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John Shafchuk, principal of Deer Park Elementary in New Port Richey, to retire Jan. 6

NEW PORT RICHEY

Principal at Deer Park to retire Jan. 6

John Shafchuk, who first joined the Pasco County school district in 1975, is about to serve his final day here. Shafchuk, principal of Deer Park Elementary on Trouble Creek Road since 2003, caught folks off guard this past week by filing his retirement papers. He leaves at the end of the semester (officially, Jan. 6). "I have enjoyed all the years I have been in education with the Pasco County school system," Shafchuk, 58, said in his letter. "I will also miss all the excellent professionals I have worked with over the years." Superintendent Heather Fiorentino said she expected to have a new leader for Deer Park for the new semester. She plans to advertise the position for applicants. "He will be missed," Fiorentino said.

Psychologist joins School Board race

A New Port Richey psychologist who serves on the Pasco-Hernando Early Learning Coalition has jumped into the increasingly crowded field for Pasco County School Board District 4. Steven Kanakis, 46, filed precandidacy paperwork this week to replace Kathryn Starkey, who plans to resign to run for a state House seat. "I feel like disabled kids need a voice on the School Board," said Kanakis, whose third-grade son has autism. He also has a 7-year-old daughter in the district's gifted program. Both children attend Longleaf Elementary. Other hopefuls for the nonpartisan election, which would take place in fall 2010, are pastor John Tracy, retired court reporter Billie Kaleel and medical supplies firm owner Christopher Cooley. Kanakis did his clinical residency at the University of South Florida and moved to Pasco County in 1991.

COUNTYWIDE

Offices, services closed for holiday

Pasco County government offices, including the constitutional offices and the courts, will be closed Thursday and Friday in observance of Thanksgiving. The Tax Collector's Office will also be closed Saturday. Government offices will reopen Nov. 30 at their regularly scheduled times. Here is the holiday schedule for other county services:

• Libraries: All branches of the Pasco County Library System will close at 5 p.m. Wednesday, and will remain closed Thursday and Friday. They will reopen on Saturday at their regularly scheduled times.

• Bus service: There will be no transit service on Thursday and Friday. For more information, call (727) 834‑3322 or (352) 521‑4587.

• Gathering spots: Recreation complexes will be closed Thursday and open from 1 to 9 p.m. Friday on a holiday schedule. The county's community centers will be closed both days.

• Landfill: The Shady Hills facility and the East Pasco Transfer Station will be closed Thursday. It will remain closed to the public Friday, but open to commercial haulers. Both facilities will open to the public on Saturday.

John Shafchuk, principal of Deer Park Elementary in New Port Richey, to retire Jan. 6 11/21/09 [Last modified: Saturday, November 21, 2009 1:43pm]

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