Monday, December 18, 2017
News Roundup

New Port Richey making way for community gardens

NEW PORT RICHEY — Imagine a bounty of tomatoes and squash, cucumbers and eggplants, sprouting from the empty patches of earth around the city. Neighbors would work together on plots, growing fresh produce and exchanging the fruits of their labor.

Community gardens, which have become a source of nutritious food, satisfying labor, green space and neighborhood pride, may take root in New Port Richey.

The City Council gave initial approval this week to an ordinance that would allow community gardens in all zoning districts throughout the city. Such gardens would be subject to all city code regulations, including permitting for building or modifications of any structures, fencing or signs. Each garden operator must register annually with the city's Environmental Committee.

The measure comes back for a final vote in two weeks.

"It's a very community related activity," said Marilynn deChant, co-chair of the Environmental Committee that worked with the city staff to draft the ordinance. "When people see other people working their gardens they come forward and start their own gardens and exchange food.

"So people work together and it becomes a wonderful outdoor activity."

New Port Richey development director Lisa Fierce referred to it as a "civic ecology whereby people take responsibility for their neighbors and neighborhood, creating healthier and happier citizens."

In a memo to the council, Fierce noted that similar programs have been implemented in St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor and Tarpon Springs.

"I just think it will be great," said City Council member Bob Langford.

Under the ordinance, community garden operators would be responsible for enforcing the internal operations of the gardens, including any disputes among gardeners, according to Fierce's memo.

The program will have no economic impact on the city, she wrote.

There is excitement in the air for the project, according to Environmental Committee co-chair Rose Mohr, who read a speech to the council in favor of the ordinance.

"We really have a strong belief that it will be beneficial to everyone in the community," she told the Times.

Comments
Video: Chick fil-A feeds thousands of hungry travelers stranded in Atlanta airport

Video: Chick fil-A feeds thousands of hungry travelers stranded in Atlanta airport

Chick fil-A is normally closed on Sundays, but it made an exception for the thousands who were stranded at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. The travelers were left in the dark following a power outage that forced cancellation of mor...
Updated: 2 minutes ago

Land O’Lakes teacher charged with felony child abuse

LAND O’LAKES — A special needs teacher at Oakstead Elementary School was arrested and charged with felony child abuse after she struck and kicked a 15-year-old child in her care over the weekend, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.Christine Ketel...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

St. Pete woman killed in crash while trying to avoid dog on I-275

TAMPA — A St. Pete Beach woman was killed Monday morning on Interstate 275 when she was struck from behind by a semi-trailer while attempting to avoid striking a dog that had run onto the highway.The crash occurred around 10:45 a.m. on I-275, north o...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride

St. Pete-Clearwater airport expects holiday parking crunch, so consider arranging a ride

CLEARWATER — With passenger traffic picking up on Monday and expected to stay strong through Dec. 29, St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport says it could run out of parking spaces, so passengers should consider making arrangements to be dropped o...
Updated: 1 hour ago
The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories.

The government admits it studies UFOs. So about those Area 51 conspiracy theories.

For decades, Americans were told that Area 51 didn’t really exist and that the U.S. government had no official interest in aliens or UFOs. Statements to the contrary, official-sounding people cautioned, were probably the musings of crackpots in tinfo...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay--- downpayments are lower here

Another reason to buy a home in Tampa Bay--- downpayments are lower here

Times Staff WriterHomebuyers in the Tampa Bay area don’t have to shell out as much on downpayments as buyers in many other places. According to ATTOM Data Solutions, the median downpayment for a bay area home in the quarter ended in September was $1...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Multiple fatalities as Amtrak train derails south of Seattle

Multiple fatalities as Amtrak train derails south of Seattle

TACOMA, Wash. — An Amtrak train derailed south of Seattle on Monday, spilling train cars onto a busy interstate and authorities reported "multiple fatalities."The train derailed about 40 miles (64 kilometers) south of Seattle before 8 a.m.Amtrak says...
Updated: 1 hour ago
ESPN chief Skipper resigns, cites substance abuse problem

ESPN chief Skipper resigns, cites substance abuse problem

NEW YORK — John Skipper, president of the sprawling ESPN sports network, said Monday that he is resigning to treat a substance abuse problem.Skipper’s sudden announcement will force the Walt Disney Co.-owned network to search for new leadership at a ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Cannon Fodder podcast: Monday night football preview, Bucs vs. Falcons

Cannon Fodder podcast: Monday night football preview, Bucs vs. Falcons

Times Bucs writer Greg Auman has a final preview of tonight’s Bucs-Falcons game — Matt Ryan’s history with the Bucs, how Tampa Bay will handle its absences on defense and a few Ring of Honor hypotheticals as well … Listen below: ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Top 5 at noon: The hole in DJJ’s beefed-up screening process; can Gruden coach Bucs again?; and more

Top 5 at noon: The hole in DJJ’s beefed-up screening process; can Gruden coach Bucs again?; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com.ALTHOUGH FLORIDA JUVENILE JUSTICE SAID IT WOULD WEED OUT BAD HIRES, SOMEHOW THIS GUY SLIPPED THROUGHWhile the beefed-up screening governs how the Department of Juvenine Justice hires officers...
Updated: 2 hours ago