Friday, June 22, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco commissioners approve SunWest Park budget, amenities

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County commissioners Tuesday settled on a plan for SunWest Park in Aripeka after hearing a range of options, including one that would have added $2.5 million to the project's budget.

At one point, Commissioner Ted Schrader quipped of the proposed changes, "It seems to me all we're doing is adding amenities."

Schrader wasn't a fan of the numerous options, which sought to redefine the park's original intent as a beach and wakeboard park mostly for local residents.

Commissioners spent close to an hour between the morning and afternoon sessions poring over options, from beaches, parking and a splash pool for young children to a 20-foot-wide boardwalk and 40 beach volleyball courts with tournament-quality sand.

In the end, they opted for the boardwalk, beaches, and parking and restrooms at the south end.

The facility also comes with volleyball courts but not with the high-ticket kind seen in tournaments. A wakeboard facility approved earlier is included as well.

However, they passed on restrooms at the park's north end and a splash pad.

"I've never seen a splash pad at a lake or at a beach," Commissioner Kathryn Starkey said.

Commissioners voted 4-1 to approve the $3.8 million contract with Cleveland Construction Inc. Commission Chairman Jack Mariano, the commission's most ardent supporter, voted against the plan, favoring additional amenities.

"The bathrooms at the north end are critical," he said.

Earlier, Mariano and Schrader sparred over a range of proposals that would have raised the project's $3.4 million budget by millions. The volleyball sand alone, which has a high silica content for a softer feel, was estimated at $1 million.

However commissioners settled on a $500,000 boost in spending, which allows $130,000 in reserves.

In other business, the county hired an assistant administrator to replace one who was fired after only four days on the job.

Catherine Pearson, an assistant administrator from Citrus County, will replace Erik Bush who was fired May 9 after starting work on May 6 as Pasco's assistant county administrator in charge of public services.

County administrator Michele Baker said only that Bush "was not a good fit." He was hired to replace Suzanne Salichs who announced her retirement in February.

Pearson will start work June 2, earning $110,000 a year.

Comments
Justices adopt new privacy rules for cellphone tracking

Justices adopt new privacy rules for cellphone tracking

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court says police generally need a search warrant if they want to track criminal suspects’ movements by collecting information about where they’ve used their cellphones. The justices’ 5-4 decision Friday is a victory for priv...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

Brink: Why have Florida’s working-age men left the labor market in droves

A cancer lurks within Florida’s otherwise rosy job numbers, one that’s has been called a quiet catastrophe and an intractable time bomb.Too many men between the ages of 25 and 54 have stopped working.Economists call those the prime-age years. Incomes...
Updated: 9 minutes ago
Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

Winston aftermath: Report says Darby wasn’t in car for whole ride

There's no telling how much detail will be disclosed in what the NFL learned in its investigation that led to Jameis Winston being suspended for the first three games of the upcoming season, but some have already been reported in the first 24 hours s...
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

Kwon Alexander to Jameis Winston: ‘We gotcha back’

There are many questions in the aftermath of Thursday's news that Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended for the first three games of the 2018 season, but even before the suspension is officially announced, he is drawing support on social ...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
SunPass charges will soon be showing up again on customer accounts — without late fees

SunPass charges will soon be showing up again on customer accounts — without late fees

It has been more than two weeks since SunPass customers have been able to access their accounts after the Florida toll service took down its website for system maintenance.While SunPass continues to accumulate toll charges since the maintenance perio...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Kevin Knox brushes off crowd reaction to take center stage

Kevin Knox brushes off crowd reaction to take center stage

New York Knicks fans are a boisterous bunch. They voice their displeasure at just about everything. Four years ago, the fans booed the team's first-round selection of Kristaps Porzingis, who became an all-star this past season.So it was widely assume...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls basketball team

Tampa Bay Times’ all-Tampa Bay girls basketball team

Hillsborough Player of the year: Kaliah Henderson, Jr., RobinsonWhy we picked her: Henderson is the type of player opponents know they have to stop. That has proven easier said than done. The Knights went 22-3 and that record would be much worse with...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Sports Day Tampa Bay podcast: Jameis Winston to receive three-game suspension

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston will be suspended by the NFL for three games according to reports, and that number could go up if he doesn't meet certain criteria.Rick Stroud explains that the suspension is not for a failure to report the 2016 i...
Updated: 1 hour ago
At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

At a Mexican shelter, migrants who fled death threats prepare for ‘zero tolerance’ at the border

PIEDRAS NEGRAS, Mexico — In Honduras, their lives were surrounded by death.Lourdes Cruz had just started a new job when the maras, the deadly gangs plaguing Central America, demanded half of her paycheck. She quit her job, but they found her number a...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Forecast: Muggy and hot with a chance of rain for Pride festivities

As the first weekend of summer swings in, it appears Tampa Bay should expect more heat, humidity and a chance of afternoon showers.Increased moisture in the Gulf of Mexico will result in scattered showers and isolated storms for coastal areas of Tamp...
Updated: 4 hours ago