NEW PORT RICHEY
Official in hot water over political flier
A campaign mailing by Pasco County's Democratic Party has forced County Commissioner Michael Cox off the election canvassing board.
By Florida law, members of the county election board cannot participate in campaigns.
But the mailing last week featured Cox, perhaps Pasco's most prominent local Democrat, urging people to vote Democratic.
Boy on bicycle injured in collision with car
An 8-year-old boy who was pedaling his bicycle to his school bus stop Wednesday morning was seriously injured in a collision with a car, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.
Family members told school officials that Donavin K. Smith has a fractured vertebra in his neck and that his brain is swollen. They said the second-grader had surgery at St. Joseph's Hospital.
Helen Ellis hospital posts $9M deficit
Helen Ellis Memorial Hospital is facing a $9-million budget shortfall this year, hospital administrators said Wednesday.
To offset the deficit, the hospital has discontinued its home health agency, eliminated some open positions and is working to generate alternative revenue sources, said chief executive Don Evans.
The hospital, which was taken over by Tampa's University Community Health in 2000 when it was on the verge of financial disaster, has continued to struggle since the partnership was formed.
But this year's shortfall is about $1-million less than last year's, Evans said.
About $3-million of the deficit can be attributed to uncollected debt and charity cases, Evans said.
Another $3-million comes from depreciation estimates for equipment. That figure, which on paper lowers revenue, doesn't affect cash flow, Evans said.
Mary S. Scriven, a federal magistrate in Tampa, was sworn in Wednesday as a U.S. district judge during an informal ceremony at the Tampa federal courthouse.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Scriven's nomination last week. She begins her new post Friday at the federal courthouse in Orlando, where she will fill a vacancy created by retiring Chief U.S. District Judge Patricia C. Fawsett.
Senior U.S. District Judge Susan C. Bucklew, who administered the oath, called Scriven an extraordinary person and friend.