Workshop will address school bullying
With conversations in the Florida Legislature as a backdrop, the Pasco County School Board plans to take a hard look at how it deals with safety and bullying during a workshop Tuesday. District officials started talking about the issues months ago, also taking such steps as school risk assessments with law enforcement and making plans for an anti-bullying summit in the early summer. Superintendent Kurt Browning also has made clear that while he takes the matters seriously, he doesn't want to go as far as having armed guards at elementary schools. The staff has prepared a three-page action plan to cope with bullying. It calls for, among other things, revising anti-bullying presentations to students and tying those to the Code of Conduct more closely, and creating new structures to provide students with ways to raise concerns and help solve them within their schools. It also has listed several areas of need when it comes to improving school safety. Those include training for personnel, added funding to improve facilities, and reviewing response procedures to ensure they match current trends. Board members called for this workshop, which will begin at 3 p.m. Tuesday. No action is scheduled to be taken, although the board can give the staff directions on how to proceed.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Ridge Road deadline extended
The elusive push to extend Ridge Road has been extended. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had given the county a Feb. 13 deadline to submit all requested material for its permit application. But county officials asked for more time, saying the wildlife studies the corps requested have to be done in certain seasons of the year. The corps then gave the county until Sept. 30 to finish its application. The proposed limited-access road would connect heavily populated west Pasco with the Suncoast Parkway and eventually link to U.S. 41 at Connerton. The county has long argued the road is a vital link in the county's transportation system that would provide a new evacuation route during a major storm. Environmentalists object that the road would cut through the 6,500-acre Serenova preserve. The federal Environmental Protection Agency considers the tract's wetlands to be an "Aquatic Resource of National Importance." That designation provides higher legal protection.
Pet adoption fees reduced Saturday
Pasco County Animal Services will offer dogs and cats at the reduced adoption fee of $17 on Saturday, in honor of St. Patrick's Day. Regular adoption fees are $70 for dogs and $40 for cats. Pets are spayed or neutered, come with a vet check, are microchipped and have been vaccinated. Credit cards are accepted. Adoptable dogs and cats will be at the Odessa Petco, 16248 State Road 54. For information, call (727) 834-3216.