Published May 2, 2007

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High Fives

Brooksville City Council member Lara Bradburn recently participated in a training program in Gainesville for elected municipal officials.

The Institute for Elected Municipal Officials, sponsored by the John Scott Dailey Florida Institute of Government and the Florida League of Cities, is a three-day, intensive program for both newly-elected and veteran city officials.

The weekend course consisted of six sessions, including structure and function of cities in Florida, effective council member techniques, taxes and other sources of revenue, accounting and budgeting for cities, inter-government challenges in Florida, and understanding ethics and the Sunshine Law in Florida.

Participants receive a certificate if they complete the 18 hours of the weekend program. Speakers are provided through the league and the Florida Institute of Government.

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Hernando County children competed in the 2007 Miss/Mr. Brooksville pageant. Queens and kings were crowned in all age categories at the pageant, which was held at the Brooksville Woman's Club.

The queen in the newborn to 11-month-old girls category was Savannah Knight; in the 12- to 23-month girls category, Chesney Morales was queen.

The queen in the 2- to 3-year-old girls category was Morgan McDaniel; and the queen in the 4- to 6-year girls category was Jada Norton.

Queen in the 7- to 10-year -old girls category was Lainey McDaniel; in the 11- to 13-year girls category, Brittany Rayborn was queen.

In the 14- to 17-year-old girls category, Renee Harper was crowned queen; in the 18 and up girls category, Lauren Fory was the queen.

Crowned king in the newborn to 15-month-old boys category was Anthony Boniuto, and in the 16-month and up boys category, Willie Lane Bryant Jr. was king.

Earning the highest number of points, the overall winners were Lainey McDaniel, 7, and Anthony Boniuto, 11 months, winning the titles of supreme queen and king, respectively.

Clubs and Organizations

This year's Suncoast Basset Rescue Sweetheart Waddle Weekend at the Florida Classic Park east of Brooksville was a success. Thanks to the event and funds collected this year, Suncoast Basset Rescue raised more than $13, 000 for hounds of the Suncoast.

The "chance" raffle was another big success, bringing in more than $5, 000. The prizes, totaling $1, 900, were awarded in a drawing on the waddle grounds and went to: Julie Moore, Shirley Pettit, Jamie Sanders and Guy McWilliams.

The event featured a king and queen contest, which raised more than $2, 000 through a partnership with FirstGiving.org. Other contests included the Basset 50 Dash, the hot dog toss, the kibble race, boxer races, musical hoops and longest ears.

In the Special Sweetheart Boxers Race, Amanda Chaney's dog, Bo, of Spring Hill, was the winner.

Another local winner was Corrine Raimondi, also of Spring Hill, whose dog Betty won the Smoochie Poochie Girl contest.

Recreation and Sports

Two local Level 10 gymnasts, Austin Sievers, 14, and Robby Andersen, 16, who both train at La Fleurs in Tampa, participated in the 2007 Region 8 Men's Gymnastics Championship in Knoxville, Tenn., and both qualified to compete in the Junior Olympic 2007 Men's National Championships in Oklahoma City, Okla., May 9-13.

To arrive at this point, the two competed in Chicago this past January, then were invited in February to California to participate in the Pacific Coast Classic, where Andersen was high bar and vault champion.

In March, at the 2007 Gasparilla Classic at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Andersen won the Jose Gaspar Award for the highest all-around score at the meet. Sievers took third all-around.

They then competed at the state competition, where Andersen won first place all-around and Sievers placed in the top 10 on all events.

In Knoxville, Andersen finished in first place on floor and high bar. Andersen is a Level 10 senior, and he competed in the elite qualifier in late March, making him eligible for international competition. He has already received college offers. His coach recently said that he is one of the best vaulters in the country and will probably go to the Olympic trials next year.

Sievers is a Level 10 junior. He is up for the American All-Around award given to high school athletes with a grade-point average of 3.5 or higher. Sievers has a 3.8. Level 10 is the highest level a high school student can reach.

Andersen is the son of Deana and Rob Andersen; Sievers is the son of John and Deanna Sievers of Spring Hill.

Notes of Thanks

March 29 is denoted as Founder's Day for the Knights of Columbus. This year marked the 125th anniversary.

The Knights of Columbus was founded in New Haven, Conn., in 1882 by Father Michael J. McGivney. The Knights of Columbus is the largest Catholic lay organization in the world and supports our priests, churches and many charities.

The Knights support major charities by holding their annual Tootsie Roll drive and donate the money collected to the Arc Nature Coast.

The Tootsie Roll drive is a joint venture of all the Knight councils in Hernando County, including St. Jude Council 6383, St. Joan of Arc Council 11317, St. Theresa Council 11877, St. Frances Cabrini Council 13209, all of Spring Hill, and St. Anne Council 13743 in Ridge Manor.

These councils also financially support a seminarian, or maybe more than one, studying for the priesthood.

The patriotic branch of the Knights of Columbus is the 4th Degree. The 4th Degree sponsors the veterans affairs volunteer services, which delivers much needed personal items and money to our returning veterans at James A. Haley VA Medical Center in Tampa.

The Rev. Father Cornelius A. Dougherty Assembly 1721 of Spring Hill initiated this effort in Hernando County and is assisted by the above councils combined.

I would like to express my thanks to all of the above who participate in these very worthwhile and much needed charities.

Dom DiMarco

Florida State Council

District Deputy 24