Firefighters union rejects contract
Members of the Pasco firefighters union handily rejected a proposed collective bargaining agreement last week that would have paved the way for a major grant to hire new staffers, but they dropped a formal complaint about lost pay raises. Firefighters rejected the contract Friday on a 216-54 vote. Commissioners met in a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon to discuss how to respond to the vote. County Administrator John Gallagher said the options included commissioners imposing the contract on the union, having a special magistrate sort through remaining issues or going to mediation. Administrators have been refusing to hire 18 new firefighters using a $2.3 million federal grant until the contract was approved. That's because the proposal called for the union dropping a grievance over the county not providing salary increases that were included in a previous bargaining agreement.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Overturned truck snarls traffic
Traffic near State Road 54 and Wiggins Drive was tied up Tuesday afternoon after a truck and trailer carrying two vans flipped while making a turn. The crash happened at 2:25 p.m., according to a Florida Highway Patrol report. The vans leaked about 5 gallons of oil and fuel altogether, prompting the county's emergency management to send a Hazmat team — a "very typical" procedure, said Jim Johnston, who heads the team. A Pasco deputy directing traffic at the scene was hit by a vehicle, the Sheriff's Office said. The vehicle was going at a slow speed and left the deputy with minor injuries to his leg. The deputy was taken to Medical Center of Trinity. His name was not released.
Man missing for weeks found safe
A 75-year-old man who disappeared from his Port Richey apartment has been safely located. Clyde Harding has been at Tampa General Hospital, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said. After authorities put out the call last week for any information on Harding, a hospital employee recognized Harding and alerted the Sheriff's Office. Harding had told his apartment manager on Oct. 31 that he was leaving, then got in a cab and never returned. His family, who reported him missing Nov. 30, was especially concerned because he has serious health conditions that require medication.
Hospice's 2013 calendars on sale
Gulfside Regional Hospice's 2013 calendar is now on sale. All proceeds will benefit patients facing life-limiting illnesses and their families in Pasco County. Calendars can be purchased for $5 at these hospice Thrift Shoppe locations: 6117 State Road 54, New Port Richey; 12154 U.S. 19, Hudson; 37925 Sky Ridge Circle, Dade City; 36542 State Road 54, Zephyrhills; 21780 State Road 54, Lutz. Call (727) 845-5707 for information.
Detailed obituaries can be found in Section B.