Grad student joins District 1 county race
Rachel O'Connor, a 26-year-old graduate student and Republican activist, has joined the race for the District 1 County Commission seat. The field already includes two east Pasco heavyweights: incumbent Ted Schrader and citrus grower and developer Ron Oakley. O'Connor, of Wesley Chapel, said she wants to focus on bringing more businesses to Pasco while also cutting waste in county government. O'Connor has been a member of the county Republican Executive Committee for six years. During last year's election cycle, she was a field coordinator for a five-county area along the Nature Coast for the state GOP. O'Connor has finished all of her coursework for her master's in international affairs at the University of South Florida. She hopes to finish her thesis by next May. She earned a bachelor's degree at USF in 2009 and attended Zephyrhills High.
U.S. 19 resurges with new stores
What used to be the site of Colonial Bank near Gulf View Square mall will soon become a mobile phone store. Crews recently began work on a 3,230-square-foot Verizon store at 9451 U.S. 19, according to county records. After taking a hit in recent years with the closure of several key retailers, U.S. 19 has seen a resurgence in commercial activity. A Sweet Tomatoes opened this year, while Aldi grocery opened last September. Just south of the Verizon site, crews are working on a Panera Bread restaurant.
Republican Club to meet next week
Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley will discuss redistricting at next week's meeting of the Republican Club of Central Pasco. County Commissioner Jack Mariano also will be on hand to answer questions about the recently approved mobility fees, which replace transportation impact fees on new construction. The new fees, which pay for transportation improvements, will be higher in rural areas and lower in urban areas where officials want to focus growth. The club has a dinner and social hour at 6 p.m. Wednesday, followed by the meeting at 7 p.m. at the Groves Golf and Country Club, 7924 Melogold Circle. For information, call Connie Queller at (813) 326-8802.
Funeral for former coach is Saturday
Funeral services for Chris Bounnell, the longtime teacher and former coach at Wiregrass Ranch High School, will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Baptist Church of Zephyrhills, 38300 Fifth Ave. Bounnell, 54, collapsed after school Tuesday while playing soccer with some students, a tradition that dated back to his days as a teacher and assistant football coach at Zephyrhills High. Paramedics were unable to revive him. The kitchen at First Baptist Church will open at 10 a.m. Saturday for people who wish to drop off food. Fellowship will follow the service.