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Bridge class available for beginners, and other Hernando news

News and notes from Hernando County
Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
Published Jan. 27


Goodwill kicks off book drive

A drive to support Goodwill’s BookWorks childhood literacy program kicks off on Feb. 1 and runs through March 15 in an effort to bring the joy of reading to children who may not otherwise have books in their homes. People in Hernando, Pasco, Hillsborough, Pinellas, Polk, Marion, Sumter and Highlands counties are encouraged to donate children’s books in good condition or to make a donation to purchase books for the program.

Goodwill volunteers read to children at Head Start centers and other locations and then present each child with a book to take home. Last year, BookWorks volunteers presented books to more than 41,000 children.

To donate books, attach a note indicating they are “For BookWorks” and drop them off at any Goodwill-Suncoast store or donation site. For donation locations, visit or call toll-free 888-279-1988. To make a monetary gift, visit

To volunteer for BookWorks, call 888-279-1988 and ask for BookWorks or email

AARP offers driver program for seniors

The AARP Driver Safety Program will be offered at several locations in Hernando County in February. The course is open to drivers 50 and older who, upon completion, may receive a discount on their auto insurance premiums. The certificate is valid for three years. The cost is $15 for AARP members (bring membership card) and $20 for nonmembers. Space is limited; preregistration is required.

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 5, Brooksville Enrichment Center, 17222 Hospital Blvd., Brooksville. Call Pat, (352) 586-2731.

• 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 8, Brookridge Clubhouse, 8150 Hampton St., west of Brooksville. Call Murray, (904) 535-2999.

• 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 10 and 11, Salishan Retirement Living, 191 Astaire Lane, Spring Hill. Call Lawrence, (352) 835-7017.

• 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 11, Hernando County Mining Association Enrichment Center, 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd., Brooksville. Call Bill, (352) 556-3050.

• 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Feb. 18, Atria Evergreen Woods, 7030 Evergreen Woods Trail, Spring Hill. Call Bill, (352) 556-3050.

• 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 20, Spring Hill Enrichment Center, Medical Arts Building, Suite 105, 10441 Quality Drive, Spring Hill. Call Murray, (904) 535-2999.

• 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Feb. 28, Downing Funeral Home, 1214 Wendy Court, Spring Hill. Call Dom, (352) 684-2524.

Youth can enter ‘Americanism’ contest

The National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution is sponsoring an Elementary School Americanism Poster Contest. The Withlacoochee Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution invites students in the third, fourth and fifth grades who are interested in the history of the American Revolution to participate.

The contest is open to all public, parochial and private schools, as well as home-schooled students. The theme for 2019-2020 is “The Battle of Thomas Creek.”

Posters for the chapter level may be submitted through March 30; cash awards will be offered at each level of the contest. For further details, contact Larry Sturgeon at (352) 688-2947 or email

Computer donations wanted for homeless

Nature Coast Community Services Foundation is collecting donations of computers with the intent to teach the homeless how to use a computer to find and keep employment. Any make or model with a Windows platform is acceptable. Obsolete models will be updated, and non-functioning computers will be repaired. Those who would like to donate a computer can call (352) 600-9555 or visit for further information.


Chinsegut hosts various activities

Chinsegut Conservation Center will host the following programs and events. Unless otherwise noted, events will be on center grounds at 23212 Lake Lindsey Road. For details or reservations, contact the center at (352) 754-6722.

• Guided Hike at Big Pine Tract, 10 a.m. Feb. 1. All ages welcome. The hike will include a visit to a towering pine community to learn about the plants, animals and management of this forest, dubbed the southernmost virgin stand of longleaf pines in Florida. Meet at Big Pine, 12060 Old Crystal River Road. The hike is approximately two miles.

• Wonderful Water, 10 a.m. Feb. 7. Bring the kids to this educational program to learn about the water cycle and take a walk to May’s Prairie to explore a native wetland. Wear shoes and clothes suitable for exploring in the woods, as well as water and insect repellent. The walk to the wetland and back is two miles. No registration needed.

• Night Hike for Winter-Breeding Frogs, 6 p.m. Feb. 7. A few frog species are vocal and amorous in the cooler months. This guided night hike/dip-netting journey to May’s Prairie is geared for adults and youth 8 and older, who will document what tadpoles can be found. Participating is limited. Register online or call.

