Creating beauty from bits of glass

Fusing glass to create works of art is much like other types of artistic creation, according to Michele Gould, of Purple Cloud Studio, in Land O’ Lakes. “Every glass artist, like every painter, has his own vision,” said Gould, who recently taught a free two-hour Fused Glass 101 class at the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, at 2818 Collier Parkway. Before the class began, Gould cut big flat … [Read more...]

She hopes her ‘simple witness’ will help change lives

Emily Busch plans to spend the next year of her life as a full-time missionary in the Life Teen program in northern Georgia. She’s confident about committing a year of her life to missionary work. “I’m not even a little bit nervous,” said the 21-year-old from Wesley Chapel. “There’s so much peace.” Part of that is because she’s familiar with the program, after spending a summer there … [Read more...]

Local man receives French Legion of Honor medal

There were times during World War II when Francis Xavier O’ Connell wasn’t sure he’d live to see another sunrise. To this day, the 93-year-old feels certain it was his mother’s prayers that kept him alive during dangerous times on the battlefield and through his captivity as a prisoner of war. He still has the rosary beads she gave him, and some of the letters she wrote to him during the … [Read more...]

He offers humor, nostalgia and old-fashioned value

If you’ve ever driven through the parking lot near the McDonald’s at U.S. 41 and State Road 54 in Land O’ Lakes, you’ve probably seen a sign leading to Fred Wilsky’s shop. “Sharpening Service” the sign proclaims, pointing east onto Carson Drive. If you head east on Carson Drive, you’ll see a series of signs — each getting you closer to the shop where Wilsky has been plying his trade for … [Read more...]

Computer club navigates programming basics

Roshan Kumaraswamy started programming computers in middle school — now he’s teaching the craft to others. Last month, the 16-year-old Land O’ Lakes High School senior created Coding Club, for tweens and teens aspiring to learn more about computer sciences. The club began meeting on Fridays in July, at the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library. It accommodates up to 10 people, who program on … [Read more...]

Vietnam veteran receives overdue honor

One Vietnam veteran has finally received his long-deserved welcome. The Wesley Chapel Noon Rotary Land O’ Lakes Satellite Club recognized George Voorhes on June 23 as its first recipient of the Vietnam War 50th Anniversary Commemorative Lapel Pin. Voorhes, 82, retired from the army in 1974, following 20 years of service. He served in the Korean War and had three tours of duty in Vietnam, … [Read more...]

Tree house tutoring blossoms in nature

Teaching is not a profession that Sarah Christiansen expected to pursue. As a child growing up in the Virgin Islands, she hated going to school. “I had a difficult time listening and writing. I struggled with comprehension.” She couldn’t picture herself as a teacher. Times change. Christiansen, these days, lives in rural Pasco County where she tutors students – usually working with … [Read more...]

Local gymnast reaches ‘elite’ status

Hard work is paying off for Kristen Ng. The 17-year-old, who will be a senior at Wiregrass Ranch High School, can lay claim to being one of the nation’s premier rhythmic gymnasts. Last month she earned Level 10 Elite status — the highest level possible — at the USA Gymnastics Rhythmic National Qualifier in Lake Placid, New York. Only the top 20 senior finishers in the qualifier earn … [Read more...]

Retirement ‘bittersweet’ for Zephyrhills police chief

After 25 years of service, former Zephyrhills Police Chief David Shears is settling into retirement life. Throughout a respected career, Shears at some point worked every hour of the day, every day of the week and every day of the year. Now, he gets to relax. His last day in uniform was May 31. To Shears, stepping away from law enforcement altogether is “bittersweet.” “You enjoy … [Read more...]

National parks offer lessons in life, history

The nation’s history is recorded in books and taught in classrooms — but, author Penny Musco recommends another path of discovery. She suggests that you visit as many of the 417 properties in the U.S. National Parks Services as possible. That list includes 59 parks, 87 monuments, 15 rivers, three scenic trails, four battlefield parks, 11 battlefields, 78 historic sites, and thousands of … [Read more...]