Members of the GFWC Lutz-Land O’ Lakes Woman’s Club turned out in force to commemorate this most solemn and poignant 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on our country. The women formed a long queue of wavers to remind those in the heavy traffic and passers-by along U.S. 41 in Lutz to “Never forget”. The women received hearty responses from car horns, 18-wheeler airhorn blasts, and even the sheriff’s motorcycle sirens in support. Every year since the first anniversary in 2002, club members have been a visible presence, to remind the community that we are all in this together.
Drew Hudgins’ love affair with Pasco County began 38 years ago when the Tampa native and his wife, Kerri, bought a weekend getaway on Lake Linda in what they called “Land O’ Lutz, Florida.”
“I had just started my career at a fast-paced law firm in downtown Tampa, often working 70-hour weeks,” Hudgins recalls. “We needed, and loved, our little lake place getaway, and began spending more and more time in Pasco. So, when we decided to open our own practice, we knew Pasco was where we wanted to be.”
That was in 1985, when there was little between Land O’ Lakes and east Pasco except citrus groves and pastureland. “Back then we could drive from Land O’ Lakes to Zephyrhills in just 20 minutes, with only one stoplight in between,” Hudgins laughs.
The couple settled on downtown Zephyrhills as the location for their new law practice, after they found an office on Eighth Street for just $350 a month that came with a one-page lease, compared to Tampa office leases of 40 pages or more. Success quickly followed.
He was able to purchase the building two years later, and since then has added two adjacent buildings that today total over 8,000 square feet for his clients’ comfort, and nine full-time employees.
Hudgins quickly learned that there was a tremendous need for legal services in Pasco County, which in 1985 had fewer than 100 practicing attorneys, compared to 7,000 in Hillsborough County.
Most Pasco attorneys back then did a little bit of everything. After graduating from law school in 1981 from Mercer University in Macon, Georgia, Hudgins came back home to Tampa and worked for a firm that specialized in personal injury and took that experience with him when he opened his new practice in Zephyrhills.
“Most of my early clients came from referrals from other attorneys who did not do personal injury, and in return, I referred my clients that needed other legal services to other local attorneys,” said Hudgins. “I’m proud that today I continue to have great working relationships with my legal colleagues.”
It’s been 35 years since Hudgins Law Firm opened its doors in beautiful downtown Zephyrhills, and it ties to the community run deep. Proudly displayed in the office are pictures, plaques and certificates of community organizations the firm has supported through the years, including Little League team photos, and recognition for its participation in Christmas decoration contests and community parades.
No Upfront Fee
Hudgins Law Firm takes cases under a contingency fee agreement — meaning no payment is required upfront, because the firm gets paid a percentage of the recovery only, if and when a client receives a successful financial recovery. If there is no recovery, there is no fee. The contingent fee is often called the poor man’s key to the Courthouse.
“The vast majority of our clients are great, loyal, hard-working and family-oriented people. Most cannot afford the $300 or more hourly rate that other attorneys charge. Over time, our clients become family and we love fighting for them,” said Hudgins.
“It’s very rewarding to help people who don’t have the means to pay for legal assistance up front. We always welcome folks to call or come by the office to see if we can help them, and make sure when they do that, they don’t feel intimidated,” he adds.
Long before Google had reviews, Hudgins Law Firm was receiving testimonials from people it helped – oftentimes from second and third generations of families.
“Nothing makes me prouder than when a former client comes up to me at the grocery store or Walmart to thank me for fighting for them, and for being their attorney,” said Hudgins.
Hudgins has had many opportunities to double or triple the size of his firm over the years, but he believes bigger is not always better. “We’ve chosen to keep our firm small with just a handful of long-time employees,” he said. “We are truly a small family business.”
In addition to his wife, Kerri, who has been the office manager for 35 years, other team members include case manager Tammy Phinney (34 years), case manager Linda Hines (27 years), trial attorney Ken Minio (26 years), accountant Jana Tombrink (20 years), case manager Tammara Wentworth (15 years) and case manager Samantha O’Berry (14 years).
“All of our staff are caring, committed employees who work exceptionally hard for our clients,” said Hudgins. “My staff works as a team —we have four case managers that clients are assigned to — but every one of us is aware of every case we have and support each other. This means our clients are never left waiting for answers to their questions.”