• 3-D Archery Shoot, 9 a.m. Feb. 8. Shoot to prepare for the upcoming tournament shoot in April. The course is 15 lanes with 3-D target variety. A lunch will be provided after the shoot. Call for costs and details.

• Centralia Trip, 9 a.m. Feb. 14. This guided visit to the Centralia historic site will take place at the Chassahowitzka Wildlife Management Area on U.S. 19. Participants can meet at the main check station by 9:30 a.m., or follow from Chinsegut at 9 a.m. This program requires a hike through heavily forested and swampy terrain off the beaten trail.

• Beginner Archery, 10 a.m. Feb. 15. Learn the basics of target archery using compound bows from skilled instructors. For ages 12 and older. Advanced registration required. All equipment provided. Register online or call.

• Children in the WILD; Peewee Archery, 2 p.m. Feb. 15. This will be an opportunity for parents to work alongside their children (ages 5-9) who are interested in learning archery. Children will learn the basics using the center’s scaled-down equipment, one-on-one coaching and help from parents. Space is limited; register by calling the center.

• Eagles at Hernando County Landfill, 9 a.m. Feb. 21. Join a group of bird watchers on an eagle expedition to learn how eagles are intertwined in waste management, how waste services balance their input and impact for sensitive species and help with conservation. Juvenile and adult eagles will be observed. For participants 12 and older. Meet at the conservation center by 9 a.m. Registration required; call the center.

• Guided Hike at Perry Oldenberg, 10 a.m. Feb. 22. Take a hike in this environmental area that was once cattle pasture. Adults only. The terrain is primarily sand, under two miles, through pine forest. Hikers are to meet at the Perry Oldenberg entrance at the end of Deer Run Road. Call in advance for directions, if needed.

• Beginning Birding with Audubon, 8 a.m. Feb. 28. Join volunteers with the Hernando Audubon Society on this guided birding stroll through Chinsegut grounds. See song birds, wading birds and maybe even a great horned owl.


Eight-week bridge class kicks off Feb. 7

An eight-week beginning bridge class will be offered at the Nature Coast Bridge Club, 3021 Commercial Way. The two-hour sessions will be conducted at 9:30 a.m. on consecutive Fridays, starting Feb. 7. The cost is $65, which includes the textbook. For further information, contact Judy Kortier at (727) 819-2008 or

Hypnotic mind-reader to perform

The High Point Ladies Golf League will host a Comedy Mind-Reading and Hypnosis Show starring master mentalist and hypnotist Larry Greenberg, from 7 to 9 p.m. Feb. 18 at the High Point Community Center, 12252 Clubhouse Road. Tickets are $15. Call (352) 596-2397.


  1. Ryan Lotito Sr., left, of Spring Hill pitches to his son Ryan Lotito Jr. to work on his swing techniques at the Anderson Snow Sports Complex in Spring Hill.
  2. Hudson High student Kaitlyn Helzer introduces herself to a curious corn snake during the Nature Coast Envirothon, held Feb. 19 at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County. Students from Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties tested their knowledge on aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife while vying for a spot at state competition. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
  3. The Southwest Florida Water Management District has declared 1,044 acres of its Annutteliga Hammock property in northwest Hernando County surplus. Most of those parcels are in the  area of Royal Highlands. The district has been seeking buyers for the individual parcels. [Tampa Bay Times]
  4. Associate professor of biology Caitlin Gille leads the Pasco-Hernando State College faculty union, which challenged the school's public comment rules.  (Photo Courtesy of Caitlin Gille)
  5. Anthony Jackson, 24, of Spring Hill, faces burglary and grand theft auto charges. Tyreece Germe, 23, whom deputies identified as one of Jackson’s accomplices in some tow truck misadventure, also faces a grand theft auto charge. [Hernando County Sheriff's Office]
  6. Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
  7. Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik  [Times staff]
  8. The annual Paulie Palooza festival in downtown Zephyrhills draws a big crowd to a day filled with eight bands performing on the Main Street Stage, food trucks along Fifth Avenue and a variety of vendors. This year's event will be from noon to 9 p.m. Feb. 29, and is a benefit for Gulfside Hospice. [Kirsty Churchill/Gulfside Hospice]
  9. Hernando County community news [Tara McCarty]
  10. A "for sale" sign beckons Friday along Sixth Avenue N in the Kenwood area of St. Petersburg. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times]
  11. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Tampa Bay Times]