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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

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  1. Annual festival at Anclote High gives culinary nod to Black History Month

    K12

    HOLIDAY

    The aroma wafting down the hallway is like the cast of a fishing line, making you want to follow your nose with hopes of getting a sample of what's been cooking.

    Open the door to chef Robert Wright's culinary classroom at Anclote High School, and there's a beehive of activity. Kids in whites and a couple of volunteers are creating stick-to-your-ribs fare — fried chicken, pulled pork, St. Louis ribs, collard greens, mac and cheese, salmon croquettes and plumped-up corn bread muffins. Add to that some sweet offerings — sweet potato pie piped with whipped cream, red velvet cake, Sierra Mist cake and Mallory Baack's oatmeal crumb cookies....

    Anclote High School culinary student Mallory Baack, 16, cooked up her mom’s recipe for oatmeal crumb cookies at the annual Soul Food Fest held on Feb. 27 at the school in Holiday.
  2. Port Richey woman moves on with life after two cancer diagnoses

    Human Interest

    PORT RICHEY

    Terri Hesse keeps the photo handy, ready to show to anyone with just a few finger swipes to her cell phone.

    "Does that look like skin cancer to you?" she asks, holding up the selfie she snapped of the small, pink and white spot that showed up on her backside a couple of years ago.

    To the average person, probably not.

    It resembled a blister, Hesse thought, the kind that tear up your heels when you're breaking in a new pair of shoes....

    Hesse of Port Richey recently completed a 5K run at Walt Disney World with her son Bryan Hesse.
  3. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • March 13: End of third grading quarter

    • March 16-20: Spring break

    • March 23: Teacher planning day. No school for students.

    • March 30: Report cards are issued.

    Theater/Music/Art

    • Pasco County eSchool student photography will be exhibited during March at the Downtown New Port Richey Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. An opening reception, which will include the work of various artists participating in the exhibit, "The Feminine Mystique," and featured artist Edith Huber, will be from 6 to 9 p.m. March 6. For information, call (727) 848-6500 or go to nprgallery.com....

  4. Pasco class notes

    News

    Theater/Music/Art

    • Student artwork from the VSA State Organization on Arts and Disabilities will be on display through Feb. 28 at the Downtown New Port Richey Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. For information, call (727) 848-6500 or go to nprgallery.com.

    Center for the Arts at River Ridge, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey. (727) 774-7381

    • Mitchell High band pre-music performance assessment concert, 7 p.m. Feb. 25....

  5. Bigger, better Pasco Music Festival will assist nonprofits

    Music & Concerts

    SHADY HILLS

    Northern folks might be lamenting all the snow they've received, but trees are budding, flowers are blooming and festival time is in high gear in the Sunshine State.

    The Pasco Music Festival might just be the ticket — and an inexpensive one at that — for those looking to spend a day taking in an eclectic mix of rock, blues and country, all while giving a boost to local nonprofits....

    The Julie Black Band will perform at the Pasco Music Festival on Saturday and donate to the SPCA, the Red Apple School and more.
  6. Class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • Progress reports will be distributed Friday.

    • Monday is Presidents Day, no school.

    Theater/Music/Art

    • Student artwork from the VSA State Organization on Arts and Disabilities will be on display through Feb. 28 at the Downtown New Port Richey Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. For information, call (727) 848-6500 or go to nprgallery.com....

  7. eSchool allowed Pasco Outstanding Senior of the Year to set, reach lofty goals

    K12

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Alex Walker was about 12 years old when he made his mind up.

    He was going fly planes, and that was that.

    He was just that kind of kid, said his mom, Julie Walker.

    "He set high standards, and when he wanted something, he went after it. No one had to follow up on that."

    "He knew what he wanted to do, and he set logical achievable steps to making that happen," said his dad, Todd Walker....

    Alex Walker, 17, knew from a young age that he wanted to be a pilot. He is the first student from Pasco County’s eSchool to have been named the county’s Outstanding Senior of the Year.
  8. Pasco County Fair to kick off with Monday parade

    Events

    DADE CITY — "Country Roots and Cowboy Boots" is the theme for the 68th annual Pasco County Fair, which kicks off at 1 p.m. Monday with a rousing parade featuring floats and marching bands.

    The fair runs through Feb. 22 at the county fairgrounds on State Road 52 on the west side of Dade City.

    The annual event got its official start in 1947 and continues to celebrate the area's resources, along with plant, animal and art exhibitions; contests and pageantry; the thrill of midway rides; the wafting aroma of fried dough; and a variety of entertainment each day that's meant to tickle most anyone's fancy....