Hudgins’ law partner for 26 years is Ken Minio, whom Hudgins describes as a tenacious advocate.
“Ken is just what clients need when battling for their settlements in court or in negotiations. He fights harder, and smarter, than any attorney I have ever known,” said Hudgins.
Besides his law firm, Hudgins is most proud of his son, Maximilian, who is a junior at Auburn University in Alabama, the alma mater of both of his parents.
“Having a son was the best thing we ever did,” said Hudgins.
Like his father and grandfather, Max is an Eagle Scout, and Hudgins spent many years in local scout leadership.
“I am incredibly proud that my father, George Hudgins, who is an unbelievable 96-year-old WWII and Korean War veteran, myself and Max are all Eagle Scouts. Less than 1% of scouting families can claim this third generation Eagle legacy, and we are so proud to be among them,” said Hudgins.
Hudgins has spent 35 years fighting for his clients and welcomes you to call his office to set up an appointment to see if his firm can help you. “One of the most important decisions you could ever make is to call Hudgins Law Firm. We hope you do, so we can help you and your family get what you deserve if you are the unfortunate victim of an accident.
Hudgins Law Firm
38543 Fifth Ave., Zephyrhills, FL
Office phone (813) 788-5534
Drew’s cell (813) 714-2018
“Our very first patient came to us from The Laker/Lutz News ad. That was 16 years and thousands of patients since! As a local, small business, we appreciate and value the unique connection this paper has with our community and the businesses here!”
-Charlie & Judith Reese, Owners
1519 Dale Mabry Highway, Suite 105, Lutz, FL
Watching the Twin Towers, from across the Hudson
On Sept. 11, 2001, I was on the 26th floor of my office building on the Jersey side of the Hudson River, right across from the World Trade Center.
I was aware, from a phone call, of the first plane hitting the Tower, coming from the East Side of New York.
I couldn’t see that side of the tower, so I went back to work.
Shortly thereafter, my office mate got up and looked out the window and said, “I see a ring of fire.”
I couldn’t imagine what she meant, so I got up and looked.
Literally a ring of fire encased the tower on the upper floors.
By this time, word had spread throughout our floor and everyone came to the bank of windows on the Hudson River side of the building.
Suddenly a deafening roar was heard coming from around the area of the Statue of Liberty.
As we watched, stunned, the second plane came around and banked it wings and slammed into the second tower.
Fire balls and debris erupted from the tower and our building shook on its foundation.
For months after the attack, I witnessed smoke and fire coming from the pit where the Twin Towers once stood.
-Linda Hyer, Land O Lakes
He was safe, but what about his sister?
I was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, a crew chief on the C130Es at Little Rock AFB, Arkansas, at the time.
I was on the flight line, with my rear-end hanging out of the side window of a C130, sitting on the ledge leaning out and over — cleaning windows for that morning’s sortie when the expeditor truck pulls up.
He yells out of his truck, “SHUT ‘ER DOWN, GET INSIDE ASAP!”
After hearing the command, the launch crew and I looked at each other puzzled that we should get a flight crew showing up soon. He yelled again. So we did.
We gathered our tools, made it inside and saw a crowd gathered around the breakroom television.
Almost immediately, I felt tension in the room.
I quickly learned why.
After watching for a few minutes, many of us were released to go home on stand-by.
After the initial shock, my thoughts turned to my sister.
She had been working in the CIA as an analyst for many years.
At the time I did not know exactly what she was doing, only that it had to do with terrorism.
I was getting concerned that the CIA headquarters building might be next.
After the fact, I learned that my sister and some of her coworkers had been tracking the rise of Bin Laden and al-Qaida as a terrorist organization.
The warnings were sent up about a possible attack, but were ignored because they could not get the specifics. Bin Laden had a good grip on keeping his plans secret.
I was safe. My sister though — I was fearful.
As I watched the second tower get hit on television, I was still thinking of my sister.
I am sure she had watched it, too.
Thinking back now and knowing much more, I cannot fathom the emotions she must have felt at the time.
I really had no fear of our base coming under attack, but the CIA headquarters, certainly.
