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2002: The Year in Review

The year's top 10

The following stories, listed in no particular order, were judged by the staff of the Hernando Times to be the Top 10 news stories of 2002 in Hernando County:

2002: year in review
By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times
published December 29, 2002

Republican state Sen. Ginny Brown-Waite defeats incumbent Karen Thurman for the District 5 seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Meanwhile, Republican political newcomer Robert Schenck ousts Democratic incumbent Chris Kingsley from the County Commission.

Alfred McKethan, legendary Brooksville patriarch, dies at the age of 93.

The Spring Hill Fire Rescue District, gearing up for a bid for independence, is rocked by allegations that three of its firefighters raped a woman while at a convention in Altamonte Springs. No criminal charges are filed; sitting fire Commissioner Bob Kanner loses his race for County Commission, and the district fails to win independence.

Two Panhandle communities stun Hernando County leaders when they orchestrate the purchase of Florida Water Services out from under the FGUA consortium.

County Administrator Paul McIntosh endures a roller-coaster ride of near-firings over concerns about gifts accepted from firms doing business with the county. Ultimately, he resigns and takes a job in California. Richard Radacky ascends to the post of county administrator.

Plans for affordable housing projects near Silverthorn and Seven Hills stir opposition, and eventually a circuit judge helps derail plans for approval of the bonds that would allow the Seven Hills project to move forward.

Oak Hill Hospital and Brooksville Regional Hospital continue to struggle over plans for the Brooksville hospital's relocation and Oak Hill's move to start an open-heart clinic.

Hernando County and the city of Brooksville battle over territorial control and plans for expansion -- from the city's desire to annex county property and provide utilities to the county's move to seize fire service rights in Township 22, just outside the city limits.

The School Board discovers a $3.3-million surplus in a special fund that officials didn't know about.

Hernando County sheriff's investigators find three people from Orlando dead on a houseboat in the Gulf of Mexico, sparking a murder mystery. In the end, it is determined that Joan Shiver killed her husband, Byron, and elderly mother-in-law, Louise, then killed herself. The motive remains unclear, although investigators reported that Mrs. Shiver had financial and health problems.

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