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Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Nicholas A. Cisek and more than 2,000 Marines and sailors assigned to the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit recently began the process of ensuring security and stability in the central Iraqi province of Northern Babil.

Operating from forward operating base Kalsu, Cisek's unit's first order of business was to establish a rapport with their neighbors. The Marines drove throughout their area of responsibility, stopping to offer residents water and to talk with them about their living conditions and how the Marines could help.

Cisek's unit is an expeditionary intervention force with the ability to rapidly organize for combat operations in virtually any environment. MEUs are built around a reinforced infantry battalion, a combat service support element, a reinforced helicopter squadron and a command element. With its complement of fully integrated air and ground forces, Cisek's unit is ready to conduct operations including boat raids, tactical recovery of aircraft and personnel, noncombatant evacuation operations and humanitarian assistance operations.

Cisek is a 2001 graduate of Hernando High School and the son of Dennis and Fran Cisek of Brooksville.


Retired engineer Richard Poling of Spring Hill was recently awarded a citation for his outstanding service to the engineering profession at the Florida Engineering Society's 88th annual meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Palm Beach.

Poling, who has more than 50 years of membership in the National Society of Professional Engineers, began his engineering career in 1940 as a first class machinist in the Norfolk Navy Yard, diagnosing mechanical and electrical failures of equipment aboard ships. His knowledge of equipment helped him make temporary aircraft repairs while in flight during World War II as a flight engineer.

Following his military service, Poling graduated from the University of Wyoming and then joined the national society as an engineer-in-training and a junior member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. Since then, he has advanced to a life member of both organizations.

Poling is still active in local, state and national organizations. As a member of the Florida Engineering Society, he has served as president and state director of the Nature Coast Chapter in Spring Hill. He was the originator/founder of the chapter. He has been involved in state committees, chapter activities, communication advisory, scholarships, awards and steering, as well as a leader at roundtable discussions at leadership conferences.

In addition to Florida state society activities, Poling has been active in other states, including the offices of second vice president and president of the West Virginia Society of Professional Engineers. He has also held other offices in different chapters. He was the originator/founder of the New Martinsville Chapter and the orientation conference of the West Virginia society.


Joey Fierro recently graduated from Pasco-Hernando Community College with an associate's degree in science, while maintaining a 4.0 grade-point average.

Fierro was a member of Phi Theta Kappa, an international honor society at PHCC where he served as an officer.

This fall, Fierro began attending the College of Pharmacy at the University of Florida, where he is majoring in pharmacy. He is working as a pharmacy technician at Publix in Seven Hills.

Fierro is a 2002 graduate of Springstead High School, where he was class salutatorian. He is the son of Mary and Joe Fierro of Spring Hill.


The University of South Florida's Learning in Retirement Hernando program will begin its fall term Monday, thanks to the efforts of some individuals who believe that learning is a lifelong pursuit that opens minds and enriches lives.

On Aug. 20, Ara Rogers, Ava Chitwood, Joseph McAuliffe, Joseph Menasce, Fred Reddy, John Noonan, Susan Bottom, Sachi Welch, Jack Richardson and George Warren attended a roundtable to work on the new fall schedule.

The Hernando study group is a USF organization, and USF is affiliated with both TraveLearn and the Elderhostel Institute. TraveLearn and the Elderhostel Institute Network are membership organizations of adults who join together in a learning community for educational trips. Learning in Retirement Hernando does not offer trips, but rather brings educational lecturers and courses to seniors in Hernando County.

The program is member-run and pursues the goals of member growth and personal fulfillment. Programs are directed toward the enrichment of life through lifelong learning and include study groups, coffee socials and special events.

Under the direction of Ara Rogers, director of senior programs at USF, the program created for Hernando County residents has been growing over the past six years.

A diverse group of lectureres, including USF faculty and Learning in Retirement Hernando members will give a series of eight lectures on the theme of "Empires and Emperors" this fall. Unless noted, all lectures and class are at the Hernando County Courthouse.

The fall term features two classes every Monday from Sept. 20 to Nov. 8: first, the "Empire and Emperors" lecture from 10 a.m. to noon, and then the class subject Life Writing I, presented by instructor Barbara Sherwood, from 1 to 3 p.m.

The lecture schedule includes: Sept. 20, "The Impact of Greek and Latin Cultures" presented by John D. Noonan; Sept. 27, "The Hellenistic Empire of Alexander the Great," Part 1, presented by Jack Richardson; Oct. 4, "The Hellenistic Empire of Alexander the Great," Part 2 (at Brooksville City Hall);

Oct. 11, "The Roman Empire," Part 1, by Ava Chitwood (at Brooksville City Hall); Oct. 18, Part 2, at the courthouse; and Oct. 25, "Catherine the Great" by Susan Bottom.