I obviously never got through to her that day. There was no communication from her for a couple of days.
I have no lasting effects, such as PTSD.
My deployments were easy because of my job.
My sister, however, left the agency and now teaches, lectures on terrorism and extremism.
I retired after 24 years and am now working on a master’s degree for clinical mental health counseling.
I want to help those who did go through that which I escaped.
-Patrick Storer, Land O’ Lakes
At the heart doctor’s office
We were living in Fort Lauderdale at the time, the home of many New York transplants.
That morning, while in my husband Dave’s cardiologist’s office, we saw the news about the first plane hitting the World Trade Center. Our eyes were still glued to the TV when the second plane hit.
We knew, immediately, that we were under attack.
I asked the receptionist to turn the TV off so that their patients would not have heart events right there — because many had relatives still living and working in Manhattan.
When we got home from the doctor’s office, we were horrified and fell to our knees crying and praying as we watched the Twin Towers collapse.
One of my associate company’s buildings, 7 World Trade Center, also collapsed a few hours later — as collateral damage from the towers falling.
Many of my friends who worked there literally had to carry some employees to safety because they were frozen, in shock, under their desks because of what happened next door at the Twin Towers.
We later learned that the brother of one of those employees, Michael Ragusa, was among the firefighters who perished that day.
In March 2002, I had the opportunity to visit New York City on a business trip.
My business colleagues and I went to the site of the memorial pool and the new One World Trade Center that was being built.
It was a somber and humble visit.
I cried all day after seeing the name of Michael Ragusa at the memorial pool. He had been a firefighter in Engine Company 279.
Sept. 11, 2001 was one of America’s saddest days.
We have mourned for 20 years, and we will never forget that day.
-Lillian Cucuzza, Land O’ Lakes
Taking in 9/11 events, from Japan
On Sept. 11, 2001, my husband, John, and I were working in Japan as part of a Sister City program.
Because of the time difference, we watched events unfold in the evening, live on television.
I remember turning on the television and watching the replay of the first tower being hit, and thinking it looked like a Bruce Willis movie. And then the extraordinary shock of what was happening washed over us, while watching the second tower hit in real time.
The next morning, we went to work, representing the United States, on a paddlewheel, called the Michigan Boat.
We’re musicians who worked alongside U.S. students, representing the American experience. As we walked there, we were first afraid to set out on a boat that now felt like a target.
Then, we were both relieved, and upset, to see that the company had removed all of the American flags.
I can’t imagine ever feeling as patriotic or American as one does when representing their country abroad.
We stood on a stage, while the students lined up in front of us to greet the now nonexistent guests.
They had fear clearly etched on their faces and waited for us to start.
And so, we sang a song out of character for us.
John Denver and patriotic music wasn’t what felt right.
Instead, we played, “I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down” (Tubthumping by the British band Chumbawamba).
And, we saw the Americans we knew again, as the fear left their faces and we all rallied defiantly.
The show began an hour into the cruise and, as we stepped onto the stage, we saw the only guests on the boat, and they all appeared to be from the Middle East.
You can imagine how long that 30-minute show felt, and also our relief when afterward we met the United Nations ambassadors who had come on the boat as a show of support for our country.
It was an immediate reminder that the world is a community — and not everyone is suspect, even in what feels like the worst of times.
-Sheri Thrasher, Wesley Chapel
That’s strange, no calls are coming in
I was working at the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) headquarters in Brooklyn on 9/11/01, as a desktop technician, and living in Bayport, Long Island.
My job was to take calls and assist the firefighters in the firehouses with any computer issues they were having.
On a typical day, the calls came in almost constantly.
Most of the firefighters weren’t very tech-savvy.
On 9/11/01, I took the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) to work, and I remember it being a nice Tuesday morning.
When I got to the office, there were no calls coming in, which was very odd.
I asked my coworker Keith if he knew if we were having phone issues.
We started calling around to other departments.
That’s when we found out that a plane had hit one of the World Trade Center buildings.
We looked online and we saw what looked like a small commuter plane had hit one of the buildings.
I said to Keith, “I hope nobody died in the building.”
Little did I know what was to come.
After the second plane hit, it became clear we were under attack.
