Tax collector's damaged office won't reopen
Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Olson announced Thursday that he will not repair or reopen his storm-damaged satellite office at the Westgate Shopping Center. The branch at 4904 Allen Road has been closed since March 31, when high winds ripped open the roof, causing severe water damage and mold growth. "Environmental experts I hired have confirmed a mold outbreak," Olson said. "Their recommendation was to gut the space and start over. That meant ripping out and replacing the drywall, ceiling tiles, insulation, carpet, air-conditioning ductwork and so forth." Olson decided the expense would be too great — especially when he figured to someday leave that leased space once he builds a larger facility in the Zephyrhills/Wesley Chapel area to also provide driver's license services. "It's not a good time to talk about buying land and building a new office, but with property values at their lowest in years, we might find a bargain out there," Olson said. East Pasco residents can visit other Tax Collector locations in Dade City at the East Pasco Government Center, 14236 Sixth St., Room 100, (352) 521-4360; and in Land O'Lakes at the Central Pasco Government Center, 4111 Land O'Lakes Blvd. (U.S. 41), (813) 235-6020.
Principal tapped for Pasco Elementary
Pasco schools superintendent Heather Fiorentino has picked Katie Lail, principal at Mary Giella Elementary School, to run Pasco Elementary upon the retirement of longtime leader Barbara Munz. Fiorentino's recommendation goes to the School Board in early June, with a proposed June 7 start date. Lail became principal at Giella in 2008 after serving in several other positions in the district since 1998, including assistant principal at West Zephyrhills Elementary. Her post at Giella will be advertised. Fiorentino also has yet to name a new principal for San Antonio Elementary School.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Free hearing aid batteries available
The Sertoma Speech and Hearing Foundation will give away free hearing aid batteries from 10 a.m. to noon today at the foundation's office, 4443 Rowan Road. Batteries will be available while supplies last in these sizes: 10, 13, 312 and 675. For information, call (727) 834-5479.
Buddy Poppies benefit needy vets
VFW Post 10167 plans to distribute Buddy Poppies for donations from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at these locations:
• Publix, 5127 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.
• Bob Evans Restaurant, 1600 U.S. 19, Holiday.
• Winn-Dixie, 1640 U.S. 19, Holiday.
• Walgreens, 2480 U.S. 19, Holiday.
• Sam's Club, 4330 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.
Proceeds benefit needy veterans and their families.