This teen strikes out batters — and cancer

Jack Teeter was well on his way to another standout baseball season for Academy at the Lakes (AATL), up until the COVID-19 pandemic canceled virtually all sporting events. The All-State athlete was leading the team with a .500 batting average through nine games. He hadn’t allowed an earned run in 14 innings pitched. In the de facto final game of the season on March 12, the 6-foot-3, … [Read more...]

Pasco School District adjusting amid COVID-19 pandemic

Whether its drive-thru feeding sites or widespread distance learning, the coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created myriad logistical challenges for school districts nationwide. Pasco County Schools is no different — operating as the state’s ninth-largest school district, and 49th largest in the nation. Even so, Pasco Schools Superintendent Kurt Browning is maintaining an … [Read more...]

Sharing the beauty of organ music is this man’s quest

He’s 74 now, but Dave Cucuzza recalls a moment from decades ago — as if it was yesterday. He was 8 years old at the time, living in Bradford, Pennsylvania, and his family was heading out to church. Their car was buried in snow, though, so they had to dig it out. By the time they arrived at church, it was the High Mass. “The organist was up in the balcony in the back, and it was a … [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...]

99-year-old says celebration was  her ‘best party’ ever

The threat of the spread of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) killed Debbie Storts’ original plans for celebrating her mom’s 99-year-old birthday. “Family was supposed to fly down and we were going to go to the Rusty Pelican for a lunch on April 4. So, that was canceled,” Debbie said. “I was also going to do a luncheon prior to that for her friends and my friends. So, we scratched … [Read more...]

Pasco expanding film production footprint

Pasco County’s tourism office last year rebranded to Experience Florida’s Sports Coast with the idea of becoming a destination for youth and amateur sports. But, the county doesn’t want to be pigeonholed simply as a playground for various athletics tournaments and festivals. The county’s tourism department is now expanding its brand portfolio to include film production — aiming to further … [Read more...]

Shift to online learning poses challenges

When the state of Florida decided to shift to distance learning in March — parents, teachers and students found themselves facing a steep learning curve. “This thing came on pretty quick. We’re all learning on the fly,” said George O’Connor, who is supervising his 7-year-old granddaughter Julia’s instruction, in his Wesley Chapel home. Normally, Julia attends Sand Pine Elementary. Now, … [Read more...]

Feeding the hungry through ‘pop-up’ food drive

When Idlewild Baptist Church decided to hold a food drive recently — it had no idea the response would be so great that it would essentially create a traffic jam because so many church members showed up to drop off contributions. Typically, the church takes weeks to plan big events. In this case, it sprang into action. As medical and economic impacts of coronavirus disease-2019 … [Read more...]

Government responds to COVID-19

A $2 trillion relief package — the largest in U.S. history — has been passed in an attempt to stabilize the economy, in the wake of an economic and medical crisis posed by coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). The package includes help for individuals, unemployment benefits, loans for small businesses, help for large industries and other types of assistance. The stimulus includes a $1,200 … [Read more...]