    Children soar above the midway at last year’s fair. This year’s edition kicks off at 
1 p.m. Monday with a parade featuring floats and marching bands. The fair runs through Feb. 22.
  9. Teacher of the Year prefers to open doors, not stand behind closed ones

    K12

    HUDSON — The dust had barely settled on the Friday night accolades, but it was back to business Monday morning for Hudson High School language arts teacher Beth Hess.

    On the lesson plan was some necessary instruction about the upcoming Florida Standards assessment test that students will be taking for the first time in March. Time was slotted for dissecting sentences, meant to strengthen students' writing skills. And there would be some deep delving into a couple of novels — Anthem for the sophomores and To Kill a Mockingbird for the freshmen....

    Beth Hess teaches language arts at Hudson High School.
  10. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • Feb. 13: Progress reports

    • Feb 16: Presidents Day, no school.

    Theater/Music/Art

    • Student artwork from the VSA State Organization on Arts and Disabilities will be on display at the Downtown New Port Richey Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. An opening reception will be at 6 p.m. Friday. Also on display will be the work of various artists in the "Romantic Notions" exhibit and the work of featured artist, jacabo. For information, call (727) 848-6500 or go to nprgallery.com....

  11. Gasparilla? Kumquat Festival offers an alternative in Dade City

    Events

    DADE CITY — From stone crabs to frog legs, from oranges to strawberries and blueberries, Florida's festival calendar offers a bounty of foodie celebrations meant to appeal to the conventional or the eccentric palate.

    With the end of January comes the Kumquat Festival, a quirky kind of old-Florida celebration traditionally held the last Saturday of the month in downtown Dade City.

    The kumquat, which looks like a miniature orange and originally hails from Asia, can be popped into the mouth as a snack, peel and all, or folded into recipes of all sorts....

    Kumquats travel across a conveyor through the wash before sorting at Kumquat Growers Inc. on Wednesday morning. The annual Kumquat Festival will be held Saturday in downtown Dade City.
  12. Pasco County class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    Feb. 13: Progress reports

    Feb. 16: Presidents Day, no school.

    Library note

    • Read to Your Bright and Beautiful Furry Friends, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Feb. 5 at the Regency Park Library, 9701 Little Road, New Port Richey. Story time with therapy dogs for students in grades K-5. For a full calendar of events happening at all Pasco County library branches, go to pascolibraries.org. For information about events at the New Port Richey Public Library, go to nprlibrary.org....

  13. Standout Pine View Middle ESOL student also a BMX champ

    K12

    LAND O'LAKES

    Beating everyone else across the finish line is the goal of a BMX racer. But for 14-year-old Alejandro Chica, there's nothing quite like the rush of adrenaline that begins to well at the starting gate. Alejandro was just 8 when he caught the fever in his birthplace of Medellín, Colombia. Bicycle motocross is practically a rite of passage for youngsters growing up in the country's second-largest city, where springtime is a mainstay and the rugged dirt tracks have a way of building champions....

    Alejandro Chica took first place in his class at the Disney Cup Fall Nationals held in November in Kissimmee.
  14. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    Jan 29: Adult Education graduation.

    Feb. 13: Progress reports

    Feb. 16: Presidents Day, no school.

    Theater/Music/Art

    • The artwork of students from Millennium Academy will be featured through Jan. 31 at the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. For information, call (727) 848-6500 or go to nprgallery.com....

  15. Hernando Harmonizers take a trip down Broadway for Saturday's annual Extravaganza

    Music & Concerts

    SPRING HILL

    It's mid January, and some of the snowbirds in the Hernando Harmonizers are still making their way south. But come Saturday, there should be about 40 gents perched on the risers at Springstead Theatre, crooning away in four-part harmony for the group's 13th annual Barbershop Extravaganza.

    A new director, Jacki Scott, will be leading the Harmonizers through renditions of songs from Broadway musicals such as Oklahoma!, The Music Man and Les Miserables. The Springstead High chorus will also take the stage for a turn. Highlighting the show will be Boardwalk, an award-winning quartet out of Atlanta that is known for its folk-influenced renditions, melding the barbershop sound with some instrumentation....

    The Hernando Harmonizers present the 13th Annual Barbershop Extravaganza, “Harmonizers on Broadway” with special guest quartet, “Boardwalk” at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Springstead High School Theatre