Saturday, April 21, 2018
News Roundup

Agency housing immigrant boys settles with Pasco

NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County officials say a nonprofit agency housing immigrant children violated the terms of a federal grant when it closed a group home for elderly disabled adults two years ago.

County attorneys learned about the closure two weeks ago when reviewing the county's financial arrangement with Gulf Coast Jewish Family and Community Services. On Wednesday, Gulf Coast paid the county $167,762 to settle the matter.

"What we're doing is penalizing them for not caring for elderly adults," assistant county attorney Gordon Johnston said. "It has nothing to do with the children."

The violation, which the Clearwater-based nonprofit group called a repayment, nonetheless added another wrinkle to its controversial effort to house children who fled Central America.

Since June, Gulf Coast has housed boys ages 8 through 17 at a 16-bed facility in Holiday under a contract with the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. The group wants to add bunk beds to accommodate up to 32 kids.

But in 2005, long before headlines appeared about thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Gulf Coast received a $420,000 federal grant to build two 16-bed group homes for seniors with dementia. The homes opened in 2006.

Pasco County officials contend the agency breached its contract when it closed one of the homes in 2012.

Gulf Coast said it received notice that some of its funding would be cut off in April 2012, so it consolidated the homes to save money, despite its agreement with the county running through 2015.

In a memo Monday, Johnston wrote that Gulf Coast was required to house disabled seniors at the homes for 10 years and that closing one of them violated its contract.

"Since the property ceased to be operated as an adult treatment facility in 2012, Gulf Coast was in breach of the (agreement)," Johnston wrote.

He assessed Gulf Coast 40 percent of the contract amount, or $167,762, because the violation centered on four of the 10 contract years.

Gulf Coast spokeswoman Lisa Brock said the money was a repayment under the terms of the agreement, and said it will not jeopardize its ability to house the boys.

"We consolidated into one shelter because we knew the money was going away," Brock said. "Looking at it from a fiscal perspective, we didn't have 16 people in both. We figured we'll have everyone under one roof and we won't have to pay maintenance and AC, etc. … on two homes."

Brock said the agreement with Pasco County is now satisfied and Gulf Coast is using one of its shelters to house adults and the other to house the children.

Meanwhile, the nonprofit is still awaiting word on its expansion request. County officials are seeking more time to review it, and action is not expected until October.

Contact Rich Shopes at [email protected] or (727) 869-6236. Follow @richshopes.

Comments
Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

Shaquem Griffin: ‘I’m not just a feel-good story’

TAMPA — Shaquem Griffin wakes up knowing each day will be better than the last and barely unable to wait until tomorrow."It's just a whirlwind,'' Griffin said.On Thursday, he will walk the red carpet with his family, including his twin brother,...
Updated: 1 hour ago
After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

After months, no action on Hillsborough’s substitute teacher problem

TAMPA — Confronted in late 2017 with reports of misconduct by substitute teachers hired through a contractor, Hillsborough County school superintendent Jeff Eakins said he would ask tough questions and demand answers. He had his lawyer, Jeff Gibson, ...
Published: 04/21/18
Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Goodwill to open second store in greater Brandon

Times staffThe greater Brandon area will celebrate the grand opening of its second Goodwill store beginning at 9 a.m. on Saturday (April 28) at 1407 U.S. 301. The new store will add another 12,000 square feet to the complex, which includes a 200,000-...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

Clearwater Central Catholic tops Dunedin Spring Tournament host in extra innings

DUNEDIN — After losing a four-run lead thanks to a bad sixth inning, it would have been easy for Clearwater Central Catholic to fold against Dunedin in the final of the 49th annual Dunedin Spring Tournament. But quality relief pitching from Gar...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

Span, Rays top Twins in 10 innings

ST. PETERSBURG — Roughly four hours before taking the field against his former team Friday, Rays outfielder Denard Span spoke admirably about the Minnesota Twins, their organization in general, even hometown icon Joe Mauer.But business is busin...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

Lightning feels Ryan McDonagh’s impact

BRANDON — Ryan McDonagh blocks shots. He competes for pucks in the corners and wins those battles. He moves the puck up the ice well. He can join the rush. He can shoot from the blue line. He kills penalties."It was a great pickup by (Lightning...
Updated: 10 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 20

Friday’s scoreboardSoftballSpringstead 15, Central 0
Updated: 10 hours ago
St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

St. Pete says discharge never reached the bay. Its own report says otherwise.

ST. PETERSBURG — The city said not one of the 266,000 gallons of reclaimed water released on Jan. 18 reached Tampa Bay.There was no mention of the waste released from the Northeast Water Reclamation Facility ever reaching the bay in the city’s notice...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Tampa Bay students voice opinions on gun laws during school walkouts

Nicole Leary and Taylor Redington stood outside St. Petersburg High School on Friday morning with parents and protesters who had gathered with bullhorns and signs. In a few minutes they would lead about 70 students on a walk to City Hall, joining oth...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

Deputies: Woman in road rage incident targeted ... a school bus?

TAMPA — Deputies are searching for a woman accused of blocking a special needs school bus with her car, getting out and banging and kicking on the bus door until she broke the glass.And there were four children inside, deputies said, as she shouted a...
Updated: 12 hours ago