Friday, April 20, 2018
News Roundup

Pasco reaches deal to save Officer Friendly police program

DADE CITY — After being placed on the chopping block, the popular Officer Friendly community policing program was rescued by county commissioners on Tuesday.

The program includes two sheriff's deputies: Cpl. David Hink and Cpl. Mary Guyer. Stationed in high-crime areas in Dade City and Lacoochee, they are positive role models for children and help steer them away from crime and drugs.

County administrators had recommended cutting federal block grant money for one of the two officers in order to boost money for other social service groups. They argued the Sheriff's Office could cover the cost of the second officer.

But nearly 100 people from northeast Pasco flooded Tuesday's commission meeting, calling for no Officer Friendly cuts.

"I love the idea that our children get to see a more positive version of the police rather than a negative one," said Cassie Coleman, pastor of the First Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church in Trilby. "I would not like to see any part of this program done away with."

The proposal would have cut $56,000 in Community Development Block Grant money from the program. That money would have been used to boost the Good Samaritan health clinic's funding to earlier levels and add money for a job adviser at the Connections Job Development program.

Administrators noted that the Sheriff's Office has added nearly 50 positions over the past three years, while money for parks, libraries and social services was slashed.

"It's a tiny, tiny bit of the sheriff's budget to help fund (Officer Friendly)," said Teri Nichols, a Connections board member. "This is 35 percent of our budget."

Commissioners fashioned an agreement Tuesday that might not imperil any of the groups.

Commissioner Pat Mulieri said she spoke with Sheriff Chris Nocco, who agreed to split the cost of the second officer. That means the county will have to come up with $28,000.

Commissioners adopted the original block grant list — but promised to find the money for the second Officer Friendly position in a budget workshop later this month.

"I'm committing today that as we go through the budget this summer … that we fund two Officer Friendly positions," said Commissioner Ted Schrader.

Schrader said the county could use general fund money that is saved from other programs. For example, the county recently got word that a $4.2 million Medicaid bill from the state will be reduced by roughly $200,000.

Comments
Forecast: Scattered showers could dampen weekend plans across Tampa Bay

Forecast: Scattered showers could dampen weekend plans across Tampa Bay

Scattered showers and thunderstorms could pester Tampa Bay throughout the weekend, culminating in a peak chance of rain early next week.A small cold front will meander over the bay area by Friday afternoon but should have little affect on the area, t...
Updated: 7 minutes ago
Portion of I-75 closed in Sarasota due to smoke in road

Portion of I-75 closed in Sarasota due to smoke in road

SARASOTA — A portion of southbound Interstate 75 is closed in Sarasota County due to smoke in the road.According to broadcast reports, smoke from a prescribed burn in the area has settled over the roadway. The roadway is closed at mile marker 205, ne...
Updated: 19 minutes ago
Suspect identified in slayings of Gilchrist County deputies

Suspect identified in slayings of Gilchrist County deputies

The Gilchrist County Sheriff’s Office has identified the man who fatally shot two deputies in a restaurant Thursday afternoon before taking his own life.Deputies say John Hubert Highnote, 59, of Bell, — who has reported ties to St. Petersburg and Cle...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
The Daystarter: Tampa Bay students to stage walkout; ‘Crabby Bill’ Loder dies; details emerging in deputies’ killer; breaking down the Bucs’ 2018 schedule

The Daystarter: Tampa Bay students to stage walkout; ‘Crabby Bill’ Loder dies; details emerging in deputies’ killer; breaking down the Bucs’ 2018 schedule

Catching you up on overnight happenings, and what to know today.• A dry cold front moved through the bay area overnight but it won’t affect temperatures much. It might be a little cooler in the North Suncoast, but that’s it. Bay area highs will stil...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Fugitive suspected in Bradenton woman’s death arrested in Texas

Fugitive suspected in Bradenton woman’s death arrested in Texas

SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, Texas — A woman suspected of killing her husband in Minnesota, then fleeing to Florida and killing a woman who resembled her in order to assume a new identity, was captured Thursday night at a South Texas resort.Two federal deputy...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Flight attendants say ‘appalling’ Southwest flight photo confirms it — you’re not paying attention to the safety demo

Mario Nunez called it a "huge shaking my head moment" when the photo inside the cabin of Southwest Airlines flight 1380 appeared on his TV.The story was about a terrifying emergency landing after an engine exploded 20 minutes into a trip from New Yor...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Carlton: Kids, want to make them listen? Vote

Today across America, high school students are expected to walk out of class in their latest show of solidarity against gun violence and elected officials unwilling to do much about it. It marks a grim anniversary — 19 years since Columbine bra...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

Today: Area high school students to join national walkout in memory of Columbine

High school students from both sides of Tampa Bay will commemorate the anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings on Friday, although in very different ways.In St. Petersburg, students from several schools will gather at noon at City Hall for...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

Spring break, hurricane relief boosted Tampa Bay hotels in March

The Tampa Bay area’s hotel occupancy rate rose to 87.5 percent in March, the highest level in three years. The rise was fueled by spring break vacationers as well as insurance adjusters and hurricane cleanup crews flooding the state to restore it aft...
Published: 04/20/18
Howard Altman: Tampa company analyzed strike on Syrian facilities

Howard Altman: Tampa company analyzed strike on Syrian facilities

After President Donald Trump announced the U.S., France and England had carried out attacks on three Syrian chemical weapons centers, a Tampa company began its own analysis of the bomb damage.The analysis, by geospatial intelligence firm Radiant Solu...
Published: 04/20/18