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Hernando County briefs: Four Chaplains Memorial Service is Feb. 5

REMEMBERING THE FOUR CHAPLAINS: American Legion Post 186 will present its annual Four Chaplains Memorial Service at 3 p.m. Feb. 5 at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 1107 Commercial Way, Spring Hill.

Various veterans organizations will participate. Speakers will include retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Monroe T. Smith and retired Army Col. Nick Morana. The choir from St. Theresa's will sing patriotic songs. At the closing of the service, four white doves, donated by Downing Funeral Home, will be released from the church parking lot. Refreshments will follow.

The service honors the four military chaplains, all of different faiths, who died aboard the USS Dorchester, which was torpedoed during World War II on Feb. 3, 1943. The chaplains handed out life jackets to the servicemen aboard and, when there were none left, gave up their own. They were: Methodist minister George Fox, Lutheran minister Clark Poling, Jewish rabbi Alexander Goode and Catholic priest Johnny Washington.

For information, call Post 186 chaplain Charles Haig at (352) 597-1210.

SEVERE WEATHER PRESENTATION: As part of the National Weather Service's Severe Weather Week, Monday through Feb. 3, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office Emergency Management Section will offer a "Severe Weather Hazards" presentation from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 1 at the Emergency Operations Center at 18900 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.

The speaker will be Daniel Noah, warning coordination meteorologist with the National Weather Service Office in Ruskin. Noah will discuss and answer questions about weather vulnerabilities, such as lightning, marine hazards and rip currents, tornadoes and thunderstorms, hurricanes and flooding, as well as temperature extremes and wildfires. He will also discuss ways to be safe when encountering severe weather in Florida.

Emergency Management staffers will be on hand to discuss specific threats to Hernando County and will have reference materials available. There will be a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration weather radio giveaway. Radio programming will be available for residents who want to bring in their radios.

A tour of the Emergency Operations Center and 911 communications center will follow the presentation.

Seating is limited. To reserve a spot, RSVP to Mark Tobert at (352) 754-4083 or

Also, the Sheriff's Office is encouraging residents, businesses and schools to practice emergency procedures by participating in the statewide tornado drill at 10:10 a.m. Feb. 1. Additional information is available online at

GINGRICH OFFICE OPENS: The campaign of Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich has opened Hernando County headquarters in the J&M Plaza at 10153 Cortez Blvd., Spring Hill, just west of Oak Hill Hospital.

The office is open from noon to 5 p.m. Mondays; 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from noon to 3 p.m. Thursdays. The public is invited to stop in for bumper stickers, signs or to make a donation. For information, call (727) 919-2701.

VOLUNTEER, DONATE FOR COUNTY SCIENCE FAIR: Volunteers are needed for the annual Hernando County Science and Engineering Fair, which will be from 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Hernando County Fairgrounds, 6436 S Broad St., Brooksville. Sponsors are also being sought.

Professionals and retired professionals with science and engineering backgrounds are needed to help with judging of scientific method and engineering projects. Individuals with strong interests in botany, animal sciences, behavioral sciences, engineering, medicine/health or environmental studies are welcome.

The projects will be from Hernando County students in the sixth through 12th grades.

Businesses are also needed to sponsor special awards with plaques or monetary awards.

Those interested in judging or becoming a sponsor may contact Colleen Doulk at (352) 797-7024, ext. 252, or

INTERFAITH GROUP SEEKS VOLUNTEERS, DONATIONS: People Helping People of Hernando serves free meals to people in need from 4 to 5:30 p.m. each Sunday at the Hernando County Senior Citizens Club, 7925 Rhanbuoy Road, Spring Hill. The group is a local interfaith nonprofit in need of volunteers and donations.

Groups are encouraged to help out by preparing the entree at one of the dinners.

Along with the Sunday meals, People Helping People provides free clothing, groceries and resource materials to those in need. It also provides its Blessing in a Backpack program, in which more than 200 local elementary students receive backpacks of weekend food during the school year.

Monetary donations are always appreciated. For information, call (352) 686-4466. Checks may be mailed to: People Helping People, P.O. Box 6182, Spring Hill, FL 34611.

STORYBOOK FOREST: The Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando Counties will host its annual Storybook Forest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 4 at Crews Lake Park, 18739 Crews Lake Drive, Shady Hills.

The free event is in celebration of Children's Week, Sunday through Feb. 3, and will include children's entertainment, activities, crafts, music and complimentary food. Voluntary Prekindergarten registration will also be available.

Early childhood educators from Pasco and Hernando counties will create interactive displays based on children's novels. Children will learn about the story and create a related make-and-take project at each display. There will also be storytellers in costume to bring stories to life.

Clifford the Big Red Dog will be present to sign autographs and visit with children.

For information about the event, contact Sharon Hayes at (727) 233-8291 or For information about Children's Week, visit