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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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By Times Staff Writer
Published December 19, 2007
Martha Lee Smith, who was a teacher in Hernando County for more than 50 years, was recently memorialized by West Hernando Christian School when its new preschool building was dedicated to her in honor of the role she played in the start-up of the school and her service as the academic leader on the School Board.
The Martha Smith Pavilion was dedicated Oct. 12. The building was opened to prekindergarten students on Aug. 20, housing four classrooms, a multipurpose room, an office and a clinic area. The scripture placed on a plaque beside the entrance, from Matthew 19:13-15 - "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these" - was chosen because it depicts Smith's love for children and her desire to see them have the best education possible.
In 2004, Smith died at 79. She was found slain at her Brooksville home. Her son was convicted of smothering her.
Smith began her teaching career in 1948 at Hernando High School and spent the next 32 years in the county's public school system. Upon retirement, she went to Hernando Christian Academy and later helped establish West Hernando Christian School in 1966.
"Although she was plucked from our midst in such a heinous crime, her wonderful memory will live on in Hernando County," said Marti Covert, administrator of West Hernando Christian School. "I know she's looking down on us and smiling in a big way, still cheering us on to do our best for the kids."
Clubs and Organizations
Members of the Hernando County Hunter Jumper 4-H Club dressed themselves and their horses for a Halloween costume parade.
Club members, who range in age from 8 to 13, learn to become better riders and horsemen, and most of all good sportsmanship, under the guidance of Dawn Castignoli, a certified instructor with the American Riding Instructors Association, and Tina Ryman, co-leader.
People attending the parade dressed in holiday costumes, including Castignoli, who dressed as a witch. Members Melaine Mahood and Kate Busacca dressed as angels, and their pony, Zellie, dressed as a devil. Member Diana Koontz dressed as a gypsy fortune teller; Amanda Castignoli and Carly Barker dressed as Santa and Mrs. Claus, and their horse, Black Cat, was dressed as Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
Members Bryan Swetokos, Maddy Roderick and Carrie Lovett dressed as princess angels, and their pony, Sassy, was dressed as a unicorn; Jaclyn Peck and Skyler Ryman were also princesses, and pony Bailey was dressed as a unicorn. Merrick and Tina Rymanwere pirates.
Following the costume parade, there was a party with refreshments. For information on the club, contact Castignoli at Corner Stone Farm, 596-7913.
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On Oct. 29, Academia Hernando filled two buses with 100 individuals and traveled to the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg. On arrival, members of Academia Hernando were hosted by Peter Tush, assistant curator, who together with a docent guided the group through Dali's life and works. Tush had lectured to the group a few weeks earlier.
After the museum visit, members had lunch at the St. Petersburg Pier.
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The Hernando County Fine Arts Council recently awarded local organizations with $1,000 grants to fund coming art projects. The funds were presented to representatives from each of the organizations at the Hernando County Commission chambers.
Teachers and students accepted a check on behalf of West Hernando Middle School, including teachers Roxanne Cambell, Kevin McManus and Deborah Kelly and students Becky Zito, Devon Rennie and Elizabeth Croan.
Frank Domick accepted a check on behalf of the Hernando Jazz Society; John St. John accepted on behalf of the Hernando Youth Orchestra; and Isabelle Papazian accepted on behalf of the Spring Hill Art League.
Notes of Thanks
Our Baby RIA Foundation would like to thank the many sponsors and donors who supported our bowl-a-thon fundraiser Nov. 10 at Spring Hill Lanes. The foundation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to get a pediatric intensive care facility to serve children of Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties.
The following helped make the event a success: Movie Gallery, Learning Depot, Lakeshore Learning, Chili's, 7-Eleven, Hess, Sonny's Real Pit Bar-B-Que, Outback Steakhouse, Hooter's of Spring Hill, Applebee's, Zota Beacon 10 Theatres, HoneyBaked Ham, IHOP, Perkins, Luigi's Restaurant, Chick-fil-A, Sonic Drive-In, GNC, United Parcel Service, Rita's and Addome Bella Salon.
Corporate sponsors included: Kiddie Kampus, Spring Hill Natural Foods, Inter-County Recycling, Vince Vanni & Associates, Crippen Trice & Hornby LLP, Spring Hill Fire Rescue and Dr.Walter Szydlowski.
Lora CarusoOur Baby RIA Foundation
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The Alzheimer's Family Organization would like to thank those who supported the Hernando County Charity Golf Tournament on Oct. 13 at the Heather Golf & Country Club.
The day began with breakfast, provided by Chick-fil-A, nine holes of golf, and ended with a lunch, provided by volunteers from the Heather golf course.
Thank you to those on the committee for all their hard work, including AFO board members Cheryl Benders, regional director of operations, and Jan Bongiorno, executive director at Spring Oaks, as well as other committee members, including: Ruth Savage, marketing at Spring Oaks; Mona Herreid, marketing at Forest Oaks; Moss Baillie, food service director at Forest Oaks; and Kim Foster, activities director at Forest Oaks.
More than $1,600 was raised to provide services for individuals with Alzheimer's disease and their families in Hernando County.
Kathy MonteroCommunity ServicesCoordinatorAlzheimer's Family Organization
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The St. Joan of Arc Ethnic Festival Committee would like to thank the community for its support in making this annual event so successful. We will continue in the following months to work to have an even more successful festival in October 2008.
Congratulations to all the raffle winners. Also, a big thank you to all of the entertainers who performed on our stage throughout the four-day gala.