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Articles written by Tom Lemons


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  • Search Underway for Missing Endangered Adult

    Tom Lemons, April 11, 2024|Updated Apr 11, 2024

    UPDATE: LOCATED... HERNANDO – The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office has issued a Purple Alert for 45-year-old Kevin Hancock who went missing earlier today from a hotel on Commercial Way. According to officials, Hancock was last seen at the Hampton Inn located at 1344 Commercial Way around 3:00 p.m. today. Hancock left his vehicle in the parking lot and walked in an unknown direction. Officials say Hancock has no friends or family in the area and rarely travels outside of Pas...

  • Emails May Prove Nienhuis Forced BOCC to Stop Talking About Spy Cameras

    Tom Lemons, April 10, 2024|Updated Apr 11, 2024
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    BROOKSVILLE – Last week R News reported that several "spy" cameras had been placed along Hernando County roadways and that no one was willing to claim ownership. Eventually, a source inside the Clerk's Office advised that Sheriff Al Nienhuis had deployed the cameras and sent an email to all county commissioners ordering them to not discuss what they were being used for. To this day, there has been no comment from Nienhuis other than providing R News with the completely r...

  • BREAKING: Embattled Hernando County Superintendent Resigns

    Tom Lemons, April 9, 2024|Updated Apr 10, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – During the regular school board meeting this evening, Hernando County School Board Superintendent John Stratton announced his retirement. During a statement, Stratton said he wanted to spend more time with his family and that he would remain at his post until the end of May. We will bring more on this story as it develops....

  • Suspect Charged with Attempted Murder in Walmart Shooting

    Tom Lemons, April 9, 2024|Updated Apr 9, 2024

    INVERNESS – The Citrus County Sheriff's Office is reporting the arrest of a man they say shot at two victims in a pickup truck at the Walmart located on E Gulf to Lake Highway. The incident occurred Monday evening in the Walmart parking lot, where officials say 30-year-old Gavin Minden fired at least one shot through the rear of the victim's pickup truck, striking one of two victims in the back of the neck. Minden fled the scene and attempted to hide in a wooded area near t...

  • Fire Damages Home in Sherman Hills Subdivision

    Tom Lemons, April 8, 2024|Updated Apr 9, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – An investigation is underway into a structure fire that damaged a home inside the Sherman Hill subdivision today. Fire rescue responded to the 7300 block of Potentilla Court after neighbors reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the home. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered heavy fire coming from the garage and conducted an aggressive attack to suppress the flames. The fire was quickly extinguished, preventing it from spreading further into the home. O...

  • Batman of Spring Hill Honored by U.S. Congressman

    Tom Lemons, April 8, 2024|Updated Apr 8, 2024

    SPRING HILL – There is a hero in Hernando County who brings joy and comfort to children suffering from life-altering, often terminal illnesses and he is none other than the Batman of Spring Hill. Jack Asbury – the Batman – spends his free time visiting children all over the Tampa Bay area just to help bring a smile to their faces and has done so for years. In March, U.S. Representative Gus Bilirakis recognized Asbury during a speech in Washington, D.C. Mister Speaker, I rise...

  • Sheriff Deploys China-Invested Spy Cameras, Orders BOCC to Remain Silent

    Tom Lemons, April 5, 2024|Updated Apr 5, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – You might have noticed several small black cameras situated in various locations along Hernando County roadways and wondered what they were being used for. Unfortunately, Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis doesn't want you to know, and he's ordered his office and all elected officials to remain silent. After fielding numerous inquiries from concerned citizens, R News delved into the origins of the camera, only to encounter dead ends at every turn. Eventually, w...

  • Business Utilities Manager Arrested on Theft Charges

    Tom Lemons, April 3, 2024|Updated Apr 5, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – A Hernando County Utilities Manager is charged with several counts of Larceny. According to sources, 55-year-old Cheri Elizabeth Cameron was arrested Sunday and charged with 9 counts of 2nd-degree petit theft. Cameron is listed as the Utilities Business Manager, but sources say she has since resigned from her position. R News has been unable to obtain the arrest affidavit due to the recent cyberattack on Hernando County's IT network. We will update this story w...

  • Sources: Hernando County Gov Suffers Possible Cyberattack, Unknown if Private Data Compromised

    Tom Lemons, April 1, 2024|Updated Apr 3, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – There are unconfirmed reports that Hernando County Government online services may have suffered a possible cyberattack. According to a source inside the Hernando County Clerk's Office, the County's online systems suffered a ransomware attack, interrupting access to websites for the Clerk's Office, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, and other systems. Public Information Officer Dominique Holmes tells R News, "Our investigation into this interruption is ongoing; t...

