Lisa MacNeil

Students charged with firearm possession on school property

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At a press conference held on Sept. 6, 2019, HCSO Sheriff Al Nienhuis, together with School Superintendent John Stratton and Major Crimes Detectives had additional information on the series of events that led to the lockdown of several schools on Sept. 5, 2019.

No students were threatened, and no shots were fired during the incident.

All 5 male suspects are juveniles, and students at Hernando High School.  

Interfund Loans to Ease Shortages

Budget Director Stephanie Russ introduced the policy revision (No. 29-01) that allows for Interfund Loans.  Put simply, a budget fund with a shortage could borrow from another fund. Such a policy will prevent the necessity to secure external loans, which are accompanied by interest and fees.   This has been common practice, however an official policy has never been written. This policy was approved by the board unanimously.

County to Purchase Property to Realign Petit Lane, Using Gas Tax Funds

The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) voted 4-0 Tuesday, August 27, 2019 to purchase two parcels of property in Hernando Beach in order to realign the intersection of Petit Lane/Caliente Street/Shoal Line Blvd. intersections.  The price of the two parcels is $400,000, and is to be purchased with funds from the gas tax.

Two additional parcels to the north of the parcels currently under contract are also being considered, however it has not been determined if they will be offered for sale. 

Hunter's Lake Residents Continue Removal of Vegetation

In late 2017, Hernando County waterways conducted a 14-acre, $150,000 cleanup of the thick tussocks impeding the “best bass fishing lake,” that is, Hunter’s Lake.

Tussocks are thick floating islands of vegetative “mats” of water plants and other debris.  If left unmanaged, tussocks can expand to levels that may be detrimental to the health of the lake.

Since then, several Hunter’s Lake residents have contracted with a local company to clean up the remaining areas of thick vegetation adhering to their lakefronts. 

Winn Dixie and country music duo give big to Operation HeartF.E.L.T.

The ending initials in Operation HeartF.E.L.T. stand for "Feeding Empty Little Tummies," a local organization founded by educator Pattie Stepbach. Stepbach, who has served in several school districts in Florida saw an increasing need in her own classrooms when she began recognizing some kids were distracted by hunger. "I always had something in my desk for them," Stepbach recalled.

Matters at the Hernando BOCC meeting Aug. 13, 2019

People Matter

Presentation of Plaque in Memory of Utilities Department Employee Laverne “Verne” Dennison

Verne’s career began in 1986, when gas was $0.86 per gallon, and Ronald Regan was president.  His family was present to receive the honor.

Parks Matter

Notice of Acceptance From US Department of Treasury of RESTORE Act Direct Component Multi-Year Implementation Plan Amendment

New school programs for early literacy, teacher cultural exchange and under-served students

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Footsteps2Brilliance, an Early Learning Mobile Technology Platform

Gina Michalicka, Assistant Superintendent of Teaching and Learning introduced the Footsteps 2 Brilliance program; a community-wide early literacy initiative.  This multi-platform mobile technology is aimed at families with younger students, beginning at the pre-kindergarten level, and seeks to involve kids in a “culture of literacy” before they enter the classroom, and building those skills through early elementary school. 

Hernando County considers TheBus expansion

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At the August 13, 2019 Board of County Commissioners regular meeting,  Planning Director Ron Pianta introduced the update to the Hernando County Transit Development Plan (TDP), which is updated every five years, and proposed a plan for the next ten years.  The board voted 5-0 to approve the plan, and to submit to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) no later than September 1, 2019.