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. Class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    Monday is a teacher planning day. There is no school for students.

    Oct. 27: Report cards.

    Theater/music/art

    • The Zephyrhills High Band Officers invite all alumni band and auxiliary members to partake in the 2014 homecoming game today. There will be a section reserved for alumni band members who will play with band students from Centennial and Stewart Middle School and Zephyrhills High. Bring your own instrument and meet at 6 p.m. in the band room. Admission is free. For information, email Russell Schmidt at rschmidt@pasco.k12.fl.us. ...

  2. Autumn Art Walk debuts in downtown New Port Richey

    Visual Arts

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The temps are dropping some and it's finally feeling like autumn is kicking in. Might be a good time to take a stroll.

    New Port Richey provides the perfect destination Saturday when sidewalks in the historic downtown area transform into a pedestrian art gallery.

    The works of about 40 local artists will be on display at Autumn Art Walk, a first-time event presented by the Downtown New Port Richey Art Gallery, Pasco Arts Council, West Pasco Art Guild and the Altered Minds Art Group....

    “Seduction,” a watercolor painting of a poppy flower, is one of the works that will be on exhibit and for sale at the Autumn Art Walk on Saturday in downtown New Port Richey along both sides of Grand Boulevard.
  3. Pasco schools welcome dads as volunteers

    K12

    NEW PORT RICHEY — David Molodecki was smiling big as he made his way down the covered walkway at Moon Lake Elementary School.

    "Hey, you got a haircut," someone called out as the older man doled out high-fives to every upraised hand in a long line of youngsters headed in the opposite direction.

    "Yes, I did," he said, before rounding the corner to sit and listen to a couple of fifth-graders sounding out words outside Nicole Gunn's fifth-grade classroom....

    Moon Lake Elementary School fifth-grader Hope McCaffrey, 10, spends some one-on-one time reading to volunteer David Molodecki, 51.
  4. Pasco class notes for Oct. 10

    K12

    Calendar

    Oct. 17: End of the first grading period.

    Oct. 20: Teacher planning day. No school for students.

    Oct. 27: Report cards.

    Theater/music/art

    The Tarpon Springs Outdoor Music Festival for marching bands will be Oct. 18 at Tarpon Springs High, 1141 Gulf Road. Admission: $15 for adults, $8 for students 13 and older, $5 for children 12 and younger. Parking is free. For information, go to tarponspringsband.com/festival/index.htm....

  5. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Calendar

    Oct. 17: End of the first grading quarter.

    Oct. 20: Teacher planning day. No school for students.

    Oct. 27: Report cards.

    Theater/Music/Art

    The Tarpon Springs Outdoor Music Festival for marching bands, will be Oct. 18 at Tarpon Springs High, 1141 Gulf Road, Tarpon Springs. Admission: $15 for adults; $8 for students 13 and up; $5 children 12 and under. Parking is free. For information, go to tarponspringsband.com/festival/index.htm....

  6. Rushe Middle students create books, share them with kindergarteners in Land O'Lakes

    K12

    LAND O'LAKES — A field trip back to her old school had Sara Fukutani feeling eager, nervous and somewhat nostalgic. The Rushe Middle School eighth-grader was happy to see some of her former teachers, but at the same time, she was nervous about reading a book called Animals in the Park to kindergarten students at Oakstead Elementary.

    Animals in the Park is an accordion book that, when unfolded, reveals hand-drawn characters including a dog, a bird, a cat and, of course, a squirrel. On the front cover, Sara's name is listed as author and illustrator....

    Rushe Middle School seventh-grader Juliette Pachecho, 13, shares the book she wrote and illustrated with Oakstead Elementary School kindergarten students Ryan Spires and Ella Trakas, both 5. “Our kids look up to the older kids,” said Oakstead assistant principal C.J. Huffman. 
  7. Rev your engines — Cotee River Bike Fest is back

    Events

    NEW PORT RICHEY — After a one-year hiatus, the Cotee River Bike Fest will be rocking and rolling once again, kicking off Oct. 10 with three days of motorcycles, music and a whole lot more.

    "I think we have a stellar event planned. We have lots of things for everybody this year," said Steve Schurdell, bike fest committee chair and managing partner of the Hits 106 radio station in New Port Richey. ...

