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...]

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...]

Outlining a road map to tackle Pasco traffic problems

Pasco County’s residential and commercial growth is causing more traffic headaches on the area’s roads. At an Aug. 21 session, residents had a chance to learn about what’s planned to tackle the area’s congestion during The Pasco County Transportation Summit. U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis and Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore hosted the event at the Pasco-Hernando State College Porter … [Read more...]

Tourist tax increase to help finance Wiregrass sports complex

Pasco County commissioners approved a 2 percent increase in the tourism tax and cleared the way to finance construction of the Wiregrass Sports Complex of Pasco County. The added revenues will be used as collateral to secure a construction loan of up to $15 million for a 98,000-square-foot multi-purpose indoor sports venue. The tax increase is on top of an existing 2 percent tax collected on … [Read more...]

Pasco schools revamp active threat procedures

The Pasco County School District has made a major change to its crisis response plan — should an active shooting threat arise on campus. The Active Threat Response Plan has replaced the lockdown plan, beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, which started on Aug. 14. The traditional, passive lockdown approach — where students huddle in a dark room — has been the district’s protocol for … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes High undergoes $29 million makeover

When students arrive at Land O’ Lakes High School next week, they’ll see construction crews busy on a $29 million makeover that’s expected to take two years. But, great care is being taken to ensure that students and staff are kept out of the path of work crews, and vice versa, said John Petrashek, director of construction services for Pasco County Schools. During a recent tour of the … [Read more...]

Searching for a superstar in Tampa Bay

American Idol is a cultural phenomenon. The reality television show is known for launching major singing careers for Idol winners, Kelly Clarkson and Carrie Underwood. And, even reaching the top 10 can be life-changing. Jennifer Hudson, for instance, finished seventh in 2004, but went on to win an Oscar for the movie musical, “Dream Girls,” and remains a superstar. So, future singing … [Read more...]

Keeping safe, when a hurricane threatens

Hurricane Season 2017 is underway, and the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office has shored up its ability to respond to the potential for deadly storms. Within the past few months, Sheriff Chris Nocco has created an Emergency Management Division and has appointed two seasoned war veterans to top leadership positions. Nocco named George McDonald as chief of the Joint Operations Bureau of the Pasco … [Read more...]

Massive sinkhole swallows two homes

Recovery efforts expected to take months Efforts are beginning in a recovery process to address impacts from a massive sinkhole that swallowed two homes in the Lake Padgett community of Land O’ Lakes. Kevin Guthrie, Pasco County’s assistant county administrator for public safety, said authorities received a 911 call at 7:21 a.m., on July 14, reporting a depression forming under a … [Read more...]