NEW PORT RICHEY — Madison Morrow might be just 10 years old, but she already has found a purposeful cause, one she takes on every other Thursday morning in the media center at Calusa Elementary School.
That's where members of the school's Anti Bullying Club meet, Madison said, to learn "that bullying isn't cool and how to be a be a friend when kids are getting bullied and sad."
She already has the makings of a public speaker, quieting the chattering din of 40 club members with the lilting sound of a mallet being dragged across a three-note chime. Then she takes command, wearing the club's signature purple T-shirt and bedazzled handkerchief skirt and leggings, her hair pulled back neatly in matching french braids....
DADE CITY — Sally Campbell never got to meet the great-grandmother after whom she was named. Cancer had a hand in that. But the memories shared by loved ones helped propel the Centennial Middle School seventh-grader into joining a cause to help others affected by cancer — maybe even help put a smile on their faces.
Sally, 12, found something to pour her heart into after hearing about SOCKS (Students Organizing Cancer patients Krazy Socks), a nonprofit organization started by Pasco High student Courtney Nathe that provide socks to cancer patients....
04/29/15 Music & Concerts
SPRING HILL — The age-old practice of ringing handbells is a staple in many Christian churches, particularly come Christmas and Easter, when the melodic clinking of clappers against shiny metal heralds a joyful celebration.
But there's more than one way to ring a bell in these modern times, and the Nature Coast Handbells group promises to show just how at their concert Sunday at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School....
NEW PORT RICHEY — This weekend's 2015 Cotee River Seafood and Blues Festival promises to serve up some of the gulf coast's best offerings, whether it be a basket of deep-fried grouper bites drenched in lemon, a lazy paddle down the Pithlachascotee River or a slice of local blues — all played out over three days at Sims Park in downtown New Port Richey.
Live music is the main attraction at the three-day event, and there's plenty to like, particularly since admission is free. ...
04/08/15 Music & Concerts
SPRING HILL — It's been awhile since the Ragbirds have been on the road, and the band is eager to be making its way south for the 10th annual Stingbreak Music Festival, which runs through Sunday at the Sertoma Youth Ranch.
"It's been a long, long, long, long cold winter," percussionist Randall Moore said from his home in Ann Arbor, Mich.
Ten years ago, Moore founded the Ragbirds with his wife, front woman Erin Zindle, who also plays fiddle and mandolin and is the primary songwriter for the band. Until the birth of their daughter, Aviva, 18 months ago, touring was a way of life for the couple and the band, which got a reputation for ramping up audiences with an authentic, upbeat musical mix of Americana folk-rock, Latin, Middle Eastern and Celtic rhythms and African percussion....
04/02/15 Human Interest
After 60 years of performing professionally, Tommy Johnson knows what gets people going, and he aims to please.
Donned in signature stage clothes, the hint of a silver ponytail sprouting from his black fedora, Johnson takes turns playing three digital keyboards positioned against a red velvet backdrop. Fingers bounce rapidly across black and white keys as he leans in to hold a chord or flip a switch to bring up the sound of a flute, clarinet, saxophone or percussion....
NEW PORT RICHEY — So maybe you're wondering about that tree the landscaper planted in your yard, the one with the large, leathery leaves that's covered in bunches of small, yellow ripened fruit — that right this minute is being devoured by birds.
Maybe you already know that tree is a loquat, but have no idea of what to do with all that fruit. Or perhaps there's an open spot in your yard just begging for planting. ...
03/23/15 Music & Concerts
BROOKSVILLE — When Tyler Williams takes the stage for his first appearance at Sertoma Youth Ranch's annual Spring Bluegrass Festival, event promoter Ernie Evans will be standing nearby, taking it all in.
Not just the music, mind you, but the looks on the faces of the first-timers in the audience. Evans has watched it time and again — ever since he caught Williams' act about 10 years ago in Nashville, at a place called the Station Inn....
NEW PORT RICHEY — The party gets going this weekend as New Port Richey begins nine days of festivities associated with the 69th annual Chasco Fiesta.
From carnival rides to boat and street parades to music in the park to a Native American festival, there's a lot to take in for both locals and out-of-towners looking for some fun.
At the same time, nonprofit organizations and charities in Pasco County will get a boost. Philanthropy is, after all, the seed that got it all started in 1922, when some local do-gooders decided to create a hometown festival to raise money for New Port Richey's library....
03/11/15 Music & Concerts
SPRING LAKE — The strumming, picking and singing about Florida's natural charm and indigenous folklore is the main attraction of the annual Will McLean Music Festival.
As is paying homage.
McLean was the father of Florida folk — a storied, gentle-natured man; a black-hatted troubadour who roamed the state in dilapidated rides, writing and singing about what he saw with the thought of preserving it through song. ...
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....
02/26/15 Human Interest
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....
• 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.
• 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....
• 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....
02/18/15 Music & Concerts
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....