  • Spring Hill Man Charged with Downloading One Image of Child Porn

    Tom Lemons, April 1, 2024|Updated Apr 1, 2024

    SPRING HILL – The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is reporting the arrest of a Spring Hill man who is charged with possessing child pornography. According to officials, detectives received a tip that 21-year-old Joseph David Spain had transmitted a single image of child pornography between his electronic devices. Detectives obtained a search warrant and confirmed the devices belonged to Spain who also admitted they were his devices. Spain was taken into custody on March 2...

  • Great News for Beach Goers - Pine Island Park is Now Open

    Tom Lemons, March 28, 2024|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    SPRING HILL – Pine Island Park has finally reopened after being closed for several months due to damage from Hurricane Idalia. Officials say the storm caused major damage to the infrastructure in Pine Island Park, requiring significant repairs. Alfred McKethan Pine Island Park is located at 10840 Pine Island Dr., in Spring Hill and is open from 8:30am to sunset, 7 days a week. The parking fee is $5 per car (credit card only). Handicapped placards and Disabled Veterans are e...

  • Gangs, Guns, and Drugs Wreaking Havoc in Spring Hill

    Tom Lemons, March 28, 2024|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    SPRING HILL – The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating a shooting that took place in the vicinity of Berkeley Manor Blvd early Wednesday morning. Deputies responded to Mermaid's Lounge just after 1:00 a.m., after receiving 911 calls about a male standing outside the establishment firing shots into the air. Shortly after the first 911 call, dispatchers received additional reports of gunfire on Berkeley Manor Blvd. Numerous deputies responded to M...

  • Champion Blasts Fellow Commissioners for Out-of-Control Spending

    Tom Lemons, March 27, 2024|Updated Mar 28, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – Yesterday's Board of County Commissioners meeting left citizens and county workers wondering if four of the five commissioners they voted for should switch party affiliation and move to Washington, D.C. All five commissioners are registered Republicans but after recent votes to raise property taxes, approve a $350-milion Master Plan for Sheriff Al Nienhuis, set a referendum for a 1-cent sales tax increase to pay for it, and give the County Administrator a 30% p...

  • Teen Recognized by County Commissioners for Installing Life Ring Stations

    Tom Lemons, March 27, 2024|Updated Mar 27, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – Earlier this year, R News published an exclusive report on a local Springstead High School senior who decided to do something very special for the citizens of Hernando County. Yesterday, during the Hernando Board of County Commissioners meeting, Commissioners recognized Jesse Kolberg for his work in establishing the Life Ring Stations throughout the Hernando County Parks & Recreation Waterways locations. Kolberg conducted an Eagle Scout project to establish o...

  • Nienhuis Flies Narverud to Brevard County on Recon Mission, May Have Violated FAA Reg

    Tom Lemons, March 25, 2024|Updated Mar 27, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – It is no secret that Hernando Board of County Commissioner Chairwoman Beth Narverud and Sheriff Al Nienhuis are no fans of County Animal Services Director James Terry, and a recent unsanctioned trip to Brevard County by the duo may be an indication of major changes coming to the facility. But that's not all. Sheriff Nienhuis may have violated FAA regulations by chartering their flight in his private plane. On March 15, 2024, Chairwoman Narverud published p...

  • Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Children on Social Media

    Tom Lemons, March 25, 2024|Updated Mar 25, 2024

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -Today, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 3, which prohibits children under the age of 14 from becoming social media account holders and allows 14- and 15-year-olds to become account holders with parental consent. The bill will provide the following protections: • Prevents a minor who is younger than 14 years of age from becoming a social media account holder. • Empowers parents to decide whether 14- and 15-year-olds can have a social media account. • Prote...

  • Motorcyclist Dies in Crash on Spring Hill Drive

    Tom Lemons, March 24, 2024|Updated Mar 25, 2024

    SPRING HILL – The Florida Highway Patrol is investigating the death of a motorcyclist who was involved in a two-vehicle crash on Spring Hill Drive earlier today. According to officials, a Kia Soul driven by an 81-year-old Hudson man was traveling on Cobblestone Drive, attempting to cross Spring Hill Drive. The driver failed to yield to a motorcycle that was traveling eastbound on Spring Hill Drive. As a result, the motorcycle collided with the driver-side door of the Kia S...

