Students show improvement in writing
Pasco County fourth-, eighth- and 10th-graders continued to make gains on the annual FCAT Writing exam this year, with increasing percentages of students scoring at or above the passing mark of 4 on the 6-point scale. Still, the passing rates of 76 percent (elementary), 78 percent (middle) and 73 percent (high) remained below the state rates at each level. Superintendent Heather Fiorentino stressed the improvements made at most district schools, noting that an effort to infuse writing into all grade levels and all subject areas has helped children increase their skills. Of note, 98 percent of fourth-graders at Cox Elementary, which serves one of the county's neediest areas, passed the exam. And 302 Pasco students scored a perfect 6 on the exam. To see state, school and district results, go to fcat.fldoe.org/mediapacket/2011/default.asp.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Motorcyclist dies from crash injuries
A motorcyclist who crashed Tuesday night has died. Thomas K. Micklo, 44, of New Port Richey was headed east on Trouble Creek Road at a high rate of speed about 7:30 p.m. when he lost control of his 2006 Suzuki motorcycle on a curve near Rowan Road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. Micklo's bike careened onto the shoulder and hit a water pipe. He was ejected and landed on a concrete curb, FHP said. He was not wearing a helmet, a report says. Micklo was taken to Bayfront Medical Center in critical condition, but he died Wednesday, the FHP said.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Terrerro's cousins: She wasn't drunk
Jurors in the DUI manslaughter trial of Deborah Terrero heard on Wednesday from the two women who were with her the morning in April 2009 when her SUV collided with a motorcycle on U.S. 19 in Hudson. Meghan and Lynne Flareau, Terrero's cousins who drank at a bar with her before the crash, testified that Terrero was not impaired when she got behind the wheel. "She only took one sip of that drink," Meghan Flareau testified. Lynne Flareau said she wouldn't have gotten in the car if Terrero had been drunk. Prosecutors say Terrero, 55, had an intoxicating mix of alcohol and prescription drugs in her system when she struck the bike carrying two people. Driver Ken Dillon was severely injured. His passenger, 37-year-old Nicole Cetrangolo, died at the scene. Terrero could face up to 20 years in prison if convicted as charged. The trial is expected to conclude today.