Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco officials wait for federal dollars in Debby's wake

NEW PORT RICHEY — President Barack Obama late Tuesday declared Pasco County as a federal disaster area following last week's Tropical Storm Debby. The declaration also included four North Florida counties.

The decision makes federal funding available for Pasco residents and property owners affected by the storm and related flooding. Assistance can include grants for temporary housing and home repairs and low-cost loans to cover uninsured losses.

"That is going to be direct assistance to the folks out in our community that were hurt," Pasco Emergency Management director Annette Doying said earlier Tuesday, as county commissioners approved an extension of the local state of emergency through July 8.

In addition, Doying said she expected the federal government to declare a "public assistance emergency," and reimburse county government's estimated $4 million in recovery expenses.

Tuesday night's release from the White House said other Florida counties could be added to the disaster declaration and additional forms of assistance could be made available.

Doying said more than 100 Pasco homes were severely damaged or destroyed by the storm, which prompted mandatory evacuations of about 7,000 homes and businesses in southwest Pasco. In the days after the storm hit, county officials estimated it caused $1.5 million in damage to homes and $4 million in damage to businesses. Those figures will likely be much higher when final assessments are completed, but Doying said the county has been focused on tracking exactly how many properties were damaged. She said New Port Richey has an estimated $600,000 in damages.

And while most of the flooding is gone, some low-lying areas are still dealing with high water. One of the most acute problems is the Bass Lake neighborhood, which is on the Bear Creek watershed. Doying said the area was not hardest hit when the storm first arrived, but has been collecting water that drained from other parts of west Pasco.

Stan Shaver owns a rental property on Cameo Drive along Lake Worrell. Along with about a dozen other properties, much of his yard is underwater. Nearby Sunrise Lane is still flooded.

"We don't like the fact that it's taken this long for the water to drain off," he said. "Steps haven't been taken to prevent or alleviate some of that volume."

Shaver said residents would like the county to clear spillways and remove other barriers keeping the water in the area.

County Commissioner Henry Wilson said if workers let the water drain quicker, it would simply flood adjacent neighborhoods. He's already getting calls from residents in Tanglewood to slow the drainage.

"We're between a rock and a hard spot," he said.

Doying said she hopes the water will begin percolating within two or three days.

Another problem: Many of the homes in the Bass Lake area are on septic tanks that are not working because of the flooding. Doying said county workers will soon bring portable toilets to the neighborhood, and possibly portable showers and sanitation stations.

Wilson said he hopes to eventually connect the neighborhood to the county's wastewater system to prevent a similar problem in the future.

Lee Logan can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236.

Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Updated: 10 hours ago
USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

The USF softball team's season ended late Saturday in the Gainesville Regional with a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, its second NCAA Tournament loss to the Buckeyes in as many days.OSU (36-15) must defeat No. 2 overall national seed Florida (52-8) twice Sun...
Updated: 10 hours ago