Performing arts center takes the stage in Wesley Chapel

Construction crews are down to the last details on the new Instructional Performing Arts Center (IPAC). Some of those details, including sound locks to reduce noise inside the music studio, are awaiting shipments from California, New York and Michigan. All of those states have been hit hard by COVID-19. “COVID-19 is what has caused so much delay in production,” explained Kevin O’Farrell, … [Read more...]

Cypress Creek Middle set to open this fall

When a new school year opens, Cypress Creek Middle students will finally have school buildings to call their own. Middle and high school students have been sharing the campus, formerly known as Cypress Creek Middle High, since 2017. Beginning this fall, however, there will be a middle school for grades six through eight, and a high school for grades nine through 12. Construction on the … [Read more...]

Seminar offers advice on coping amid pandemic

Jesse Varnadoe mostly has kept an optimistic outlook, despite stay-at-home orders and quarantine protocols. It hasn’t been easy, though. Besides claiming lives and flattening the economy, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has resulted in a range of reactions — including loneliness, isolation, cabin fever and other responses. “Being stuck in the house, not being able to … [Read more...]

Locals among top MLB draft prospects

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball (MLB)’s 2020 first-year player draft has been shortened to five rounds, from the usual 40 rounds in previous years. The draft, scheduled for June 10 and June 11, assigns amateur baseball players to MLB teams. Even with the new consolidated format, however, several locals from The Laker/Lutz News coverage area have a solid chance at being … [Read more...]

Reaching out to help those with special needs

Even in the best of times, navigating through government bureaucracy can be challenging. But for people with special needs, that becomes even more daunting during a global pandemic. A virtual town hall hosted on April 29 by Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore and Pasco County School Board Chairwoman Colleen Beaudoin aimed at helping individuals and families find the resources they … [Read more...]

Finding a way to shine a spotlight on seniors

During normal times, Marie Joles is busy at her day job, working as a dental hygienist. And, typically during this time of year, high school seniors are gearing up for their final festivities in high school — prom, awards ceremonies, graduation. But, the threat of a highly contagious and deadly virus — the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic — has upended life’s ordinary … [Read more...]

Coronavirus could ‘decimate’ state appropriations

The recently passed $93 billon Florida state budget included some big wins for East Pasco, but District 38 state Rep. Randy Maggard isn’t ready to celebrate or take a victory lap just yet. That’s because the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic will force state lawmakers back to Tallahassee for a special session sometime this summer — and likely result in major spending cuts for … [Read more...]

Floridians choose Trump, Biden in preference primary

Floridians went to the polls in the midst of a coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic — causing some disruptions, and requiring poll workers and election officials to take special precautions. Lester and Bettie Coupland, both 84, wore surgical masks to their polling place at Pasco County’s Precinct 3, at Pasco-Hernando State College in Dade City. Both favored Bernie Sanders. Bettie … [Read more...]

Coronavirus cancels many sports events

As fears regarding coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) continue to ramp up, so do cancellations on the sports landscape — nationally, regionally and locally. The unexpected cancellations began on March 10 when The Ivy League, a Division I collegiate athletic conference comprised of private schools in the Northeast, announced the cancellation of its men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, … [Read more...]

Awareness can reduce dating violence

Melissa Dohme Hill’s personal story should serve as a warning to the dangerous heights dating violence can reach. She was a 20-year-old college student when she agreed to meet her abusive high school ex-boyfriend for one last embrace and goodbye, on Jan. 24. 2012. What followed was a brutal attack that left her almost dead in front of her Clearwater home. Hill was stabbed 32 times in the … [Read more...]