Tuesday, June 19, 2018
News Roundup

Year in review: How many kayaks is too many for the Weeki Wachee?

WEEKI WACHEE — Long known as the place where the mermaids swim, the Weeki Wachee River got almost as much attention this year for being the place where kayaks clashed with locals while county and state officials struggled to find a solution to the degradation of the waterway.

Sparked by a tumultuous town hall meeting in 2016, State Senator Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, organized a task force at the state level to determine a course of action. During the Legislative Session, he won a $400,000 allocation to begin determining how to fix the ailing river.

That work was the first step in a planned $6 million restoration.

On the local level, Hernando County Commissioner John Allocco organized a meeting of county and state officials and local residents to begin addressing the issues facing the river.

They included bank damage from inexperienced boaters, new kayak businesses adding to the crush of craft launched at the Weeki Wachee Springs State Park and the buildup of sand in the river.

Petition drives, crowded county meetings and reams of emails between interested parties kept the debate lively throughout the year.

It culminated this month in a decision by the County Commission to support and partially pay for a carrying-capacity study to determine how much public use the river can take.

Simpson is seeking more funds for river restoration. Government efforts to curb activities on the river have been put on hold until that study is completed.

Barbara Behrendt, Times Staff Writer

RELATED: Efforts continue as problems persist on Weeki Wachee River

Comments
For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

For starters: Rays at Astros, with Kiermaier back and an ace-high matchup

UPDATE, 6:45: Cash said Smith will continue to play a lot, getting time in LF and RF, meaning something of a rotation system for rookie Johnny Field and veteran Carlos Gomez.UPDATE, 4:49: Kiermaier is batting leadoff and playing center as expected, w...
Updated: 17 minutes ago
Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

Romano: A Tampa Bay ‘superstar’ caught in the crosshairs of Trump’s border policy

At this moment, she is Tampa Bay’s most influential export. A smart, accomplished and powerful attorney making life-altering decisions on an international stage.But what of tomorrow? And the day after?When the story of President Donald Trump’s border...
Updated: 25 minutes ago
Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Zero Bucs players on NFL top 100 list for 2018

Just to preface this, the NFL Network's annual countdown of the league's top 100 players is a made-for-TV deal, good for summer offseason conversation but not carrying any huge amount of real significance.Having said that, it's worth noting that for ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

St. Petersburg power outage affects thousands

More than 2,000 Duke Energy customers are without power after a cluster of storms rolled through earlier this afternoon, according to Duke Energy.The area without power stretches along 62nd Avenue N from 12th Street N to 30th Way N, according to the ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Ice cream man granted bail after lawyer notes weaknesses in 2010 Ruskin murder case

Ice cream man granted bail after lawyer notes weaknesses in 2010 Ruskin murder case

TAMPA — Michael Edward Keetley has spent the last 2,756 days in the Falkenburg Road Jail awaiting trial — and a possible death sentence if convicted — for a Ruskin shooting spree that killed two men.Now he might go home.A judge this week approved Kee...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Norris Trophy could be good consolation for Lightning’s Victor Hedman

Victor Hedman is talking from a hotel room in Las Vegas and admits he's a little jet-lagged."Actually, very jet-lagged," Hedman says.That's what happens when you take a flight from Sweden to the party capital of the world.But he knows exactly what he...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Police release video of car that killed woman, 58, in Tampa hit and run

Police release video of car that killed woman, 58, in Tampa hit and run

Times staffTAMPA — Police have identified Sally Ann McClellan Webb, 58, as the pedestrian killed when a vehicle ran into her Sunday night as she was crossing N Nebraska Ave at Linebaugh Ave.The collision occurred about 9:15 a.m. as the victim stepped...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Trump threatens more China tariffs

Trump threatens more China tariffs

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has directed the U.S. Trade Representative to prepare new tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese imports as the two nations move closer to a trade war.In response, China threatened what it called "comprehensive measure...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Tech Data sending a record 700 employees to march in Pride Parade

Among the marching bands and twirlers at Saturday’s St. Pete Pride Parade, one major sponsor, Tech Data, is sending by far a record number of employees — more than 700 at last count — to march in Florida’s largest gay pride parade.The parade, which d...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Port Richey council moves closer to minimum housing standards ordinance

PORT RICHEY — In a narrow vote, Port Richey took another step toward enacting an ordinance that will create minimum housing standards in the city. Port Richey City Council members approved in a split vote last week the first reading of an ordinance d...
Updated: 2 hours ago