05/25/13 Human Interest
You probably never knew that Molly Moorhead made Jon Stewart dance.
She did it from afar last year with her work as a PolitiFact reporter, separating truth from bluster in the debate over changes to the federal welfare-to-work requirements.
When former GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain appeared as a guest on Comedy Central's Daily Show, Stewart used Molly's PolitiFact item to settle the matter with Cain — then did a happy little jig right there on the air....
To our readers:
We in the Pasco newsrooms of the Tampa Bay Times are proud to bring you important news and inspiring features every day that tell the story of life in Pasco County. Starting this week, you will find some of that coverage in a new place.
Most of our daily news stories will now appear in the Local section, also known as the B section, where you'll notice a Pasco label on the front and a dedicated Pasco report inside. You already find local obituaries, as well as bay area, business and entertainment news in the B section. Meanwhile, a larger Pasco Times will publish twice a week, on Wednesdays and Sundays, filled with news analysis, investigative reporting, community news and all of our popular features pages....
I found a great pair of never-worn heels at the Goodwill Superstore in Wesley Chapel. My favorite Nine West boots, too. And the last two dresses I wore to charity auctions came from that marvelous thrift emporium, which left enough money in my purse to bid the night away, guilt-free.
The Wesley Chapel store on State Road 56, just east of Interstate 75, packs a huge selection of castoffs from the closets of the nearby affluent neighborhoods. It's a brand-name bargain-hunter's paradise....
03/15/13 Local Government
HUDSON — Commissioner Jack Mariano hears all about the traffic from residents of Leisure Beach and the folks in Country Club Estates. Mariano, who lives in Beacon Woods, sees the problem for himself every day.
Many shoppers leaving the Walmart at Beacon Woods Drive cut across U.S. 19 to make a U-turn at Beach Boulevard, making it difficult for Leisure Beach residents to pull out of their own neighborhood. Country Club Estates residents have a hard time getting across U.S. 19 to go south at all. And Beacon Woods residents can't get into the Walmart or return to their neighborhood without going out to U.S. 19....
DADE CITY — After listening to impassioned pleas from students, alumni and members of the community, Pasco County schools superintendent Kurt Browning nixed his controversial proposal Tuesday to close the Moore Mickens Education Center.
His announcement came on the heels of a packed town hall meeting Monday night where people pleaded with Browning to save the school, which serves teen moms, special-needs students, those learning English and people studying for the GED....
10/25/12 Bizarre News
PORT RICHEY — Attila Szoradi didn't have a Florida driver's license and wasn't interested in getting one.
"I do not wish to enter into a contract with the state of Florida at this time," Szoradi told the Pasco sheriff's deputy who pulled him over on U.S. 19.
Deputy Sean Sweeney initiated the traffic stop about 11:30 p.m. Oct. 19 after noticing the blue BMW sedan driving with its high-beams on. He tried to run the car's license plate though a database, then realized it was counterfeit. ...
DADE CITY — Luis Martinez awoke about 4 a.m. to find himself in a stranger's front yard, disoriented and inebriated. A fence had been plowed over. A trailer had been rammed so hard that it was pushed back 3 feet.
And there was Martinez's Ford Ranger.
Martinez, 19, told deputies he didn't know where he was or how he had gotten there. Nor did he recognize the man they had in handcuffs....
WESLEY CHAPEL — This week Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel opened the doors of its sleek $150 million hospital packed with futuristic technologies, such as an MRI machine that lets patients see peaceful nature scenes, children's exam rooms with changeable wall colors and motifs, and smart sinks and soap dispensers that record when they were used so handwashing is always documented.
Fewer than 20 miles away, Pasco Regional Medical Center touted its new partnership with Shands at the University of Florida, which will provide teleconferencing consultations on cardiac and stroke patient cases. Philip Minden, CEO of the Dade City hospital, says the alliance will bring "more accurate, in-depth diagnoses" and provide a smooth transfer to the Gainesville hospital if patients need one of the specialists there....
NEW PORT RICHEY — The pastor of Upper Room Apostolic Church has been arrested on charges he used the identities of two dead parishioners to boost his earnings in a "pyramid scheme," according to Pasco deputies.
Mark Huba, 55, said the whole thing is a misunderstanding and that he plans to fight the allegations.
"I didn't do anything wrong as far as defrauding anyone," Huba told the Times on Thursday evening. He added that, "It's very innocent. I can't believe they pursued it like this. It's very damaging."...
HUDSON — The boys came running home about 4 p.m. Monday shouting, "There's a fire! There's a fire!" Tracie Forster stepped outside her mobile home near the end of Diagonal Road, a dirt road south of New York Avenue, and looked at the woods to the south.
"I couldn't even see the tree line, it was so thick with smoke," Forster said.
Moments later, fire engines screamed down the street and helicopters pelted the air. Those woods are popular with mud boggers, Forster said, but they're also filled with dried underbrush that can become tinder with a spark and a breeze....
04/21/12 Human Interest
HUDSON — A stranger led Melissa Palmer to a wall of 55-gallon drums behind Freedom RV Center.
"I'm almost certain she went in here," the woman told Palmer, pointing to a dark crevice between the barrels.
The opening was so tiny and dank, Palmer couldn't believe Chloe really might be here. More than seven weeks had passed since Chloe disappeared from Palmer's home, some 40 miles away in Largo, and the 9-year-old Siamese house cat was mostly blind. Palmer had come to painful terms with the thought that Chloe was gone for good. ...
03/22/12 Music & Concerts
Last summer's Red, White and Blues Festival in Delray Beach was drawing to a close when Damon Fowler found himself jamming on stage with fiery South Florida guitarist J.P. Soars and raucous piano man Victor Wainwright. And there at Boston's on the Beach, amid the inviting guitar licks and pounding of the ivories, Southern Hospitality was born.
"When it came together, we were like, 'Man, this is really cool,' " said Fowler, the acclaimed blues slide guitarist, singer and songwriter from Brandon. Someone suggested the three bluesmen make a gig of it, and a few weeks later the trio played its first official show at the Heritage Music Blues Fest in West Virginia, one of the granddaddies of the blues circuit....
PORT RICHEY — On appeal, state staffers say Aqua Utilities shouldn't get the $2.6 million in rate increases that officials approved last May.
Aqua should get $200,000 more.
The staff for the Public Service Commission, which regulates utilities, issued a recommendation late Thursday on the complicated rate case that affects 58 water and 27 wastewater systems in 17 Florida counties — including about 3,000 customers in Jasmine Lakes, Palm Terrace and Zephyr Shores....
12/13/11 Human Interest
DADE CITY — Jerry Perritt ached when he heard what the kids from the Florida Baptist Children's Home wanted for Christmas.
Shoes. Socks. Deodorant. Nail polish. Shampoo.
"They were asking for their own drinking cups," recalled Perritt, 69. "It just kind of tugged at my heartstrings."
Life has been good to Perritt. The former finance professor ran a small but successful investment firm, Perritt Capital Management, before selling it last year. He still does some work for the Chicago-based firm and started a rare coin business on the side. He and his wife, Gail, live in Lake Jovita. They have a special affection for children because they never had any of their own....
12/06/11 Human Interest
The garage was packed with other people's castoffs, as was the trailer of items Elijah Bartz emptied from his storage unit.
Bartz eyeballed the heap — end tables, high chairs, a bunch of baskets and dozens of bags of clothes — and knew it wasn't enough. He was hoping to hit three tons. This mountain was maybe two. "We didn't get the big rummage sale at the grandparents' place this year," Bartz lamented....