Sunday, June 17, 2018
News Roundup

SunWest issue won't die, to ire of some Pasco commissioners

NEW PORT RICHEY — One commissioner walked out. Another accused the chairman of "doing an injustice to the board." And by the time Pasco County commissioners had wrapped up for lunch Tuesday, numerous issues divided them.

One thing was clear: After two hours of public testimony — most of it surrounding the SunWest park project in Aripeka — nerves were starting to fray.

At issue was Chairman Jack Mariano's proposal to allocate more money to the proposed park. Commissioners have allocated $3.9 million to build a beach, volleyball courts, parking and a boardwalk. Most considered SunWest a closed issue.

Yet for Mariano, who has continually pushed for more funding, SunWest has remained alive.

On Tuesday, as the meeting got under way, he found dozens of allies in the audience. They wore white T-shirts that said "I (heart) SunWest." Many later said the chairman urged them to attend.

They appealed for more money, making many of the same arguments that Mariano has.

"This is a beautiful area, an ideal area to put a park," said Victor Branson of Hudson. "It's a shame it sits there and the funds aren't going to be allocated that should be allocated."

"The No. 1 thing that attracts people to Florida is beaches," said another speaker, Taylor Ney, a senior at Ridgewood High School in New Port Richey.

"Kids need a place to go to," said Joann Bliss, 76, of Hudson.

"You're going to need more parking when more people find out about this," said Janet O'Hara, also of Hudson.

Mariano's frequent pitch is that the county has "only one shot to get it right" and needs to invest now in additional amenities. Among those: extra parking, a second bathroom, high-grade volleyball beach sand and a splash pad for young children.

Other commissioners contend the additional amenities can be added when the funds become available. After two hours of public testimony, it became clear they had had enough.

"When we voted on this park we said it would be built in phases," Commissioner Pat Mulieri said. "We need to separate wants from needs."

Turning to Mariano, she added: "I think you're doing an injustice to the board. It's not like we don't want this, but there is only X amount of dollars."

Commissioner Ted Schrader said the park was never intended to be more than a boat launch and a beach on a freshwater lake, but over the past year has evolved to include a boardwalk, a wakeboarding facility and a volleyball facility. The board supported those changes, Schrader pointed out, but can't afford the additions sought by Mariano.

Then, referring to the chairman, he added, "He's spreading propaganda. He's misrepresenting the board. This board has supported SunWest."

He then made a motion to withdraw an item about the park from the agenda, sparking an argument from Mariano who wanted to discuss it. Shortly later, Schrader walked out.

"Go ahead and walk out," Mariano said as he passed by.

The meeting broke for lunch minutes later, leaving Mariano standing among his supporters. Asked whether he would back down rather than bring up SunWest again, Mariano said: "It's not up to me. It's up to them."

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

Comments
Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

Rays lose again to Yankees, this time 4-1

NEW YORK — Kevin Cash was not going to go all Lou Piniella on his Rays, raging and ripping and roaring over their latest mess, a 4-1 Saturday loss to the Yankees that didn't feel that close.Which is too bad because Piniella, the volcanic former...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, please go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Sun., June 17, midday:xx xxx xxxxe_SRitxxxxxSun., June 17, evening:xx xxx xxxxe_SRitxxxxxFantasy 5Sunday...
Published: 06/16/18
They fled Puerto Rico with their possessions, which they lost last week in an apartment fire

They fled Puerto Rico with their possessions, which they lost last week in an apartment fire

RIVERVIEW — It was the most routine of errands, shopping for a cooler and some shorts.Joel Jaca and Arelys Gomez, both 40, had turned an important corner, miles away from hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico.They had finally gotten out of their relief hotel...
Published: 06/16/18
Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

Peering into the crystal baseball to see what Rays could look like in 2019

The Rays are still talking, as they should, about playing for something this season. The reality is that almost every move they've made, going back to the end of last season, and in some cases further, has been about 2019 and beyond.Clearing out vete...
Published: 06/16/18

Published: 06/16/18
Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

Mazzaro’s Italian Market closed after Friday night warehouse fire

ST. PETERSBURG — Mazzaro’s Italian Market will be closed throughout the weekend after a warehouse fire broke out Friday.A St. Petersburg Police officer noticed smoke coming from the market at 22nd Ave. N around midnight Friday, said St. Petersburg F...
Published: 06/16/18
Catholic diocese celebrates 50 years in Tampa Bay and forges plan for the future

Catholic diocese celebrates 50 years in Tampa Bay and forges plan for the future

ST. PETERSBURG — At his installation as spiritual leader of Tampa Bay’s Catholics, Bishop Gregory Parkes promised to take time to get to know his people, listen to what they had to say and work to discern a plan for the future.On Sunday, 17 months la...
Published: 06/16/18
A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

A fentanyl death. A crackdown on opioid dealers. Will it help?

TAMPA — Loueita Hargens had known for years how her son Bradley Dykes would die. She had seen him cycle through drugs of choice, had lost track of the number of times he’d wound up in the hospital or prison.A recovering alcoholic herself, she cut him...
Published: 06/16/18
AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

AP World History course is dropping thousands of years of human events - and critics are furious

Since 2002, the AP World History course has covered thousands of years of human activity around the planet, starting 10,000 years back. But now the College Board, which owns the Advanced Placement program, wants to cut out most of that history and st...
Published: 06/16/18
A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python

A woman went to check her corn - and was swallowed by a python

For the second time in barely more than a year, an Indonesian villager has been swallowed whole by a python.Wa Tiba, 54, left her home on Muna island to visit her cornfield on Thursday night, according to the Jakarta Post.The field was about a half m...
Published: 06/16/18