Tuesday, January 23, 2018
News Roundup

Grateful Hometown Pasco coordinator says farewell

I've completed Hometown Pasco for the final time. It's bittersweet but I know that change often brings new adventures and I look forward to that.

Fear not. Hometown Pasco is in the best hands possible, those of Jean Hayes in the Times' Hernando bureau. Jean was creating Hometown Hernando long before I was hired in 2004 to create Pasco's version. Jean showed me the ropes and we became good friends. I'm confident Pasco's community news will thrive.

Hometown Pasco celebrated its 10th anniversary on April 18. In that decade there was never an edition missed and most weeks there was such an abundance of news I puzzled if there was space for it all.

Editors, page designers and photo techs were incredible with their skills and my job seemed a small role.

I'm thankful for the opportunity to have compiled community news each week and become friends with some of the finest people I know — Pasco County residents. It's often been an emotionally packed experience to gather and prepare news sent in envelopes and emails. I've tried to keep in mind the immense impact on those smiling from pictures.

This hit solidly during my first days on the job in the spring of 2004. A young Land O'Lakes father was dying and community members rallied with fundraisers to help his family during his last days and see them through the difficult days after he was gone. The depth of caring from the people in the community was touching. They reached out with no thoughts of recognition in a newspaper. They were just being good compassionate people.

As the years rolled on, I'd often get a phone call or email from someone relaying the importance of a Hometown photo. Several years ago, an elderly woman was in hospice care. Her birthday was approaching and, with her days numbered, the hospice staff planned an early celebration. They sent pictures and asked how soon they could run. I moved to get the news in quickly, while the hospice staff urged the patient to hang on because she was going to be "in the paper."

Lying in her bed, smiling, she stared at the Hometown page. A few days later she was gone.

This defines the power of community news that's clipped, stuck on refrigerators, pasted into scrapbooks and mailed to relatives in faraway states. I've often heard my favorite response, usually said quietly with a grin, "I've never been in the paper before."

Thousands of faces have graced Hometown Pasco's pages. A menagerie of animals including dogs, a guinea pig, a llama, an armadillo and a possum among others, have appeared. Hundreds of children have been included, including 5-year-olds — they're high school age now — in an Easter parade back in 2004. As years passed, volumes of pictures highlighted those who contribute in many ways to make communities stronger or win awards for their efforts. It's been a joy to post every picture and to type each name.

With an enormously grateful heart, I am thankful to many — Bill Stevens, who hired me to create Hometown Pasco; five editors — Lisa Buie, Jon O'Neill, Sharon Tubbs, Bridget Grumet and Molly Moorhead — who've tolerated my staunch allegiance to Pasco people in running every tidbit of news I could cram onto the Hometown page.

It's to Pasco County people whom I've honored and loved through 30 years of teaching and 10 years of news reporting that I owe the most profound thanks. I have realized that a joy of life comes from believing there are everywhere among us, good people doing good things for good reasons, all the time.

It has been gratifying and humbling to have been your Hometown Pasco news coordinator. From that role, I bid you a fond farewell.

Hometown Pasco news can be sent to [email protected]

Comments
Today: Death penalty decision coming in Seminole Heights murders

Today: Death penalty decision coming in Seminole Heights murders

TAMPA — Hillsborough State Attorney Andrew Warren is set to announce Tuesday whether he intends to seek the death penalty for the 24-year-old man accused of killing four people southeast Seminole Heights last year. Warren scheduled a 10:30 a.m...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
What you need to know for Tuesday, Jan. 23

What you need to know for Tuesday, Jan. 23

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• Those Monday evening showers could linger to saturate Tuesday morning’s commute, according to 10Weather WTSP. They’ll move out by the afternoon as a cool — not quite a cold —...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Romano: Once again, state education leaders fail this simple test

Romano: Once again, state education leaders fail this simple test

Want to annoy an education leader in Florida?Tell them they’ve turned your child’s school into an assembly line of tiny test takers. Tell them innovation and imagination and excitement are rapidly disappearing in favor of teaching to the test.And whe...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Pinellas to look at high school start times today

Pinellas to look at high school start times today

Pinellas County school district officials have spent weeks analyzing bus routes and brainstorming ideas to see if later high school start times could be a reality this August.Today will tell how far they have come.Clint Herbic, associate superintende...
Updated: 9 hours ago
What’s your most romantic food story? We want to hear it

What’s your most romantic food story? We want to hear it

Calling all romantic foodies: We want to hear about your tales of love and food. For Valentine’s Day this year, we’re looking into some famously adorable dishes, like Engagement Chicken, a roast chicken first published in Glamour magazine in 2004 tha...
Published: 01/23/18
Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

Andrei Vasilevskiy, Lightning shut out Blackhawks

CHICAGO — Turns out, Andrei Vasilevskiy is all right.And, believe it or not, so is the Lightning’s penalty kill, which was the unlikely hero in Monday’s streak-snapping 2-0 win over the Blackhawks at the United Center.Vasilevskiy, 23, played like the...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

Back to work: Government shutdown ending as Dems relent

New York TimesWASHINGTON — Congress brought an end to a three-day government shutdown on Monday as Senate Democrats buckled under pressure to adopt a short-term spending bill to fund government operations without first addressing the fate of young un...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Male bicyclist struck, killed by vehicle in Pinellas Park

PINELLAS PARK — A male bicyclist was struck and killed by a vehicle on U.S. 19 on Monday night, according to Pinellas Park police.The incident took place at about 8:30 p.m. along the 8000 block of U.S. 19 N, near the Walmart Supercenter.The driver wa...
Updated: 7 hours ago

High school scoreboard for Jan. 22

Monday’s scoreboardBoys soccerPalm Harbor U. 3, Clearwater 0Boca Ciega 3, Indian Rocks Christian 1Girls soccerClass 4A, District 10: Countryside 7, Clearwater 0; Dixie Hollins 2, East Lake 0Class 3A, District 10: Osceola 14, Gibbs 0...
Updated: 7 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., Jan. 22, midday:49 851 5049e_SRit11446Mon., Jan. 22, evening:05 733 5365e_SRit06330Fantasy 5Mon., Jan. 22...
Updated: 7 hours ago