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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. Pasco mum on BP settlement bucks

    Blog

    Pasco County will be getting a share of the multibillion settlement with BP over damages claimed from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, but the exact amount remained a secret Thursday because of a judicial gag order.

    “They’ve approached us with a number and the number is confidential,’’ said Pasco County Attorney Jeffrey Steinsnyder.

    The county claimed a little more than $8 million in past losses tied to declining property, fuel, sales and other tax revenues after the Deepwater Horizon rig blew up 50 miles off Louisiana on April 20, 2010. The 85-day ordeal spilled an estimated 172 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The county projected future losses at an additional $26.7 million....

  2. Consultant tells Pasco to focus on indoor sports to lure tourists

    Tourism

    WESLEY CHAPEL — More than three years ago, the Florida Sports Foundation offered Pasco County commissioners some free advice: Invest in a multipurpose gymnasium with accompanying outdoor fields to lure sports-related tourism to the county.

    Now, a Chicago-based consultant that the county hired for $35,000 is poised to make a similar recommendation.

    Johnson Consulting Inc., retained by the county in March to determine what kind of sports park the Tampa Bay market can support, is suggesting that Pasco pursue an indoor multipurpose facility of up to 100,000 square feet with three adjoining outdoor sports fields on 80 acres in the Wiregrass Ranch area of Wesley Chapel. The county is under a contractual obligation to develop a sports-related destination on the land, which was donated by the Porter family....

  3. Bowen: Abandoned buildings detract from all that's good along central Pasco corridor

    Local Government

    Land O'Lakes has a lot going for it.

    Just ask Sandy Graves, a director of the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce, a member of that group's Community Affairs Committee, champion of the Heritage Park Foundation's successful push for funding for a stage and amphitheater at the rebuilt Land O'Lakes Community Park, and non-stop civic cheerleader.

    She'll point out the exciting things going on at the Land O'Lakes library branch, including a maker space and a robotics team. Or at the new Sanders Elementary School, set to open in August as the Pasco School District's first STEAM magnet school focusing on science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics. The chamber has lined up volunteers, called the Steam Team, to help teachers move into their new classrooms....

  4. Pasco seeks to identify tainted land for cleanup, possible redevelopment

    Local Government

    Pasco County is poised to go looking for land tainted with gasoline, motor oil, dry cleaning chemicals and other hazardous contaminants with a $400,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

    Additionally, the federal government awarded the county a $195,000 grant to clean up contaminated land discovered during the construction of the Lewis Abraham Community Center at Stanley Park in Lacoochee. The county said it was the only community in the nation awarded both an assessment and cleanup grant under the $54 million federal program, commonly known as the Brownfields Program....

  5. Ex-GOP chief blasts money's influence on party politics

    Politics

    James Mathieu, who resigned without explanation last month as Pasco Republican Executive Committee chairman, says he gave up his leadership role because state Rep. Richard Corcoran and others he labeled the "local establishment people'' are undermining the party's authority.

    The dispute centers on the decision in March by Mathieu and State Committeeman Bill Bunting not to renew the charter for the West Pasco Republican Club, a 400-member organization that had been in existence for more than 40 years. At the time, Mathieu wouldn't elaborate on the issue, calling it an internal party matter....

    “The local establish-ment people, they’ve gotten bigger than God. This club was their tree house. I closed their tree house down.’’
James Mathieu,
former Pasco Republican Executive Committee chairman
  6. Pasco's annual survey shows image problem remains

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County still has an image problem.

    A majority of residents polled are unhappy with the county's overall image, appearance and code enforcement, and the longer people own their homes in Pasco, the less they like living here.

    Those are some of the revelations in the 2015 version of the National Citizens Survey, a polling tool the county began using in 2009 to gauge public sentiment toward issues relating to quality of life and government services. The random poll of 328 residents has a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points....

  7. Bowen: Capping a career as college president

    College

    Katherine Johnson isn't a fan of the spotlight.

    Too bad. There has been no escaping it these past several days as she winds down her 10-year tenure as president of Pasco-Hernando State College.

