Escape life’s upheaval at familiar county fair

You don’t need a consumer confidence report to know that the economy is on a rebound trajectory. Instead, just open your eyes to what’s going on in Pasco County, where change, once more, is afoot. You can scarcely swing a surveyor’s plumb bob without whacking evidence of our resurgence. Earth movers are moving earth. Grimy guys with signs are redirecting traffic. New construction is erupting … [Read more...]

Farewell, and Godspeed, to Adam Kennedy

The call brought Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning out of an early morning meeting. Crews Lake Middle School was on the phone. The principal hadn’t arrived. There were reports of a terrible wreck along his usual commute, and they were worried. Saying he was on it, Browning rang up Pasco County Sheriff Chris Nocco and put the situation to him. “I’ll call you back,” Nocco said. Ten long … [Read more...]

Pucker up for kumquats

Every year when the calendar rolls up against the Dade City Kumquat Festival, I can’t help thinking about a scene from “Doc Hollywood” — the Michael J. Fox movie in which an aspiring Beverly Hills plastic surgeon gets waylaid in tiny Grady, South Carolina (played convincingly by Micanopy, just up the road). While he’s there waiting for repairs to his wrecked Porsche and serving community … [Read more...]

Casting a wider crime-fighting net

If, like me, you grew up on “Dragnet” and graduated to “Hill Street Blues,” the new face of crime-fighting in Pasco County isn’t what you’d expect. But, if you came of age following the exploits of the “CSI” franchises, in which sharp and attractive young people foil bad actors by tapping on keyboards, then it’s exactly what you’d expect. Either way, it’s high time anyone concerned about … [Read more...]

Campaign 2016: Something to talk about

Everyone knows the old saying, the one designed to keep peace among restless kinfolk: Never discuss religion or politics. Sandy Graves knows it, too, and spurns it at every turn. “If it weren’t for religion and politics,” she says breezily, “I wouldn’t have anything to talk about.” This, as anyone who knows the first lady of Land O’ Lakes, is not entirely true. She can do hours on the history … [Read more...]

Saying ‘No’ to New Year’s resolutions

The time has come, tradition says, for all of us to take stock of our lives and, having properly weighed the whole sorry mess, resolve to make much-needed improvements. Or not. Mostly not. According to a survey conducted by the Saint Leo Polling Institute, scarcely more than one in four adults planned to make New Year’s resolutions — just 27 percent. Maybe it had something to do … [Read more...]

Glimpsing the upbeat in a gloomy 2016

You don’t have to be a disappointed supporter of Hillary Clinton to have arrived at the notion that 2016 can’t end soon enough. I mean, lots of us got there long before Nov. 8. Simply put, 2016 was, in many respects, a rough year, and not just because of the rancor of the election. We needn’t revisit the particulars here. That’s for the news services, networks and major dailies. Let’s … [Read more...]

Harvey’s Hardware fills a niche in Land O’ Lakes

Christmas is upon us again, and with history as our guide, an appreciable number of your neighbors are about to be grateful for the existence of a locally owned hardware store in their midst. “The saddest time of the year,” says Emma Lou Harvey, “is when somebody is trying to put something together on Christmas Eve and they don’t have all the parts, or the parts don’t fit. “And then, … [Read more...]

Tree farm plays starring role in annual tradition

The first thing you need to know about the Ergle Family Christmas Tree Farm is, you have to be going there to get there. Nobody leaves the house for a gallon of milk, or a package of screws, or to drop off a donation at the neighborhood church and comes home with an Ergle tree. No, unlike the neighborhood big-box retailer and those ubiquitous pop-up lots, experiencing Debbie and Tony … [Read more...]

Stitching together a life’s big moments

Perhaps it was how she was brought up, or maybe it’s just in her genes, but Sherry Lee Steiert never was interested in being a poster child for polio. Never mind that she’d have made a good one. Struck when she was just 7 years old and paralyzed for a time from the waist down, Steiert survived to create a life that was exceptionally normal — a marriage, four lively children, a career or three — … [Read more...]