Legislative forum covers wide spectrum of issues

Dozens of speakers signed up to draw attention to topics they think are important at Pasco County’s annual legislative delegation meeting. The topics ranged from fracking to Medicaid; the opioid epidemic to immigration; medical marijuana to homelessness; and, scores of budget requests. Some requests were for items vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott last year. Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco, for … [Read more...]

Academy at the Lakes football relishes playoffs, breakout season

Academy at the Lakes football head coach Shawn Brown anticipated a team turnaround before the season. He was right. After three consecutive losing seasons in the eight-man football ranks, the Wildcats are in the midst of one of its best in program history, with a state title in reach. The team currently stands at 9-1, including a 7-0 mark in Florida Christian Region 2 — worthy enough for … [Read more...]

Looking for sinkhole solutions

Remedying a massive sinkhole in Land O’ Lakes has taken a minor step forward, four months after it opened and swallowed two homes on Ocean Pines Drive in Lake Padgett. Residents of the Lake Padgett community were presented several preliminary solutions for fixing the sinkhole long-term, during a Nov. 8 meeting at the Land O’ Lakes Community Center. The audience also had the opportunity to … [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...]

Pasco County looks at costs to fix Lake Padgett sinkhole

Restoring the site of a sinkhole within the Lake Padgett Estates subdivision to “pristine” condition would cost as much as $12 million. That idea was a non-starter for the Pasco County commissioners who reviewed a list of options on what to do next. They also rejected a suggestion for a $4 million bridge to span the sinkhole, and keep traffic flowing along Ocean Pines Drive. The sinkhole … [Read more...]

Light rail is top Tampa Bay choice for transit

A light rail system running beside Interstate 275 is the top choice for transit in a study that identifies potential projects in the Tampa Bay region, according to rankings from the Regional Transit Feasibility Plan. The route would link Wesley Chapel to Tampa and St. Petersburg, with a stop at the University of South Florida. The second choice would follow the same route but rely on “rubber … [Read more...]

Eiland exits Kansas City Royals organization

Dave Eiland, one of Zephyrhills’ most celebrated sports figures, was let go as pitching coach for the Kansas City Royals after six seasons with the major league ball club. The move to not renew Eiland’s contract — first reported by the Kansas City Star on Oct. 2— was part of a greater staff shakeup as the club enters the offseason following an 80-82 season. The club also opted to part ways with … [Read more...]

Agreement reached on forensic research campus

Pasco County commissioners approved a three-way agreement that sets up the framework for ownership and operation of a forensic research and training facility on county land next to the Land O’ Lakes Detention Center. One feature of the facility is a body farm to aid in criminal investigations, body identification and research into body decomposition. Florida F.I.R.S.T. (Forensic … [Read more...]

‘He was our own Indiana Jones’

After 91-year-old Bill Smith was laid to rest on Aug. 11 amid the emotionally riveting melody of bagpipes from quaint Smith Cemetery, a group of Smith’s fans gathered at Lake Jovita to swap stories and remember the rugged Wesley Chapel pioneer. Dr. Christopher Darby Immer, the pioneer’s son, was among those paying homage to Bill’s memory. “He was our own Indiana Jones!” said Immer, … [Read more...]

Area spared worst of Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma devastated other parts of Florida, causing less damage than feared in Tampa and surrounding communities. But area homes, businesses and other locations were not entirely spared from Irma’s wrath. Concerns continue over rising floodwaters, which already have flooded homes and roads. And, Irma’s whipping winds knocked down trees, shredded billboards, damaged fences, ripped … [Read more...]