Monday, January 22, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco legislative leaders get earful in annual meeting

LAND O'LAKES — Centers to train workers for high-tech factory jobs. Support for Common Core educational standards. Help for housing for seniors and the poor. Even a push to legalize marijuana.

County officials, charities and ordinary citizens packed the gymnasium at the Charles S. Rushe Middle School on Wednesday to present a long menu of legislative initiatives to Pasco County's delegation to the state House and Senate.

The lawmakers — Sens. John Legg and Wilton Simpson and Reps. Richard Corcoran, Amanda Murphy and Will Weatherford, the House speaker — sat patiently for more than four hours as part of the gathering, ahead of the March 4 legislative session.

The annual meeting is aimed both at measuring support for particular bills and hearing from audience members — residents, officials and others — about particular causes or legislative items. Mostly, though, it provides a forum to sound off about Tallahassee — or lobby for state dollars.

"We have been on life support since 2009," George Romagnoli, manager of Pasco's community development office, told the delegation. "We have been able to continue because we have been prudent with our funds. . . . That has allowed us to continue our programs, but not at the scale that is needed."

Romagnoli's office administers scores of housing and neighborhood revitalization programs for Pasco County.

Like others at the meeting, he asked that funding for 2014 be restored, which would provide $5.189 million. Last year, the office received $751,000 for housing.

Scores of others made similar pleas. More than 50 testified. Through it all, the lawmakers made no promises and commented briefly to allow time for all in the group to speak.

Pasco Commissioner Kathryn Starkey and County Administrator Michele Baker requested funds to launch training centers to prepare workers for high-tech factory jobs to lure German manufacturers.

Pasco school superintendent Kurt Browning pushed the delegation to "stay firm" on Common Core educational standards.

"We do not need to create another home-grown assessment," he said. "We do not need another FCAT or FCAT 2.0."

St. Leo Commissioner Robert Inslee requested a new boundary line so that a group of Lake Jovita residents can be annexed into Pasco County where they would receive more services.

And New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips asked for help with flood insurance and "unfunded mandates," including pension increases for city workers.

Two residents sought support for medical marijuana, and several Summertree residents rounded out the meeting, waiting nearly until the end to speak about the importance of a bill sponsored by Simpson to require private utilities to keep their rates comparable to those of government-owned utilities and to improve their water for taste, odor and appearance.

Comments

Woman, 35, struck and killed while walking across SR 60 in Valrico

VALRICO — A 35-year-old Thonotosassa woman was struck and killed by a car while walking across State Road 60 west of Mount Carmel Road on Sunday night, the Florida Highway Patrol said.Brandi Eckelstafer was walking south across SR 60 just after 8 p....
Updated: 20 minutes ago
Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

Crisco, dune buggy and a face-plant: Fired-up Philly fans take to the streets

PHILADELPHIA — Not even a coat of Crisco on light poles across the city could keep Philadelphia Eagles fans from scaling new heights in celebrating their team’s first Super Bowl appearance in 13 years and setting up a rematch with the AFC champion N...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Hooper: Deal with sea-level rise or prepare to be inundated

When fans again flock to Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard for the annual Gasparilla Festival on Saturday, I hope they ask a question: Will the floats need flotation devices in 2035?Erika Spanger-Siegfried, Astrid Caldas and Kate Cell, members of the Union ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Forecast: Warm weather remains, but cold front will bring rain to Tampa Bay

Forecast: Warm weather remains, but cold front will bring rain to Tampa Bay

A warm weekend across Tampa Bay will carry over into the start of the workweek, after some morning fog burns off and before a front results in clouds and increased rain chances later this afternoon.10News WTSPFeels-like temperatures around the Tampa...
Updated: 3 hours ago

The Daystarter: PolitiFact Florida analyzes prison costs; breaking down the Super Bowl matchup; free dental clinic services in high demand; Arrrrr you ready for Gasparilla?

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what you need to know today.• We’ll have a mild and sunny start to the week, with highs in the upper 70s, according to 10Weather WTSP. A weak cold front brings a chance of rain on Tuesday and slightly coo...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Police: 2 IEDs detonated at a Florida mall, no injuries

LAKE WALES — Police say two improvised explosive devices ignited inside a mall in central Florida on Sunday do not appear to be an act of terrorism.Lake Wales police Deputy Chief Troy Schulze tells news outlets that at 5:22 p.m., the Lake Wales Fire ...
Updated: 3 hours ago
PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

PolitiFact Florida: Claims about prison price-gouging decry $17 soup, $18 tampons

Advocates of Florida prisoners protested outside of the Florida Department of Corrections in Tallahassee on Tuesday, demanding answers to questions of alleged price-gouging in prisons across the state.Protesters from dozens of grass roots organizatio...
Published: 01/22/18
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 9 hours ago

nationResearchers work to avoid another 1918 super-flu The descriptions are haunting. Some victims felt fine in the morning and were dead by night. Faces turned blue as patients coughed up blood. Stacked bodies outnumbered coffins. A century after on...
Updated: 10 hours ago

Hillsborough diver who died in Eagle’s Nest Cave was adventurous but experienced

Davin Brannon was a pilot, a spearfisherman, an avid cave and open-water diver and an experienced all-around adventurer, said those close to him ."I guess you could say he died doing what he loved," his cousin Pam Kirven said. "But I also know he’d n...
Updated: 10 hours ago