Published May 9, 2007

High Fives

Circuit Judge Steve Rushing recently met and spoke with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a special reception at Stetson University College of Law.

Scalia was appointed to the Supreme Court in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan.

Rushing, who serves as a circuit judge in the 5th Judicial Circuit, presides over felony and civil jury trial dockets in Hernando County. Rushing served as an elected county judge for more than 10 years before being appointed to the bench by Gov. Jeb Bush in 2005.

"Having the opportunity to engage in a discussion with Justice Scalia is clearly one of the highlights of my legal career, " Rushing said.

Rushing is married and has four children. He is the author of three published books of legal cartoons and hundreds of "Legal Insanity" cartoons that have appeared in legal and business publications throughout the United States.

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Although it was a chilly day, children, bunnies, and Easter eggs all came together at the Easter egg hunt held by Ridge Manor Community United Methodist Church on April 7.

The free event featured egg hunting, face painting, a coloring contest, crafts and photos with the Easter Bunny.

Filling in as the Easter Bunny was the pastor's niece, Rebecca Wance, who brought her bunny suit all the way from New Jersey.

Children's ministry director Diane Beuthe kept the children going by groups. The first stop was to pet and talk to live rabbits before the egg scramble. More than 2, 000 eggs were filled with goodies, and each child was limited to 20.

"Their excitement and enthusiasm made it all worthwhile, " said Beuthe. "Some of these parents couldn't afford anything for their children for Easter, so this was a blessing for them."

Because the children had such a good time, she said the church plans to make it an annual event.

Clubs and Organizations

Mechelle Morgan recently graduated from a junior member to a senior auxiliary member of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 99 in Brooksville. Upon reaching age 18, Morgan will be the first graduate in Unit 99.

Morgan was a junior secretary and chaplain for the Department of Florida. On the unit level, she was a Girls State alternate; Miss Poppy in 2005, 2006 and 2007; junior unit president; and second vice president.

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Oak Hill Hospital recently presented Johnny "Dell" Holland with the 2006 Frist Humanitarian Associate Award, and George Pappas was presented the 2006 Frist Humanitarian Volunteer Award.

Holland has been a physical therapist at Oak Hill since 2001. His nomination stated: "Dell has recently taken dance lessons and incorporated this into his treatments, since one of his patient's goals was to be able to dance at a family wedding. Dell is very active, serving his church, Faith Presbyterian in Brooksville, with the singles ministry and operating the lighting system during services every Sunday." Dell also donates his time to the Christian Contractors Association, remodeling homes for the needy or modifying homes for handicapped persons."

As a volunteer for Oak Hill's Volunteer Association and chairman of the greeter committee, Holland has logged almost 6, 000 hours of time and dedication.

George Pappas' first passion is his involvement with the American Cancer Society. He sits on numerous committees and boards for the society and is active in fundraising events. Every year Pappas is instrumental in organizing the survivor recognition for the annual cancer relays in Hernando County.

The awards were announced at a ceremony at the hospital March 1. Holland and Pappas each received $250 and a lapel pin.

Others nominated for the associate award include Sue Ruge, director of imaging services, and Russell Vilardi, EKG technician. Other volunteers nominated and recognized were emergency department volunteers Edna Hoover and Bruce McElroy, radiology department volunteer Arlene Palmeri and emergency department volunteer William Teich.

The Frist Humanitarian Award was created in 1971 to honor individuals for their humanitarian and volunteer activities. Named in honor of the late Dr. Thomas F. Frist Sr., founder of HCA and a renowned humanitarian, the award recognizes individuals whose daily dedication and caregiving epitomize the highest standards of quality and personal commitment.

Notes of Thanks

On Easter Sunday, April 8, at 2:15 p.m., five members of St. Paul's parish entered the kitchen of the Youth and Family Alternatives group home on Clinton Boulevard in Brooksville.

They were prepared to deliver and serve a full-course traditional Easter meal to the residents and staff. All members of St. Paul took part in the preparation of the food, either by cooking or a cash donation.

After reheating and setting up the counter area, they began serving the 17 young residents and three staff members; they were looking forward to the meal and the other treats that went with it.

Once all the dinner guests were served, the parish members joined them. A good meal and a good time was had by all.

We thank Judy and Mark Koster, Jeff Berlinski, and Roz and Bill Thomas for their effort on behalf of our parish.

St. Paul the Apostle Church

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The birth of the "Deputy Lonnie C. Coburn Memorial Bike Ride" was the inspiration of retired Lt. Jeff Duval and retired Sgt. Jerry Jennings, who was Lonnie's partner. They asked for the assistance of the family, and the team was formed.

Cousins Alan K. Garman, Nancy G. Dyson, Capt. Darryl Garman, Deputy Mike Coburn and son Chris Coburn and his wife Robin Coburn, and brother Stanley Coburn, and Bobbie Bilotta, captain patriot guard for the state of Florida, came on board for the first-ever tribute to a great man who fell in the line of duty protecting his community 29 years earlier.

The first meeting was held Jan. 9, and in the next few weeks a dream developed. The teamwork was out of sight and always positive.

Blair Hensley came to a meeting to throw Coney Island and his support behind the team.

Advertising was completed by Alan to print fliers to distribute to local businesses, and they were also placed in the trays at Coney Island. Bike magazines were notified via e-mail, and local businessmen allowed them to be put in their store windows. The news media were informed by Capt. Darryl Garman and Robin Coburn.

On Feb. 17, the plan came together as cameramen were placed, sound equipment was set up at the cemetery and bikers gathered at U.S. 301 and State Road 50. The impact was felt by everyone involved. The sound of 169 bikes roaring down the highway with their American flags and their determination to pay respects to a fallen local hero was an awesome experience.

It was late in coming, Lonnie, but the love has always been there!

Jeff Duval and Jerry Jennings, American People Against Cop Killers.

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