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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 County, residents to split golf course purchase price

    Environment

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County is going halves on the cost of acquiring the closed Gulf Harbors golf course west of U.S. 19.

    The acquisition, which still faces a neighborhood vote on assessing homeowners for the rest of the $1.2 million purchase, would preserve 50 acres amid a salt marsh that attracts rare sandpipers and other migratory waterfowl. It also ends the threat of the land being turned into single-family homes, a plan that originally surfaced 13 years ago....

  2. Here's a look inside the enormous ice arena under construction in Wesley Chapel

    Tourism

    WESLEY CHAPEL — In the 88-degree heat in May, Gordon Zimmerman wants people to think forward to an indoor climate hovering at 55 degrees, ice pad temperatures peaking at 26 and the cool sounds of cash registers ringing.

    Zimmerman is managing partner of ZMitch LLC, the company developing the $20 million Florida Hospital Center Ice complex under construction northeast of Interstate 75 and State Road 56. Wednesday morning, the company previewed the 150,500-square-foot building for about 180 members of the Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce, part of a pitch for corporate sponsors and business partners....

    Figure skating director Shari Klutz, left, gives Greater Wesley Chapel Chamber of Commerce members a tour of the complex Wednesday morning. 
  3. U-Haul plans storage facility at shuttered Service Merchandise in west Pasco

    Business

    PORT RICHEY — The vacant Service Merchandise building on U.S. 19, considered one of the poster children for needed redevelopment in west Pasco, has been sold to U-Haul of Florida Co., which plans to turn the former discount department store into a storage facility.

    Commissioner Mike Moore announced the sale Tuesday at the conclusion of the Pasco County Commission meeting.

    No sale price is listed, but, for tax purposes, the Pasco Property Appraiser's Office set the value of the building and 6 acres at just more than $1.3 million....

  4. Pasco County seeks private partners for sports complex

    Tourism

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco County is switching its sports tourism efforts from baseball diamonds to cheerleader pyramids and any other competitions that can fill a field house.

    Last week, the county issued a request for proposals from private companies to build and manage a multipurpose building of at least 85,000 square feet capable of playing host to a slew of indoor sports, including volleyball, basketball, wrestling, martial arts, gymnastics, cheerleading and other events....

    Commissioner Mike Moore expects a multipurpose field house to be a big attraction for the county.
  5. Sun West faces $23.5 million foreclosure suit

    Business

    Sun West Acquisition Corp., Pasco County's partner in a proposed canal dredging in Aripeka, faces expanding legal and financial entanglements — this time from one of its own affiliates.

    Dial One-One LLC filed a foreclosure suit April 28 in Pasco Circuit Court, saying Sun West Acquisition defaulted on a $23.5 million loan. Most of the money had been used a decade earlier to secure acquisition of a mine west of U.S. 19 that Sun West plans to turn into a 1,076-acre resort and residential community called SunWest Harbourtowne....

    Pedal boats line the shore during a media preview of SunWest Park in Aripeka Wednesday (7/1/15). The park will open to the public for a soft launch Saturday July 4 with limited water activities, two swimming areas and 250 parking spaces. As expansion continues, the cable system for wake boarding will be installed.
  6. Evans drops property appraiser bid, seeks Pasco commission seat

    Blog

    Randy Evans of Trinity has dropped out of  the race for the Pasco Property Appraiser’s Office and instead is challenging incumbent Commissioner Kathryn Starkey in a Republican primary for the District 3 commission seat.

    Evans ran for the same commission seat four years ago and finished fourth in a five-person primary won by Starkey. He collected 4,144 votes or 14 percent of the turnout then....

  7. Pasco County Commission candidate loses teaching job due to 'poor judgment'

    Elections

    DADE CITY — Dimitri Delgado, a no-party candidate for Pasco County Commission, is losing his job as the Navy Junior ROTC teacher at Pasco High School.

    The school district attributes its decision to not renew Delgado's contract to repeated cases of poor judgment. Delgado, 51, a retired Coast Guard commander, disputes the allegation.

    "I don't think I've shown poor judgment,'' he said....

  8. Objections to Pasco wildlife protection plan diminish

    Environment

    DADE CITY — Property rights lawyer David Smolker of Tampa stepped to the podium and potentially sealed the fate of a 16-year effort to create ecological corridors across Pasco County.

