Hernando Commission Approves $21.5 Million for County Courthouse Improvements | New

BROOKSVILLE — In a few years, that long, arduous hike up the hill and then the stairs to the east side of the county courthouse will be a thing of the past.

On June 28, county commissioners seemed happy to unanimously approve the $21.5 million to make the building compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act, with the long stairs seemingly disappearing and more room for courtrooms, disabled parking and better security.

The work is expected to last about a year and a half from the notice to proceed.

Judge Daniel Merritt said there are three judicial renovations underway right now, and this one has been a long time coming.

“This is a good and appropriate expenditure of public funds,” Merritt said. “It will serve the public and our facility has lagged behind the other four facilities on our circuit for a long time. This will bring us closer to our other counties. »

Commission chairman Steve Champion said even without a vote he knew it would be 5-0 because “we need it”.

“I’m just glad they’re not threatening us with it,” he told the judge. “Because before, I was like, ‘You have to do something about this courthouse,’ and we were all in agreement, but we also had a huge deficit and big fund problems years ago. years.”

One good thing, County Administrator Jeff Rogers said, is that the big hill on the east side will be flattened so people with disabilities don’t have to “climb a marathon hill.” The entrance will be on the ground floor.

Members of Hernando County EMS, Fire Rescue and Bravera Health pose with county commissioners.

EMS, health workers saluted

A large group of firefighters and EMS personnel and their superiors, along with medical personnel from Bravera Health, worked together to save a woman’s life and were recognized for their hard work which literally brought the victim back to life not once, but twice.

It was a bittersweet moment as Fire Chief Scott Hechler also announced his retirement.

“It’s so great to be able to leave recognizing our people,” he said. “That’s one thing that gives me more joy after 40 years is recognizing the incredible things our first responders do.”

The incident happened on April 26, when 911 dispatched Hernando County Fire and Emergency Services to a home where a woman was in cardiac arrest. There was a language barrier, Deputy Chief James Billotte said, and one child – who had called 911 – had to translate for response personnel.

The woman was resuscitated once by Fire Rescue on the way to the hospital and again in the hospital emergency room. She had to be transferred to another hospital, Billotte said, and eventually made a full recovery and is back with her family in Naples, Florida.

It shows the complexity of what it takes to save a life, Hechler said.

“This award really goes to my team,” said Josh DeTillio, chief executive of Bravera Health. “They save lives every day; in fact, they had another (emergency) at 6:30 this morning.

DeTillio praised the county’s EMS team for their work. “I’ve worked in many counties and this is by far the best EMS team.”

The Bravera Health personnel who helped save the woman’s life were:

• Dr. Anthony Cina — emergency physician, BHSH

• Dr. Dhiraj Warman — Cardiologist, BHB

• Kimberly Diamond – RN, BHSH

• Allison Malles — RT, Cath Lab, BHB

• Hannah Kruger — RCIS, Cath Lab, BHB

• Angela Houghtalin—RN, BHSH

• Tammy Parks – RN, Supervisor, BHSH

• Matt Graham – RN, BHSH (also works for HCFES)

Hernando County Fire and Emergency Services:

• Captain Mike Rich — (Stage Call)

• Thomas Nickola — (Stage Call)

• Justin Heath – (Stage Call)

• Dan Dancsak — (Stage Call)

• Carlos Ramirez — (Stage Call)

• Travis Holdsworth — (BHSH to BHB inter-facility transportation)

• Dakota Meridith — (BHSH to BHB inter-facility transportation)

The Bravera administrative team presents:

• Josh DeTillio, General Manager

• Sheryl Clemente, Cath Lab Manager

• James Kessler, Emergency Manager

• Jennifer Siem, PIO

• Wayne Ruppert, Director of Clinical Outreach

Commissioner targets library book

County Commissioner Jeff Holcomb said he was made aware of a book in a part of the library which he says should not be accessible to young people because it is “porn”.

A citizen told him it was in the 12+ section, and the county has a copy.

“When you have porn in there, it shouldn’t be in the tween section,” Holcomb said.

The book is “Not All Boys Are Blue” by George M. Johnson. According to the library’s summary of the book, “In a series of personal essays, prominent journalist and LGBTQIA+ activist George M. Johnson explores his childhood, teenage years, and college years in New Jersey and Virginia. From memories of having his teeth pulled by bullies as a five-year-old, from marketing to flea markets with his loving grandmother, to his first sexual encounters, this young adult memoir weaves together trials and triumphs. faced by black gay boys.

Holcomb said he wanted the book out of the preteen section of the Spring Hill library, where it would be piled up as a biography.

Holcomb says he checked out the book so no one else can currently borrow it. He also had a two-page list of explicit passages.

“Keep it as long as you want,” Champion said.

“This book is full-on porn,” Holcomb said.

His request to the Library Advisory Board to move the book from the tween section was denied, although if it were moved to the adult section there is no way to prevent young people under 18 years of consulting him, he said.

County Attorney Jon Jouben said the county administrator, by law, is the custodian of all county property, “so if you want to give him directions, you can.”

Holcomb requested and received a 5-0 roll-call vote from the commission to order the county administrator to move the book from the “young adult” section (12-18) to the adult section.

In other actions

• Commissioners recognized Brian Hawkins for his $40,000 donation to the Parks and Recreation Department for an accessible, renovated and relocated memorial at Veterans Park in Spring Hill. Hawkins said since the death of his grandfather, who served 13 months in the Marine Corps in Korea and died in 2016, he and his family have sought to give back and honor his service.

• Commissioners proclaimed June 27, 2022 as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Awareness Day.

• State Senator Wilton Simpson and State Representatives Blaise Ingoglia and Ralph Massullo were recognized for their work during the legislative session and their support of local appropriation requests.

• Commissioners received an update on efforts to publicize the half-cent sales tax during the November ballot. There’s a speakers bureau, he said, and a website, Hernandohalfcent.com, with information on how the money will be spent — 80% on roads and 20% on recreation. It needs 60% approval to pass.

Aurora J. William