Learn Something New For Free

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Recently, we wrote about how you can get free music downloads and movie streaming from the Hernando County Public Library. Now we will look at another service you simply cannot afford to pass up. You can enroll in any of over 500 online continuing education courses through Universal Class. These courses are non-credit courses so they cannot be used for university transfer or professional licensing. However, they can be incredibly useful for learning new job skills and beefing up your resume in order make yourself more marketable as a candidate for that job you have been looking for.

They have courses in all sorts of fields. Some are very practical and can be great for job seekers looking to improve their skill set. Some of these include Adobe software training, writing improvement, management, secretarial skills, and plenty more. These can be put on a resume to show training in valuable skills that can set you above the pack when applying for a position, or even help you gain more responsibility and maybe even a raise in your current one.

They also have several classes specific to a select field or career path. These are helpful for those in those fields or those looking to get into those fields. They can also be interesting for anyone just looking expand their horizons. These include ESL (English as a Second Language), teacher curriculum, dog training, medical coding and plenty more.

They even have some general self-improvement types of courses for general life skills. They have a course in food preparation. They have another for beauty lessons. They also have ones for fitness and safety.

They even have some more unconventional courses for those who want to learn something a little out of the ordinary. They have a course in paranormal studies. They have another in Reiki studies. There is even one in poetry writing. While that last one is not so unconventional, it has become somewhat of a lost art in our society today.

These courses give you access to an instructor who provides you with feedback on your progress. You can enroll in up to five courses and they give you six months to complete a course after you begin. You can access these courses at any time, day or night, in order to get them done on your schedule. If you need to improve your skill set and learn some new abilities for work, or if you just want to satisfy your curiosity on a given subject, you have nothing to lose by checking out these classes and seeing what you can learn.

Photo by twechy

Freegal Music and Movies at the Library

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We have often touted the myriad services provided by the Hernando County Public Library. There is another that we would like to tell you about that you may very well have not heard of. Did you know you can get free music downloads and movie streaming courtesy of your local library? If not, you do now. The Hernando County Public Library has partnered with Freegal to offer these services to library members.

If you have a valid library card and do not have any outstanding fees due for overdue books or anything of the sort, then you can utilize this service. Of course, having a decent Internet connection is vital as well, but we are assuming that if you are reading this, you already have access of some sort. Obviously, streaming movies will require a better connection than downloading music will, so keep that in mind. The service can be used on home computers or on iOS or Android devices. Of course, the mobile versions require an app download.

The movie streaming on the service obviously does not have the kind selection one would expect from say Netflix or Amazon Prime or other such paid services, but there are some decent movies to be found. The service has some good concert videos, anime classics and children’s movies. Those are the highlights of the selection from what I have seen. You can watch up to three movies or TV episodes per week, which may not seem like much, but for free streaming can provide some quality entertainment for no cost.

The music service is the diamond in the rough. While saddled with similar restrictions as the video streaming, there is one major difference. You can download the music without any rights management software (DRM) hindering your useage of it. You can put it on your MP3 player, burn it to CD, put it on your iTunes collection, or whatever else you may want to do. They have a pretty good selection here too. I found plenty of albums released earlier this year, so unlike Amazon’s music streaming service, you get plenty of new titles and you can do what you please with them, for free.

Links to both the movie streaming and music download services can be found from the Hernando County Public Library’s homepage at: http://www.hcpl.lib.fl.us/

If you want an inexpensive source of entertainment, you cannot beat free! Check it out and see what you can get from it.

Photo by dno1967b

The Weeki Wachee Mermaids Featured in the New York Times

We have said before that the Mermaids at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park are famous nationwide. If you ever wanted definitive proof of that, check out this video from the New York Times. You do not get much bigger than being featured in the New York Times. Hernando County’s most famous attraction is the real deal. If you have not seen it yet, you really should.

Beach Bash 2014: Zombie Invasion

The annual Beach Bash event was held recently at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park. However, this year’s event had a bit of a twist. The zombie apocalypse had invaded! Check out the video, from NatureCoast.tv for a glimpse into the zombie infested fun that was Beach Bash 2014: Zombie Invasion.

Come See the Sponge Docks in Tarpon Springs


This video, by YouTube user Kris551000, does a great job in displaying the sights one can take in at the historic Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks. There are plenty of excellent restaurants that achieve acclaim from all over the country. It is a great place to stroll by the water and do some light shopping. Of course, it is really something to behold if you can make it during the annual Epiphany celebration. The event makes headlines across the area every year. There is plenty to do and see there, if you are in the Tampa Bay Area, you really should check it out.

