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Kick-off luncheon planned for 2020 Business Development Week

News and notes on Pasco businesses
Rani Ezra is the new sales training manager at Sun Toyota. [Sun Toyota]
Rani Ezra is the new sales training manager at Sun Toyota. [Sun Toyota]
Published Jan. 12


PROMOTION AT SUN TOYOTA: Sun Toyota announced that Moran “Rani” Ezra was recently promoted to the new position of sales training manager. Originally from Israel, Ezra immigrated to Virginia in 2012, where he had a successful career in the skin care industry. He moved to Florida in 2016 and took a sales position at Sun Toyota, soon after it was acquired by Morgan Auto Group. He helped improve the dealership’s sales training program and created training materials and videos for the dealership’s new employee orientation program.

NATURE SHOP OPENS: The new Wild Birds Unlimited shop opens Jan. 17 at 12470 State Road 54, Odessa. The local franchise, owned by Kathy and Lisa Massey-Williams, carries seeds and seed blends specially formulated to attract birds in this region, as well as bird feeders, bird houses and specialty garden and gift items. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. A grand opening celebration is planned for Feb. 7-9, and will include nature talks, prize drawings, refreshments, giveaways and product demonstrations. Call (727) 375-8788 or visit

ACCESS PHYSICIAN RECOGNIZED: Access Health Care Physicians announced that Ian Adam, MD, board-certified in internal medicine, and his team have achieved renewed recognition under the National Committee for Quality Assurance Patient Centered Medical Home Recognition Program. Dr. Adam’s office is at 5323 Grand Blvd., New Port Richey. Call (727) 848-4600.


VISION BOARD WORKSHOP: “2020 Visualize It,” a free vision board workshop, will be presented from 1 to 5 p.m. Jan. 17 at SpringHill Suites by Marriott Suncoast Parkway, 16615 Crosspointe Run, Land O’ Lakes. This is for those who wish to reach the milestones and achieve their goals they set for 2020 by using a vision map. Free. Visit or call (813) 486-2837.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT WEEK: The Greater Pasco Chamber of Commerce will host the 2020 Business Development Week kick-off luncheon from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. The keynote speaker is Michele Smith, a double Olympic softball gold medalist with the U.S. National Team, having played in the 1996 and 2000 Summer Olympics. In 2006, she was inducted into the ASA Softball Hall of Fame and has played professionally in the Japanese Professional Softball League. The cost is $30 for members, $40 for future members. Seating is limited. RSVP to

WEIGHT LOSS SEMINAR, OPEN HOUSE: Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point will host an open house and seminar on weight management and weight-loss surgery on Jan. 24 at the Rao Musunuru, MD, Conference Center, 14100 Yosemite Drive, Hudson. The open house will be from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. The new da Vinci X Robotic System will be introduced, and will include demonstrations. Visitors can meet the weight loss surgery team and learn more about the weight management program. There will be complimentary health screenings for blood pressure, body mass index and blood sugar. A weight management informational seminar will be conducted at 11:30 a.m., by Dr. Donald Fridley, II, who specializes in general and bariatric surgery. Admission to the seminar is free and will include a complimentary healthy lunch. Seating is limited and reservations are required. RSVP to (727) 869-5498.

HEALTH SEMINAR: Morton Plant North Bay Hospital will offer a free health seminar, Common Injuries in Active Adults, at noon Jan. 24 in Rooms 2 and 3 of the Bekesh Education and Conference Center on hospital grounds, 6600 Madison Ave., New Port Richey. Orthopedic surgeon Jennifer Swaringden, MD, will review common shoulder, elbow and knee injuries that can happen when playing sports and discuss treatment options. To preregister, call (727) 953-6877 or visit

ECONOMIC FORECAST 2020: The Pasco Economic Development Council will host an Economic Forecast 2020 Luncheon Jan. 31 at the Hyatt Place Tampa/Wesley Chapel, 26000 Sierra Center Blvd., Wesley Chapel. Networking and registration is at 11 a.m., with a buffet lunch and presentation from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. The presentation will be by Robert “Tim” McGee, director of macro strategy and research for U.S. Trust, Bank of America Private Wealth Management. Advanced registration required by Jan. 30, and the event typically sells out each year. The cost is $35 by Jan. 18, then $40; $30 for Pasco County staff. Visit

Building skills

SMALL-BUSINESS SEMINARS: Pasco Hernando SCORE is presenting a series of free small-business seminars. Unless otherwise specified, seminars are held 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.:

• Introduction to Small Business Taxes, Jan. 20, SMARTstart West Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 4532 U.S. 19, New Port Richey.

• Creating a Successful Business Plan, Jan. 21, Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, 2918 Collier Parkway, Land O’ Lakes.

