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YOUR FRIEND AND NEIGHBOR

I can only think of one way to describe Hernando.

It's not bad. Far from it.

Hernando is that friend I know through a friend. My friend is Pasco County. The news and stories I hear from places such as Spring Hill and Brooksville feel as though I heard it from a friend, who heard it from a friend who heard it from another.

The bottom line is, I grew up in Pasco County. I know the ins and outs, the backstreets, the shortcuts, the dead-ends, the hot spots - just about everything there is to know about that county.

Hernando, though, not so much.

I want that to change.

As a community sports writer and editor for the St. Petersburg Times, I'm looking for local recreation and youth sports stories. Sprinkle some golf articles in there, and what you have is a recipe for my job. But I need help from Hernando. I have two very large, constantly growing counties to cover, and what I want - what I need - from Hernando is to know what's going on.

This, however, isn't about me.

It's about your kids now. It's about your community sports, about your weekend adult league, about your Wednesday evening bowl-a-thon, where you picked up a shiny, first-place trophy.

It's about that and more. We at the St. Petersburg Times are looking to you, - yes, you there who had the best time in his or her age bracket in last weekend's 10K run.

We want to know what's going on in your wide world of sports, from the softball league that meets Friday nights to the Sunday morning bike runs that you look forward to while at your job.

We need you to tell us what's going on. We want to put it in the paper.

I know what you're thinking. What about that time I broke the local club's record for most laps in the Olympic-sized pool? Or when I hit a 7-iron closest to the pin and won a steak dinner?

Tell us. We want to know. We want to tell the community about you. We want to make you popular around the water cooler or in the produce aisle of the grocery store.

This area likes coverage of the community, of the everyday people who are your neighbors, sometimes your family and even your friends.

That is our dedication to the community: to the fun and the competitive, to the familiar and the unacquainted.

So let's get to know one another, Hernando. It won't be that difficult.

It'll actually be fun.

You must want your kids' names and pictures in the paper. I know my parents did when I was a kid playing in a youth soccer league.

Hernando, we can become more accustomed to this, the daily times we talk, that we keep in touch and that I get know you better.

Because, Hernando, I'm your new best friend.

Mike Camunas can be reached at mcamunas@sptimes.com or (352) 544-9480.

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