Local and State

Results of Superintendent survey, intended as tool for improvement

Dr. George McDonald and his colleague Dr. Reginald Lee from the University of South Florida (USF) met with the Hernando County School Board on Aug. 14, 2018 to share the results of the 2018 Superintendent’s Performance Survey. The survey, prepared by USF’s Center for Research, Evaluation, Assessment and Measurement (CREAM), received some assistance from board members Susan Duval and Linda Prescott to better address Hernando County’s specific situation and work culture. CREAM’s evaluation centered on Dr. Lori Romano, who was fired by the school board in June.  Dr.

Brooksville Scrutinizes Budget, Considers Employee Raises for FY 2018-2019

Brooksville City Council held a six-and-a-half hour Budget Workshop on August 13, 2018, where the members discussed the budgets of several funds, most of them under the Public Works Department.  Salary increases for city employees were discussed in greater detail, with the entire council in agreement with a salary increase for non-management or executive employees, up to 5%. Merit increases for manager-level and above were also discussed. 

FPA Weekly newspaper Awards

Congratulations to Hernando Sun Photographer Cheryl Clanton, who was awarded second place for her portfolio entry in the 2017 Florida Press Association Weekly newspaper awards.  The judges had the following comment on her entry, "Balance of pictures are solid and challenge the reader to change the outcome. Great job." One of the noteable photos in her portfolio was taken during Firefighter/Paramedic Steven Terry's funeral procession.  When we wrote an article about our entries earlier this year, this photo was featured.

P&Z recommends Spring Center rezoning and BOCC approves comp plan

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) voted unanimously at the regular meeting on August 13, 2018 to approve their recommendation of the rezoning necessary to develop Spring Center, a 440-acre central hub of retail stores, restaurants and office space, surrounded by multi- and single-family homes.   Their approval was given with three small changes to the performance conditions described in the staff report.

County considers ‘bang for their buck’ in reducing Weeki Wachee Springshed Nitrogen levels

Hernando County Utilities Director Gordon Onderdonk asked Board of County Commissioners on July 24, 2018 for approval to withdraw current funding applications for proposed septic-to-sewer conversions.  The current applications total approximately $50-million, co-funded with Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), however also required a $4200 portion funded by each respective property owner, or other county funding.  The board approved unanimously.

Low mosquito counts in Hernando, but nearby areas report arbovirus presence

 

It has been a wet spring and summer has brought rains which have kept up the water level. There are several areas in Hernando County with significant standing water where there usually is not water. There have also been cases of Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile found in nearby counties. These factors could lead to a mosquito problem. 

Dampened plans for Shoal Line Rec Area

A letter from The Southwest Florida Water Management District (SWFWMD) Executive Director Brian Armstrong has left Hernando County staff and commissioners dismayed.

 
Mr. Armstrong responded to a letter from County Administrator Len Sossamon in reference to giving voters the chance to voice their opinion on the Shoal Line Blvd Recreation Area project proposed for a property located within the Weekiwachee Preserve owned by SWFWMD.  

Hernando Emergency Operations Center is ‘StormReady’ and debuts new weather app

On July 24, 2018, Emergency Management Director Cecilia Patella informed County Commissioners that Hernando County received re-certification, from the National Weather Service, for the StormReady program. This recognition is valid through August 7, 2021.  When a county is deemed StormReady by the National Weather Service they are better prepared to protect life and property from the onslaught of hazardous weather through better planning, education, and awareness. Ms.

Clash emerges on education amendment- two decades later

TALLAHASSEE --- One group, describing itself as the “framers” of an education constitutional amendment, was largely appointed by former Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles. Another group was appointed by 1990s-era Republican legislative leaders.

But two decades after the groups served together on the 1997-1998 Florida Constitution Revision Commission, they are clashing in the state Supreme Court.