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Published Oct. 19, 2008

Lester Cypher of the Volunteer Way of New Port Richey announced great advances in the food bank's farming projects.

The 25-foot-by-50-foot-area behind the warehouse on Congress Street has more than 2,000 plants that will be harvested by volunteers this fall. Lettuce and tomatoes are in abundance. A donation of 6.89 acres just north of the warehouse is cleared and ready for hydroponic farming under the guidance of Master Gardener Carolyn Kramer from the University of Florida.

About 100 feet by 300 feet of that land will become the first garden with 46,080 critically needed vegetable plants.

The Kids Against Hunger Food Drives not only have brought in thousands of pounds of food throughout this past year but now the kids are volunteering in the gardens. The Volunteer Way hopes to make hydroponic farming to feed the hungry a part of school activities, as well as a victory garden in every school.

Partners include the Florida Association of Hunger Relief Ministries, who is sharing information and training on how to maintain a hydroponic garden. Want to help and learn at the same time? Call (727) 815-0433

Military News

Navy Airman Apprentice Jensen P. Sanders, son of Phillip B. Sanders of Port Richey, completed U.S. Navy basic training and was meritoriously promoted to his current rank at Recruit Training Command, Great Lakes, Ill.

During the eight-week program, Sanders completed a variety of training, which included classroom study and practical instruction on naval customs, first aid, firefighting, water safety and survival, shipboard and aircraft safety. An emphasis was also placed on physical fitness.

The capstone event of boot camp is Battle Stations. This exercise gives recruits the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the fleet. Battle Stations is designed to galvanize the basic warrior attributes of sacrifice, dedication, teamwork and endurance in each recruit through the practical application of basic Navy skills and the core values of honor, courage and commitment. Its distinctly Navy flavor was designed to take into account what it means to be a sailor in today's U.S. Navy. Sanders is a 2004 graduate of Wayne High School in Ohio.

High Fives

State Sen. Mike Fasano was named the Florida Health Care Association's Legislator of the Year. Fasano received the award for outstanding and continuous support of Florida's frail and elderly seniors during the 2008 legislative session, the association said. The award was presented Aug. 4 at the association's annual conference in Orlando.

The Florida Health Care Association is Florida's first and largest advocacy organization for long-term care providers and has been in existence for more than 50 years. Fasano said that the needs of the frail and elderly have been a priority during his entire legislative tenure. He said that he will continue to work with the association to expand support and increase advocacy to ensure that the needs of these Floridians are met.