Local and State

Fried maintains hold in Ag race after manual recount

November 18, 2018

by Jim Turner

NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA

TALLAHASSEE --- Former medical-marijuana lobbyist Nikki Fried is on the verge of being the only Florida Democrat to capture a statewide win, gaining votes over Republican state Rep. Matt Caldwell in the race for agriculture commissioner after a manual recount was completed Sunday.

The manual recount also had no effect on the outcome of three razor-thin legislative races, in which Democrat Janet Cruz flipped a state Senate seat and House Republicans picked up one seat and held onto another.

Adding 'actual cost' information to the budget sheet

Another item addressed during the Oct. 9 informal Hernando County school board meeting was placing actual cost information on the school district’s budget sheet. Specifically, Susan Duval raised the discussion of including the amount of money that was budgeted for an item in previous years and what the item actually cost.  Duval said the information can currently be looked up, but is time-consuming.  She also noted that for anyone tracking expenses, having the additional information available will make that job easier.

Superintendent search will wait

Susan Duval reported that she may have given “an inaccurate response” in a recent meeting when asked about beginning a search for a permanent superintendent.   According to Duval, the board agreed to begin a search for a new superintendent, who would not have been selected until after the November swearing in of the new School Board members. 

Reviewing the minutes, Duval said that the board moved to begin a search for a new superintendent, the position currently held on an interim basis by John Stratton.  The job posting or call for applicants has not taken place yet.

Reinstating music programs discussed during informal meeting

At the Oct. 9, 2018 informal Hernando County school board meeting, Linda Prescott reported that six elementary schools do not have music programs.  She also cited recent research into the benefits of music education for young students.   Mentioning also that there is still a noticeable skills gap in Hernando County students, Prescott asked about the possibility of reinstating music education in schools without it.

Actions to be taken on school district’s weapons policy

On October 4, 2018, Ronald Ralph, a Central High School paraprofessional was arrested for possessing a firearm on school property.  Ralph’s arrest record cites a violation of Florida Statute 790.115, which states in part that one exception is “In a vehicle pursuant to s. 790.25(5); except that school districts may adopt written and published policies that waive the exception in this subparagraph for purposes of student and campus parking privileges.” 

City of Brooksville eliminates economic ambassador volunteer position for now

Brooksville has had a long relationship with local businessman Dr. Dennis Wilfong, but his honorary title was removed during the City Council meeting on Oct. 15, 2018. In 2009, then-mayor Joe Bernardini appointed Dr. Wilfong as the City’s Ambassador of Commerce on the recommendation of the previous City Attorney and City Manager.