America is still taking a breath after a strong performance at the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, last month, but locally, people still can’t get enough.
Asif Shaikh, a chaplain from Lutz, once again traveled overseas to take part in the Olympics, serving as a spiritual guide for athletes. It gave him a chance to not only see some of the medal-winning events for Americans, but also gave him a chance to wish his wife, Leaha, a happy Valentine’s Day on national television thanks to NBC’s “Today Show.”
This is his second Olympics, having attended the Summer Games in London in 2012. But while Shaikh provides a service to Olympians, he still must convince the right people to allow him to continue his services at future games.
“I’m trying to get established,” he told reporter B.C. Manion. “I think the next step would be, ‘How can I help, in the sense of volunteering my time.’ They don’t have any spiritual leaders. They don’t recognize that as something that’s important.”
A little closer to home, Wesley Chapel High School hosted the Special Olympics, which brought in hundreds of athletes from around Pasco County and beyond.
“I’m just glad to know that, not only are the parents supporting them, but they are embraced by the community,” Denise Peeks, whose daughter Tiffany competes in the games, told reporter Michael Murillo. “The business community and the volunteers come out and they get so much support that they so desperately need. I think it’s fantastic.”
Both Olympics are all about competition, but the kind of competition taking place between various hospitals in the region is much different. Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point opened a trauma center in 2011, and is now doing everything it can to keep it despite efforts by older trauma centers in Hillsborough County trying to take it away.
Dr. Scott Norwood, who runs Bayonet Point’s facility, says the more trauma centers there are, the better hospitals can treat those in accidents and other mishaps that require specialized care very quickly.
“Trauma is a time-sensitive disease,” Norwood told members of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce recently, as reported by Michael Hinman. “It’s just like heart disease or a heart attack, the quicker you can get to a facility to deal with the problem, the more likely you are to survive. And that’s reflective of what’s happening in Florida right now.”
But existing facilities like Tampa General Hospital and St. Joseph’s Hospital, see it differently, and feel too many trauma centers will instead be detrimental because it would dilute the quality of care, and the money needed to run the facilities.
Although one state senator has introduced a bill she hopes will address the problems, it looks like the legal battle between all these hospitals fighting for trauma centers will rage on for some time to come.
Finally, for our Zephyrhills and Dade City readers, the East Pasco edition of The Laker takes a unique look at the upcoming Founders’ Day celebration in the City of Pure Water. Michael Murillo has taken a trip into Zephyrhills’ past and shared it in a way only he could in his regular column, “Presenting the Past.”
All of these stories and more can be found in this week’s The Laker/Lutz News, available in newsstands throughout east and central Pasco County as well as northern Hillsborough County. Find out what has your community talking this week by getting your local news straight from the only source you need.
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