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C.T. Bowen, Pasco Times Columnist

C.T. Bowen

C.T. Bowen has been reporting and writing about the people and politics of Pasco County since moving to Florida in 1987. A native of upstate New York, he lives in Land O' Lakes with his wife, Mary Beth, a public school teacher. They have two sons.

Phone: (727) 869-6239

Email: bowen@tampabay.com

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  1. Tampa, Pasco look to connect Mansfield Boulevard and Kinnan Street

    Roads

    WESLEY CHAPEL — A long-stalled connection between Mansfield Boulevard in Pasco County and Kinnan Street in Tampa is advancing again, with both government and private-sector representatives eager to make the missing link.

    "We're very anxious to get that thing finished off. We like to get things done,'' said Brian Burns Sr., chairman of BFE Corp. of Palm Beach, parent company of the company that developed the original Meadow Pointe community....

    Pasco County Commis?sioner Mike Moore sees advantages to the link for Pasco.
  2. Column: Hey, Rays, we're here if the fling with Tampa fizzles

    Local Government

    Mr. Stuart Sternberg:

    Give us a call.

    Better yet, take a drive north of Tampa. Bring Brian Auld and anybody else you might need.

    In your search for a site to build a new baseball stadium for your Tampa Bay Rays, you shouldn't limit your options. We've got lots of places you might like and a developing sports synergy (prerequisite corporate/government buzzword) you might find appealing....

  3. Bill seeks to ease Summertree utility sale

    Local Government

    In late January, Pasco commissioners listened as residents of a west Pasco neighborhood asked the county to buy the private utility company serving their community.

    Two weeks later, the action shifted to Tallahassee, where a Florida Senate committee tried to make it easier for the transaction to take place.

    Monday afternoon, the Senate Tax and Finance Committee approved an amendment from Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, that will give local governments authority to use eminent domain laws to acquire private water companies failing to adequately serve their customers. The target is Utilities Inc. of Florida, which has 1,206 customers in the Summertree community, south of State Road 52....

    Sen. Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, filed the amendment.
  4. Schrader, Nocco show fundraising prowess

    Blog

    The companies seeking to turn 7,800 acres of central and eastern Pasco into the nation’s first smart gigabit community built from the ground up are throwing their financial support behind Commissioner Ted Schrader in the race for Pasco property appraiser.

    Metro Development Group and four affiliated companies bundled a total of $5,000 to Schrader’s campaign on Jan. 11, according to the most recent campaign finance reports. Metro previously bundled $2,500 to Commissioner Jack Mariano’s re-election effort in November 2015....

  5. Challenger cries foul over free press for incumbent

    Blog

    New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips thinks incumbent Commissioner Jack Mariano is getting some free and advantageous campaign publicity – from Pasco County government.

    Tuesday morning, the county announced its commission meetings can be viewed via the MyPasco app for smartphones and tablets. The press release included a photo taken from a broadcast of a more than year-old commission meeting depicting Mariano as chairman....

  6. Wells Sr. backs Schrader for property appraiser

    Blog

    County Commissioner Ted Schrader picked up a key endorsement Tuesday in his bid to become Pasco's next property appraiser -- the backing of retiring Property Appraiser Mike Wells Sr.

    In a statement released by Schrader, Wells called the commissioner "uniquely qualified" to succeed him. Schrader, a four-term county commissioner faces Randy Evans of Trinity in the Aug. 30 Republican primary....

  7. Pasco taps new emergency management boss

    Blog

    Flagler County’s emergency management chief has been tapped for the same role in Pasco County.

    Tuesday, county commissioners are scheduled to confirm the appointment of Kevin J. Guthrie, 45, as Pasco’s new emergency management director effective Feb. 29. Guthrie replaces Annette Doying, who announced her resignation in November and left the post Dec. 31.

    Guthrie, who will earn $90,000 annually, spent 23 years with the city of Jacksonville as a police officer and emergency preparedness coordinator and then moved to his post in Flagler County in 2013....

  8. Fourth candidate joins District 5 Pasco Commission race

    Blog

    The line of challengers to incumbent Pasco Commissioner Jack Marino is growing with Hudson business owner Thomas Celotto joining the Republican field.

