Initiatives aim to help veterans

Veterans statewide could soon see a slew of new and expanded benefits and services, if the Florida Department of Veterans Affairs gets its way in the 2020 legislative session and beyond. The agency is enrolling 17 legislative bills for the upcoming 60-day session, which begins in January, Al Carter, the department’s chief of staff, reported at the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce’s November … [Read more...]

Law seeks to reduce distracted driving

For now, drivers caught using a hand-held phone while driving through an active construction or school zone, will be issued a warning. But, at the beginning of the New Year, a citation can be issued with a $164 fine and three points against a driver’s license for the first offense. The new restriction was included in a law that addressed texting while driving, passed by the Florida … [Read more...]

New Pasco clerk seeks technology upgrades, more

New Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller Nikki Alvarez-Sowles isn’t wasting much time in trying to implement some new initiatives within the clerk’s office. She was formally appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis last month, following the retirement of her predecessor, Paula O’ Neil. The new clerk outlined a number of her ideas during an Aug. 27 East Pasco Networking Group breakfast meeting in Dade … [Read more...]

Area prepares for flooding, wind

With Hurricane Dorian bearing down on Florida, the state is bracing itself for impact. Gov. Ron DeSantis also declared a State of Emergency in the state’s 67 counties, and Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody activated the state’s Price Gouging Hotline. Both Hillsborough and Pasco counties have declared a state of emergency. In an advisory issued at 11 a.m., Aug. 30 from the National … [Read more...]

Local teen’s rare disease sparks legislation

After more than three years of fighting for their medical coverage for their son’s rare disease, a Land O’ Lakes family has seen some progress in their quest. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Patient Saving Act on June 12, which includes language requiring the state insurance plan to provide enteral formula coverage, regardless of age, condition or intake method. Stephanie Walls, whose … [Read more...]

Nikki Alvarez-Sowles named county clerk & comptroller

Gov. Ron DeSantis has named Nikki Alvarez-Sowles to serve as the Pasco County Clerk & Comptroller. She will serve in that role through January 2021, filling out the balance of term for the post vacated by Paula S. O’ Neil, who retired on July 1. Alvarez-Sowles is the county’s eighth clerk & comptroller. She was named an interim successor by Sixth Judicial Circuit Chief Judge … [Read more...]

Funding moves Morningside extension forward

A $5 million allocation from the state is bringing the extension of Morningside Drive — to connect U.S. 301 to Fort King Road in Dade City — a step closer to becoming reality. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ approval of the allocation in this year’s budget came as reassuring news to Dade City and Pasco County. Officials believe the extension will yield numerous benefits. “We’re anticipating it … [Read more...]

Paula S. O’ Neil retires after decades of public service

The Pasco County Commission recently honored Paula S. O’ Neil, who retired after three decades of public service. O’ Neil’s final day as Pasco Circuit Court Clerk & Comptroller was June 30. She had recommended that Nikki Alvarez-Sowles, her chief operations officer, be appointed by Gov. Ron DeSantis to complete the remainder of her term, which ends in 2020. DeSantis had not made … [Read more...]

Randy Maggard wins District 38 seat

Voters have selected Randy Maggard to become their next representative in District 38 of the Florida House of Representatives. Maggard, a Republican, received 9,615 votes, or 55.58 percent of the total in the Special Election held on June 18. His opponent Kelly Smith, a Democrat, received 7,684, or 44.42 percent of the vote. The voter turnout in the contest was 15.24. The district’s … [Read more...]

Hurricane supplies sales tax holiday starts May 31

Gov. Ron DeSantis has signed a taxation bill that establishes May 31 through June 6 as the Hurricane Supplies Sales Tax Holiday. The tax exemption provides an opportunity to purchase items intended to help residents and business operators to prepare for, or respond to, a disaster. Items exempted from the sales tax include: Flashlights, torches and other self-powered portable light … [Read more...]