Wildfires in Pasco cause hassles, heavy smoke

Wildfires burning in Pasco County have produced heavy smoke — causing inconvenience for motorists, disrupting schools and posing potential health hazards. Pasco County officials have responded to the wildfires by issuing warnings to motorists to use care when driving through areas surrounding Starkey Park. Motorists should expect periods of heavy smoke on the road for 30 days to 45 days, … [Read more...]

Health services relocating to Wesley Chapel

Pasco County health clinics in Zephyrhills and Land O’ Lakes will close and their services moved to a professional office building in Wesley Chapel. The Pasco County Tax Collector’s office is expected to take over the former building used by the Land O’ Lakes clinic. County officials then plan to use the tax collector’s old space for County Development Services, which includes its permitting … [Read more...]

Commissioners study up on medical marijuana

A 22-year-old patient with debilitating seizures proved to Dr. Ron Aung-Din that medical marijuana is a useful, plant-based treatment for a wide array of illnesses. The active ingredients in the marijuana plant – known as cannabinoids – significantly reduced his patient’s seizures. “That was the beginning of my era of enlightenment,” said Aung-Din, a neurologist in Sarasota. Aung-Din was … [Read more...]

New rules ahead for dispensing medical marijuana

Voters statewide overwhelmingly said they want more people with debilitating illnesses to receive the benefits of medical marijuana. But, approval of the constitutional amendment in the Nov. 8 general election is only a first step in expanding an existing, but limited, medical marijuana program. State lawmakers and health department officials will have a say in what comes next. In the … [Read more...]

Medical marijuana may mean big money in Pasco

The local debate on how to regulate medical marijuana in Pasco County remains unsettled. But, two Tampa land use attorneys recently briefed county commissioners on the legal difficulties they face, and the vast sums of money at stake as the medical marijuana industry expands. County commissioners also received a recommendation from the county’s legal staff on limiting medical marijuana in … [Read more...]

Keeping children safe in the water

Just a few months ago, Christopher Santana, 11, didn't know how to swim. Neither did 10-year-old Ruby Rodriguez. But, thanks to free summer water safety lessons offered at the New Tampa Family YMCA, both youth, along with several others, are now confident about hopping into a pool and swimming unassisted. For the past three years, the New Tampa YMCA has partnered with the nonprofit … [Read more...]

Bayonet Point’s medical program hits milestone

Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point has graduated its first physician from its internal medicine education program. Dr. Katie Groff, an Ohio native, was officially recognized at Bayonet Point’s first commencement ceremony for its Graduate Medical Education (GME) Program in Internal Medicine on June 22. In 2013, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) approved Bayonet Point to start … [Read more...]

Putting the spotlight on substance abuse

Taking aim at substance abuse requires a new mindset, if efforts are to succeed, speakers said at the fifth annual Substance Abuse Prevention Conference on April 29. The biggest crisis hitting Florida today is the heroin and opioid epidemic, but the issue isn’t treated that way, said Mark Fontaine, executive director of Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association. “We have 13 cases of Zika … [Read more...]

Land O’ Lakes in line for bus service

Land O’ Lakes is experiencing unprecedented growth as more residential and commercial ventures pop up, especially northward along U.S. 41. But, one item that isn’t seen in the area is public bus transit. Pasco County commissioners are preparing to change that by adding a circulator bus route to its list of capital improvement projects for fiscal year 2017. On April 12, commissioners directed … [Read more...]

Pasco commissioners scrutinize medical marijuana

Medical marijuana is legal in Florida, but the issue continues to stir controversy. The first sales of medical marijuana likely will begin in the next months, when the Florida Department of Health sets up its program for delivering the cannabis-based product. While 28 businesses have applied for one of five permits that will be issued statewide, no Pasco County business is on the … [Read more...]