Paula S. O’ Neil retires after decades of public service

The Pasco County Commission recently honored Paula S. O’ Neil, who retired after three decades of public service. O’ Neil’s final day as Pasco Circuit Court Clerk & Comptroller was June 30. She had recommended that Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, her chief operations officer, be appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to complete the remainder of her term, which ends in 2020. DeSantis had not made … [Read more...]

Teen’s mobile app aids in communication

Fourteen-year-old Bradley Rothbaum has already created a mobile app that has attracted national recognition. He didn’t have to go far for the source that inspired this achievement. He developed the app in response to his own health dilemma. Bradley was diagnosed with cancer in March 2017. The condition affected  the chewing muscles in his mouth, and within weeks he began … [Read more...]

Hazel Wells’ mission: To help the less fortunate

Hazel Wells views herself as a “second mother” to disadvantaged residents living in East Pasco County. And, her years of community outreach throughout Dade City, Trilby and Lacoochee are evidence of her commitment. She attributes her charitable drive, partially, to a wish that she’d been more engaged with her own children, as they were growing up. “I realized that I wasn’t the … [Read more...]

Making a difference through book donations

Book by book, a local teen is trying to do his part to make a difference in the community. As an avid reader himself, 13-year-old Vance Tomasi understands the value of having a broad range of books to choose from. After seeing his younger brother improve his reading during Hillsborough County Public School's annual Summer Reading Camp, Tomasi saw the value of that even more so. At the … [Read more...]

Work by local artists leaves a lasting impression

It was morning, but the heat was beating down on Caren Stevens, as she stood on a scaffold creating a mural. It’s the kind of work she’s been doing for years. As Caren painted, her sister and fellow artist Dannie Jean looked up, to examine their latest art project: A mural at E & W Carpets Inc. –  a Land O’ Lakes landmark. The colorful scene depicts a dock leading to a deep, blue … [Read more...]

Pasco animal control officer earns statewide award

For John Douglass, working in animal control offers all kinds of adventure. Some days he’s safely impounding homeless cats and dogs. Other days, he’s investigating animal cruelty complaints or conducting animal welfare checks. The nonstop variety helps explain why he relishes his duties as a Pasco County Animal Services field training officer. “I definitely enjoy it. You see … [Read more...]

‘It’s been a great ride,’ celebrated horsewoman says

Millions of Americans are gearing up to watch the Kentucky Derby, which is set for its 145th running on May 4 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. It’s a race steeped in tradition: Kentucky Derby Hats, mint juleps, the singing of “My Old Kentucky Home” and the garland of roses at the Winner’s Circle. It’s also the first race in the Triple Crown, a title awarded to the 3-year-old … [Read more...]

International music composer calls Wesley Chapel home

When it comes to music, Wesley Chapel’s Nick Coetzee does a little bit of everything. He’s a songwriter. He’s a composer. He’s a producer. He’s a worship leader. “I love being creative,” Coetzee said. “I love doing something different every day.” An ear for melodies has led to a lasting 30-year career that’s taken him pretty far — literally. Born and raised in South Africa, … [Read more...]

Sister Helen Lange’s life comes to a close at age 105

Sister Helen Lange, a member of the Benedictine Sisters of Florida, was remembered last week at two masses at Holy Name Monastery, in St. Leo, and at a reception at St. Anthony Parish Hall. She was 105 at the time of her death. Sister Helen, formerly known as Laurina Lange, was still a teenager when she traveled by train from Texas to Florida to pursue the religious life, according to a … [Read more...]

Breaking the cycle of domestic violence

Melissa Dohme Hill was just 20 years old when her ex-boyfriend viciously attacked her. He stabbed her 32 times in the neck, face, arms and hands — as he attempted to murder her. She’d broken up with him three months earlier. The attack occurred when she went outside to fulfill his request for a final goodbye hug. She was rushed to the hospital, where she flatlined four times and suffered … [Read more...]