    KMJ is everywhere. Her initials (with no periods) are on pennants, and her name adorns souvenir ceramic coffee mugs. She smiles from an illustrated timeline showing the college's decade of growth. Her photograph is in the newspapers. She accepted accolades last week at community receptions on each of the college's five campuses....

    Katherine Johnson leaves Pasco-Hernando State College after 10 years of success after success.
  8. Scott's #Pasco vetoes disappoint legislators

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott grounded expanded aeronautics projects in Pasco County as part of his $461 million in budget vetoes Tuesday.

    Scott cut two separate appropriations totaling $1.5 million to expand the Pasco School District’s aeronautics academy to Zephyrhills High School and $100,000 to the Pasco Economic Development Council to study potential aeronautics-related commerce at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport....

  9. Pasco vetoes disappoint legislators

    Blog

    Gov. Rick Scott grounded expanded aeronautics projects in Pasco County as part of his $461 million in budget vetoes Tuesday.

    Scott cut two separate appropriations totaling $1.5 million to expand the Pasco School District’s aeronautics academy to Zephyrhills High School and $100,000 to the Pasco Economic Development Council to study potential aeronautics-related commerce at the Zephyrhills Municipal Airport....

  10. Pasco charter panel seeks cost-savings advice

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Pasco's charter government advisory committee wanted guidance Monday afternoon from longtime Property Appraiser Mike Wells Sr. on how the panel could benefit the county. Wells wouldn't bite.

    "Listen, that's your job,'' said Wells, whose son is a county commissioner. "I don't mind commenting on my office. The rest of it is on your plate.''

    Tax Collector Mike Fasano wasn't as shy in offering insight. Among other things, Fasano told the committee it should consider nonpartisan elections for constitutional offices because, as service providers, the property appraiser, tax collector, sheriff, circuit court clerk and elections supervisor don't delve into local political-policy decisions....

  11. Pasco to put SR 54/56 corridor back under the microscope

    Roads

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County says the private sector hijacked the conversation about moving future traffic along the State Road 54/56 corridor.

    That was two years ago. County officials are now poised to hijack it back.

    The hijacking, as termed by County Administrator Michele Baker and repeated by subordinates as recently as last week, was the controversial and unexpected private proposal to build and operate a $2 billion elevated highway along the corridor. It dissolved last summer after private vendors acknowledged they needed public subsidies to make the toll road finances work....

    Pasco County is organizing community task forces to figure out the best way to deal with east-west traffic congestion on the route across the county’s southern tier.
  12. Bowen: Ethics pitch aimed at wrong audience

    Local Government

    If politics makes strange bedfellows, this pairing might be odder than Jay and Gloria Pritchett from the Modern Family TV show.

    The proposed partnership involves a civic activist who wants to cap campaign contributions at $250 and a state legislator who raised more than a half-million bucks since the first of the year for his campaign and political committee accounts. Those contributions included $50,000 from a personal-injury law firm in Pensacola and $25,000 each from Big Sugar, parimutuels and beer distributors....

  13. State budget earmarks money for Pasco projects

    Legislature

    U.S. 19 will get prettier, the water delivered to Summertree residents will get clearer and students at Zephyrhills High School will get to study the aeronautics industry with appropriations included in the $79 billion proposed state budget.

    Legislators are scheduled to vote on the budget plan Friday afternoon, and the individual spending projects still must pass muster with Gov. Rick Scott. The fiscal year begins July 1....

  14. Bowen: Zephyrhills should push for pool, not green space

    Local Government

    They know how to conclude the first week of summer vacation in Land O'Lakes. The county swimming pool at the recreation center will be holding a "swim under the stars'' event tonight with a shark party, including a showing of the motion picture Jaws.

    Last week, the kids in Hudson enjoyed their own wet and wild fun with slides and music at the county swimming pool at Veterans Memorial Park....

  15. Next Pasco County budget could bring higher fees, more canine deputies

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — The new fiscal year still is more than three months away, but Pasco commissioners already are considering long-range spending that could affect the public purse for years to come.

    Commissioners on Tuesday blessed a proposal that could increase the annual stormwater fee by more than 20 percent and agreed to finance the future costs of adding five canine officers to the Pasco Sheriff's Office....