LAND O'LAKES — Three Sunlake High School seniors were injured Friday in a traffic accident near the campus, a day before the prom and 15 days before graduation.
Kyle Hunnewell, Emilio Batista and Shawn Bosley, all 17, were heading back to school from lunch just before noon when the crash happened. Hunnewell's black Honda Accord, which was facing east on State Road 54, turned left in front of an oncoming Pasco school district maintenance van, according to the Florida Highway Patrol....
05/15/13 Local Government
The Great Recession may be starting to ebb, but Pasco County budget writers shouldn't expect a windfall when developing a spending plan for the next fiscal year.
Estimates released Tuesday from the Pasco Property Appraiser's Office show the county with a tax base valued at nearly $19.3 billion, about $50 million more than last year. That represents an increase of about a quarter of a percent....
05/14/13 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — The city manager of Irving, Texas, a former administrator from Escambia County, a longtime Hillsborough County government official and Pasco County's second-in-command will be invited to interview for the chance to be the county's next administrator.
"I'm comfortable with these candidates," said County Commission Chairman Ted Schrader after commissioners settled on Tomas Gonzalez of Texas, Charles Oliver of Pensacola, Eric Johnson of Hillsborough County and internal applicant Michele Baker....
HUDSON — Homeless women and children could lose their only refuge in Pasco if a charity isn't found to take over operations of a 22-bed homeless shelter.
Gulf Coast Jewish Family & Community Services is seeking to find another nonprofit to take over the pale-yellow concrete block building on U.S. 19 before June 30.
"We want to keep it open" said Rochelle Tatrai, interim chief executive officer for Gulf Coast, which has run the shelter for two decades, taking it over after the Homeless Coalition of Pasco acquired the property but couldn't run the facility....
WESLEY CHAPEL — Wiregrass Ranch developer J.D. Porter, who was arrested nearly three months ago on a DUI charge, pleaded no contest to a lesser charge of reckless driving.
Porter must serve six months probation in addition to paying $376 in court costs. He must serve either 50 hours of community service or pay a $500 fine. County Judge William F. Sestak judged him guilty at a hearing last week. During his probation, the judge said, Porter is forbidden to have alcohol and must complete a DUI school....
Environmentalists who opposed a 4-mile channel at the proposed SunWest park in northwest Pasco County scored a victory Friday when federal regulators denied the county's request for a dredging permit.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers told county officials that the project was not in the public interest and that the county failed to show there were no "practicable" alternatives that would have been less damaging to the environment....
LAND O'LAKES — Seven years ago, Eric Davis murdered his wife. He fired all the bullets in his gun and then reloaded, shooting her two more times as she tried to open the door at their home in Safety Harbor. While in jail, he wrote a letter to a friend describing how he enjoyed seeing photos of his wife at the murder scene.
"I'm not sorry for killing my wife, and I loved her," Davis told the Tampa Bay Times from the Pasco County jail on Thursday. Being in prison for the past seven years, he said, has made him "comfortably numb.''...
A Pinellas County man serving life in prison for shooting his wife to death in 2006 has been charged with killing a fellow inmate last year at the Zephyrhills Correctional Institution.
Eric G. Davis, 34, was booked this week at the Pasco County jail to face charges that he beat Joe Hayes, 54, with his bare fists while the two were housed at the Zephyrhills state prison. He is being held without bail until his arraignment before Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa on a charge of non-premeditated homicide....
05/07/13 Local Government
DADE CITY — Allen Bornshceuer wanted to keep his Serenity Stables serene.
That meant stopping a proposal for a limerock mining operation near his business in north-central Pasco County.
"I teach saddlebred riding lessons," he told Pasco County commissioners on Tuesday. "One blast while a 4-year-old is learning to ride and having the horse get spooked and dump the child on the ground is going to be too much."...
05/06/13 Local Government
One resigned after he was investigated for snooping into confidential emails. Another, among the highest paid public servants in Texas, was accused of accepting tickets to professional sporting events from vendors.
Both men were cleared of any wrongdoing — and now are on a recruiter's top 10 list of candidates to succeed retiring Pasco County Administrator John Gallagher. Gallagher, who in 1982 inherited an operation that brought grand jury scrutiny and the arrest of the commission chairman, was known for cleaning up government....
05/03/13 Real Estate
Home sale prices in Pasco County are finally on the rise, but the recovery is coming one house at a time.
Prices of single-family homes countywide are up 11 percent, with a median sales price of $120,000, according to the latest Multiple Listing Service data. Predictably, though, prices in some areas are higher than others.
"Just because an area is up overall doesn't mean your house is up," cautioned Walter Price Jr., a private appraiser in Land O'Lakes....
A member of the Sunlake High School wrestling team remained hospitalized Friday after a crash in which he lost control of his pickup truck and hit a fence and two trees.
Kasey Brant Reisinger, who turned 18 on April 22, was driving north on Shady Hills Road about 4:30 p.m. Wednesday when he failed to negotiate a left turn on the narrow, wet road, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
He overcorrected and the 2003 Ford Ranger spun clockwise, hit a fence and then a tree before going airborne and hitting a second tree, the patrol report said....
DADE CITY — The man accused of fatally stabbing a medical caseworker last year has been found incompetent to stand trial.
Lucious Smith, who was indicted on a first-degree murder charge in the Dec. 10 stabbing of Stephanie Nicole Ross of Lakeland, will be sent to a state mental hospital for treatment, said Assistant State Attorney Manny Garcia. If Smith's competency can be restored, a trial would be scheduled....
04/30/13 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — As County Administrator John Gallagher puts it, "sometimes it takes time to make fine wine."
In the case of a multifield park aimed at luring youth sports tournaments and tourism dollars, that held true as it took the county and Porter family a year to hammer out an agreement that would allow the family to donate 138 acres.
On Tuesday, county commissioners and owners of the Wiregrass Ranch toasted the deal, reached after a number of stops and starts. Commissioners voted unanimously to accept the 14-page agreement, which was still being ironed out right up until the special meeting....
DADE CITY — Circuit Judge Pat Siracusa had a couple of legally valid reasons to sentence Derral Wayne Hodgkins to death for choking and fatally stabbing Teresa Lodge.
Hodgkins was on lifetime probation when he went to Lodge's apartment in 2006 and murdered the 46-year-old diner cook. Just two years earlier, he finished serving nearly 17 years for the kidnapping and rape of a 12-year-old Hillsborough girl, whose head he backed over with his car before leaving her for dead....