• How to Apply for a Business Loan, 4 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 21, Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill.

• How to Apply for a Nonprofit Grant, Jan. 22, Hudson Regional Library, 8012 Library Road, Hudson.

To register or for more information, visit and click on the local workshops tab, or call the SCORE office at (727) 842-4638.

SMARTSTART CLASS: A free class, “Building a Cyber Wall-Securing Your Networks, Data and Business,” will be offered from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Jan. 22 at the East Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 15029 14th St., Dade City. The class is part of the SMARTstart Entrepreneur Education Series offered through the Pasco Economic Development Council. RSVP online at Call toll-free at 1-888-607-2726.

Networking and mixers

• Trinity Positive Business Network: 8:30 a.m. Mondays at Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Kelly Steen at (813) 388-8726.

• Women’s Connection of New Port Richey: 11:30 a.m. the second Monday of each month (September through May) at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Cost is $15 and includes lunch and a speaker. To RSVP, call Linda at (727) 856-4042 or Betty, (727) 807-6760.

• BNI Overachievers Chapter: 7 to 9 a.m. Wednesdays at Myrtle Lake Baptist Church, 2017 Reigler Road, Land O’ Lakes. Call (813) 317-5556 or visit

• BNI Outlook to Success: 7:30 a.m. Tuesdays at Verizon Event Center, 8718 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Call (727) 815-7744.

• Suncoast Women in Networking: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. the third Tuesday of each month at Beef O’ Brady’s, 5546 Main St., New Port Richey. Suncoast WIN is a group of professional businesswomen. Membership is $10 per year. Call Linda McFarland at (727) 863-6151.

• Rotary Club of Lutz: 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays at Heritage Harbor Golf and Country Club, 19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz. Cost is $12, includes lunch and speaker. Call (813) 857-7089 or visit

• West Pasco Business Association: Monday Lunch Chapter, noon to 1 p.m. Mondays, Johnny Brusco’s, 10730 State Road 54, Trinity. Tuesday Breakfast Chapter, 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. at Hampton Inn, 1780 State Road 54, Odessa. Tuesday After Hours Chapter, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tuesdays, FlameStone Grill Trinity, 10900 State Road 54, Trinity. Thursday Lunch Chapter, noon to 1 p.m. Thursdays, Giovanni’s Fresh Italian Kitchen, 37611 U.S. 19, Palm Harbor. Friday Breakfast Chapter, 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Fridays at the Oasis Coffee Spot, 9213 Little Road, New Port Richey. The group is made up of professionals who promote each other’s businesses. Each chapter is seat-specific. Contact Maria Johnson, or (727) 934-0940. Visit

• Coffee First: 8 to 9 a.m. the fourth Tuesday of the month at First National Bank of Pasco, 23613 State Road 54, Lutz. The event is hosted by the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce in partnership with First National Bank of Pasco. Free and open to the public. (813) 607-2555.

• East Pasco Networking Group: 7:30 p.m. the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at IHOP, 13100 U.S. 301, Dade City. Annual dues are $25. Nils Lenz, (813) 782-9491.

• Trinity Business Association: 6 to 7:30 p.m. the first and third Tuesdays of each month at Fox Hollow Country Club, 10050 Robert Trent Jones Parkway. Networking begins at 5:30 p.m., meeting starts at 6 p.m. Guests welcome. Cost is $12. Call Ginny Pierce at (727) 433-4073.

• BNI Platinum: 7:15 a.m. Wednesdays at Heritage Harbor Golf & Country Club, 19502 Heritage Harbor Parkway, Lutz. Call Bob Nixon at (813) 263-5632.

• Pasco Business Connections: 7:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Broken Yolk, 3350 Grand Blvd., Holiday. Email

• Wednesday Morning Networking Group: 7:30 a.m. the first Wednesday of each month at Hungry Harry’s Family Bar-B-Que, 3116 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. A short networking presentation will be followed by a chance for all attendees to do a 30-second commercial. Cost is $7 in advance for members, $10 for guests, and includes breakfast. Call the Central Pasco Chamber of Commerce at (813) 909-2722.

• Keep It Local-Trinity Chapter: 8 a.m. Wednesdays at Havana Dreamers Cafe, 3104 Town Ave., Trinity. (813) 405-7815.

• Pasco Aging Network: 8 to 10 a.m. the second Wednesday of each month. Location changes each month. For information or to RSVP, visit PAN is a coalition of agencies and private providers of elder services in Pasco.

• Keep It Local-Wesley Chapel Chapter: 8:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Lexington Oaks Golf & Country Club, 26133 Lexington Oaks Blvd., Wesley Chapel. (813) 405-7815.

• Keep It Local-Christian Women’s Network Chapter: 9:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Direction Connection, 2632 U.S. 19, Holiday. (813) 405-7815.

