Local teen moves on to next round on ‘American Idol’

Zach D’Onofrio has received a Golden Ticket, and his next national appearance on American Idol will be during Hollywood Week. The 17-year-old Wiregrass Ranch High School student impressed judges Katy Perry, Luke Bryan and Lionel Richie with “The Way You Look Tonight,” a Frank Sinatra song. When he appeared before the celebrity judges in New York, the first thing he did was give each of them … [Read more...]

USA Women’s Hockey, fans celebrate gold in Wesley Chapel

Just days removed from celebrating a gold medal win in the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea, the USA women’s ice hockey team returned to where their remarkable journey all began — Wesley Chapel. It’s where the team spent more than five months getting prepared for the Winter Olympics, training at Florida Hospital Center Ice and lodging at Saddlebrook Resort. It’s also where … [Read more...]

Tampa Bay housing market has solid outlook for 2018, experts say

Tampa Bay’s housing market is looking strong for 2018, but changes are expected, as the market evolves, according to experts featured at the 2018 Economic Forecast meeting presented by the Tampa Bay Builders Association. Buck Horne, vice president for equity research, housing and real estate for Raymond James, presented an analysis featuring three key findings during the Feb. 6 meeting at … [Read more...]

Voters could decide on four bond issues in 2018

Pasco County voters could be asked to support as many as four bond referendums in November to pay for upgrades to public safety, fire rescue, parks and libraries. County officials presented information on the bonds at a Feb. 13 workshop in New Port Richey. At a previous workshop, Pasco County commissioners had considered a single referendum for about $185 million to pay for public safety … [Read more...]

Helping your relationships thrive — not just on Valentine’s Day

You come home from work and you see your husband sprawled out on the couch watching television, while dishes are piled up in the sink. You get mad. You’re thinking: Really, he’s just sitting there while there’s work that needs to be done? You’re not thinking: He’s exhausted. He just finished a tough day at work and he’s stressed out. He needs to relax a little. These are the kinds … [Read more...]

Florida and Tampa Bay have bright prospects, economist says

Florida and Tampa Bay will be in good economic shape for 2018 and beyond, an economist for Florida Taxwatch predicts. Kyle Baltuch, who also is director of development at Florida Taxwatch, offered that assessment during a Feb. 2 luncheon hosted by the Pasco Economic Development Council. He said his optimism stems in part from strides made last year. He pointed to Florida’s gross … [Read more...]

These gardeners are breaking new ground, in more ways than one

Community gardens are not a new concept, but the Watson Park Community Garden in Dade City has a new twist. This garden is the first of its kind in Florida, and the people behind it hope it will become a model for others to follow. At a ribbon-cutting and groundbreaking ceremony on Jan. 26, children from Cox Elementary School were among the first to get their hands dirty in the … [Read more...]

It’s Kumquat Festival time

A day set aside for tiny orange fruits and fun It’s that time of year when the tiny tart orange fruit reigns supreme in Dade City — the town on the eastern edge of Pasco County, with quaint shops lining its downtown streets and a historic courthouse in its center square. About 35,000 people are expected at the festival this year, said John Moors, executive director of The Greater Dade … [Read more...]

Flu can be deadly; use precautions to avoid it

Sick people are showing up in doctor’s offices and emergency rooms seeking treatment for the flu. Both in Florida and across the United States, flu activity is on the rise, according to Mara Gambineri, communications director for the Florida Department of Health. “We’re seeing more activity across all age groups this year than we’ve seen in previous seasons at this time, which may be an … [Read more...]

Region has frigid wake-up call

The new year brought the first blast of winter to Pasco County, and to the Tampa Bay region. Freeze warnings and wind chill advisories rained down daily from the National Weather Service, as frigid air dipped into north and central Florida, and stayed for days. For the first time in decades, Tallahassee had measurable snowfall. Here in Tampa Bay, snow was a no-show, but temperatures … [Read more...]