Feds approve Storm shelter to house 1,000
Federal officials have given final approval for a 36,000-square-foot hurricane shelter to be built in Hudson. County officials say construction could begin soon; staffers are organizing a groundbreaking ceremony, probably for early April. The shelter will house up to 1,000 people in emergencies. During the rest of the year it will serve as a branch of the Pasco Health Department and Premier Community Healthcare Group, a nonprofit, federally funded primary care clinic that serves the under- and uninsured, as well as those with Medicaid, Medicare and private insurance. "During the uncertain hurricane seasons Florida experiences it will be a comfort to have a shelter ready to provide a safe and secure place of refuge for residents of our local communities," said state Sen. Mike Fasano, who secured state and federal funding for the multimillion-dollar shelter. "The added benefit will be a health care clinic that will address many important public health concerns that the explosive population growth in Pasco County has brought to light in recent years." County officials cheered the news, noting the northwest Pasco area doesn't have its own emergency shelter.
Martin yet to give resignation letter
Cathi Martin announced her plan to resign from the Pasco County School Board a week ago. She hasn't taken the steps needed to make it official, though. "We still have not received Mrs. Martin's resignation letter," Sterling Ivey, spokesman for Gov. Charlie Crist, said Thursday. The governor's staff was curious enough about the letter's whereabouts to call superintendent Heather Fiorentino to see if perhaps she got a copy. Fiorentino didn't have it, and called Martin to see what was the holdup. Martin, who has avoided public comment since early March, told Fiorentino she was "working on it" and that the letter would be done "by Monday." In the meantime, Ivey said, "we are already creating a candidate pool to replace her." The applicants as of Thursday afternoon were former candidates Michele Chamberlain and Michael Siemion, Fiorentino campaign treasurer Sallie Skipper and former educator Mary Scicchitano.
• State Sen. Mike Fasano recently spoke with Dan Rametta of Citizens for Sanity about the environmental group's challenge of a permit for the proposed T. Rowe Price project. A story Thursday identified another group member.
• Morton Plant North Bay Hospital in New Port Richey was omitted from a list of Pasco hospitals Thursday.
Detailed obituaries are published in Section B.