Mixed local reaction to new defense spending bill

The U.S. House passed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act during a lame-duck session, but not all lawmakers are in support. U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, said the bill presented a "troubling dilemma for me and my colleagues." "After speaking with local veterans and military leaders in my community, I cannot vote for reduced benefits and a reduction in a pay raise for our service … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills poised to name Spillman permanent fire chief

Four months after being named the interim fire chief, the Zephyrhills City Council is set on Monday to make Daniel Spillman's job at the head of the city's fire rescue department permanent. Spillman took over the department in June when Verne Riggall — under fire for how he had run the agency over a two-year period — resigned before city council members could vote on whether to terminate … [Read more...]

Fact Check: Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera’s campaign visit to Zephyrhills

Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez-Cantera made a campaign stop on behalf of Gov. Rick Scott in Zephyrhills Sept. 22, speaking in front of the Conservative Club of East Pasco. Throughout his stump speech, Lopez-Cantera attacked Scott’s Democratic opponent, former Gov. Charlie Crist, but also made some other claims as well.  For the complete story of Lopez-Cantera's campaign stop, read the Oct. 1 edition … [Read more...]

MOSI wins national award from Noyce Foundation

The Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa has been selected as one of just seven museums in the country to receive the Bright Lights Community Engagement Award from the Noyce Foundation. The award recognizes science centers, children's museums and natural history museums that have done what it considers to be an outstanding job of engaging with their local communities, especially in areas … [Read more...]

Zephyrhills council takes aim at fire chief

Update: Published reports state that Verne Riggall resigned as the Zephyrhills fire chief on Friday, leaving the city council with the job of appointing an interim chief Monday night. Zephyrhills Fire Chief Verne Riggall followed his former city manager, Jim Drumm, from High Springs. But he might soon be following him out as well. Steve Spina, who replaced Drumm on an interim basis as … [Read more...]

Bilirakis to host veterans town hall meeting

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis is inviting veterans to attend a town hall meeting for what he's calling a "candid conversation" about their experiences with local Veterans Affairs offices. The event will take place June 5 at 10 a.m., at New Port Richey City Hall, 5919 Main St., in New Port Richey. Although it's focused on veterans, it is open to the public. Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, said in a … [Read more...]

Flags flown at half-staff Thursday

Gov. Rick Scott has ordered flags to be flown half-staff Thursday at all local and state buildings throughout Florida to honor law enforcement officers who gave their lives in the line of duty. It's a mark of respect, Scott said, for "all law enforcement officers who have heroically given their lives to protect and defend us." Thursday also is Peace Officers Memorial Day, which was first … [Read more...]

In Print: It’s a week filled with art, roads and the Guv’na

Trevor Nichols is heading to Washington, D.C. And it's thanks to Coach Keppel. That's Land O' Lakes High School cross-country coach Kris Keppel, of course, who served as the inspiration for a pencil drawing Nichols made that earned him accolades from U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis' Congressional Art Competition. "I really wanted to give my coach something as a gift, something he could have to … [Read more...]

Florida first state to demand a single-subject Constitutional convention

The first step in many to call the nation’s first Constitutional convention in nearly 230 years is on its way to Washington D.C., after a proposal from state Sen. Wilton Simpson earned approval from both the Florida House and Florida Senate. S.M. 368 calls for an Article V Convention — named for the section of the U.S. Constitution that allows states to start the amendment proposal process. … [Read more...]

How much will it cost this year to pay taxes?

Taxpayers looking to hire a professional to complete their 2013 tax return can expect to pay an average of $261 for an itemized Form 1040 with Schedule A, according to a new report from the National Society of Accountants. “The IRS says it takes an average of four hours just to complete and submit a Form 1040,” said John Ams, executive vice president of NSA, in a release. “You have to ask, ‘How … [Read more...]