    This 2015 Harley Davidson Road Glide Special FLTRXS will be just one of the draws at the Cotee River Bike Fest held Oct. 10 - 12 in historic downtown New Port Richey. Those who are over 21 and have a valid license will able to take this bike for a test drive.
  8. Tickets on sale now for PHSC performing arts series

    Music & Concerts

    Individual and season tickets are now on sale for the Pasco-Hernando State College Foundation 2014-2015 performing arts series at the PHSC Performing Arts Center, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. The season lineup features Phil Dirt and the Dozers (Dec. 7); Sounds of Soul — Motown and Beyond (Jan. 24); Yesterday and Today Interactive Beatles Experience (Feb. 8); Anna Girlz featuring Abba's greatest hits (Feb. 21); and Beginnings, the Ultimate Chicago Tribute (March 21)....

    The Sounds of Soul performs hits from Motown and beyond on Jan. 24, the second show in the PHSC Foundation 2014-2015 performing arts series.
  9. A new season and new director for Richey Community Orchestra

    Music & Concerts

    The Richey Community Orchestra is rolling out a new season that features a brand new conductor and a six-show lineup, including three dinner shows, meant to satisfy music lovers of all sorts. Whether you're into Mozart or Broadway show tunes, have a hankering for the Beatles or female recording artists such as Carole King, there's probably a show for you.

    The season opener, The British are Coming on Nov. 9, is a nod, in part, to some songs of the British invasion and to the orchestra's new director and composer, Stephen P. Brown, who came to the United States from England in 1984 as a percussionist player. ...

    Stephen P. Brown, 44, is the conductor of the Richey Community Orchestra. Brown enjoys sharing live music with others.
  10. Pasco class notes for Sept. 26

    K12

    Theater/music/art

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

    • River Ridge High drama presents High School Musical at 7 p.m. Oct. 17-18 and 2 p.m. Oct. 18-19. For tickets, call (727) 774-7200.

    • J.W. Mitchell High drama presents Bed and Breakfast and Thespian Showcase at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 23-25. For tickets, call (727) 774-9200....

  11. Pasco class notes

    K12

    Briefly

    The Sydney Has a Sister Scholarship Foundation will host a silent auction fundraiser from 6 to 9 p.m. Saturday at Beef O'Brady's Wilderness Lake Preserve, 7040 Land O'Lakes Blvd., Land O'Lakes. Auction items include golf packages, date nights, hotel stays, spa packages and more. Bidding closes at 8:30 p.m. Proceeds will go toward funding scholarships for high school seniors who have siblings with autism. For more information, go to www.sydneyhasasister.com....

  12. A passionate musician leads Richey Community Orchestra

    Human Interest

    Denise Isaacson is living a dream, one set in motion when she climbed onto a piano bench for her first lesson at age 4. She was enraptured by the sounds the black and white keys made and hungry to learn. But life for the daughter of a Methodist minister was nomadic. Instruction depended on whether the church organist in whatever place they were living was willing to teach.

    As a youngster she sang at her mother's church parties and in the choir. She could barely see over the railing when she performed her first solo — a hymn called Precious Jewels for her younger brother's baptism — battling stage fright the whole way through....

    Denise Isaacson, playing sax during practice with the 42nd Street Band, is a lifelong musician and an accomplished player of many instruments. As president and executive director of the Richey Community Orchestra, she works on all manner of details.
  13. Students harvest sweet potatoes at Gulfside Elementary

    K12

    HOLIDAY — It was harvest day at Gulfside Elementary School, and second- and third-grade students were mightily excited to be pulling sweet potatoes planted in the raised garden beds in May.

    "They went right through those sweet potatoes. It was like a bunch of ants running around. It was great," said master gardener Bob O'Brien, 65, who came with a handful of green-thumbed volunteers to show students how to pull the vines....

    It was harvest time at Gulf Elementary School in Holiday and students got to do the digging. Here, second-graders Mikiyah Cooper, from left, and Leighlanni Cruz harvest a whopping 5 1/2-pound sweet potato while Christian Miller, far right, pulls some smaller spuds.
  14. Rockin' it out in New Port Richey

    Events

    NEW PORT RICHEY — New Port Richey Main Street's 2014 ROCKtember Fest kicks off at 6 p.m. today in Sims Park along banks of the Pithlachascotee River. The two-day event features bands on the amphitheater stage and lots of family-friendly activities.

    The music lineup includes Lawless Intent opening on Friday night followed by tribute band Almost Styx (9-10:30 p.m. Friday). Saturday includes Woody and the Wood Tones (2:30-4 p.m.) and the Glad All Over Band (4:30-6 p.m.) The Bob Hope Band performs Saturday evening (6:30-8 p.m.) and a return of the Black Honkeys (8:30-10:30 p.m.)....

    The Black Honkeys are the Saturday night headliners during ROCKtember Fest in downtown Sims Park.
  15. 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....