Student portfolio could be an option for good cause promotion

School Board member Beth Narverud addressed concerns that are voiced by parents at nearly every Board meeting about the State-mandated testing at last week's regular school board meeting. While the district has reduced some of the testing requirements, Narverud stated that the district does not have the authority to refuse to comply with the State testing requirements.

City of Brooksville Renews Contract with Sunrise Consulting Group

Sunrise Consulting Group is a lobbying firm that has been representing the interests of its clients by seeking appropriations from the State Legislature in Tallahassee. Shawn Foster is the president of Sunrise Consulting Group and some of his clients include the City of Brooksville, Florida Blueberry Growers Association (FBGA) and Hernando County.

Lake Townsen Renaming Update

When we spoke with Melba Peters Ward, Istachatta Historian, in 2015, she expressed a desire to change the name Lake Townsen to reflect its historical namesake Francis M. Townsend and original name Lake Townsend. This would require re-adding a "d" to Townsen. Mrs. Ward expressed a desire to hand draw a D on the Lake Townsen to correct the historical mistake. As a tribute to Mrs. Ward after her passing a group of people set out to correct the name of Lake Townsen.

Nicholson: county has "no control" of prescribed burning

During the time allotted for citizen comments at the 5/10/16 BOCC meeting, Jim King was taken to task for scheduling another prescribed burning in Cypress Lakes Preserve. Shirley Miketinac referred to the 5/6/16 Hernando Sun interview with King in which he stated that the oaks did not belong at Cypress Lakes, and more longleaf pines were needed. King also discussed the process and benefits of burning in the article, but Miketinac rebutted this, citing sources that explained that burns were actually more destructive than productive.

County to control where state mandated communication towers will go

The BOCC approved an ordinance to control placement of communication towers on public right-of-ways. The State Legislature has mandated that local governments must accept the 100 – 200 feet tall towers, without the communication company having to purchase or lease the land. Commissioners see this as a danger to public safety as right of ways are of different widths and the towers may be placed near residential and business areas.

County adds regulations for tethering of animals

There are ordinances which already exist regarding cruelty to animals, but local animal rescue groups wanted something with a little more “teeth” to punish those who mistreat their animals. County attorney Garth Coller stated that staff used ordinances from other counties to draft an amendment to the current ordinance which would spell out what is acceptable for animals who are kept outdoors, pulling largely from St. Johns County.

Zoning change for RV park still stands

A proposed RV park in Ridge Manor has been vigorously opposed by residents of a golf community. The plan for intended rezoning would change the area from single family homes and recreation to park model trailer homes and RVs. In March, the BOCC initially approved the request with a vote of 3-2. Due to public concerns that they were not properly noticed and additional information that was learned after the 3/8/16 hearing, the BOCC seemed to change their collective minds and voted 5-0 to have a re-hearing on 5/10/16.

Hernando County legislative update

Laura Boehmer (Southern Strategy Group) and Shawn Foster (Sunrise Consulting Group) represent Hernando County interests in Tallahassee. The Florida legislature met in January and February this year. In the report to the BOCC on May 10th, Foster stated that of the 2100 bills filed, only 172 passed. The largest bill (S.B. 1322) was sponsored by Sen. Jack Latvala of Pinellas County and concerned cost-sharing payments to DJJ for Juvenile Detention Centers.