Firefighters extinguished about 70 percent of the muck fire burning on the Barthle Brothers Ranch as of Friday evening, according to a spokeswoman for the state Division of Forestry. Firefighters were assigned to continue their efforts today. The fire started early Tuesday and burned 24 acres north of State Road 52. Authorities had not shut SR 52 because of smoke but urged motorists on that road to use caution, especially near the intersection with Ehren Cutoff Road.
Parents to hold meeting
about child molester
HUDSON _ Concerned parents from Hudson Elementary School have called a meeting Monday to discuss the release of convicted child molester Robert Hatcher, who lives across the street from the school. Representatives from the Sheriff's Office, the Florida Department of Corrections and the school district will be at the meeting to answer questions. The meeting is open to the public and is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. at the Hudson Community Club on Water Tower Drive at Apple Street.
award for school aid
HUDSON _ Anita and Tom Castriota of Castriota Chevrolet have received the 10th Annual Commissioner's Business Recognition Award for their efforts on behalf of local schools. The dealership at 12930 U.S. 19 in Hudson was one of 64 Florida businesses to receive the award. "I think it's an honor not just for myself," Tom Castriota said, "but also for the employees of the dealership, because we have a lot of employees who put a lot of hours into Pasco schools and Hernando schools." The Castriotas and other winners, chosen from more than 600 nominees, were honored at a reception hosted by Education Commissioner Frank Brogan on Tuesday at Epcot Center. Castriota Chevrolet has been involved with Marchman Technical Education Center, and Tom Castriota is a member of the Pasco Schools Foundation.