Swiftmud set to conduct small burns
The Southwest Florida Water Management District will conduct controlled burns this summer of about 300 acres in the Upper Hillsborough tract, about 2 miles east of Zephyrhills. The land will be burned in small, manageable units during June, July and August. According to district land manager Kevin W. Love, burns are implemented to mimic natural fire cycles under a controlled situation. The object is to avoid uncontrolled wildfires and enhance the area's natural conditions by maintaining the ecological and wildlife habitat values. Prescribed burns are conducted only when weather conditions allow the objectives to be met while minimizing impacts to the public. The district says it will do everything it can to ensure the smoke will not affect homes or highways. However, drivers should exercise caution in case smoke does lead to reduced visibility on the area's roads and highways.
Baby's broken arm prompts charge
A 19-year-old laborer was charged with child abuse after Zephyrhills Police officials say he broke the arm of a 6-month-old boy. On May 19, William Kyle Parks, of 6020 14th St., twisted the baby's wrist, fracturing its left forearm, because the baby would not stop crying, police said. Officials did not release the relationship, if any, between Parks and the child. Parks was released Wednesday on $5,000 bail after spending five hours in the Land O'Lakes Jail.
Deputies: Empty home's door taken
Gary Thomas, 53, told Pasco Sheriff's deputies he didn't believe he was doing anything wrong, according to an arrest report. His neighbor's home was under foreclosure, the report said, and Thomas wanted a new aluminum screen door. So there he was Wednesday night, on the back porch with a power drill, when a deputy responded to a call that a burglar was inside the vacant house, the Sheriff's Office said. Thomas, of 37224 Kossik Road, was charged with burglary, grand theft and possession of burglary tools. He is at the Land O'Lakes Jail on a $17,000 bail.
Teen gets 10 years for home invasion
A 19-year-old Pasco man received 10 years in prison Thursday after prosecutors spared him a harsher sentence. Kenneth "Kenny" Steele pleaded guilty to being a principle to a home invasion robbery with a firearm and principle to an aggravating battery with a firearm after a shooting at an alleged drug deal. He was initially charged with attempted murder, but the prosecutor reduced the charges because of the victim's inconsistent statements. Steele played football at Pasco High School and is the cousin of Alfredie Steele Jr., who is serving a life sentence for the 2003 slaying of Pasco sheriff's lieutenant Charles "Bo" Harrison.
Detailed obituaries are published in Section B.