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Published Feb. 15, 2008


Pranksters at Hudson High School set fires in trash cans of two boys' bathrooms Tuesday afternoon.

Pasco County Assistant Fire Chief Mike Ciccarello said the fires did not spread. No one was injured and there was no damage.

Fire engines were called but quickly canceled. Investigators went to the school to interview suspects, Ciccarello said.

He could not say whether the suspects were students. School officials would not comment on the incident.


Controlled burn sends up column of smoke

That thick plume of smoke visible across western Pasco County on Tuesday was a controlled burn conducted by the Southwest Water Management District, said Pasco Fire Rescue.

The prescribed burn was in the northeast quadrant of the Starkey Ranch area, said Acting Assistant Chief Mike Ciccarello. About 280 acres will be burned with the goal of consuming undergrowth that could fuel a serious wildfire.

Statewide drought conditions were not too much of a concern, the chief said. He noted that Pasco's average rainfall has been improving of late.

"There's always concerns when you do controlled burns," Ciccarello said. "But it's a necessary thing."


Theater academy selling off equipment

The Center Stage for Theatre and Performing Arts Academy closed its doors in December.

Now the owners are selling all the equipment from the theater at "reasonable prices": costumes, shoes, stage lights and sound equipment, stage props, mirrors, tools, paint, electrical supplies, kitchen equipment, office furniture, television sets, computer equipment, cleaning supplies - in short, everything it takes to run a performing arts center.

The sale is from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 15 and 16 at 10300 Grove Drive, Port Richey (take U.S. 19 to Jasmine Blvd., midway between State Road 52 and Gulf View Square Mall, turn east and drive two miles to Little Road. Turn south and go half a mile to Grove Drive. Turn west onto Grove to 10300.)

Call (727) 919-9999. All proceeds will benefit performing arts and young performers in the community.


Resident sues over waiver to developer

Bayonet Point resident Steve Byle filed suit Tuesday against the county and Meadows Construction Co., challenging the county's ability to grant a waiver to the developer from neighborhood park requirements in Pasco's land development code.

There's a catch: Meadows had sued the county last week for changing its mind and withdrawing the waiver.

Byle is aware of Meadows' lawsuit, but he wants a judge to examine the constitutionality of Pasco's "alternative standards," which allows county planners discretion to waive certain development rules.

Byle is also wary that county officials will "cave in" to Meadows' latest lawsuit.

"I've been looking to go after 'alternative standards' for a long time," Byle said Tuesday. "It gives the county too much discretion."