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...]

Local softball sensations make junior national team

They’ve bewildered hundreds of batters. They’ve won state titles. They’ve earned state player of the year honors. They’ve signed with powerhouse Southeastern Conference (SEC) schools. Academy at the Lakes’ Lexi Kilfoyl and Land O’ Lakes High School’s Callie Turner have raked in their fair share of achievements across their prep fastpitch softball careers. And, the latest, places the … [Read more...]

Sunlake senior wins countywide honor

Since she stepped foot upon Sunlake High School’s campus four years ago, Jillian Gordy has strived to make a difference within her school and community. She’s spearheaded new school traditions. She’s been involved in numerous clubs and service organizations. And, she’s managed to maintain a 4.0-plus grade point average. The 18-year-old’s efforts have not gone unnoticed. Last … [Read more...]

An atrophied hand offers beauty, inspiration

Finding and creating beauty in spite of life’s obstacles is something Shyama Rangwala knows all too well. She is a professional painter and art instructor with five studios ranging from Land O’ Lakes, Tampa and Brandon. Her birth name is Monali; however, under her adopted artistic name, “Shyama,” she is renowned for her featured work in more than 25 exhibitions in both her native India, … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes High honors ‘Voice of the Gators’

For Land O’ Lakes High School, this year’s ‘Butter Bowl’ will go down as one of the most historic, as the Gators football team finally cracked an eight-game losing streak to crosstown rival Sunlake High School, with a 35-24 home victory. The most enduring moment of the evening, however, came right before kickoff. That’s when a special dedication ceremony was held to honor longtime … [Read more...]

Lutz musician keeps busy with multiple instruments, bands

Fred Chandler relishes a good musical challenge. It is why he’s seemingly always working on the craft — whether it be playing in solo and band shows, tinkering with a new instrument, or laying down new tracks in a recording studio. Sometimes, when he wakes up, he has locked, bloody fingers and a hoarse voice — following a busy week of performances. His creativity, however, is never … [Read more...]