In observation of Ramadan, which this year is observed from May 5 to June 4, the Lutz Branch Library, 101 W. Lutz Lake Fern Road, hosted a free event to celebrate the Muslim holy month. The event featured a book reading and a slideshow history of Ramadan, followed by a canvas painting craft. Ramadan, which is observed by millions of Muslims worldwide, is a period of fasting that lasts from predawn to sunset. The fast is intended to bring the faithful closer to God. Muslims also use this time to focus on charity, to help the less fortunate.
Large crowds enjoying the sunny weather found their way to The Market Place at Hibiscus Park in Dade City, at Seventh Street and Bougainvillea Avenue. The market concluded its fifth season on May 4. It featured vendors selling handmade goods, jewelry, vintage treasures, bath and beauty products, and home-cooked Mexican food. There also was an opportunity to take part in a chance drawing for a large bath and body themed gift basket, donated by the Dade City Garden Club, to benefit the Dade City Youth Council. The Market Place will debut its sixth season in October.
Hungry Harry’s Family Bar-B-Que and Hunters in Christ’s Kingdom hosted a family fishing tournament on May 11, on Lake Padgett, accessed from behind the Hungry Harry’s restaurant, at 3116 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. The tournament was open to the public and to all ages. Lessons were available for beginners wanting to learn how to freshwater fish. Seven boats, all belonging to volunteers, made short offshore fishing trips throughout the event. Prizes were awarded to the top fishermen in several categories. The event was organized by Jonathan Fisher of Land O’ Lakes, and proceeds go toward the ministry work of the nonprofit organization, Hunters in Christ’s Kingdom, where Fisher serves on the Board of Directors.
Saint Anthony Catholic School, in San Antonio, had a special celebration last week to mark its 135th anniversary.
The day began with the Most. Rev. Gregory L. Parkes, Bishop of the Diocese of Saint Petersburg, presiding over a celebration of the Holy Mass.
The Rev. Garry Welsh, pastor of Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church offered welcoming remarks at the Mass and, throughout the service, the bishop reminded those gathered of the many reasons to feel a sense of gratitude for the Lord’s goodness.
“As you can see, there are a lot of things to love about being a student at Saint Anthony Catholic School,” Parkes said, during the May 10 event. “Most importantly, you learn about a person, and that person is Jesus Christ. That is a special gift that you receive while here.”
Parkes also offered a blessing for the school’s future.
And, the bishop encouraged the school’s students to “look to the past with gratitude, look at the present with joy, and look to the future with hope.”
He reminded them that as they move forward in life, their time at the school will always be part of them.
After the Mass, a program was held under a large tent on the grounds of San Antonio City Park.
Mark Anderson, the mayor of San Antonio; and, Allen Altman, a member of the Pasco County School Board, provided proclamations.
Jessica Werckman, who has two young children at the school, introduced the speakers and also read a statement from Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who wasn’t able to attend the event.
John T. Vogel II, a 2002 alumnus of the school, presented the Saint Anthony Catholic School Alumni Scholarship to two students, first-place winner Adeline Shiver and second-place winner, Carys Ragsdale. Shiver also was the second-place winner in the Catholic Foundation Essay Winner at the Diocesan level.
The event also featured a ‘Reflection of History’ presented by Lynn McCaughey.
A special moment during the program came when 97-year-old Louise Traeger Clift was honored. She is the oldest-living alumnus. She graduated in 1935, and was one of the three graduates from the school that year.
During her closing remarks, Sister Alice Ottapurackal, the school’s principal, expressed her gratitude to the students and faculty. She also announced that after nine years at the school she is moving to a new assignment in New Jersey.
Following the program, children from each grade performed songs in a spring concert, conducted by Angela Kempe. To get things started, Werckman performed a heartfelt rendition of “How Beautiful.”
The festivities concluded with a picnic lunch provided in the park and an open house tour of the school.
Published May 15, 2019
The Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, recently hosted a tie dye with Sharpie markers event, as part of its ‘Try it Tuesdays’ program. The free event encouraged children to use their imagination and use colorful markers to draw their favorite pictures on a cotton bandana. When the kids were finished, Karen Allen, the youth services librarian sprayed the masterpieces with rubbing alcohol — bleeding the colors to create a tie dye effect. The program meets every other Tuesday, and gives school-age children a chance to try something new and exciting.
