Michele Miller, Times Staff Writer

Michele Miller is a Tampa Bay Times writer in Pasco County. Miller coordinates and provides stories and photographs for Pasco entertainment features as well as the Top of the Class education feature.

Phone: (727) 869-6251

Email: miller@tampabay.com

  1. Wiregrass grad heads to McDaniel College in Md. on full ride


    LUTZ — Summer brings lots of downtime for some — days spent lounging at the beach, northbound trips to see family and perhaps the luxury of escaping into a summer read without the pressure of having to take a test or write a paper.

    The weeks since Nadia Sorezza collected her diploma from Wiregrass Ranch High have been filled with all that and more.

    A bit of a laid-back stint, to be sure. Even so, she's eager to get on with the business of blazing her own trail....

    Nadia Sorezzo will be a part of the inaugural Dorsey Scholars program at McDaniel College in Maryland.
  2. Pasco class notes



    Aug. 11-15: Teacher Planning Days

    Aug. 12: Middle and high school registration/orientation

    Aug. 13: Elementary school registration/orientation

    Aug. 18: First day of school for students.

    Library note

    The Centennial Park Library, 5740 Moog Road, Holiday hosts the Tween Summer Reading Club: In-beTween Gears at 11 a.m. today. Students entering grades 4-7 are welcome to make and fly paper airplanes. For information about other youth library events at Pasco County library branches, go to pascolibraries.org. For information about events at the New Port Richey Public Library, go to nprlibrary.org....

  3. Class notes for July 4



    Pasco-Hernando State College is hosting open houses at each of its campuses in July for recent high school graduates who are undecided on college plans as well as potential students seeking higher education. Attendees will learn about the variety of certificate and associate's degree programs offered through the college and the new bachelor's degree programs. The events also will include campus tours and information on admissions, financial aid, scholarships and the more than 50 clubs and organizations available. Open house dates and locations include: West Campus, 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday at 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey, (727) 847-2727; North Campus, 2 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at 11415 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Brooksville, (352) 796-6726; East Campus, 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesday at 36727 Blanton Road, Dade City, (352) 567-6701; Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, 3 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday at 2727 Mansfield Blvd., Wesley Chapel, (813) 527-6615; and Spring Hill Campus, 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. July 16 at 450 Beverly Court, Spring Hill. (352) 688-8798....

  4. Celebrate the Fourth at Sparklebration


    DADE CITY — Hankering for an old-fashioned way to celebrate the nation's birthday? Doing your own backyard barbecue thing for the Fourth of July but thinking you might want to top it off with a professional fireworks show?

    Head to the Pasco County Fairgrounds today for the annual Sparklebration.

    There will be plenty to take in for kids and adults alike, both on the ground and in the air. ...

    Today’s Fourth of July Sparklebration festivities at the Pasco County Fairgrounds will include games, food, activities and a fireworks show set to start about 9:15 p.m., weather permitting. 
  5. PEACE camp offers students lots of summer fun and learning


    PORT RICHEY — The kayak trip starts on land with paddle in hand. It has to because of the mass of kids lined up on the shore of Pasco County's Energy and Marine Center. Only a few have ever taken a turn at paddling before.

    "You're going to embark on a journey. We're going to go around the mangroves. It will be fantastic," Donna Hoague tells her young charges from Northwest and Moon Lake elementary schools who are itching to get to it. ...

    Students from Moon Lake and Northwest Elementary Schools take a whirl at kayaking and dodging mangrove branches at the Salt Springs Estuary while spending a day at the Pasco Schools Energy and Marine Center in Port Richey. Students from Moon Lake and Northwest Elementary Schools had the opportunity to learn about the estuary and the creatures that inhabit it during the Pasco Environmental Adventure Camp Experience held during the week of June 23 - 27. This year PEACE camp was offered free of charge to some 600 elementary and secondary students from Pasco Title 1 schools. The program helps strengthen science skills through a variety of hands on experiences. Elementary students spent four days rotating through educational activities held at the Energy and Marine Center, Safety Town, Starkey Ranch and the Florida Aquarium.
  6. Have a blast in downtown New Port Richey



    Music, food, a good old-fashioned trolley pull, fireworks and the promise of two days of family fun fill an early kickoff to America's Independence Day celebration at the annual Friendly Kia Fest Main Street Blast today and Saturday at Sims Park downtown.

    The event, traditionally held the last weekend of June so volunteers can enjoy the Fourth of July holiday with family and friends, and sponsors can get an early-bird discount on fireworks, will be chock-full of new and traditional offerings. ...

    The Black Honkeys are tonight’s headliner at the Friendly Kia Main Street Blast in New Port Richey. 
  7. Skaters of all sorts roll into Port Richey



    It had been 45 years since Chuck Geiger laced up a pair of skates and hit the floor rolling. In the old days, speed was the game for the kid who skated competitively in Philadelphia.

    After retiring and moving to Clearwater, Geiger had some time on his hands. The passing years and a long career banging out dents in the auto body shop he owned had taken a toll. Even so, he wanted to keep active....