    Over the years, lawyers, property owners and land planners have contended that a proposal to protect wildlife by establishing corridors on private property to connect existing public land preserves was arbitrary, cumbersome, unfair or illegal....

    Lawyer David Smolker says he has “kind of run out of arguments” against the corridors plan.
  9. Bowen: Drug czar listens as victims discuss stigma of substance abuse

    Health

    Molly P. is 30 years old and the mother of a little girl who just celebrated her first birthday. A former gymnast, she had her first knee surgery at 15. Her first painkiller followed immediately afterward.

    Vicodin. Then another surgery and a prescription for Percocet. At 20, she was in a pain management clinic. It came with a script for Dilaudid. Ten years later, she is in a methadone treatment program run by Operation PAR. ...

  10. Former citrus grove targeted as jobs center in central Pasco

    Economic Development

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Land that once sprouted citrus trees, then a plan for suburban residential development, is now proposed to become an employment center and apartment complex adjacent to the future Interstate 75 interchange at Overpass Road.

    Wildcat Groves Inc. is seeking to turn 111 acres of agricultural land at the northeast quadrant of the future I-75 interchange into businesses, professional offices and 448 apartments. The site includes a proposed grocery, gas station, restaurants, 15 acres of professional offices, a convalescent center and multi-family housing....

  11. Pasco Commission backs TBX

    Blog

    DADE CITY – A Pasco County Commission majority is getting behind the state’s Tampa Bay Express multibillion-dollar project adding toll lanes to the interstate highways in Tampa.

    On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, commissioners endorsed the project and will consider it again Thursday morning when they sit, with elected officials from four Pasco cities, as the Metropolitan Planning Organization. ...

  12. Fasano opponent drops from tax collector's race

    Blog

    Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano is now unopposed for re-election.

    Tuesday morning, Marisol B. Rodriguez provided a hand-written note to the Pasco Supervisor of Elections Office stating her desire to withdraw from the race.

    “I haven’t been getting a lot of support that I had hoped for,’’ Rodriguez said Tuesday evening. “It’s mainly because who I’m running against, which is fine. My opponent, Mike Fasano, is beloved in Pasco.’’...

  13. Forget U.S. 19 in Pasco; it's now Gulf Coast Highway

    Business

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Wendy Longman has been operating Windsong Charters for more than a dozen years at U.S. 19 and Marine Parkway, the entrance to Gulf Harbors. Her fleet is up to 54 vessels, including kayaks, canoes, paddle boards, pontoons and the largest, a 34-foot monohull sailboat.

    The water is great. The highway leading to her business is not.

    "It's just horrible. To the north, to the south, it doesn't matter where it is, it's horrible,'' said Longman, 47, known to most everyone as Capt. Wendy....

    “What would sound better than U.S. 19, the most dangerous highway in America? We’re trying to focus on the gulf.”
Wendy Longman, Windsong Charters owner
  14. Pasco wildlife protection plan crosses first hurdle

    Wildlife

    NEW PORT RICHEY — A long-delayed plan to protect wildlife in Pasco County has cleared a key hurdle, and its fate now rests with county commissioners.

    Top county administrators, sitting as the Development Review Committee, last week unanimously approved a proposed ordinance to set aside seven wildlife corridors connecting existing protected land like the Starkey Wilderness Preserve west of the Suncoast Parkway and the Cypress Creek Preserve east of Parkway Boulevard in Land O'Lakes....

  15. Bowen: Fan base growing for EDC chief Bill Cronin

    Politics

    It was reminiscent of the Saturday Night Live skit about the Chicago Bears' super fans and their affinity for the coach who took the team to the 1986 Super Bowl victory.

    "Who's going to win the Indianapolis 500 this weekend?" one asks.

    "Is Ditka driving?" comes the response.

    Take out Mike Ditka and insert Bill Cronin, and that's pretty much how a recent political forum played out in Land O'Lakes. Three-term county Commissioner Jack Mariano can assume the role of Bill Swerski, the leader of the super fans. One of the commissioner's announced opponents, businessman Chris Cooley, was on hand as well. There were no Polish sausages, but you could grab some meatballs from a crockpot....