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Times staff,

If you have a news tip, please call our City Desk at 727-893-8215.

You can also call one of our county news bureaus directly:

Hernando County: 352-754-6101

Hillsborough County/Tampa: 813-226-3303

North Pinellas County: 727-445-4221

Pasco County: 727-869-6235

On the Web, you can also go to sptimes.com/connect/ for details on other ways to contact us.

E-mail: local@tampabay.com

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  1. Garden Montessori Charter School will not open this year in Wesley Chapel

    K12

    WESLEY CHAPEL — One month before the first day of classes, Pasco County's newest charter school has informed parents it won't be opening this year after all.

    "Despite our best efforts, the board was unable to finalize negotiations on our facility lease and has made the heartbreaking decision to delay our opening until the 2016-17 school year," Garden Montessori Charter School's leadership posted on its website. "We have met with Pasco County School District and have officially applied for a 'planning year' for the 2015-16 school year."...

  2. A fan dressed as Star War's Darth Vader poses for a photo on the first day of the 2015 Comic Con International at the San Diego Convention Center. Tampa Bay Comic Con 2015 runs from July 31-Aug. 2.
  3. Anclote River continues to recede, lessening flooding threat in Pasco

    Weather

    The Anclote River slowly receded Wednesday as the flooding situation in the Elfers area of Pasco County appeared to be improving slightly, officials said.

    The river level was at 21.4 feet by Wednesday afternoon, about a foot above flood stage, according to the National Weather Service, as an evacuation order remained in effect in southwest Pasco.

    The Elfers area received about a half-inch of rain Wednesday, with upward of an inch in some areas, said National Weather Service meteorologist Eric Oglesby. However, it didn't rain enough to make the flooding any worse....

  4. Pasco Business digest for July 31

    Business

    Business digest

    Briefly

    NEW COFFEEHOUSE OPENS: Perks Coffeehouse, 10720 State Road 54, Suite 105, in the Trinity Village Center, Trinity, celebrated its grand opening July 24, with some assistance from the Pasco Economic Development Council's micro-loan program.

    Six years ago, when owner Clara Vanderhoof moved from Olympia, Wash., she didn't realize how much she would miss the coffeehouses she once frequented. She decided to open a similar establishment....

    MEDICAL EDUCATION PROGRAM GRADUATES: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point recently introduced the second class of its Graduate Medical Education Center’s American Osteopathic Association Internal Medicine Residency Program. The incoming class of residents hail from medical schools all over the country. The residents include: Drs. Lauren Applehof, Trevor Applehof, Dan Bainbridge, Duat Bui, Rebecca Burt, Mallika Devarapalli, Michael Harris, Pornchai Kittivarakarn, Anna Marshall, Ricardo Navarro, Torrey Poholsky, Joseph Robbins, Brandon Rosenthal, Nicole Smith and Angela Spinelli. The program is under the direction of Dr. Michael Strobbe. Residents train at the center on general medicine teams and in specialty services, including the emergency room.
  5. Hometown North Pinellas

    News

    m Clearwater Hellenic association awards scholarships: The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association Family of Clearwater held its annual scholarship awards ceremony at the Island Way Grill in Clearwater. More than 75 AHEPA Family members and friends came to honor nine outstanding high school and college students who were presented with $1,000 scholarships. Three winners, Eleni Mavres, Sofia Konstantinidis and Mitchell Pantelides, were also awarded $500 scholarships by AHEPA Citrus District 2. ...

    The American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association Family of Clearwater scholarship chairman John Tsagaris, left, and Chapter 356 president Gus Pantelides, far right, with honorees, from left, James Tanton, Faye Konstantinidis, Eleni Mavres, Sofia Konstantinidis, Emmanuel Konstantinidis, Eleni Mighion, Stephanie Caros, Christiana Pantelides and Mitchell Pantelides.
  6. Deapite concerns, Hernando School Board approves contract for deputies

    Prek

    BROOKSVILLE — Despite the reservations of several members, the Hernando County School Board on Tuesday approved a two-year contract with the Hernando County Sheriff's Office to provide deputies at middle and high schools.

    "I have concerns over this," School Board member Susan Duval said.

    The board previously had discussed the idea of a shorter contract to allow the district time to consider replacing some of the deputies with private security guards to save money....

  7. Bowen: Failing to connect on transportation hurts two communities

    Mass Transit

    A pair of Pasco County communities are raising concerns about connectivity.

    As in getting from here to there. One wants a road. One wants a bus. And both can gripe legitimately that their voices haven't been heard for nearly 20 years.

    We'll start in the east, where a motorist driving to Walgreens, Buddy's Home Furnishings or Winn-Dixie along U.S. 301 in Dade City must turn west onto Morningside Drive, which ends just behind the businesses. Then let's say the motorist is headed to visit a friend at the Bayfront Health Dade City hospital. They must drive south on U.S. 301, turn west on the newly widened Clinton Avenue and then head north on Fort King Road. After this circuitous trip of nearly 4 miles, the driver reaches — ready? — Morningside Drive, which from this point extends west to State Road 52, running between Pasco High School and the Pasco County Fairgrounds. The hospital, however, fronts on the yet-to-be-built eastward extension between Fort King Road and U.S. 301....

  8. PHSC board of trustees elects new leadership

    College

    Spring Hill resident Morris Porton has been elected chairman of the Pasco-Hernando State College board of trustees for 2015-16, and Edward Blommel of Dade City has been elected vice chairman.

    Porton is a retired Florida Traditions Bank senior vice president who served on the board of directors for the college's foundation until his appointment to the board of trustees in November 2011. He has served as a Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce board member since 1995. Porton earned his bachelor's degree from the University of South Florida and a banking degree from the Graduate School of Banking at Louisiana State University. He also is a Hernando County Sheriff's Office reserve lieutenant and served in the Navy Reserve from 1965 to 1966....