    Celotto, 48, filed his candidacy papers Thursday to seek the District 5 commission seat held by Mariano since 2004. Besides the incumbent, the candidates include New Port Richey Deputy Mayor Bill Phillips and business owner Chris Cooley.

    Celotto founded Micro Solutions of Pasco Inc., an information technology company, more than 20 years ago. He also owns a seasonal retail fireworks store....

  9. Man behind public safety campus plan trailed by civil fraud, theft allegations

    News

    LAND O'LAKES — Skip Drish, the man who proposed putting a security academy's public safety campus in central Pasco County, faces a barrage of civil litigation.

    The accusations range from fraud and exploitation of the elderly to theft and cheating employees out of earned wages.

    "Nothing surprises me with this guy," said Shawn Roark, president of the Pasco Trails Association, which has its own legal fight against Drish and one of his companies, Serve & Educate, over allegations that Drish illegally operated a commercial gun range on agriculture land....

    Skip Drish became known in Land O’Lakes in 2012 after applying for a permit to run a firing range.
  10. Bowen: VA site selection clouds west Pasco redevelopment vision

    Local Government

    Nobody said the long-term redevelopment of Pasco's west side would be easy.

    Designated as the Harbors market area by county government, the region from Pinellas to Hernando counties between the coast and Little Road is facing a decades-long makeover. The intent is to save the aging U.S. 19 corridor from slipping into a commercial slum while simultaneously bolstering the housing stock, health care offerings, tourism opportunities and business climate....

  11. New Wiregrass complex plans include movie theater

    Business

    WESLEY CHAPEL — There are 40,000 movie screens in the United States, including 51 in Pasco County. Get ready for a few more.

    The developers of the Shops at Wiregrass mall are planning a 1,035-seat cinema as the cornerstone of a residential and commercial development immediately east of the mall, on the north side of State Road 56. The still-unnamed project also would include 250 upscale apartments, as many as four restaurants and nearly 60,000 square feet of stores, including a 30,000-square-foot specialty grocery, according to the preliminary site plans filed with Pasco County....

  12. Residents again seek county buyout of Summertree utility

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County's $2 million bid for the private utility system serving the Summertree neighborhood went nowhere, but customers aren't conceding permanent ownership to the much-maligned Utilities Inc. of Florida.

    Tuesday morning, more than 100 residents clad in red and raising hand-held signs — reading "We want clear, drinkable county water'' and other slogans — turned the County Commission chambers into a plea and a pep rally....

  13. Former Morsani property to become 320-home neighborhood

    Real Estate

    LUTZ — Philanthropists Frank and Carol Morsani have sold their last holdings in Pasco County, 174 acres off Henley Road that are targeted to become a 320-home neighborhood.

    "It's very simple," Frank Morsani, 84, said. "Change is the only constant we have in life. At our age, we had the opportunity to sell the property, and we thought it was prudent to do that."

    The buyer is Homes by WestBay, which is building new homes around Pasco County in Connerton, Watergrass, Starkey Ranch, Union Park and Lake Shore Ranch. The transaction has not yet closed, but WestBay representatives filed a rezoning application with Pasco County in November....

  14. Schrader draws challenger for Pasco property appraiser

    Blog

    Ted Schrader won’t be unopposed for the Pasco Property Appraiser’s Office.

    Republican Randy Evans who ran unsuccessfully for Pasco County Commission four years ago, is challenging Schrader in a GOP primary for the appraiser’s job. He filed his candidacy papers Tuesday afternoon.

    The job is become open because five-term incumbent Property Appraiser Mike Wells Sr. is retiring this year. While announcing his planned departure in October 2015, Wells told journalists, “It’s time for new blood.’’...

  15. Fifth hotel planned for Pasco's SR 56 corridor

    Tourism

    WESLEY CHAPEL — The hospitality industry boom along the State Road 56 corridor is continuing with a fifth hotel planning to enter the market.

    Impact Properties, which developed the Westin Tampa Bay on the Courtney Campbell Causeway in Tampa, is poised to build the six-story, 130-room Hyatt Place-Wesley Chapel at the Cypress Creek Town Center in Lutz.

    The 78,000-square-foot building will be at the eastern corner of the town center site, just west of Interstate 75 and north of SR 56, on land owned by Sierra Properties of Tampa. ...

    Occupancy rates suggest a need, says Ed Caum, Pasco’s tourism manager.