We realized the reason our phones weren’t ringing was because every firefighter we worked with was at the Trade Center.
We were evacuated from our building because “911” calls came into that building and officials felt that if we were under attack, and terrorists wanted to immobilize the city, the building where all the “911” calls came in might be a target.
I couldn’t go home because all trains were stopped.
My coworkers and I found a restaurant where we could sit and watch the news.
That’s when I found out about the Pentagon and Pennsylvania attacks.
I was afraid I was never going home. I thought: “I might die today.”
Hours had passed, and we watched people coming into the restaurant that had just walked over from Manhattan on the Brooklyn Bridge.
They were covered in debris and they all looked shocked.
Many were crying.
When train service was finally restored, I rode on the train with these people.
They were crying because they couldn’t reach their family, friends and/or coworkers.
It was complete devastation.
When I got home, I called my mom to ask her if all of our family members that worked in Manhattan were accounted for and when she said, yes, I was so relieved.
A couple days later I found out that my friend — Deanna Micciulli Galante — who I had grown up with, was missing.
She worked for Cantor Fitzgerald on the 106th floor. She was eight months pregnant with her first baby (Matthew) and was two weeks away from maternity leave.
-Tania Marziano, Land O’ Lakes
New Jersey HUD workers ordered to evacuate their building
On 9/11, 2001, I was working at the office of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, at One Newark Center Building in Newark, New Jersey.
About 9:10 a.m., a commotion started on the 12th floor.
Several coworkers started to run toward the windows to watch one of the World Trade towers being destroyed by the fire.
When I asked a coworker what was going on, he told me that he’d heard on the radio that a tower at the World Trade Center was accidentally hit by an airplane.
After watching the fire at the first tower for a while, with several coworkers, we saw an airplane coming around the second tower and hitting it — causing an explosion and another fire.
Immediately we determined that the striking of both towers by planes was no accident.
I called administration for instructions on how to handle this emergency.
They instructed me that I had to immediately leave the building, with all my coworkers and wait for instructions for when to return to work.
–Juan Bonilla, Zephyrhills
News announced on Navy ship’s PA system
I was in the Navy, on the way to the Persian Gulf.
I had a late watch, so I was trying to get some sleep.
But the captain kept coming over the PA system, talking about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.
When I went on watch at 12:45 in the morning, I asked what was this about a plane hitting the World Trade Center.
They showed me the pictures. The next day we topped off our gas tanks. And, as we pulled away from the replenishment ship, we played “We’re Not Gonna Take It” — which I had provided for the occasion.
-Paul Snider, Land O’ Lakes
Published September 15, 2021
Hundreds turned out for a special event held to honor those who perished on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists hijacked four commercial airplanes, leading to the deaths of 2,977 killed in the attacks, as well as the 19 hijackers.
The planes were crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center, and into the Pentagon. A fourth was headed toward Washington D.C., when passengers on the airplane overtook the hijackers, crashing the plane into a field in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
The Rotary Club of Wesley Chapel Noon’s 1-mile Memorial Run/Walk was held on the morning of Sept. 11, at the Tampa Premium Outlets. It was followed by a ceremony, which began at 8:46 a.m. — memorializing the time when the North Tower of the World Trade Center was struck.
Two plaques also were unveiled that day, recognizing the sacrifices of Deputy Michael Magli, of the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office, and Master Police Officer Jesse Madsen, of the Tampa Police Department, who both died in the line of duty. The officers were Pasco residents.
The event also included the unveiling of a new wall to remember those who have served and those who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving in the nation’s armed forces.
Proceeds raised by the walk/run go to support scholarships for graduates from Pasco County high-schoolers, who intend to pursue careers as first responders.
To see the video of the full ceremony, visit https://www.facebook.com/rotaryclubofwesleychapel/videos/203479018382523
Published September 15, 2021
Dade City author Mary Brett spent four years researching and writing her latest book, “Out Of The Mouths Of Serial Killers’’ (WildBlue Press, 362 pages).
It clinically examines 75 psychopathic killers — chapter by chapter — and provides chilling insight. Her work revolves around a basic question.
Why did you kill?