  9. Hernando Pet of the Week for July 31

    Pets

    Pet of the week Roscoe

    Roscoe is a sweet, playful 9-month-old hound pup. He enjoys attention and playing with other animals. He has been neutered, microchipped and is current on his vaccinations. Inquiries about adopting Roscoe or other dogs and cats can be made at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast shelter at Wiscon and Mobley roads, Brooksville. Shelter hours are 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The shelter is run strictly on donations. Adoption fees are $100 for dogs, $40 for adults cats and $65 for kittens, and cover the costs for all vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchipping. For information, call (352) 796-2711. humanerescue.org....

     Roscoe is an active and playful 9-month-old hound pup. He enjoys lots of attention and playing with other dogs, as well as cats. Roscoe is incredibly sweet and has been neutered, microchipped, and is current on his age appropriate vaccinations including rabies. Inquiries about adopting Roscoe or other dogs and cats can be made at the Humane Society of the Nature Coast shelter at Wiscon and Mobley roads, Brooksville. Visiting hours at the shelter is from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. The shelter is run strictly on donations; no government subsidies are provided. Adoption fees are $100 for dogs, $40 for adults cats and $65 for kittens, and cover the costs for all vaccinations, spay/neuter and microchipping. For information, call (352) 796-2711. Visit the website at humanerescue.org.
  10. Hernando School Board gives initial approval to 2015-16 budget

    K12

    BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando County School Board on Tuesday tentatively approved a 2015-16 budget of $223 million. That's $28 million lower than last year's budget, but includes $2.1 million more in general fund revenues.

    The property tax rate also inched up by .029 mills, to 7.196 mills, because of a mandate by the state Legislature, which largely controls the rate.

    A mill is equal to $1 in tax for every $1,000 of assessed property value, and this year's increase would mean $2.18 more in tax on a house valued at $100,000 with a $25,000 homestead exemption. The millage increase and rising property values mean the district will collect 4.2 percent more in local revenues this year than last, according to information provided by the district for the first of two required budget hearings on Tuesday. The district also received a boost in per-student payment from the state....

  11. Florida No. 2 in the nation in number of Tesla Model S cars on the road

    Business

    Florida is second in the nation in the number of new and used Tesla Model S cars on the roads, according to a report by Edmunds.com, a consumer car research firm.

    Out of all 1,600 Tesla Model S used electric cars in the country, there are more owners in Florida than in any state except California.

    Tesla, the luxury electric car company, sells its Model S new for $60,000 to more than $100,000. The Tesla website lists the cheapest used one in Florida at $65,700. The company has two showrooms in the Tampa Bay region — one off U.S. Highway 301 in Tampa and another at the Mall at University Town Center in Sarasota. ...

  12. Plan your weekend July 31-Aug. 2

    Events

    Plan your weekend

    Nerds rising

    Tampa Bay Comic Con With Carrie Fisher — Princess Leia herself — in the house, we won't be surprised if this geektastic event once again breaks attendance records at the Tampa Convention Center. More than 40,000 are expected over the weekend, many in full costume, to check out some of sci-fi's top leading ladies: Star Wars' Fisher, Terminator's Linda Hamilton and Back to the Future's Lea Thompson. Plus vendors, panels and cosplay contests. Friday to Sunday at the Tampa Convention Center, 333 S Franklin St. Check out the event schedule in advance at tampabaycomiccon.com. Expect to line up at least an hour early for the most popular celebrity panels. $30 daily, $60 for three days. Hours: Noon to midnight Friday, 8 a.m. to midnight Saturday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday....

    Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in the Star Wars movie.
  13. Pasco authorities investigate 92-year-old woman's suspicious death

    Crime

    NEW PORT RICHEY — The Pasco County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday was investigating what it called the "suspicious death" of a 92-year-old woman in New Port Richey.

    Initial reports indicated Caroline Martin fell and died in her home at 6626 Florida Ave., officials said. Deputies received the call at 11:36 a.m. Tuesday. However, authorities said they obtained additional information indicating that Martin's death was suspicious....

  14. Injured John's Pass dolphin Babyface improves swimmingly

    Wildlife

    Babyface the dolphin isn't in the clear, but signs are promising that the deep propeller gashes on her back and tail will continue to heal, officials said.

    On Tuesday, Clearwater Marine Aquarium staff monitored the dolphin, a 9-year-old female, as she swam in John's Pass. Video captured by aquarium staff late last week shows Babyface moving with ease. She doesn't appear to be losing weight, said Executive Director David Yates, and is foraging for food on her own....

    Babyface, a female bottlenose dolphin that suffered deep propeller injuries, has show improvement while swimming around John's Pass. [Photo: Clearwater Marine Aquarium]
  15. Hometown Hernando for July 31

    Human Interest

    We want your news!

    Hometown Hernando is devoted to everyday life in our county, whether it's snapshots from your family reunion or a few lines thanking someone for a job well done. Call Hometown Hernando news coordinator Jean Hayes at (352) 848-1438, fax (352) 754-6133, or jhayes@tampabay.com.

    Thanking Korean veterans:  Members of the Korean War Veterans Legion 5053 social club and Ladies Auxiliary were guests at the Korean Presbyterian Church of Pinellas County annual thank-you dinner and entertainment show June 20. The event included a Korean dinner; the show consisted of traditional Korean dancers and drummers, as well as a martial arts exhibition. Shown standing in back, from left, are: Lin Whitenight, Myrna Lax, Barbara Auerbach, Harold Auerbach, Linda Stretz, Gene Whitenight, Janet Johnson and Barbara Mellinger. In front, from left, are: Robert Johnson, Jerry Lax, Gene Stretz, hostess Young and Richard Mellinger.