New Zephyrhills police chief has a familiar face

Derek Brewer’s official promotion to Zephyrhills Police Chief was just weeks ago — yet he’s no stranger to the uniform, or to the community he’s tasked to serve. The 45-year-old Brewer was appointed the city’s permanent, full-time police chief on Sept. 25. He was sworn-in two weeks later, on Oct. 9. Brewer, however, already had months of familiarity with the position. He served as interim … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills appoints police chief

Following a four-month nationwide search for its next police chief, the city of Zephyrhills has opted to hire from within, appointing interim chief Derek Brewer the city’s permanent, full-time police chief. At its Sept. 25 meeting, the Zephyrhills City Council voted 4-1 in favor of Brewer, a 15-year veteran of the Zephyrhills Police Department who’s served as the interim chief since May … [Read more...]

Locals fare well in 2017 MLB Draft

Dreams of playing professional baseball are about to come true for several local athletes. The 2017 Major League Baseball (MLB) Draft wrapped up on June 14, and several baseball players with ties to The Laker/Lutz News Coverage Area were selected. The first-year player draft is Major League Baseball's primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players, from high schools, colleges and … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills Police to have a changing of the guard

Zephyrhills police chief David Shears is hanging up his uniform following 25 years of service. His retirement, effective May 31, was announced during the Zephyrhills City Council May 8 meeting. The council then unanimously approved City Manager Steve Spina’s appointment of Zephyrhills police Capt. Derek Brewer to interim chief, effective June 1. The city now will undergo a hiring … [Read more...]

Local athletes sign with colleges

The athletic talent pool continues to flourish throughout north Hillsborough, and east and central Pasco. Dozens of local high school athletes signed their letters of intent (LOI) on Feb. 1 to various colleges and universities as part of National Signing Day, held annually on the first Wednesday in February. Once again, schools in our coverage area were well-represented. Wiregrass … [Read more...]

State college clears the air – of smoke

The campuses of Pasco-Hernando State College will become smoke-free and tobacco-free zones effective Aug. 14, 2017. The college’s District Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Nov. 15 to expand an existing policy that prohibits smoking in college buildings and “workplace” areas, but allows smoking in designated areas. That means smoking and other forms of tobacco will be banned entirely on … [Read more...]

Thomas leads makeshift AATL hoops team

Imani Thomas has had to adapt —and lead — in the face of mass exodus. The Academy at the Lakes senior, like others, wasn’t even sure if the private school would field a basketball team prior to the 2016-2017 season. The program had lost its uber-successful coach — Karim Nohra— who “retired” then wound up at Carrollwood Day School. It lost its most prolific scorer — junior Audra Leipold … [Read more...]

Tennis pro wants to grow sport in Pasco

Jeanette Marcus wants tennis to flourish in east Pasco County. Marcus, a certified USPTA (United States Professional Tennis Association) instructor, operates the Dade-City based Tennis 4 U/Tennis Para Ti Inc. The 56-year-old Marcus, a bilingual instructor, offers developmental and intermediate lessons for both youth and adults at her two-acre tennis facility, 35949 Bozeman Road in Dade … [Read more...]

Student loan debt is affecting housing market

Student loan debt nationally is a staggering $1.3 trillion dollars, or about 10 percent of all outstanding debt. For seven out of 10 students, repaying student loans can be a nearly insurmountable obstacle that is altering career decisions and delaying the milestone of buying a home. Nationally, the average student loan debt is about $30,000. Across Florida, the average is about … [Read more...]

A vigil to honor a life gone too soon

A bouquet of heart-shaped balloons separated and floated skyward into the night air, carrying messages of love for Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz. Below, candles burned brightly, held aloft by more than 400 people who filled the stands at Ron Allen Field at Gaither High. They had gathered for a candlelight vigil to honor the life of the 24-year-old Sanfeliz, one of 49 people killed during a … [Read more...]