A sadness looms over 5707 Gall Blvd., in Zephyrhills.
Caution tape, and charred debris litter the empty, dirt parking lot.
A pungent smell of burnt wood lingers in the air.
Such is the aftermath of a May 2 two-alarm fire that destroyed the Crystal Bar and Package store, a Zephyrhills landmark, which has operated at the location since 1954.
Zephyrhills Fire Rescue received a call about a commercial building on fire at the Crystal Bar and Package store on Gall Boulevard at 11:30 a.m., on May 2, according to a report from Pasco County Fire Rescue.
Upon arrival, Zephyrhills fire reported heavy fire through the roof, according to Pasco Fire Rescue’s report.
Pasco County Fire Rescue assisted Zephyrhills Fire Rescue in battling the fire, which was upgraded to a two-alarm fire, and caused the closure of Gall Boulevard at 12th Street, requiring local detours. No injuries were reported. The State Fire Marshal’s Office was requested to respond to the scene.
Two days after the fire, Bob Geddes, one of the establishment’s owners, was in disbelief, as he, family and friends, returned to the site to search for items that may have survived the enormous blaze that raged through the wood-frame building.
Geddes said the fire was electrical in nature. He said it started in the attic and moved swiftly, fueled by old, dry wood. The roof collapsed. He said the building is considered a total loss.
The establishment, known to be the longest-operating bar in the city, has a rich history within the community.
Geddes’ father, Bob, and his mother, Geraldine — who went by Jerry — bought the bar in 1954. The younger Bob was just 18 months old at the time.
In the early years, the owners, originally from Chicago operated the bar from an old wood structure that sat behind the current building.
The couple went on to have six kids, some of whom worked in the business in some capacity, over the years.
Around 27 years ago, the Geddes siblings formed a corporation and became the current owners. Their mom passed away in 2000, and their dad passed on in 2004.
The loss of the bar has touched a chord with people who have patronized it through the years. Its Facebook page is filled with comments, offering condolences, sharing memories and expressing a sense of loss.
It was a place where lifelong friendships began. Relationships that formed within its walls sometimes led to marriage. Going to the bar for a drink became a rite of passage for generations of families.
Although people have been asking whether the Crystal Bar will be rebuilt, two days after the blaze — as Geddes and loved ones searched through the rubble — the answer remained unclear.
“Who knows what the future holds,” Geddes said.
B.C. Manion contributed to this story.
Published May 08, 2019
There were loads of activities offered at the East Pasco Family YMCA Healthy Kids Day on April 27.
The YMCA facility, at 37301 Chapel Hill Loop in Zephyrhills, was among YMCAs across the country participating in the national initiative.
The event focused on improving the health and well-being of kids and their families.
Activities geared toward keeping young minds and bodies active included poolside fun, summer camp games, live music, basketball games, and demonstrations from the Zephyrhills Police Department and the Zephyrhills Fire Department.
There was a booth, too, where the Y staff registered anyone who was interested in their summer camp programs or swim lessons.
Published May 08, 2019
Moms — they’re the ones who get up early in the morning to give the kids a ride to swimming, or to ball practice, to quiz them for tests, or help with a million other things. They’re in the carpool line at school. They’re at the grocery store stocking up. They’re in the kitchen making dinner, and then they do the dishes. They do the laundry. They organize family trips. They show support at ball games, before prom, at graduation.
Rayliris Green, of Land O’ Lakes, walks next to Jayden, her 7-year-old son, as he bicycles during a recent evening. Asked what makes his mom special, Jayden responded: ‘My mom is so beautiful, she is so kind to me. She takes care of me, and is always there for me.’ (Christine Holtzman)
So, as Mother’s Day approaches — it’s on May 12 this year — we wanted to celebrate some of the small daily moments that moms recently shared with their children within the communities served by The Laker/Lutz News.
The Teen STEAM program at Hugh Embry Branch Library, 14215 Fourth St., in Dade City, recently held a drone obstacle course event. Behind the controls, these teens were in charge of flying their mini drone through several hoops and obstacles to earn a prize. Flying experience wasn’t necessary to compete in this free event. The Teen STEAM program meets weekly at the library with different activities geared toward youths, ages 12 to 18. For more information about the Teen STEAM program, call (352) 567-3576.