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. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    Sept. 19: Progress reports.

    Briefly

    • The Department of Mathematics and Science at Saint Leo University invites middle school and high school students to the free Math Circles outreach program from 5:30-6:30 p.m. each Thursday in Lewis Hall, Room 101. Includes fun activities to help students develop an enthusiasm for mathematics. Saint Leo University is located at 33701 State Road 52. Lewis Hall is the three-story academic building to the right, just inside the entrance to campus. Free parking in surface lots and the campus garage. For information, contact Monika Kiss, associate professor of mathematics, at (352) 588-8836 or email monika.kiss@saintleo.edu....

  2. Mitchell High grows its band

    K12

    NEW PORT RICHEY

    On Friday nights they line the gridiron, kicking off with the national anthem. They're a force to be reckoned with during games, pepping it up in the stands, then taking the field again for the halftime show.

    "Go For It" is the theme for the J.W. Mitchell High Marching Mustangs' show featuring songs by Muse and Radiohead that are meant to appeal to the high school demographic. Making it all come together is a lot of work — especially when you consider the size of this year's band....

    J.W. Mitchell High sophomore Michael Parachini, foreground, plays trumpet during an afternoon rehearsal of the Marching Mustangs. The band boasts 210 members this year, up from 170 students who marched during the last school year.
  3. Historic, long-empty San Antonio building opens for business

    Human Interest

    SAN ANTONIO

    For more than 30 years, the two-story red brick building on Curley Street sat empty. It's not that people weren't interested. A few times a week, someone would stop to peer in the windows, maybe rattle the doorknob, then venture next door to Jack Boyle's pottery shop to inquire if it was for sale or rent. It happened so often, in fact, that John Herrmann posted a sign on his late father's storefront asking folks not to bother the potter....

    The Joe Herrmann Building, on Curley Street in San Antonio, is becoming a business hot spot.
  4. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • Sept. 19: Progress reports.

    Art/Music/Theater

    • The African American Club of Pasco will host a Fall Program on Creative Arts for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The 10-week program will be from 1 to 4 p.m. beginning Saturday at the former Booker T. Washington School, 6105 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey. There is no charge for the program, and snacks will be provided. For information, call (727) 849-5582....

  5. Scholarships give notice to kids who have siblings with autism

    Human Interest

    LAND O'LAKES

    It was a wistful conversation prompted by a roadside Powerball billboard and his wife's altruistic notion that gave Ernie Black the idea.

    Along with the "quit our jobs and travel the world" scenario they agreed to, Becky Black said her imaginary winnings would go to starting a scholarship for kids like their daughter, Sydney.

    As a career specialist in the guidance office at Sunlake High, Becky had done the research. She knew there was money out there for students who met specific criteria such as having red hair or being left-handed....

    From left, sisters Sydney and Regan sit with their parents Becky and Ernie Black alongside the family’s chocolate Labrador, Jack. Regan is autistic, and the sacrifices Sydney has made over the years for Regan’s needs inspired her parents to found a scholarship program.
  6. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • Monday is Labor Day, no school

    Art/Music/Theater

    • The African American Club of Pasco will host a Fall Program on Creative Arts for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The 10-week program will be held 1-4 p.m. each Saturday beginning Sept. 6 at the former Booker T. Washington School, 6105 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey. There is no charge for the program, and snacks will be provided. For information, call (727) 849-5582...

  7. Teens volunteering at hospital makes for a win-win

    K12

    HUDSON — For some kids, high school is four years of figuring out what you want to be when you grow up — or at least what direction you'll be heading in.

    Amir Hussain, 15, already has his path carved out.

    "My dream is to become a neurosurgeon," he said, adding that his interest was first piqued when his mother underwent a successful neurosurgical procedure.

    "The brain is a complex and delicate organ," he said. "And I'd like to be a part of that." ...

    Fivay High freshman Clarice Todd, 14, is a Candy Striper, greeting people, running errands and escorting visitors.
  8. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • Aug. 28: Adult education graduation

    • Sept. 1: Labor Day, no school

    Art/Music/Theater

    • The African American Club of Pasco will host a Fall Program on Creative Arts for children in kindergarten through sixth grade. The 10-week program will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. each Saturday beginning Sept. 6 at the former Booker T. Washington School, 6105 Pine Hill Road, Port Richey. Children will have the opportunity to try their talents in dance, acting, singing, beginning Spanish, geography, scientific technology, crafts, computer skills and creative writing. There is no charge for the program, and snacks will be provided. A show for parents, friends and members will be held Nov. 8. For information, call (727) 849-5582...

