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Hernando County news briefs for Aug. 30

News and notes from your local community


Child advocates needed in local courts

The Guardian ad Litem program is seeking volunteers to be a voice for abused, neglected or abandoned children whose cases are in the court system.

Volunteers are assigned to a human service supervisor and attorney, and gather information to make recommendations to the court.

The program is a state- and county-funded volunteer-based organization that trains lay persons to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children.

At present, more than 2,100 children are part of the Dependency Court System in the 5th Circuit which includes Marion, Lake, Hernando, Citrus and Sumter counties.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer, contact Diana Gisonni at (352) 812-6971 or Visit to learn more about the Guardian ad Litem program.

Sheriff hosts Teen Driving Challenge

The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office invites licensed teenage drivers to participate in the next Teen Driver Challenge from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13 at the Pasco-Hernando State College East Campus, 36727 Blanton Road, Dade City.

This is a defensive driving and vehicle control program designed to provide drivers ages 16-18 with the knowledge and understanding of the forces created by an automobile and the affects of those forces on the human body.

The eight-hour session includes classroom and driving portions.

Spaces is limited to 10 students. Those interested in this free program must be a Hernando County student/resident with a valid driver’s license. A printable registration form is available at For information, call (352) 797-3660.

Arts council now offers education grants

The Hernando County Fine Arts Council has launched its new Arts in Education Grants for the fall and spring. Applications for the fall grant must be received no later than Sept. 4.

The purpose of the grant is to support arts educators in delivering and promoting arts experiences extended to Hernando County students. The maximum grant request is $500, and any certified visual or performing arts teacher in a public or private school in Hernando County may apply.

Applicants may apply online at For information, contact Barbara Blavatt at (352) 345-3815 or email to

Gardening and landscaping classes offered

The following landscaping and gardening classes will be offered. Unless otherwise noted, classes are free and no registration is required.

  • Simple Steps to a Florida-Friendly Yard, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 5, at the West Hernando/Staffordene T. Foggia Branch Library, 6335 Blackbird Ave., Spring Hill. Florida-Friendly Landscaping Coordinator Lily Browning will discuss a few steps that will make a big impact impact in the landscape.
  • Fall Blooming Natives, 10 a.m. Sept. 6, at Chinsegut Conservation Center, 23212 Lake Lindsey Road, north of Brooksville. Master Gardener Rita Grant will discuss a variety of native plants that will bring autumn to life in the landscape.
  • Rain Barrel Workshop, 10:30 a.m. Sept. 25, at Hernando County Utilities, 15365 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville. Presented by Lily Browning. To attend, preregistration and prepayment is required. The cost is $50, which includes a 55-gallon rain barrel. Checks only will be accepted and are to be sent to Hernando County Utilities (write ‘Rain Barrel Workshop Sept. 25′ on the envelope). Utilities customers who participate will get a one-time credit on their water bill of $25. All sales are final. Participants should bring a vehicle that can accommodate the rain barrel. For information, call (352) 540-6230.


Chinsegut hosts various events

Chinsegut Conservation Center will host the following events in September. Unless otherwise noted, events are at the center, 23212 Lake Lindsey Road, north of Brooksville:

