Tuesday, December 12, 2017
News Roundup

In split vote, Port Richey council votes to decriminalize marijuana possession

PORT RICHEY — Marijuana activist and local businessman Garyn Angel was nothing short of elated after the Port Richey City Council became the first government body in Pasco County to decriminalize the possession of less than 20 grams of marijuana.

After many weeks of debate, the council passed an ordinance on a 3-2 vote Tuesday night that will allow police the discretion to issue a $155 civil citation in lieu of an arrest on a criminal misdemeanor charge for possessing less than 20 grams of pot, as long as the offender is age 18 or older and not engaged in any other simultaneous crime.

Angel, who owns the company Magical Butter — an internationally successful Port Richey business specializing in the manufacture of machines that extract plant oils he markets to customers seeking to make marijuana edibles — spearheaded the lobbying effort that led to the council's consideration of the ordinance.

On Tuesday night, Angel stood in front of City Hall with Port Richey's seal behind him to celebrate the vote, making a speech to a two-man video crew he employs. It went out on Facebook Live to his followers, who he said number in the hundreds of thousands. He clapped his hands, praised his hometown and offered that his efforts are proof that activism on marijuana issues can work. He urged his followers to "pick up the phone" and "get off the couch" to get involved.

"Now is the time!" he chanted.

The vote was not without contentious debate as dozens of people spoke for or against the ordinance during previous informational hearings and a first reading of the ordinance. The council vote was split, with Mayor Dale Massad and council members Jennifer Sorrell and Will Dittmer in favor. Massad argued the ordinance will offer a one-time reprieve to people whose records would be damaged by an arrest for possessing a small amount of marijuana and free up police to deal with more pressing crime.

Vice Mayor Terry Rowe and Nancy Britton opposed the ordinance, fearing it will encourage drug dealing and use in the city.

By Tuesday night, there was little debate, as no one from the public or on the council spoke.

"That was easier than I thought it was going to be," Massad said with a grin.

After his speech, Angel told the Tampa Bay Times he will now continue to lobby Pasco County commissioners to lift a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensary businesses, which the board extended last month to Dec. 31. In extending the moratorium, however, the commission vowed to hold a workshop to discuss the issue further.

Comments
Space heater likely cause of early-morning home fire in Valrico

Space heater likely cause of early-morning home fire in Valrico

VALRICO ó A space heater is believed to be the cause of a home fire in Valrico on Tuesday morning.It took firefighters about 20 minutes to control the fire in a mobile home on Pierce Christie Drive, according to Hillsborough County Fire Rescue.The ca...
Updated: 1 hour ago
French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

French group to take over Westfield malls for $15.7 billion

PARIS ó French real estate company Unibail-Rodamco has agreed to buy Australia-based shopping mall operator Westfield Corporation for $15.7 billion in cash and shares.The companies would together have 104 shopping centers in 13 countries that bring i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The Daystarter: Find out Politifactís 2017 Lie of the Year; Alabama voters go to the polls; arraignment for accused Seminole Heights killer; Yankees may hasten Raysí dismantling

The Daystarter: Find out Politifactís 2017 Lie of the Year; Alabama voters go to the polls; arraignment for accused Seminole Heights killer; Yankees may hasten Raysí dismantling

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.10News WTSPThe latest 7-day forecastē Low temperatures continue this morning but itíll be pretty nice by the afternoon. Itíll be in the high 40s overnight and then start to rea...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ó National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Romano: Come to Madeira Beach for the sand, sun and scorn

Romano: Come to Madeira Beach for the sand, sun and scorn

Forgive the folks in Madeira Beach for not yet updating the FAQs portion of their website. They’ve been quite busy lately, which might explain why three of the five commissioners listed are no longer in office. Or maybe it’s just a nod t...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Warm breezes across Tampa Bay ahead of fluctuating conditions

Forecast: Warm breezes across Tampa Bay ahead of fluctuating conditions

Chilly, windy, colder, sunny, warmer, rainy. 10News WTSP Feels-like temperatures around the Tampa Bay area This week’s inconsistent weather conditions will at least keep things interesting across the Tampa Bay area, even if it makes it d...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Tampa forum focuses on reforming Floridaís juvenile justice system

TAMPA ó Changing the way Florida treats juvenile offenders was the focus of Monday nightís public forum on criminal justice reform."We send more children to adult prison than any other state," said Raymer Maguire IV, manager of the ACLUís Florida Cam...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Jury selection in trial of Clearwater man charged with motherís death begins today

Jury selection in trial of Clearwater man charged with motherís death begins today

Jury selection is expected to begin Tuesday morning in the case of a 61-year-old man charged with beating his elderly mother to death.Daniel Edward Richards of Clearwater is charged with second-degree murder. He is representing himself during the tri...
Published: 12/12/17
Kathy Fountain, from anchor chair to therapistís chair

Kathy Fountain, from anchor chair to therapistís chair

A knowledgeable voice and familiar face beamed into Tampa Bay homes when Kathy Fountain delivered the 5 oíclock news and chatted with talk show guests on WTVT-Ch. 13. She created some news of her own as co-anchor of the first female team in the Tampa...
Published: 12/12/17
Medical field accounts for 7 of 10 highest-paying jobs

Medical field accounts for 7 of 10 highest-paying jobs

The nationís highest-paying jobs donít quite track with the fastest-growing jobs in Florida. According to a new study released today by California-based CareerCast, the highest-paying jobs are largely in the medical field and require post-graduate de...
Published: 12/12/17