‘Mr. Don’ provides safety and encouragement

On weekday mornings and afternoons, Don Niles ushers students to safety at Double Branch Elementary School in Wesley Chapel. Officially, Niles is the school’s crossing guard. But, the 76-year-old is much, much more to students and faculty. Known as ‘Mr. Don’ to the Double Branch community, Niles is known for going the extra mile to forge relationships and lend an ear to … [Read more...]

Homeless Coalition CEO understands tough times

Don Anderson, the new chief executive officer for The Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County, doesn’t have to look far to understand what it’s like to experience poverty. “I come from very humble beginnings. My dad didn’t finish eighth grade. My mom didn’t finish high school. He worked three jobs. “We had a hard time keeping a car going, let alone pay the rent every month. “I … [Read more...]

Local man reaches ‘Hall of Fame’ status with relief charity

When Mike Mira headed to the Noon Rotary Club Zephyrhills meeting nearly six years ago, he didn’t know it was going to change his life. But, when the Zephyrhills man heard the presentation from ShelterBoxUSA representatives, he knew he wanted to get involved. The presentation came about 18 months after the earthquake in Haiti, Mira said. ShelterBox, which is an international … [Read more...]

Lutz resident receives ‘Community Champion’ award

It’s not all that uncommon for Freddy Barton to spend part of his weekend working — heading out to talk to people in the community. If he’s headed out from his Lutz residence on his motorcycle, chances are he’s going to go hang out with some kids — to find out what’s on their minds. “I’m talking to kids. I’m trying to probe their mind, to figure out, ‘What does it take to make you feel that … [Read more...]

Shuffleboard player joins ‘1,000 points’ club

Zephyrhills’ Earl Ball has achieved yet another milestone in what’s been a lengthy and historic shuffleboard career. Ball, a resident of Betmar Acres, recently became just the third player to amass 1,000 career points within the Florida Shuffleboard Association (FSA) — joining Clearwater’s Glen Peltier (1,364 points) and fellow Betmar resident Joan Cook (1,049 points). To honor the feat, … [Read more...]

Local dancer gets big break in ‘The Greatest Showman’

When Chelsea Caso recently went to watch “The Greatest Showman” at Cobb Grove 16 in Wesley Chapel, she wasn’t going to watch just any movie. She was going to watch a movie that she is in. And, the young woman who grew up in Lutz, didn’t go to the viewing alone. She joined 115 of her favorite people for a private screening. Her family was there. Her neighbors were there. Dancing … [Read more...]

Pasco’s tourism director wants to take a new approach

Adam Thomas envisions Pasco County becoming one of Florida’s “must-see” tourism destinations. Aside from mostly pleasant weather, the county lays its claim to bountiful ecotourism, miles of bike trails, premier multipurpose sports facilities — as well as beaches and resorts. “We have a lot of opportunities,” said Thomas, who is Pasco’s newest tourism director. “Our destination is really … [Read more...]

Local volunteer wins national award

When Courtney Urban began volunteering at the Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppe, at 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in Lutz, it was just a way to spend some extra time with her grandmother. “The big thing in the beginning was just going with her,” said Urban, who began her volunteer work in 2013. “But then it became my own thing. I loved going there. When I got to be the cashier, it was fun to … [Read more...]

Eddie Herrmann, a pillar in San Antonio, was an original

Edward Joseph Herrmann, known as “Eddie” to most everyone in San Antonio, was an original, and with his passing on Oct. 21, the community paused to reminisce about a pillar of the community. Eddie wore many hats. He was a father, a son, a husband, an uncle, a former Mayor of San Antonio, an award-winning winemaker, a writer and a respected historian. His death came on the evening of the 51st … [Read more...]

New Zephyrhills police chief has a familiar face

Derek Brewer’s official promotion to Zephyrhills Police Chief was just weeks ago — yet he’s no stranger to the uniform, or to the community he’s tasked to serve. The 45-year-old Brewer was appointed the city’s permanent, full-time police chief on Sept. 25. He was sworn-in two weeks later, on Oct. 9. Brewer, however, already had months of familiarity with the position. He served as interim … [Read more...]