Pasco’s tourism director wants to take a new approach

Adam Thomas envisions Pasco County becoming one of Florida’s “must-see” tourism destinations. Aside from mostly pleasant weather, the county lays its claim to bountiful ecotourism, miles of bike trails, premier multipurpose sports facilities — as well as beaches and resorts. “We have a lot of opportunities,” said Thomas, who is Pasco’s newest tourism director. “Our destination is really … [Read more...]

Learning the ins and outs of medical marijuana

Medical marijuana is a fact in Florida. Voters approved it in a 2016 referendum. Lawmakers passed a law regulating it, effective January 2017. Cities and counties generally are writing local ordinances in line with state law to permit dispensaries, but limit their locations. Local governments, however, do have the option to ban them. Pasco County commissioners are expected to vote … [Read more...]

Local volunteer wins national award

When Courtney Urban began volunteering at the Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppe, at 1930 Land O’ Lakes Blvd., in Lutz, it was just a way to spend some extra time with her grandmother. “The big thing in the beginning was just going with her,” said Urban, who began her volunteer work in 2013. “But then it became my own thing. I loved going there. When I got to be the cashier, it was fun to … [Read more...]

County exploring adding a new tax

Pasco County commissioners often talk about making Pasco a premier county. But, even with a rebounding economy, they are facing a financial hurdle in funding the necessities for parks, libraries and emergency management. Looming ahead is a third $25,000 homestead exemption, which is expected to pass in a 2018 voter referendum. If it does pass, Pasco County could lose $8 million in general … [Read more...]

Helping Puerto Rico, one click at a time

As the island of Puerto Rico tries to pick up the pieces after the devastating landfall of Hurricane Maria, a group of students at Sunlake High School offered their help in the recovery efforts — via classroom computers nearly 1,200 miles away. On Oct. 2 and Oct. 3, students in teacher Anne Cullison’s Advanced Placement (AP) Geography class participated in a collaborative project called The … [Read more...]

Lessons learned from Hurricane Maria

Hurricane Maria left a trail of death and destruction and continues to impose extreme hardships to those living in its path — and it also offered the Zloty family of Land O’ Lakes, dramatic reminders of the power of faith, the fragile nature of life, and the importance of gratitude. Hurricane Maria’s impact on Colleen and Martin Zloty’s family began on Sept. 18 when they heard a hurricane … [Read more...]

New mindset needed in substance abuse battle, speakers say

A shift in attitudes could go a long way toward reducing impacts from substance abuse, speakers said at the sixth annual Substance Abuse Prevention Conference held in Wesley Chapel. Stigma is a huge issue, they said. Until that changes, fewer people will seek treatment, and employment and housing challenges will remain for those in recovery from substance addictions, they explained. A … [Read more...]

Rallying ’round the blueberry bushes

Hurricane Irma blew across the landscape, uprooting and toppling about 100,000 blueberry bushes at Frogmore Fresh Farm, outside Dade City. In Irma’s aftermath, the farm’s general manager, Leonard Park, knew he had a narrow window to salvage as many of the plants as possible. He also knew he didn’t have enough labor to make that happen. An unexpected phone call from Whitney Elmore offered … [Read more...]

New summer camp aims to offer fun for kids with special needs

A plan that began more than five years ago will finally reach fruition next summer when Camp Idlewild is scheduled to open in Land O’ Lakes. The camp is being developed by The Roach Family Foundation. Irene Roach, founder and president, and her family, intend to provide recreational and camping experiences for children with autism spectrum disorders, who have learning differences and other … [Read more...]

Why we printed your newspaper early

As I write this column, it is Friday morning — two days before Irma arrives in Florida, and at least a full day before we know what kind of impact the hurricane will have on Tampa Bay. In the aftermath of Harvey, everyone is on edge because of the stress getting ready for the storm, and the uncertainty of when and where Irma will make landfall. In anticipation of Irma, one way we coped here … [Read more...]