At just 11, he’s already found his voice

Marcus Mitchell isn’t even a teenager yet, but he already knows how he wants to spend his life. He wants to make music, and to perform it for others. He’s already writing songs, and in November, the Land O’ Lakes Christian School student will be taking the stage with the Florida Orchestra to perform a solo part. He will be singing the solo in Movement 2 of Chichester Psalms under choral … [Read more...]

Longtime Pasco High school resource officer retires

A longtime Dade City Police Department school resource officer (SRO) won’t be patrolling the halls and campus of Pasco High School anymore. Brian McDougal joined the police department in 1990, straight out of then Pasco-Hernando Community College’s law enforcement academy. The bulk of his service has been spent as a familiar face in local schools. Before his 17-year stint at Pasco … [Read more...]

Chaplain lifts spirits at Pasco Sheriff’s Office 

Chaplain Brian Brown — with his open-door policy — is a confidant for staff members at the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office. He’s one of a dozen chaplains assigned across the department’s three districts who counsel law enforcement officials. In addition to providing direct services, Brown also oversees the agency’s chaplains. “We minister to agency personnel and their immediate family,” … [Read more...]

Veteran’s gratitude for new face, new friend

When Veteran Don Clough looks in the mirror, he says he’s now satisfied by what he sees. That’s after undergoing multiple surgeries over the course of the last seven decades. The surgeries were required after he suffered serious facial wounds while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps during the Korean War. Born on the Fourth of July, the Missouri native felt an obligation to serve his … [Read more...]

Pasco educator embraces theater again

During college years and beyond, Patty Smithey has devoted much of her time traveling the globe, and helping kids as an educator. Earlier this year, though, the Land O’ Lakes resident decided to devote more of her leisure time tapping into her artistic side with acting – a lifelong passion. “I realized recently that I needed to do something that really, truly made me happy,” Smithey … [Read more...]

Lutz teen selected as Shriners ambassador

Zoe Spanos doesn’t let her physical challenges define her, but manages to thrive instead. The 15-year-old Lutz teenager, who has cerebral palsy, lives life like many teens. The rising Steinbrenner High School sophomore is a straight A student and a dedicated member of JROTC and HOSA-Future Health Professionals. She’s also a fitness buff — into cross training, weightlifting and … [Read more...]

Former Miss Pasco keeps busy with acting, modeling

Leja Apple has surely kept herself busy in the years since being crowned 2013 Miss Pasco. She has a burgeoning modeling and acting career — appearing in various commercials, infomercials and independent films. She’s also an on-air host at HSN, peddling hair and makeup products. On top of that, she’s an adjunct professor of speech communication at St. Petersburg College and a sales event … [Read more...]

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...]