Collaboration creates connectivity

The opening of the State Road 56 Extension between Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills has a personal benefit for Alora Butler, a student at Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch. She said the new road segment will cut her 30-minute commute to school in half. It also reduces the time that the Zephyrhills resident […]

This Week

State Road 56 Extension gives drivers another option

Motorists heading through the county to or from East Pasco now have a new way to do it. The State Road 56 Extension, which links Meadow Pointe Boulevard in Wesley Chapel to U.S. 301 in Greater Zephyrhills, opened on July 10. Dignitaries and members of the media gathered for a preview of the road the […]

Flooding concerns prompt rezoning protest

Pasco County Commissioners adopted a change to the county’s future land use map, and also approved a rezoning in the Sierra Pines area — despite concerns by neighbors that the planned project will add to the area’s flooding problems. The rezoning and land use change involve 164.8 acres, on the south side of State Road […]

Pasco sets property tax rate for 2020 fiscal year

The Pasco County Commission has adopted a tax rate for the 2020 fiscal year. Truth in Millage (TRIM) notices that will be mailed out to property owners will reflect these rates: TRIM notice: Property tax: 7.6076 Municipal fire service unit: 1.8036 Jail (bond issue): .0277 Fire rescue (bond issue): .0222 Parks (bond issue): .0100 Library […]

Serving up free lunches for kids this summer

School may be out — but Pasco County Schools takes part in a program that provides free lunches to hungry children. The program serves meals at various cafeterias, and at some pick-up locations, too. Megan Sexton, the food program’s coordinator, said Pasco was one of the first counties in Florida to implement mobile feeding. The […]

Commissioners resolve to have fewer resolutions

There comes a point during Pasco County Commission meetings when formal votes are put on hold while various groups and individuals receive recognition through resolutions. Typically, a somewhat lengthy resolution is read, commissioners offer their remarks, and the person being honored or a member of the group says a few words. Then, there’s a customary […]

Zephyrhills Police chief talks crime, initiatives and more

Arrests are up in Zephyrhills, but overall crime trends are down citywide. That’s according to Zephyrhills Police Department Chief Derek Brewer, who was the featured guest speaker at the Greater Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce July breakfast meeting. Brewer said arrests in Zephyrhills have increased each of the last three years, topping out at 1,077 in […]

Laker/Lutz News captures seven Florida Press awards

The Laker/Lutz News brought home a total of seven reporting and photography awards from the Florida Press Association 2018-2019 Weekly Newspaper Contest. Staff photographer Christine Holtzman, and freelance contributors Richard K. Riley and Fred Bellet accounted for five of those awards. Holtzman won first place feature photo for an image she captured of a young […]

This guy ‘put out fires,’ literally

Mark Spudie, a former battalion chief for Pasco County Fire Rescue, dedicated 30 years of his life in the work of fighting fires. He hung up his gear on May 30 — walking the corridors of Wesley Chapel’s Fire Station 13 for the last time as part of the county’s team. “I wasn’t ready to […]

Vets Healing Vets program debuts at library

Vets Healing Vets is a new no-cost, therapeutic craft program being offered at the New River Branch Library, for veterans of all ages and their families. The program meets on the last Friday of the month at 10:30 a.m. It made its debut on June 28. During the session, veterans put together craft kits and, […]

Front Page Photos

Dade City family event helps those in need

The Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road in Dade City, hosted its third annual Family Field Day event last month. The free, family event featured many classic field day games, such as relay races, tug of war, and barrow races. Other attractions included bounce houses, water games, face painting, Karaoke, music, food, games and […]

Library hosts yoga classes geared towards kids

Kids are learning to do yoga on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer at the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway. The sessions are geared toward children ages 2 through 12. The  half-hour class gets children up and moving with yoga exercises and music. It also teaches relaxation through meditation. Wanda Vargas, a certified […]

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This Week (cont)

Extension office kicks off wellness program

Start stepping toward a healthier future with UF/IFAS Pasco County Extension, which is now offering a 12-week walking program called Let’s Walk Florida. The program is designed to encourage community members to team up in pursuit of a lifelong walking habit. Anyone can participate in the program aimed at promoting physical wellness. Walking reduces the […]

Creating safe and compassionate schools

When you ask an open-ended question, there’s no telling what the responses will be. But that’s the point, actually, in a process that Pasco County Schools used to gather different perspectives, regarding the emotional and physical safety of district students and staff. District officials conducted a ThoughtExchange that allows participants to use technology to share […]

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Local Sports

Zephyrhills tennis center breaks ground

A groundbreaking ceremony officially marked the beginning of construction on the long-awaited Sarah Vande Berg Tennis & Wellness Center in Zephyrhills. After more than two years of planning and design, the tennis center is slated to be ready for play sometime in spring 2020. The facility will feature 11 outdoor tennis courts (eight clay surface, two […]

Area softball players among best in state

The high school softball season has come and gone, but local athletes are still picking up accolades from their 2019 campaigns. The 2019 Miracle Sports All-State teams were released last month honoring the top players in Florida — and area players were well-represented. Sixteen athletes from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area were recognized, either as […]

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Sports – Check This Out

Double titles

A pair of Land O’ Lakes Little League all-star baseball teams recently captured titles in their respective age divisions. The Land O’ Lakes Little League senior division (ages 14 to 16) won the Little League Florida state championship, besting seven other teams in Braden River. The Land O’ Lakes seniors now advance to the Little […]

Nationals bound

Lutz resident Alyssa Hayman has earned a spot in the USA Track & Field (USATF) Hershey National Junior Olympic Championships in Sacramento, California. Hayman qualified for the prestigious event by finishing in third place in the 11-12 girls division 1,500-meter racewalk (15:42.49) at a USATF regional meet in South Carolina over the July 4 weekend. The […]

Saint Leo hoops alum signs pro contract

Former Saint Leo University men’s basketball standout Junior Searcy is going pro — internationally. The 6-foot-4 forward recently signed a professional contract with the Wiha Schwennigen Panthers of the Pro A league in Villingen-Schwenningen, Germany. The three-year Lions player capped off his career playing in 24 games during the 2018-2019 season, posting 10.7 points, 4 […]

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