Search for missing boater continues
The search continues for Mark Portus, a 49-year-old Hudson man who never returned from a fishing trip Monday. Although the Coast Guard called off its rescue mission Wednesday night, family members, friends, volunteers and officers with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission continued to search Thursday and will again today. Portus went fishing around Anclote Key on Monday morning. His boat was found that night, with the engine running and Portus nowhere in sight. The family is offering a $20,000 reward to any boater who finds Portus alive. Anyone who wants to help may call Harold Hayes at (229) 588-0931 for information. "We are not giving up hope," said Hayes, a friend of Portus.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Man gets 5 years in road rage case
A man accused of using a gun to resolve a road rage dispute has been sentenced to five years in prison. Brandon Cloud, 23, of 11434 Rohrman Road in Port Richey, pleaded guilty earlier this month to aggravated assault with a firearm and discharging a firearm in public. Three years of the sentence are considered minimum mandatory, meaning Cloud could not gain early release before then. Last February, authorities said, Cloud was behind the wheel of a gold Lincoln and got into an argument with a nearby couple in traffic. He followed them to a gas station at Rowan Road near Cypress Knoll Drive, where he argued with the man in the car. Then, reports said, as he was driving away, Cloud fired a gun at the man, missing him. Cloud was arrested a short time later at a nearby house.
Rancher is Crist's choice for board
East Pasco rancher John Nicolette lost his bid for County Commission last year, but his name has emerged as Gov. Charlie Crist's pick for a seat on the Hillsborough River Basin Board, which covers central and southeast Pasco. Crist announced the appointment this week of Nicolette, 47, the owner of Crooked Creek Ranch, for the advisory board under the Southwest Florida Water Management District. If approved by a Senate confirmation, Nicolette would succeed Gary Reckart for a term that would end March 1, 2011. Nicolette lost his effort to unseat County Commissioner Ted Schrader in last year's Republican primary.