NEW PORT RICHEY
fire in starkey park prompts evacuation
Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park was evacuated Tuesday afternoon while crews battled a fire on the property. Pasco Fire Rescue said a maintenance shed that stored county equipment caught fire just after 4:30 p.m. at the New Port Richey park. There was fuel and at least one vehicle inside the shed, which authorities described as a "fully involved" fire. No one was injured, emergency dispatchers said. It was too early to tell what started the fire and how much damage it caused.
Teacher suspended for FCAT violation
The Pasco School Board on Tuesday approved a five-day unpaid suspension for Wesley Chapel Elementary teacher Wanda Colon, who was accused of allowing students to go to the restroom unattended at the same time during FCAT testing. Such an action is considered a test security violation. The board did not act on a proposed unpaid suspension of Irvin Education Center teacher Migdalia Mojica, who was accused of improperly using a recording device and email while proctoring two seventh-graders taking the FCAT. Board members wanted more information about a possible appeal Mojica might file before they were willing to act on the proposed suspension. It will take up the item at its next meeting later in July.
First set of mail-in ballots going out
Have you requested a mail-in ballot for the upcoming August primary election? The Supervisor of Elections Office is sending the initial round of 14,000 ballots on Tuesday to voters whose requests are already on file. Voters can still request a ballot by calling the elections office at (727) 847-8162 or submitting an online form at pascovotes.com. Ballots cannot be forwarded but can be sent to a temporary address outside Pasco. The deadline to request a mail-in ballot is Aug. 8.
No government offices open today
All county government offices, including the Clerk of Courts, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector and Supervisor of Elections, are closed today for the Fourth of July holiday. County libraries also are closed, and Pasco County Public Transit will not provide service today. The county's recreation centers are also closed, but county parks and beaches are open from dawn till dusk. All services will resume with normal hours on Thursday.