He looks larger than life on stage in a T-shirt, cowboy hat and tight jeans, rocking out on his Fender Stratocaster while '80s icon Eddie Money belts out hits like Two Tickets to Paradise. But when the weekend show is over, Tommy Girvin will fly home to a tour bus that has carpeted floors, boxes of tiny tambourines and pictures of crooked quarter notes scrawled by tiny fingers....
LAND O'LAKES — Curtis Reeves Jr., the retired police captain accused of shooting to death a fellow moviegoer in January after an argument over texting, was released from jail Friday night after a judge set a $150,000 bail.
Reeves had been held without bail for nearly six months after his arrest in the fatal shooting of Chad Oulson in a Wesley Chapel movie theater. A ruling by an appellate court Friday morning prompted the judge to give Reeves bail....
WESLEY CHAPEL — After putting plans on hold seven years ago, Chuck E. Cheese's will finally open one of its famous restaurant/arcades in Pasco.
The Texas-based chain filed plans with Pasco County to build a 14,260-square-foot building at the Grove shopping center on Oakley Boulevard off Interstate 75.
In its request, Oakley Grove Development LLC asked that its 11 planned buildings that were approved earlier be cut to 10, with all but one being reduced in size to make room for the larger Chuck E. Cheese's. The developer also asked for smaller landscaped areas in order to create wider sidewalks for children and families....
NEW PORT RICHEY — Michael Yungmann said he enjoyed his job as CEO of a 300-bed hospital in Petersburg, Va. But the tug of family pulled this Florida man home after about 3½ years. In January, he was named the new administrator for Morton Plant North Bay Hospital.
"Virginia was really nice," the 49-year-old said. "But I wanted to be back in central Florida."
Yungmann's roots here run deep. His parents are retired educators. Janet Yungmann-Barkalow was longtime principal at J.D. Floyd Elementary School. His father, the late Martin Yungmann, served as principal at Hernando High School, his son's alma mater, and as facilities director in the district office. After graduating from the University of Florida, Michael Yungmann earned his MBA from Saint Leo University. He also worked five years in administration at the 120-bed Pasco Regional Medical Center, now Bayfront Health Dade City....
DADE CITY — After nearly six months in jail, Curtis Reeves Jr. walked into court Wednesday morning looking thinner and grayer.
The 71-year-old retired Tampa police captain has been held without bail since Jan. 13, when authorities say he shot and killed a fellow patron at a Wesley Chapel movie theater in an argument over phone texting.
Reeves moved slowly and sat with his head down as his attorneys spoke to him. He wore a white dress shirt, slacks and a necktie. He spoke only when Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa asked if he had any questions. "No, thank you," Reeves responded softly. It was a sharp contrast to his demeanor at the February bail hearing, when he smiled and waved at his supporters....
Times Staff Writers
A federal appeals court has reinstated a jury verdict for two firefighters who claimed Pasco County retaliated against them after they filed discrimination complaints seven years ago.
The 37-page opinion issued Thursday found that the county retaliated against firefighters Anthony Booth and Jerry Brown by requiring psychological tests to keep their jobs.
The case began in 2007 when Booth, who is Hispanic, filed a discrimination complaint against Fire Capt. Mark Bodden. Brown served as a witness for that charge and later filed his own complaint. Brown, whose wife is Jewish, claimed that Bodden made anti-Semitic remarks....
07/03/14 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County officials are betting the economy is improving to the point where it's time to invest millions of dollars in economic development projects.
The county's planning director, Richard Gehring, has asked commissioners to consider creating an office of economic growth to work with developers in creating "pad ready" office and industrial sites. The idea is that by pitching areas with infrastructure already in place, businesses will be more likely to locate there to get up and running....
The Pasco Housing Authority, which has gone through multiple directors in recent years, gained two new members recently.
Gov. Rick Scott appointed David Longspaugh, 50, of Hudson, and retiree Silna Nubia, 68, a tenant and resident at Bonnie Dale Villas, to the board. Scott also reappointed David Lambert, 42, of Spring Hill and an executive at Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, as chairman....
07/02/14 Local Government
DADE CITY — A longtime Pasco County Fair employee has been fired four years after the fair's governing board settled a discrimination lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice.
Virginia McKendree, the fair association's office manager, was dismissed after a board meeting Monday night, said Hutch Brock, the group's attorney. He said McKendree, an employee for more than 15 years, would remain on the job until July 14 to train others to perform her duties. The nonprofit group has only a handful of paid staffers....
WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco County has lost another piece of its history.
Don Porter, "a quiet giant" whose family's former cattle ranch is now the site of a hospital, a state college, a regional mall, a proposed Raymond James Financial campus, sports complex and thousands of homes, died Tuesday (July 1, 2014). He was 73.
"I was the luckiest guy on earth," said his son, J.D. Porter, who now manages development operations for the Wiregrass Ranch property, a role his father once held....
DADE CITY — The trial for a retired Tampa police captain accused of murder in the January movie theater shooting of a fellow patron could happen as early as this fall.
Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa issued an order late last week saying a court hearing set for July 9 should settle the question of a trial date in the coming months for Curtis Reeves Jr., who is charged with second-degree murder in the Jan. 13 shooting of 43-year-old Chad Oulson of Land O'Lakes....
DADE CITY — One of two men who faced first-degree murder charges in the death of a third man in an altercation along Interstate 75 last fall has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.
Jesse M. Blair, 24, pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge last week, according to court records. Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa handed down the sentence.
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office learned of the killing when a deputy, driving south on I-75 in Wesley Chapel about 6:50 p.m. on Sept. 7, 2013, noticed an Acura stopped on the northbound shoulder. ...
06/26/14 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — The increasing number of drunken homeless people in Pasco County has risen so much in recent years that Pasco-Pinellas Public Defender Bob Dillinger is seeking $125,000 from the county to start a jail diversion program similar to one in Pinellas.
"You can't arrest your way out of homelessness," he told Pasco County commissioners Tuesday.
The program targets those are who are known as "chronic inebriates" and provides temporary housing and case management so they can have the opportunity to get sober and find work....
DADE CITY — Nearly two years after the death of Kathleen Stanfield, a flamboyant widow whose friendship with a smooth-talking younger man prompted accusations he was stealing the family fortune, the bitter fight has taken a new twist.
J.T. Curtis, who befriended Stanfield shortly after her husband's death in 2000 and was named in her 2006 will as the recipient of most of her wealth, is sitting in the Pasco County jail until he can show a judge what happened to his 87-year-old benefactor's money and belongings....
06/24/14 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Nearly a year after rejecting a proposal to build 230 homes on a defunct golf course, Pasco County officials approved a $2.4 million settlement Tuesday to buy the property and use it to solve flooding problems in the Timber Oaks area.
The settlement, which allows the county to buy 80 acres, is contingent on the Southwest Florida Water Management District funding half the cost of flooding mitigation estimated at between $3 million and $7 million and 20-year assessments on 2,200 residents for whatever isn't publicly funded....