuro, community relations specialist, Sgt. Lanny Corlew and Deputy Carlo Daleo.
Eventually, 18 or more of the devices will be installed at major intersections throughout Hernando County. The cost is covered through the state's signal maintenance and energy reimbursement program.
In Florida, about 110 people are killed each year as the result of crashes caused by motorists who run red lights.
Representatives from the Hernando County Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Transportation and the Community Traffic Safety Team make up the Red Light Enforcement Team. Standing in front, from left, are Paulette Murrin, Steve Diaz, Purce Dahlin and Sheriff Richard Nugent. In the second row, from left, are Herman Sinemus, Kris Reinhard, Rucell Nesmith, Sue Littnan, Jeanette Rouse, Donna Young and Peter Hsu. Standing in back, from left, are George Drobina, Deputy Chandler Cole, Deputy Bill Boettger (partially obscured) and David Carr.
MAPPING IT OUT: Members of the BellSouth Telephone Pioneers, Spring Hill Life Member Club, recently completed painting a map of the United States at Chocachatti Elementary School. The map, about 20 by 30 feet, is on the playground, near the basketball courts. It includes five colors and took about three days to complete. The map is the 23rd map the club has painted at Hernando County schools. The schools use the maps as a learning tool to teach the names of the states, their capitals and important facts about each state. Members of the map crew are Jim Frewin, Bob Muehlbauer, Jerry Abenante, Norm Faust, Bob Sachs and Martin Kenny. For information about the club, call 686-1333.
AUXILIARY ANGELS: On Dec. 17, members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 4372 Auxiliary of Weeki Wachee spent the afternoon sorting through and wrapping gifts that were donated for the auxiliary's Angel Tree to benefit local needy families. In addition, auxiliary members sorted through food items donated for Christmas food baskets. Auxiliary members delivered the items to 10 local families with a total of 17 children. On Dec. 18, auxiliary members delivered trays of cookies and fruit to local fire stations, Hernando-Pasco Hospice and the Hernando County Jail. Standing, from left, wrapping gifts are Linda Harper, Shirley Reed, Kay Beaudin and Nancy Pfeiffer. Kneeling, from left, are Betty Corbin and Beth Geiger. The auxiliary meets at 6:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 8263 Cortez Blvd., Weeki Wachee Hills. For information, call 797-0099.
TAKING TIME TO CHIME: Retired Navy Cmdr. Blaine Davidson, secretary of the West Central Chapter of the Military Officers Association of America, volunteered his time ringing the bell for the Salvation Army during the holiday season. Several chapter members took turns ringing the bell for a total of 50 volunteer hours in front of the Target store in Spring Hill.
SPIRITED STAFF: At the annual Hernando County employee recognition picnic on Dec. 11, almost 50 employees were recognized for being nominated by co-workers for the SPIRIT (Special People Inspiring Results, Ideas and Teamwork) award. The five winners, from left, are Andy Palmer, engineering; Nancy Hill, development; Denny Mitchell, parks maintenance; Peggy Beyer, technology services; and Jerry Haines, human resources.
FUNDS FOR FOOD BASKETS: Hernando County Sheriff Richard Nugent's Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving unit received help from the Suncoast Eye Center in providing Christmas food baskets for several families in Hernando County. The center donated $300 in Publix gift certificates. Marketing and public relations director Deborah Burge, and Teresa Vanek, who handles Suncoast's insurance billing, presented the certificates to Nugent and COPPS Deputy Tom Brooks on Dec. 10. Standing, from left, are Burge, Vanek, Brooks and Nugent.
A VISITOR FROM THE NORTH POLE: Members of the Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 4372 Auxiliary of Weeki Wachee visited with Santa, a.k.a. Pete Reed, and his elf, Brittany Goodrich, on Dec. 20.