(ran PAS edition)
The following stories appeared last week in the Times:
STATE FUNDS SOUGHT FOR TEEN CENTER: County Commissioner Ed Collins says he wants to make Pasco County a little more youth-friendly. To that end, he visited Tallahassee on Tuesday to lobby state legislators for $260,000 to build a teen center for the Boys and Girls Club of Pasco County. The week before, he met with the county administrator and school superintendent to discuss how the county could give youths more opportunities to meet and play sports during evening hours. "Idle minds and idle hands spell trouble, so we've got to give these juveniles some opportunity to be productive," Collins said Monday. Discussions about providing more recreational activities for the county's youth have been going on for more than a year but gained momentum after the county adopted a teen curfew.
PROTESTERS TAKE CIRCUS TO TASK OVER ANIMALS: Susan Einhorn of Lutz took her 11-month-old son, Spencer, to the Roberts Bros. Circus on Wednesday night, but she parked his stroller outside the gate to protest the one-day event with 15 other members of Florida Voices for Animals. The 24-year-old three-ring circus, based in Sarasota, was invited to Land O'Lakes by the town's volunteer fire department to raise money for new equipment. The circus, which was performing at the Land O'Lakes Community Center, had a response ready. On a tent shading the circus' only elephant was a red-lettered sign: "Lisa, America's Best Cared For Elephant."
JUDGE STRIKES TWO-THIRDS OF UTILITY'S AWARD: It was Pasco County's costliest lawsuit loss ever: a $1.8-million verdict awarded to Mad Hatter Utility of Land O'Lakes. On Wednesday, though, a federal judge ruled that the jury's verdict was excessive and lopped $1.2-million off it. He also ordered two new trials on two counts in Mad Hatter's original lawsuit. That could result in additional damages being awarded to Mad Hatter. Still, Pasco officials, who were left stunned by the U.S. District Court jury's verdict in November 1995, hailed this week's decision. Mad Hatter attorneys argued at trial that Pasco, in essence, tried to drive the private utility out of business in order to take over its lucrative wastewater-treatment business. The utility also said that Pasco improperly provided utility services to developers in its service area, especially when it agreed to connect Denham Oaks Elementary School to the county's water and wastewater system.