    2012 World Bronze Medalist and current U.S. National Champion John Burchfield of the Orlando Skating Club will be competing at the event.
  8. Pasco class notes for June 6



    Pasco Association for Challenged Kids Inc., a nonprofit organization that holds a summer camp for kids with disabilities, will host a Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Lane Glo Bowl, 8631 Old County Road 54, New Port Richey. The public is invited to bowl or just come for the prize raffles. Cost is $12 per person to bowl and includes two games, shoe rental, a T-shirt and one raffle ticket. The raffle will be held at 3:30 p.m. and you do not have to be present to win. Camp begins July 7 and runs for three weeks at Genesis School in New Port Richey. For information, email pascopack@verizon.net or call (727) 372-9516....

  9. Beta-Con kicks off teen summer reading program at Hudson library


    HUDSON — Fashions may come and go but an age-old fascination with comic books never dies. Just ask 16-year-old Austin Gomez.

    He's a gamer and avid collector of Spider-Man and other Marvel comic books who attended Comic Con in Tampa with a friend.

    Turns out it was pretty awesome. The problem is not everyone can afford to go to such a big event.

    As a member of the Teen Advisory Board at the Hudson Regional Library, Austin thought he and others could create a scaled-down experience for local teens who couldn't make the trek to Tampa or San Diego to the events that typically attract thousands of fans dressed as superheroes or anime and manga characters from Japanese graphic novels....

    Brush up on your comic book knowledge. You’re going to need it during trivia contests Saturday.
  10. Sunray performance captured in time and on film



    The annual Spring Arts Festival is a tradition at many an elementary school. Paintings, drawings and sculptures are displayed throughout campuses, and talented kids standing on risers sing their hearts out before audiences of friends, family and faculty marveling at how far they've come in a school year's time.

    Sunray Elementary music teacher Debra McCann knows well how much goes into that one performance with 75 students memorizing all those songs along with the choreography that's been rehearsed for hours on weekday mornings before the buses arrive....

    Zoey Goodwin, 11, uses an iPad to film students meeting and greeting with seniors at the assisted living facility. McCann said she wanted to expose the students to new experiences and new people.
  11. Thought-provoking films coming to LGBT Film Series



    The ninth annual Reel Pride 2014 LGBT Film Series kicks off today at the New Port Richey Library with an offering of thought-provoking films that will be shown each Friday over three weeks.

    Being thought-provoking, is the point, of course, according to associate librarian and outreach director Ann Scott.

    "Every year we try to mix it up in terms of our audience," said Scott, who selected this year's slate based on critic reviews, audience favorites at other LGBT film fests held in Tampa and New York, and along with the suggestions of various library patrons....

    Reaching for the Moon will open the ninth annual Reel Pride 2014 LGBT Film Series today at the New Port Richey Library.
  12. One last graduate — then an empty nest

    Human Interest

    Commencement weekend is here for Pasco County high school seniors, and so comes time for a little unbridled anticipation for our soon-to-be graduate. These past weeks have been unfolding at a snail's pace for the youngest, a blessedly self-motivated, later-life child who's raring to get on with it.

    Even so, her elders are once again wrestling with the notion that once you've reached a certain age, time flies incredibly fast. ...

  13. Pasco county class notes, commencement schedule



    • Monday: Memorial Day, no school.

    • June 3: Last day of school for students.

    • June 12: Report cards sent out.


    Kids n' Art Show, featuring the work of Pasco County elementary and middle school students, is on display through Wednesday at the Pasco Arts Council, 5744 Moog Road in Holiday.

    • The Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery will hold its KIDSZONE Summer Art Series for Children during June and July. Seating is limited. Early reservation is encouraged. For a complete class listing, go to nprgallery.com. RSVP by calling the gallery at (727) 848-6500 during gallery hours (Wednesday through Saturday, noon to 6 p.m.) or email nprgallery1@gmail.com. ...

  14. Pasco superintendent Browning holds 'press conference' with students


    The assignment for students on the Eagle Pod newspaper was to interview and write about someone involved in education who was somehow tied to their school. So students in Carol Blair's fourth and fifth-grade gifted class at Moon Lake Elementary set out to get their stories.

    One student chose to write about the school nurse. Another interviewed a student who ran a marathon. Cheerleaders became the subjects of stories along with the crossing guard lady and principal Elise Landahl, too....

    Moon Lake Elementary student Nate Cromwell, left, interviews Pasco Superintendent Kurt Browning during a student “press conference” while class photographers snap photos. Other students had the opportunity to ask two questions.
  15. Seven Springs Middle wins third-place in Go Green video contest


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Kudos to Sydney Moore, Chrislyn Miano, Emily Lawrence and Alana Rife of Seven Springs Middle School. These students in Dorothy Taylor's Lead the Pack class recently earned third-place honors in the inaugural "Go Green Video Contest" sponsored by Publix Supermarkets and Florida Newspapers in Education Programs.

    "I'm so proud — it's the first win that we've had in the video contests that we've entered," Taylor said, noting that the contest was open to students in five states....

    Seven Springs Middle School students Sydney Moore, from left, Alana Riffe, Emily Lawrence and Crislyn Miano, all 13, earned third place in the Go Green Video Contest.