  • Early Morning Fire Destroys Mobile Home

    Tom Lemons|Updated Mar 24, 2024

    MASSARYKTOWN – An early morning fire destroyed a mobile home and injured one person. According to Hernando County Fire Rescue, just after 2:30 a.m., firefighters responded to the 200 block of Monroe Ave where they discovered a mobile home fully engulfed in flames. All occupants escaped the home, but the owner was transported to a nearby hospital to be evaluated for smoke inhalation. Officials say the cause is under investigation, but it is suspected to be electrical in n...

  • Sheriff Says "No Systemic Issues" with Multiple Missed Depositions as Transparency Wanes

    Tom Lemons, March 21, 2024|Updated Mar 24, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – Yesterday, R News broke the news of several deputies missing depositions in a recent homicide case. Those deputies and a detective could face jail time if a Judge doesn't accept their explanation of why they each ignored two subpoenas. Under pressure from the media, Sheriff Al Nienhuis released a statement this morning, asserting that the incident is isolated and there are no systemic issues with deputies ignoring subpoenas. Nienhuis says, "The Hernando County Sh...

  • Detective, Four Deputies, Could Face Jail Time if Held in Contempt

    Tom Lemons, March 20, 2024|Updated Mar 21, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – Chief Judge Daniel B. Merritt Jr. could hold several Hernando County Sheriff's deputies and a detective in contempt of court if they can't explain why they failed to appear for depositions in a 2023 manslaughter case. According to court records, Deputies Mitchell Vesper, Chelsea Reid, John Longobardi, and Craig Milne all failed to appear for depositions on September 12, 2023, and again on December 20, 2023, in reference to State vs Regina Cassie Ritter. Detective...

  • Two Die in Late Night Residential Fire

    Tom Lemons, March 20, 2024|Updated Mar 20, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – Hernando County Fire Rescue is reporting a residential fire that claimed the lives of two people. Fire Rescue responded to the 19000 block of VFW Road just before midnight Tuesday after reports of a fully engulfed home. Witnesses reported that the home was possibly occupied by at least two people, but the fire was too intense for firefighters to make entry. After extinguishing the fire, rescuers discovered two victims near the front door who were attempting to e...

  • 2024 Blueberry Festival Cancelled

    Tom Lemons, March 19, 2024|Updated Mar 20, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – The annual Blueberry Festival that draws thousands of visitors to downtown Brooksville every year has been canceled, according to organizers. According to a statement by event organizer John Lee, "...the festival relies on attendance to make its finances whole. With competing festivals being organized within blocks of our location, it makes a risky undertaking even more risky." Lee goes on to say, "Brooksville is simply too small to host two successful f...

  • New Volunteers Sworn into Hernando County Fire Corps

    Tom Lemons, March 19, 2024|Updated Mar 19, 2024

    BROOKSVILLE – Hernando County Fire Corps is an invaluable asset to Hernando County Fire Rescue, as they provide critical support to firefighters, especially during the hot summer months. Last night, HCFC swore in the following new volunteer officers: Left to right, Jan Parker, Secretary; Nathan Smith, Logistics Officer; John Thorton, Deputy Commander of Operations; Salvatore Rotella, Jr., Public Relations Officer; and Vince Montefusco, Training Officer. Not pictured: Dawn W...

  • Morale Declines as Tensions Grow Between Port Richey Police and Chief Robinson

    Tom Lemons, March 18, 2024|Updated Mar 19, 2024

    PORT RICHEY – Earlier this month the local Police Benevolent Association (PBA) passed a vote of no confidence over Port Richey Police Chief Cyrus Robinson and Captain Michael Koch but City Manager Matthew Coppler has yet to decide their fate. 11 of the 18 officers who voted in favor of no-confidence still say they cannot work under the current command. There are numerous issues, according to Port Richey Police Officers who wished to remain anonymous, but the most critical i...

  • Elderly Man Drowns in Residential Pool

    Tom Lemons, March 11. 2024|Updated Mar 11, 2024

    SPRING HILL - Sad news to report after a man was found deceased in a residential pool. According to officials, Fire Rescue responded to the 1200 block of Gilpin Ave around 1:30 p.m. yesterday, after receiving reports of a possible drowning. Upon arrival, rescuers found an elderly man deceased from an apparent drowning. The Hernando County Sheriff's Office is investigating the incident....

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