When Brett, a retired medical recruiter, moved to Dade City in 2016, she remembered watching a television documentary about Gary Ray Bowles. He was on Death Row in Starke after being convicted of murdering five gay men in a pattern of winning their trust, then beating and strangling them. Brett got hooked into the story, but left unsatisfied.
“It was a good interview, but I kept waiting for the woman (interviewer) to ask, ‘Why?’” Brett said. “I knew the story and why he was on Death Row. But she never asked, ‘Why?’
“For me, that’s where this all started.’’
Brett wrote to Bowles in prison and asked that same question: Why?
She also sent a flurry of letters to other serial killers with this premise: She was planning a book. Responses would be used in their entirety with nothing changed or redacted.
Brett’s son was skeptical, saying there was no way Bowles would participate.
“What else does he have to do?’’ Brett said.
Bowles responded almost immediately.
“He was a charmer and knew what to say,’’ Brett said. “He wrote, ‘You’re writing your fourth book? Congratulations. You’re so smart.’ And on and on.
“He wanted me to come up and see him. While I thought that might be an interesting life experience, I was not going to do that. I was not looking for friendship with these people. They are psychopaths. They don’t form friendships. So I thought maybe this book isn’t going anywhere.’’
A few weeks passed and Brett got a second letter from Bowles. This one was more raw, more honest, although it still didn’t completely answer that basic question: Why?
“It was a light-bulb moment, though, so I kept writing the letters and kept seeking responses,’’ Brett said.
In all, Brett said she wrote to about 100 serial killers. She received 30 responses. Some were vulgar. One included an order form for her to purchase a television and VCR for the prison. Others delved into their childhoods and backgrounds. Many clung to their innocence.
“I wasn’t looking to sensationalize the crime,’’ Brett said. “I just presented them and used their exact quotes. Bowles said he had been a victim of sexual abuse as a child. He had a horrible life. He saw himself ridding society of evil (through his murders).
“I tried to take the letters and tie it in to their background and the crime. I went through media accounts, interrogations and parole hearings to find the direct quotes, anything that might give some insight into why these serial killers did these things.’’
Brett also included accounts of the high-profile serial killers — the “rock stars,’’ as she called them — because “you can’t do a book about serial killers without them,’’ referring to the likes of Ted Bundy and Jeffrey Dahmer.
Trying to tie it all together, Brett interviewed psychiatrists and psychologists about potential motivations.
“I don’t know if all the questions get completely answered,’’ Brett said. “You look at nature/nurture and such. There are so many variables and you can boil it down to one commonality. It’s just a piece of humanity that is not normal … and thank goodness for that.
“But the psychologists suggested that these people will never stop killing until they are caught. And the reason is because they liked to do it.’’
Brett said she was “changed’’ by the researching and writing process. Before, she didn’t have a strong opinion about the death penalty. Now she’s a strong proponent.
“These people don’t stop killing,’’ Brett said. “Bundy escaped jail twice and the second time, his last victim was a 12 year old. When they kill multiple people just for the sheer joy of it, I don’t see any reason they should have anything but the death penalty.’’
Asked why she chose to wrote about a macabre subject, Brett said she was always fascinated by the popularity of serial killers as a storyline for books and documentaries.
“You might pick up a novel in the bookstore and have no idea what it’s about,’’ Brett said. “It’s obvious what this book is about. It’s targeted to a market. Nobody is going to pick this up when they’d rather be reading a gardening book.
“This genre and the true crime genre, it just flies off the shelf. You can hardly find a Netflix documentary that’s not about serial killers. People just have a curiosity and fascination with the subject. I did, too, and that led me to pursue this book. There are many things I’m curious about.’’
Brett is nothing but an eclectic author. She has written books about vintage toys, the lives of sideshow freaks, and Victorian mourning customs. She’s currently working on a book about religious cults.
In her hometown of Portsmouth, Virginia, Brett worked on her high school’s newspaper, magazine and yearbook. In passing, her senior English teacher told her she was a good writer. Brett never forgot that. In time, after having some articles about antiques and collectibles published in national magazines, she began pursuing books.
She has been a teacher and a medical recruiter, while also spending time learning how to flip houses for profit. Writing is more of a hobby. But it’s also a passion.
So is the Florida lifestyle.