  9. Vendors, shoppers find a niche at open markets across bay area

    Events

    PORT RICHEY

    Mary Jo Rodriguez had been up at the crack of dawn baking bread with the hope that locals would venture out for the Sunday afternoon opening of the Market on the Bayou.

    "Bread is the big seller," she said, after tending to a customer at her vendor tent. "After that it's muffins and cookies, then brownies."

    Rodriguez, a former body builder, delved into the business of organic, vegan and gluten-free baked foods after researching healthy diet trends. Two years into it, her Better Baked Goods business is "busting at the seams," building a presence at fresh markets in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Safety Harbor, New Port Richey and Spring Hill....

    Juan Rincon scoops out avocados for fresh guacamole at the Hernando County Farmer’s Market.
  10. Boot camp for new Pasco teachers helps settle first day jitters

    K12

    SAINT LEO — In 36 years of teaching, Beverly Ledbetter never used a red pen to correct her students' papers. Sure, red stands out. But Ledbetter thought it would be deflating for a student to get a paper back that's bleeding negative commentary.

    More often, she used a green pen to point out to students what they were doing right.

    "Remember, you're here to help build self-esteem," Ledbetter told the 25 or so attendees of a Beginning Teacher Boot Camp at Saint Leo University....

    Beverly Ledbetter hosts the Beginning Teacher Boot Camp at Saint Leo University. Ledbetter uses the event to share her 36 years of teaching experience with new educators.
  11. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    • Monday is the first day of school for students

    • Aug. 28: Adult ed graduation

    • Sept. 1: Labor Day, no school

    Art/Music/Theater

    • Middle and high school art teachers and instructors looking to exhibit student work might find some space in Picasso Hall for Emerging Artists at the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. All media are acceptable for monthly exhibits during the school year including paintings, pastels, collages, photography, digital art, posters, up-cycled and mixed media. Instructors and students are encouraged to participate in the hanging of the exhibition and are invited to attend the opening reception, along with friends and family, to discuss their work. Instructors should contact the gallery at (727) 848-6500 or e-mail nprgallery@aol.com....

  12. Pasco County class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    Tuesday: Middle and high school registration/orientation.

    Wednesday: Elementary school registration/orientation.

    Aug. 18: First day of school for students

    Back-to-school events

    Ridgewood High School, Marchman Tech, Chasco Middle and Calusa and Chasco Elementary present a "Back to School Bash," from 8:30-11 a.m. Saturday at Ridgewood High, 7650 Orchid Lake Road, Port Richey. This event is for parents and students who would like to take advantage of resources, services and supplies to kick off the new school year....

    Ideas take shape: Abilene Dickens, 6, and Declan Taylor, 7, build with KEVA planks at the Hugh Embry Branch Library in Dade City during the summer reading program on Thursday. The wooden planks were donated by Investigation Station, a local traveling hands-on museum.  “It’s important to get the kids to create things, not just consume them,” said branch manager Angelo Liranzo.
  13. Power Scholars Academy helps stem the summer slide

    K12

    HOLIDAY — Iris Garmendiz, 7, loves school so much that she was more than happy to spend part of her summer break in a classroom working on math problems.

    "I love all these days — it's awesome," she said, sitting at a desk with pencil in hand and smiling brightly. "We get to go back to school. We get to have so much fun. We do lots of cool stuff."

    Iris was one of 90 students who attended a free summer enrichment program called "Power Scholars Academy" at Gulfside Elementary School....

    AmeriCorps VISTA volunteer Beth Flynn works on addition problems with Olgaliss Vargas, 6, during the summer enrichment program held at Gulfside Elementary School in Holiday.
  14. Moving art in downtown New Port Richey

    Visual Arts

    NEW PORT RICHEY

    A majestic egret taking flight, a rolling ocean tide captured in blue hues, a mirror-laden mixed media sculpture depicting falling rain, and a handmade train set that keeps on chugging.

    Those are just a few of the offerings at the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery through Aug. 30.

    "Art in Motion" is the theme for the main exhibit, and plenty of local talent answered the call for artists in unique fashion, said gallery director Bonnie Bratby-Carey....

    Egret in Flight, by Stu Harrison of Hudson.
  15. Class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    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

    Art/Music/Theater

    Middle and high school art teachers and instructors looking for a place to exhibit student work might find some space at the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery, 6231 Grand Blvd. Each month during the school year the gallery features student work selected by their teachers. All media are acceptable: paintings, pastels, collages, photography, digital art, posters, upcycled, mixed media and more. Instructors and students are encouraged to participate in the hanging of the exhibition and are invited to attend the opening reception, along with friends and family, to discuss their work. Local instructors who are interested in setting up an exhibit should contact the gallery at (727) 848-6500 or e-mail: nprgallery@aol.com....