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Pasco needs ‘Santas’ for seniors and mentors for youth

News and notes from Pasco County
Pasco County community news [TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty]
Pasco County community news [TMCCARTY80 | Tara McCarty]
Published Nov. 30, 2019


‘Big’ mentors needed for Pasco youth

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay has scheduled orientation for those interested in becoming mentors to youth in Pasco County. The orientations will provide prospective adult mentors with information on the children the organization serves, the requirements to become a “big,” volunteer commitments and expectations, how to handle cultural differences and the variety of programs offered through the organization. Big Brothers and Big Sisters can spend four to eight hours a month as a mentor. Upcoming sessions include:

• 10:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 7, New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main St., New Port Richey.

• 5:30 to 7 p.m. Dec. 9, WellCare, 5113 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

No reservations needed. For information, contact Deb Kristol-Irwin at or (813) 997-6881.

Santas needed for Pasco’s seniors

Home Instead Senior Care is hosting its “Be a Santa to a Senior” program in the west Pasco area, where community members can give a senior a special holiday gift.

“Be a Santa to a Senior” trees are at various locations through Dec. 16. Each tree is decorated with ornaments featuring seniors’ first names and gift suggestions. Holiday shoppers can select an ornament, purchase the requested gift and return it to the store with the ornament attached. Community volunteers and program partners will wrap and deliver the gifts in time for the holidays.

For tree locations and information, visit or call (727) 845-5819.

Hospice 2020 calendar now available

Gulfside Hospice’s 2020 calendar is available to purchase. The 15-month calendar featuring photos taken in Pasco County, is available at all six Gulfside Hospice Thrift Shoppes, open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and Saturdays.

The calendar is the product of a photo contest held in September. More than 300 photos of Pasco events, places, landmarks and wildlife were submitted, with 19 winning photos chosen to make up the calendar. All proceeds from the sale help support patient care.

The Thrift Shoppes have locations in Dade City, Hudson, Lutz, New Port Richey and Zephyrhills. The calendars are $5. For store addresses and phone numbers, visit or call (727) 845-5707.


Kids host holiday drive

Kids Helping Kids Pasco County will host a Christmas Drive from 2 to 4 p.m. Dec. 14 at Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. New, unwrapped toys, clothing and shoes will be collected to support local families. For details, visit the Facebook page at


Free HIV testing offered

In recognition of World AIDS Day, the Florida Department of Health in Pasco County will offer a free testing event from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dec. 6 at 10841 Little Road.

The event is held in conjunction with the Public Defender’s Mobile Medical Unit, which offers free rapid HIV and hepatitis C testing at several locations throughout the county each month. Additional free testing for sexually-transmitted diseases is sometimes available as well. For information, visit

Date set to collect hazardous waste

A household hazardous waste and electronics collection event will be offered from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at the West Pasco Government Center complex, 7536 State St. Pasco County residents may dispose of their waste at no cost, but there is a $5 fee for televisions, computer monitors, computer towers and laptops; there is a $10 charge for televisions 36 inches or larger.

For a full list of household hazardous waste items that can be dropped off, visit


County representatives team up for food giveaway

Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano, Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, Property Appraiser Gary Joiner, Sheriff Chris Nocco, state Sen. Ed Hooper, state Rep. Ardian Zika and state Rep. Amber Mariano, in conjunction with Farm Share, will host the 25th-annual Farm Share Holiday Food Giveaway from 9 to 11 a.m. Dec. 13 at Faith Baptist Church, 9230 Ridge Road.

The giveaway includes fresh food donated by Florida’s farmers, as well as meat and other items (hams, canned goods, etc.) needed to make a complete holiday meal.

This is a drive-through pickup event. Food will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis. No food will be distributed before 9 a.m. For information, call (727) 847-8032 or (727) 847-8179.


  1. More than 44 percent of people who searched on for the Tampa Bay area from June to December were outside the region, according to a report from Apartment List. Percentages in the “Top Three Sources” box represent the share of searches coming from outside the metro area. (Apartment List map) [Apartment List]
    The region trails only Denver, Baltimore and San Diego for the percentage of people from outside the area searching for apartments on Apartment List.
  2. The New Port Richey Community Redevelopment Agency agreed to a deal that will bring a Keiser University campus to the city's gateway. [New Port Richey]
    The city agreed to buy properties at U.S. 19 and Main Street. A developer will build a new Keiser University campus and possibly a hotel.
  3. Rooker Properties of Atlanta plans to build at least 400,000 square feet of industrial and office space at what is now county-owned  land on Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel. Pictured is Rooker's Spartan Ridge Logistics Center, a 273,000-square-foot, Class-A industrial building in Spartanburg, S.C. It was constructed in 2018 and the company said the buildings planned for the Pasco County site will closely resemble this. [Rooker Properties]
    Rick Narkiewicz is seeking tenants for the planned Rooker Properties spec buildings known as North Tampa 75 Business Center.
  4. In his years as a state lawmaker and legislative leader on education issues, John Legg, a charter school operator, pushed for better funding for charters. Now his charter school, Dayspring Academy in Pasco County, won't benefit from a new law that shares state capital funding with charters. Legg left the state Senate last year. [SCOTT KEELER   |   TIMES]

    Former lawmaker John Legg won’t rule out running against two-term incumbent Kurt Browning.
  5. This home in Colonial Hills neighborhood in west Pasco has been vacant for 10 years, neighbors said. A new Pasco County ordinance would require the owners of vacant and rental residences to register their properties with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. [C.T. BOWEN  |  Tampa Bay Times]
    A new ordinance is supposed to aid sheriff’s deputies and code-enforcement officers dealing with rental or vacant properties.
  6. Pasco County Supervisor of Elections Brian Corley, middle, looks over an absentee ballot.
    A nonprofit is mailing millions of voter registration forms to Floridians this month in hopes of getting people on voter rolls in time for the 2020 election. Pasco’s supervisor of elections issued an...
  7. Members of the community march down Pine Hill Road from the Union Baptist Church to the African American Club of Pasco, as part of the annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. event held Jan. 20. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]
    The African American Club of Pasco holds annual MLK march and gathering.
  8. Jaclyn Campbell, 23, left, braves the cold temperatures while walking with her colleague Tysjah Pitchford during their lunch break in downtown Tampa in December. [OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times]
    Temperatures Tuesday reached the 30s for the first time since 2018. Wednesday will start there, too.
  9. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Tampa Bay Times]
    The motorcyclist pulled into the path of a Ford F-150 pickup truck, according to the according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
  10. Times
The family of Dania Vizzi of Odessa, is suing Pasco County over a disputed skeet-shooting range in Darby. Vizzi, above, is an Olympic hopeful and won a bronze medal at the 2019 Pan-American Games. [TIMES  |  (2017)]
    The Vizzi family sues Pasco County to maintain skeet shooting range over neighbors’ objections.