Mayor steps down from chamber post
Mayor Steve Van Gorden is stepping down permanently as president of the Zephyrhills Chamber of Commerce. Van Gorden took a 60-day leave of absence from the volunteer chamber leadership position several weeks ago after being placed on paid leave from his job as principal of Zephyrhills High School while officials investigated complaints of sexual harassment. Van Gorden resigned as principal last month, just before a report detailing allegations of sexual harassment from several women was released. Van Gorden has vowed not to resign as mayor of the city; the council voted last month to conduct a hearing on the matter that could lead to a vote to impeach him. In his resignation letter to the chamber, Van Gorden said he plans to start a new job that involves travel but without a set schedule. "I still plan on participating in events with the Chamber in the future and being actively involved," said Van Gorden. "I will just not be in a leadership position. I appreciate the time I had working with some dynamic business leaders." Chamber vice president John Scott, who served as president from 2011-12, will replace Van Gorden and serve the remainder of the term, which ends Sept. 30.
Suspect in bank robbery identified
Authorities have released the name of a wanted man accused of robbing Capital City Bank on Tuesday. Harold Van Horn, 69, wore a mustache, sunglasses, gloves and a green sweatshirt when he walked into the bank at 10290 Regency Park Blvd. at 12:25 p.m., the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported. He demanded money and left with an undisclosed amount, a report states. No weapons were reported and he fled on a bicycle. He remains at large. Van Horn is on probation from a three-bank robbery spree in 2009. No guns were recovered in those cases. Deputies said he used a note threatening that he had a gun, so he was charged with armed robbery. Records show he was released in September 2010. Anyone with information on his whereabouts may call the Sheriff's Office at (727) 844-7711
Deputies say they got tip on meth lab
Pasco deputies went to the home at 3943 Court St. on Wednesday afternoon after receiving a tip about a methamphetamine lab at the home. The people at the home initially refused to open the door, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. "Deputies were able to eventually enter the home and found a small, working (one-pot) meth lab," the Sheriff's Office said. Pasco Fire Rescue was called to the scene to safely remove the materials. No arrests were made. The investigation continues.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Enjoy lights of the holiday season
Looking for some sights of the season? Take a drive through the Wilderness Wonderland Celebration of Lights from 6 to 9 p.m. Dec. 10-15 at Starkey Wilderness Park, 10500 Wilderness Drive. $2 per vehicle. For information call (727) 861-3033.