Historic Tampa Bay: Pinellas County Origins Part 4

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In the early 1920s, a real estate boom led to economic prosperity in the area. Expansion of cities and development of public works projects such as major bridges became the driving factors in economic growth for a few years. When the real estate boom ended in 1926, the region was hit hard economically. This would prove to be step one in a double whammy as The Great Depression would come just three years later. St. Petersburg would default on bonds the city offered during this time. The area began to stabilize as World War 2 drew closer, but the war slowed growth to near standstill.  However, this was not enough to stop the incorporation of St. Pete Beach in 1943. In the years following World War 2, economic growth picked back up and another boom period began.

Another batch of city incorporations between the late 1940s into the mid 1950s finished shaping Pinellas County as we know it today. Madeira Beach joined the ranks in 1947 with Indian Shores following two years later. North Redington Beach incorporated in 1953, and Redington Shores along with Indian Rocks Beach followed three years after that. By this time the foundation for what we know today as Pinellas County was set in place. In the years that followed, changes in county government structure and the founding of major attractions such as the Dali Museum have been the primary formative events in the county’s history.

Photo by State Library and Archives of Florida

Historic Tampa Bay: Pinellas County Origins Part 4

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A year after that, the community formerly known as Clear Water Harbor, was officially incorporated as Clearwater. The following year, St. Petersburg, named after St. Petersburg, Russia, followed suit and incorporated as well. St. Petersburg was named after the city’s Russian counterpart due to the Orange Belt Railroad company owner, Peter Demens, who brought the railroad to the region and was one of the city’s founders. The year after the city of St. Petersburg incorporated, the first bank opened in the city.

In 1894, the newspaper then known as the Hillsborough Times moved to St. Petersburg to become the St. Petersburg Times. Of Course, we now know this institution as the Tampa Bay Times. Five years later, in 1899, Dunedin incorporated. At the turn of the century, the first hotel on St. Petersburg’s beach opened its doors. Tourism had become a major industry in the area around this time, as we cover in our article on Tampa’s origins.

In 1907, a “Declaration of Independence” was published, beginning a push to create an independent county on the western side of the peninsula that creates Tampa Bay. It would take another five years to realize this goal, as Pinellas County officially split off from Hillsborough County to become its own entity in 1912. During the period in between, the City of Gulfport incorporated in 1910. A year after the formation of Pinellas County, in 1913, Pinellas Park incorporated. In 1916, Oldsmar followed and incorporated as well.

Tomorrow, November 11, 2014, we shall conclude our series on the historical origins of Pinellas County, Florida. Be sure to check back then to catch the conclusion.

Photo by Boston Public Library

Historic Tampa Bay: Pinellas County Origins Part 3

English: Bayside Bridge, Pinellas County, Florida

English: Bayside Bridge, Pinellas County, Florida (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In between purchasing the territory and officially recognizing it as a state, however, the U.S. would be thrust into the Second Seminole War. American officials attempted to relocate the Seminole Tribe, which led to retaliatory attacks, escalating into all out war. The violent exchange lasted several years, with the end result being the relocation of surviving Seminoles into a reservation in southern Florida. This also led to the Armed Occupation Act, allowing for land grants in unsettled portions of the soon-to-be state.

In the late 1850s, a community built up in what is now Clearwater. A public school was established in 1855, and by 1859, Clear Water Harbor, which would later become modern day Clearwater, was officially established as the first community in what would become Pinellas County. In the region’s formative years, what would become Pinellas County was originally part of Hillsborough County. This meant that these early communities were recognized by Hillsborough authorities.

Between 1861 and 1865, the American Civil War cut a bloody trail across the country. We have covered the impact of the war on a few occasions in other articles. Check our article on the history of the Brooksville Raid, as well as the histories of Tampa and Pasco County for more information.

The American Medical Society played a large part in expanding the population of what would become Pinellas County in 1885, as at a conference in New Orleans, they highly endorsed the area for its climate, which they saw as having great health benefits. In 1887, the first officially incorporated city in what would become Pinellas County was formally recognized. That city, Tarpon Springs. Fishing became dominant industry in the region during this time, greatly aided by the formation of Tampa Bay Ice Company three years later.