NEW PORT RICHEY
County's go-to man for crises steps down
Pasco's emergency management chief has retired. Jim Martin, the man responsible for recovery efforts during major storms and other disasters, left the post last month. Martin, 65, held the job since 2005 after a military career and nearly a decade with the American Red Cross. He took over from Michele Baker, now chief assistant county administrator, the year after Hurricanes Charley, Frances and Jeanne blew through Tampa Bay. County Administrator John Gallagher "would always say there were a lot of disasters when I was there, and once we hired Jim, that all calmed right down," Baker said. Though he wasn't yet with the county, he helped coordinate local Red Cross efforts for those storms. Since then, Baker said, he "helped us keep a steady hand on the wheel." Annette Doying, the county's homeland security coordinator, has been named interim director of the agency. To find a permanent replacement, Baker said she is nearly finished writing a job posting that would go in national emergency management trade journals.
Baking artiste misses cut on TV
Danielle "Dani" Schwartzman, whose eye-popping confections grabbed the attention of casting directors for TLC's second season of Next Great Baker, did not make the cut to be a finalist on the show. The 23-year-old owner of danikara Creations had been chosen from thousands of applications to compete for a spot as the baker's dozen contestant, but after a two-week vote on the show's website she didn't garner enough votes to become the 13th and final contestant. When she heard the news Monday, she said, she shed many tears, but also grew more motivated to move her bakery from her home kitchen to a storefront within a year. Since getting publicity about the show, her business has already picked up. "I'm just grateful to have the opportunity to get this far," she said Tuesday. Next Great Baker, a spin-off of Cake Boss, premieres Nov. 28.
Get a briefing on new elections laws
Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley will discuss new elections laws at 1 p.m. Aug. 27 at the meeting of the West Pasco Democratic Club. The group meets at the Jasmine Lakes Civic Center at 7137 Jasmine Blvd. Coffee and dessert will be available for a nominal charge. For information, call Roz at (727) 376-1763.
The County Commission and School Board give initial approval to a plan to redraw their district boundaries. Story, Page 3