During a particularly bleak 2016 winter in Virginia, Brett was reading “Bloody Mary,’’ a fiction novel about a female detective. There was a reference about her mother living in Dade City, Florida, a place that “had so many antique stores, you could throw a rock and hit one.’’
That’s how Brett decided to move to Dade City, a place that has fulfilled all her expectations and now serves as the backdrop for her writing. Brett, the mother of two adult sons, lives with her partner, Steve, and their three cats, a dog and a bird.
“I’ve never regretted it, not one day,’’ Brett said. “I love it here.’’
By Joey Johnston
Published September 15, 2021
The former Tampa Bay Hotel, now the University of Tampa — was erected as a winter retreat for the wealthy by railroad magnate Henry B. Plant.
During the Spanish-American War, however, it housed officers, including Col. Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt, before they departed for Cuba.
Dade City also served a role during that 1898 military conflict, which is sometimes referred to as “The Forgotten War” or that “Splendid Little War.”
Regiments from across the country made their way to the point of debarkation, in Tampa.
A nearly endless parade of troop trains passed through Dade City, as the soldiers headed to war.
“They made little stops along the way like they did in Dade City,” Joe Blunt said, during a recent presentation at the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village in Dade City.
It was obvious to those troops arriving in Tampa that preparations for war against Spain had overwhelmed the city of 15,000 residents.
Historian Gary R. Mormino, in a story published by The Tampa Tribune, offered this perspective: “It was the equivalent of 10 Super Bowls.”
The city, “had days, not years, to prepare for an avalanche of soldiers, horses, mules, equipment and ships,” according to Mormino’s account.
As the conflict with Spain was looming in 1898, Congress authorized the construction of coastal batteries under the $50 million Harbor Fortification Defense Act.
The U.S. government previously had convened the Endicott Board in 1885 to upgrade old Civil War forts at every major harbor in the United States.
The nation was armed and ready for the Spanish-American War with rapid-fire guns, submarine nets, underwater mines, searchlights, concrete and electricity.
Cavalry units were used, Blunt says, but many horses drowned when swimming to the shores.
No American Navy ships were damaged or sunk during the conflict.
Spain didn’t have any battleships, but the U.S. had four new ones, including the “Iowa.” That ship was described, by the U.S. War Department in 1898, “as nearly invulnerable as scientific naval architecture can make her.”
The Iowa was manned with 36 officers and 450 sailors.
It fired the first shot in the Battle of Santiago de Cuba on July 3, 1898.
Iowa’s firepower — which had never been seen in the world before — destroyed two Spanish cruisers and ran them aground within 20 minutes.
The U.S. landed 15,000 soldiers, southeast of Santiago de Cuba, including the 10th Cavalry from Montana under John J. Pershing.
That calvary, nicknamed the Buffalo Soldiers, was an African-American unit.
Pershing expressed his respect and admiration for the Buffalo Soldiers’ bravery and courage. Pershing would later serve as the commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I.
During the Spanish-American War, U.S. soldiers used smokeless rifles — which unlike the black powder ones used during the Civil War did not give away their positions.
“The Spanish could not easily see where the shooting was coming from,” Blunt said, during his talk. “But they could hear what sounded like someone punching a cardboard box when one of their men was hit and suddenly fell to the ground.”
The German Mauser was a popular bolt-action rifle used by American soldiers during the Spanish-American War. It later was the primary German combat rifle at the outbreak of World War I.
After the fall of the Third Reich at the end of World War II, the Soviet Union captured millions of Mauser Karabiner 98k rifles.
From the beginning of his administration, President William McKinley was concerned about the growing insurrection in Cuba. The national security was at stake, much like it was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, in 1962, under President John F. Kennedy.
For Kennedy, it was threat of a nuclear attack from missiles based in Cuba by the Soviet Union.
In 1898, it was the last remnants of a 300-year-old Spanish Empire that remained a threat to the United States.
On Feb. 15, 1898, the U.S.S. Maine was sunk while on an official visit to Havana.
With headlines including “Who Destroyed the Maine? $50,000 Reward,” “Invasion!” and “Spanish Treachery,” America’s two leading newspaper publishers, Joseph Pulitzer and William Randolph Hearst, played off the growing tensions between the two countries and drummed up public opinion to go to war with Spain.