  • Night Hike, 7:30 p.m. Sept. 6. Adults and teens 16 and older are welcome to attend this evening wildlife viewing experience. Personal flashlights and flash photography are prohibited. The group will look for birds, bats, butterflies and other wildlife as the sun sets and the moon rises. No registration required.
  • Beginners Archery, 10 a.m. Sept. 7. Learn the basics of target archery using compound bows from skilled instructors. All equipment provided. For ages 12 and older. Advance registration required.
  • 3-D Archery, 9 a.m. Sept. 14. The course is 15 lanes with 3-D target variety. The program is 3-4 hours. No registration is required. There is a fee for equipment. Call for details.
  • Birding 101, 10 a.m. Sept. 20. This is a free class for adults interested in beginning a birding hobby or improving their birding skills. Learn the common tools of birding, what makes a good pair of binoculars, how to use binoculars effectively and more. Registration is required.
  • Children in the Wild, Animal Evidence, 2 p.m. Sept. 21. Children ages 5 to 9 can meet live animals, explore the outdoors or create a craft. This is a free one-hour program offered each month. Registration required.
  • Beginning Birding, 8 a.m. Sept. 27. Volunteers from the Hernando Audubon Society will offer a guided birding hike. Field guides and binoculars may be borrowed from the center. This free program is offered monthly through April. No registration required.
  • Family night with Creatures of the Night, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 27. This program is offered by Not-A-Clue Adventures and includes a campfire dinner, dessert and a special opportunity to explore nighttime animal activity. The cost is $15 a person and reservations must be made online at
  • Fall Flowers at Big Pine, 9 a.m. Sept. 28. This is a 1.5-mile guided hike through the Big Pine Tract of Chinsegut Wildlife and Environmental Area, located off Old Crystal River Road, north of Brooksville. Participants will learn about native wildflowers and how to utilize the iNaturalist app for plant and animal identification.

For further information or to register for any of the above programs, visit or call (352) 754-6722.

Live Oak announces 2019-20 season shows

Season tickets for Live Oak Theatre’s 2019-20 season are available. All performances are at the Carol and Frank Morsani Center for the Arts, 21030 Cortez Blvd.

The full season of five shows, held from September through May, is $80; children’s tickets (ages 13 and younger) are $25 when purchased with an adult season ticket.

Single admission tickets are available for the season opener, Cheaper By the Dozen, which will be shown weekends, Sept. 13-29. Individual tickets are $20 for adults and $5 for students 13 and younger when purchased with an adult ticket.

The season’s other shows include:

The Little Mermaid, Nov. 8-24

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Dec. 13-15

Around the World in 80 Days, March 20-April 5

Live Oak Goes to the Movies (a musical tribute), May 1-10

Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with matinees at 2:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

All shows are family-friendly and feature casts of adults and youth.

To order season tickets, call the box office at (352) 593-0027, email or purchase online at

'Tropic’ dance to feature Johnny Lobo

A “Night in the Tropics” dance will be from 7 to 10 p.m. Sept. 7 at the Brookridge Clubhouse, 8150 Hampton St.

The dance will feature Johnny Lobo, best known for his tropical island tunes played on three keyboards. He will perform music from the 1950s to ’80s.

Dress is casual. Admission is $7. Guests may bring their own beverages; coffee and ice will be provided. For information, call Val at (352) 616-0242.


Magic shows to benefit People Helping People

People Helping People’s 2019 Magic Show will be presented at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sept. 14 at Springstead Theater, 3300 Mariner Blvd. The show will feature comedian magician Elliott Smith.

Tickets are $15 for ages 13 and older, $5 for ages 12 and younger, and $25 for families of two adults, two children. All funds raised will benefit People Helping People of Hernando County, an interfaith community that serves people in need. For information or tickets, call (352) 686-4466 or (352) 279-0080.

First aid program targets mental health

The Hernando Community Coalition will offer “Mental Health First Aid” from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 13 at Pasco-Hernando Stage College, Spring Hill Campus, 450 Beverly Court.

The program helps participants assist someone experiencing a mental health-related crisis, including risk factors and warning signs, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations and where to turn for help.

There is no cost to participate. For information, visit or call (352) 596-8000.

YASS! sobriety program kicks off

Young Adults Supporting Sobriety will have its first meeting from 6 to 7 p.m. Sept. 21 at 10554 Spring Hill Drive. Pizza will be served, and visitors can meet the facilitators.

This is a new addiction recovery support initiative for young adults in and around Hernando County. It is designed to compliment traditional Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and Celebrate Recovery group meetings, providing peer support for young adults on their recovery journey. Weekly meetings are facilitated by those with personal recovery experience.

There is no cost, but those attending must be at least 18 years old. For information, call (352) 540-6817. Visit the YASS-Young Adults Supporting Sobriety page on Facebook.