School district expands mental health services

The Pasco County school district has been ramping up training and tapping into outside sources, in its quest to build a better mental health support network for students. Statistics from across the school district underscore a compelling need for increased services. District figures show that more than 1,200 suicide assessments were done last year of students in elementary, middle and high … [Read more...]

Chance conversation leads to permanent memorial

What began as an idea to host a  9/11 Memorial Mile, quickly turned into something bigger because of a chance conversation. In recent years, the Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel has been honoring the anniversary of Sept. 11 by serving breakfasts to area first responders and by passing out American flags at Tampa Premium Outlets. This year, the club decided to stage its first run to … [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...]

Chamber’s goal: Being there to meet members’ needs

When the North Tampa Bay Chamber began two decades ago, it was known as the Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce. In the beginning, it had 65 members and met in a garage. Now, it has 734 members — with some based as far away as Brooksville and St. Petersburg. It attracts a wide range of political and business leaders to speak at, and attend its monthly breakfasts and luncheons. The … [Read more...]

These kits can help save lives

A safety measure has been added to Pasco County high schools that’s aimed to help save lives during a mass casualty or active shooter situation. The schools now have bleed control kits — designed to help prevent victims from bleeding out before emergency responders arrive. The kits contain items such as tourniquets, blood-clotting dressings and casualty extraction litter, CPR mask, … [Read more...]

Local donors help propel playground development

A new playground designed to be welcoming for children with disabilities is planned for Wesley Chapel District Park, and the project got a big boost from some local donors. The Wesley Chapel Rotary Club, AdventHealth Wesley Chapel and the Lennar Foundation are contributing a combined total of $125,000 to help Pasco County pay for the project. The Pasco County Commission recognized the … [Read more...]

‘Engage’ kids: Improve attendance

Students typically don’t decide to drop out of school overnight. And, there’s typically more to the story, when a student starts missing school on a regular basis. At least those were a couple points of discussion last week during a Pasco County School Board workshop on the topic of school attendance. “Attendance is really a symptom of something else that is happening with our … [Read more...]

Growth puts squeeze on schools

As Pasco County Schools heads into another school year, crowded conditions are expected on several campuses within The Laker/Lutz News coverage area. District officials are projecting that Wesley Chapel’s Wiregrass Ranch High School will operate at 141 percent of its capacity, with an estimated 2,310 students in a school designed for 1,633. Connerton Elementary School, in Land O’ Lakes, … [Read more...]

Teen’s health struggle makes her a national voice

When Mark and Kelly Dees of Land O’ Lakes decided to name their unborn daughter Hope, it was a sign of their unwavering optimism despite devastating news. What was supposed to be an exciting reveal of their baby’s gender, soon became a moment of sadness after Hope was diagnosed with congenital heart defects. “We were told by the first doctor that she wouldn’t live to see her first … [Read more...]

Collaboration creates connectivity

The opening of the State Road 56 Extension between Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills has a personal benefit for Alora Butler, a student at Pasco-Hernando State College’s Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch. She said the new road segment will cut her 30-minute commute to school in half. It also reduces the time that the Zephyrhills resident spends on the road, to get to leisure activities or do … [Read more...]