• Free Networking International: 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesdays at Cantina Laredo, 2000 Piazza Ave., Building 4, Suite 170, Wesley Chapel (at the Shops at Wiregrass). Attendees pay for their own lunch. Call Martine Duncan at (813) 929-6816.

• Keep It Local-New Port Richey Chapter: 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at the Direction Connection, 2632 U.S. 19, Holiday. (813) 405-7815.

• Keep It Local-Odessa/Trinity Chapter: 11:30 a.m. Wednesdays at Seven Springs Golf & Country Club, 3535 Trophy Blvd., Trinity. (813) 405-7815.

• BNI Eagles: 7:15 a.m. Thursdays at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave., New Port Richey. Cost is $10 and includes breakfast. Call Clay Henderson at (727) 534-5191.

• BNI Referral Connection: 7:15 to 9 a.m. Thursdays at Vallarta’s Mexican Restaurant, 22948 State Road 54, Lutz. Call Rob Hamilton at (813) 431-5887.

• Christian Business Connections of Central Pasco: 7:45 to 9:15 a.m. Thursdays at Quail Hollow Golf Club, 6225 Old Pasco Road, Wesley Chapel. Cost of $9 per meeting, includes breakfast and beverages. Annual membership dues are $100. Call Rene Van Hout at (813) 300-7511.

• Trinity/West Pasco Chapter of NPI: 7:45 a.m. Thursdays at The Grand Plaza Café, 4040 Little Road, New Port Richey. Call Rob Marlowe at (727) 847-2424.

• Networking For Your Success: 8 a.m. Thursdays at Lexington Oaks Country Club, 2615 Lexington Oaks Blvd., Wesley Chapel. Cost is $5 and includes a continental breakfast. Annual membership is $79. Call Matt at (813) 782-1777.

• Women-n-Charge: 11:30 a.m. on the first Friday of each month, Plantation Palms Golf Club, 23253 Plantation Palms Blvd., Land O’ Lakes. The cost is $15 for members and $18 for guests who RSVP by Monday prior to the meeting. Tuesday and after, the cost is $20 for members and $23 for guests. To RSVP, visit For information, call Judy at (813) 600-9848.

• Women of Wesley Chapel (WOW): 7:30 to 9 a.m. first Friday of each month, Beach House Assisted Living and Memory Care at Wiregrass Ranch, 30070 State Road 56, Wesley Chapel. WOW is the North Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce’s women only networking group. The cost is $5, includes breakfast and networking. To RSVP, call (813) 994-8534 or email


  1. The antebellum mansions of Charleston's East Battery are a highlight of the city's historic district. SUSAN C. HEGGER  |  St. Louis Post Dispatch (2004) [SUSAN C. HEGGER  |  KRT]
  2. A mockup of a sign designed to create a sense of identity and community engagement in New Tampa. [Photo courtesy Sam Becker]
  3. Check for the latest breaking news and updates. [Times]
  4. MICHELE MILLER |  Times
The apartment-building boom along the State Road 54 and SR 56 corridor in southern Pasco County has sparked a public debate among Pasco commission members wondering how many is too many when it comes to multifamily housing. On Tuesday, commissioners indicated they will kill the transportation subsidy for new apartment complexes.
  5. Kathy Stearns, owner of Dade City's Wild Things, holds a 2-week-old baby tiger after bottle feeding. [CHRIS URSO  |  Times (2015)]
  6. Sara, Mouse, Lilly and Mario are looking for their forever homes. [Courtesy of Hernando County Animal Services, St. Francis Animal Rescue, Pasco County Animal Services, Friends of Strays]
  7. Port Richey is considering imposing boat launching fees at Nick’s Park. The parking lot at the riverfront park is particularly busy on weekends. [Times (2014)]
  8. An aerial photo shows the rescue of jet skier Cole Torrent from the stilt house where he spent the night after losing his jet ski off the Pasco County coast Tuesday. [Pasco County Sheriff's Office]
  9. Graduates enjoy fireworks at Bright House Field.
  10. State Attorney Bernie McCabe, right, has been working from home after suffering an "adverse health event." [Times (2018)]
  11. More than 100 people turned out Jan. 15, 2019, to give the Pasco County School Board their thoughts on the district's policy and procedures for transgender student rights. [JEFFREY S. SOLOCHEK  |  Times]
  12. Hudson High student Kaitlyn Helzer introduces herself to a curious corn snake during the Nature Coast Envirothon, held Feb. 19 at Dade Battlefield Historic State Park in Sumter County. Students from Pasco, Hernando, Sumter and Citrus counties tested their knowledge on aquatics, forestry, soils and wildlife while vying for a spot at state competition. [MICHELE MILLER  |  Times]