04/15/14 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County can't wait 10 years to collect the full $45 million of 1-cent sales taxes it has earmarked for economic development, business leaders told county commissioners Tuesday.
That's why the Pasco Economic Development Council asked to spend the bulk of the money now, with more than $20 million to be used for an industrial park, a convention center and a training academy that would offer apprenticeships with local businesses....
04/11/14 Local Government
NEW PORT RICHEY — To tackle the task of reviving blighted west Pasco, Florida State University is coming to the rescue.
County commissioners voted last week to hire the FSU Planning and Development Lab to help put its 10-month-old, award-winning westside redevelopment plan into motion. The lab uses faculty and graduate students along with private partnerships to assist communities across the state on planning projects....
For eight years, the Portu-Greek Cafe was known as the "Home of the Whole Belly Clam."
But despite the years of filling customers' bellies with Greek fare and New England-style seafood, Portu-Greek never made one dime of profit.
"I had to step up to the plate and take another job," said owner Jordan Lindiakos, 54, a tool and die maker by trade. He and a partner of Portuguese descent started the restaurant shortly after Lindiakos' family moved to the area from Long Island, N.Y., where he ran a small deli. The partner left the business not long after the cafe opened, but the name was catchy so Lindiakos kept it....
04/06/14 Economic Development
Jim Oliver has seen a lot in his 74 years in the Midtown area. As a kid, he shopped at the bustling Sidney Harden's corner grocery. Nearby, at the Manhattan Casino, music icons James Brown and Ray Charles jammed to packed houses.
But after Interstate 275 was built, it cut off the south side of the city, depriving it of visitors, the lifeblood of any business district. Drugs and crime took over....
04/04/14 Economic Development
DADE CITY — As the owner of a fledgling home-based business, Kellye Dash liked being able to work in her PJs but found productivity a challenge.
"You feel so isolated," said Dash, a former IT employee who quit in 2012 to turn her part-time side business into a full-time venture. Though she liked being her own boss, she also missed bouncing ideas off colleagues.
So when she learned about SMARTstart, Pasco County's new business incubator in Dade City, the Wesley Chapel resident couldn't wait to apply....
HOLIDAY — The auctioneer halted his chant for a moment and eyed the 14 people sitting on the ledge of the concrete block building.
"No need for me to just keep talking to myself," Louis Fisher said. "Is there any interest at all?"
As it turned out, there was someone who wanted the 5-acre Y-shaped parcel, which once was home to a working WTSP-TV transmitter and 100-foot-tall Doppler radar tower, along with two maintenance buildings and a home for the station employee in charge of overseeing the tower....
LAND O'LAKES — A motorcycle company that once was Harley-Davidson's biggest rival is planning to build its first dealership in the Tampa Bay area.
Indian Motorcycles plans to construct a 10,000-square-foot dealership at 21010 State Road 54, just east of Keystone Community Church. The parcel is currently being split, according to county records, and the developers expect to have 2.4 usable acres for the dealership....
DADE CITY — Each day at school, the boy would fall asleep. His constant desk dozing resulted in poor grades and other troubles.
Eventually the boy's case made it before Circuit Judge Lynn Tepper, a family court judge who dotes on each kid like a favorite niece or nephew.
An investigation showed the boy's daytime drowsiness was not the result of his mother's failure to enforce bedtime rules. It was his fear of the rats he could hear gnawing on the walls that kept him awake all night....
LACOOCHEE — When leaders snipped the ribbon on a 16,000-square-foot community center in January, Roger Kaminski said the prayer.
To those attending, it seemed only natural that Mr. Kaminski, who had lived in the area for years with his wife and Lacoochee native, Marion, would be the one to do that.
"They had a passion for the community," said Mark Springer, a close friend. "With it being so impoverished they were always trying to improve it."...
When he has been sued over the past decade, well-known Hudson back surgeon Alfred O. Bonati blames Gary W. Roberts, a Palm Beach trial lawyer who he says has a vendetta.
Not true, Roberts counters. If Bonati weren't such a bad doctor, he says, he wouldn't have to file lawsuits.
Now the two are fighting it out again after a 2005 malpractice lawsuit resulted in a Pasco circuit judge fining Roberts more than $23,400, saying he violated a confidentiality agreement by telling another attorney where Bonati's practice did its banking....
WESLEY CHAPEL — The luxury car market is coming to Pasco County.
AutoNation has announced plans to build a $17 million Mercedes-Benz dealership at the northeast corner of State Road 56 and Interstate 75. Construction should begin in May and finish by December.
"Just in time for the holidays," said Marc Cannon, senior vice president of the Fort Lauderdale-based company, also the nation's largest auto dealer....
BROOKSVILLE — A former egg farm soon will be stained with blueberries as a Michigan-based farm begins operating it as a packing house.
Crews recently moved into the 20,000-square-foot building, said Tim Spiech, chief operations officer for Spiech Farms based in Paw Paw, Mich. Pronounced like "speech," the farm specializes in blueberries, grapes and asparagus in southwest Michigan, Georgia and Florida. The new packing operation is on Ayers Road near the Hernando County Airport Industrial Park....
Curtis Reeves Jr., accused of fatally shooting a man in a movie theater during an argument over texting, himself sent a text message from his seat in the Wesley Chapel Cobb 16 Theatres.
The revelation comes from court documents released Wednesday in the case that has drawn national attention. Matthew Reeves, the defendant's son, said in an interview with deputies after the Jan. 13 shooting that he was running late to meet his parents for a 1:20 p.m. show of Lone Survivor. He texted his father that he was on the way. ...
NEW PORT RICHEY — Shirley Findel lives in a two-bedroom house in Gulf Harbors that her husband, Harry, inherited from his father. With 1 1/2 baths and pink shutters, it was built in 1972.
She drives a 2004 Mercury.
"I only drive it to Publix and church," said Mrs. Findel, whose accent is a mix of Southern belle and New York beat cop.
She and Harry, a hazel-eyed Marine she married in 1954 after they met at a dance in her native North Carolina, lived frugally as he worked 23 years as an engineer for the Long Island Railroad and she raised their two kids. He opted for a pension plan that had a lower payout but would allow his bride to be supported after his death....
DADE CITY — Police said the man at the apartment complex made Stephanie Ross nervous. As a Medicaid caseworker, the 25-year-old recent USF graduate had visited him three times. Ross' job was to make sure Lucious Smith and about 35 other mentally ill clients took their medications and got treatment to keep them out of hospitals.
She wrote in her case notes that some of Smith's statements made her uncomfortable and two workers should be sent to his home. But Ross' supervisor approved the notes, according to police reports, and continued to send Ross to Smith's home alone....