The lecture on Nov. 1 will be "Pre-Columbian Empires of Central and South America," Part 1, by Fred Reddy. Part 2 will be Nov. 8 at Brooksville City Hall.

For information about Learning in Retirement Hernando, contact George Warren at 688-5845.


The staff of the Hernando County Mosquito Control Division was recognized at the Hernando County Commission meeting July 27 for its mosquito control public education program, which won the 2004 National Association of Counties achievement award.

The objective of the outreach program was to educate the public, using various communication techniques, about the effects of West Nile Virus and how to prevent the disease through mosquito prevention and control.

The effort included 8,500 phone calls to residents, distribution of 5,000 brochures and fliers, and other printed materials. There were 56 presentations given in the community, seven television interviews, eight newspaper articles and a comprehensive Web site.

All of these efforts were accomplished by the mosquito control staff, with assistance from the technology services staff for the Web site.


The Hernando County Commission recognized the Animal Services Division staff at the commission's meeting July 27 for receiving the 2004 National Association of Counties achievement award for developing the Backsaver.

The Backsaver is an animal transport unit that mounts on the back of a pickup truck chassis. The invention was developed as a result of Animal Services staff brainstorming sessions to try and arrive at a solution for the problem of officers suffering from back injuries while lifting heavy animals into the trucks and also being at risk of animal bites.


Joe Starost, manager of the Outback Steakhouse in Spring Hill, along with his staff, donated their talents, food and hospitality for the Humane Society Outback Blast on June 26.

The fundraiser benefited pets at the Humane Society of Hernando County. Reserved seating and lunch were provided to members of the community who came together to support the event.

The event raised $4,000 for the Humane Society. Also showcased was the Community Service of the Year award recently presented to the Humane Society by the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce. The award was given for the Humane Society's efforts to enhance life for residents and pets of Hernando County.

Door prizes were provided by A Special Occasion, Hernando County Family YMCA, Holly Price, Raymond James & Associates, the Paper Playhouse, Joan Lentini/Fun Flags-Florida Custom Flags, AutoWay Ford Lincoln Mercury of Brooksville, Warman Financial Services, Rick Matthews Buick Pontiac GMC, Dennis Schoch/Home Sweet Home Realty, Cortez Community Bank, Hernando Oaks Golf & Country Club, the Breakfast Club of Spring Hill and Publix supermarkets.

T-shirts by Steve Rushing, made exclusively for the Humane Society, were available, as well as an autographed book of Rushing's cartoons.

For information about the Humane Society, contact Joanne Schoch at 232-3032. Donations may be mailed to the Humane Society of Hernando County, P.O. Box 10328, Brooksville, FL 34603.

At the Florida Engineering Society's 88th annual meeting, Richard Poling, left, was awarded a citation for outstanding service to the engineering profession by Mark Mongeau, president of the society.

Organizers of the University of South Florida's Learning in Retirement Hernando program gathered for a roundtable to work on the fall schedule. Seated from left are: Ava Chitwood, professor of classics; Joseph McAuliffe, program staffer, and Joseph Menasce, history lecturer. Standing from left are: Fred Reddy, lecturer; John Noonan, professor of classics; Ara Rogers, director of senior programs; Susan Bottom, historian; Sachi Welch, Japanese historian; Jack Richardson, historian, and George Warren, the program's Hernando coordinator.

The Hernando County Mosquito Control Division recently won the 2004 National Association of Counties achievement award. From left are Linton Pahl; Charles Mixson, county engineer and public works director; Renee Snow; Dr. Guangye Hu, the county's mosquito control director; Dan Looper; and John Raye.

Members of the Animal Services Division recently won the 2004 National Association of Counties achievement award for the division's recently developed Backsaver. From left are Frank McDowell, code enforcement director; Liana Teague, newly appointed animal services manager; Jim Varn, recently retired animal services manager; Greg Harrison; Teri Blake, and Brenda Rodgers.

The Knights of Columbus, St. Jude Council 6383, recently presented its annual scholarship awards. From left are Lorraine Busca, immediate past president of the Ladies Auxiliary; Leonard Bowers and Ann Contesti, scholarship committee members; students Liesl Eng, Stephanie Sturm, Jessica Hurd, Derrick Drake, John Cosentino and Brian Fisher; Ken Curthoys, president of the council's home association and a member of the scholarship committee; and Charlie Wadulack, grand knight. Students Matthew Barry, James Fisher and Michael Hibbert were unavailable for the photo.

Outback Steakhouse hosted the Humane Society Outback Blast. From left are Joe Starost, manager of Outback Steakhouse; Joanne Schoch, executive director of the Humane Society, and Paul Montante, president of the board of directors of the Humane Society.