“Remember the Maine,” was the battle cry — still widely recognized today, Blunt says.
The cause of the Maine’s destruction, leading to the deaths of 266 officers and sailors, remains a mystery.
The Spanish-American War was waged in the Spanish colonies of the Philippines, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
Spain couldn’t afford the conflict on three fronts.
Under a peace treaty signed in Paris on Dec. 10, 1889, Spain relinquished title to Cuba, and ceded Puerto Rico, Guam and the Philippines to the United States.
By Doug Sanders
Doug Sanders has a penchant for unearthing interesting stories about local history. His sleuthing skills have been developed through his experiences in newspaper and government work. If you have an idea for a future history column, contact Doug at .
Published September 15, 2021
Harney Hardware, a logistics and distribution company, is setting up shop at ComPark 75, off Wesley Chapel Boulevard, according to a news release from the Pasco Economic Development Council Inc.
The company is investing $7.5 million in a 45,000-square-foot facility.
ComPark 75 is an industrial business park in Lutz, on 106 acres, between Interstate 75 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard. It’s situated in an area where Lutz, Land O’ Lakes and Wesley Chapel come together.
Harney Hardware is a supplier of residential and commercial door and bathroom hardware, and direct ships to customers in all 50 states, the release said.
Harney Hardware has experienced growth in its hardware business, especially in the home improvement sector and demand for products shipped directly to the company’s customers, the release added.
“I want to thank the Pasco EDC for their assistance in the site selection and permitting process,” Preston Copenhaver, CEO, Harney Hardware, said in the release.
”We distribute over 75% of our products outside of Florida, and the majority of our workforce lives in Pasco County, I am looking forward to growing my business here,” Copenhaver added.
Bill Cronin, president/CEO of Pasco EDC, noted: “Harney Hardware is a great example of the target industries we are trying to strategically attract to Pasco County.
“They are in logistics and distribution, offer great wages, and they already knew we had the quality workforce they needed since many of their staff are already residents,” Cronin added, in the release.
Published September 15, 2021
Susan A. MacManus, of Land O’ Lakes, is among the list of 10 finalists selected by the Florida Commission on the Status of Women for the Florida Women’s Hall of Fame, according to a news release.
The list has been sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis, who soon will select up to three women to be the 2021 inductees.
The distinction recognizes and honors women “who, through their works and lives, have made significant contributions to the improvement of life for women and for all citizens of the state of Florida,” the news release says.
The nominees “exemplify the great diversity of women’s contributions to Florida life,” the release says.
MacManus is a political scientist and distinguished professor emeritus from the University of South Florida.
Other nominees are:
- Former Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, of Tampa
- Mayor Jane Castor, of Tampa
- Judge Virginia Covington, of Tampa
- May Mann Jennings, formerly of Brooksville
- Sen. Arthenia Joyner, of Tampa
- Barbara Nicklaus, of Palm Beach
- Senator Kathleen Passidomo, of Naples
- Lilly Pulitzer, of Palm Beach
- Beverly White Yeager, of Palm Beach
“Each year it is more difficult to choose 10 finalists to send to the governor because of the many superb nominations we receive,” Commission Chair Karin Hoffman said, in the release.
This year’s inductees will be honored at a ceremony on Oct. 19.
Published September 15, 2021
The UF/IFAS Pasco County Extension is offering free garden plots and opportunities to grow your skills at community gardens in Dade City, Land O’ Lakes, San Antonio, Zephyrhills and Shady Hills.
Pasco Extension pairs applicants for the free plots with the appropriate garden locations.
A new Wesley Chapel location also will be opening soon.
A community garden plot offers the opportunity to:
- Grow and harvest your own food
- Work with compost
- Gain gardening experience in classes and seminars that are offered on site
- Learn from experts
Plots are offered on a first-come, first-served basis.
The Pasco County Cooperative Extension Service provides practical, educational programs in environmental horticulture; sustainable agriculture; 4-H and youth development; and, family and consumer sciences.
To find out more, including how to volunteer, call 352-518-0156, or visit bit.ly/2I7gTs5.
Published September 15, 2021