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Florida Loquat Festival plans underway

News and notes from Pasco County


Pasco-Hernando Foundation announces new leadership

The Pasco-Hernando State College foundation recently elected new leadership for its 2020 board of directors. Ronald May of Trinity was nominated chairman, and R. Seth Mann of Dade City was elected vice chairman. May is a financial adviser for the May Wealth Management Group of Wells Fargo Advisers. He has been a Foundation board member since 2003. Mann, an attorney, joined the Foundation in 1998 and has served in various leadership positions.

The board also welcomes two new directors, Morris Porton of Spring Hill and Ashley Policastri of Tampa.


Co.Starters course offered

The Pasco Economic Development Council will sponsor a session of Co.Starters, a national program that helps entrepreneurs turn an idea into a new business in nine weeks, from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesdays at the SMARTstart East Pasco Entrepreneur Center, 15029 14th St.

The registration deadline is March 13. The cost is $295. To register, visit Call Becky Martin at (813) 926-0827, ext. 221.


Ladies guild hosts events

Our Lady’s Guild of St. Vincent de Paul Church will host the following events:

• Card Party, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 18. The cost is $7, which includes lunch.

• Fashion Show and Tea Party, 11 a.m. March 25. Tickets are $15.

Both events will be in Father Farrell Hall at the church, 4843 Mile Stretch Drive. For tickets or details, call Charlene Vassalli at (727) 938-1974.


Scholarship offered to Hudson High students

The Heritage Pines Democratic Club will be awarding a $1,000 scholarship for post-secondary educational expenses. Applications are being accepted from seniors from Hudson High School who have demonstrated through curricular and extra-curricular activities the ability to better the community.

Applications may be obtained from Yvette Flynn-Gerardi, career specialist at the school, and must be completed and returned to her office no later than April 23. The award will be presented at 6 p.m. May 14 at Hudson High’s “Night of Excellence” program at the school, which features awards to numerous students.

This will be the Heritage Pines Democratic Club’s second presentation of this scholarship, which is planned to be a yearly award. Questions and comments are welcome at the club’s monthly meetings, held at 4 p.m. the third Thursday at the Heritage Pines Clubhouse, 11524 Scenic Hills Blvd., off County Line Road. The club also has a Facebook page.


Donations wanted for prom drive

Kids Helping Kids of Pasco County will have a Prom Drive from noon to 4 p.m. March 14 at Heritage Park, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd.

Donations needed include: formal dresses, suits, ties, dress shirts, women’s and men’s dress shoes, jewelry, hair accessories, and gift certificates for hair and nail salons, as well as restaurants. For further information, email or visit the nonprofit group’s Facebook page.

Celebrate St. Paddy on the greens

A St. Patrick’s Day Bash is planned for March 17 at Mulligans Irish Pub at Plantation Palms Golf Club, 23253 Plantation Palms Blvd. The event will include Irish music, Irish food and drink specials, entertainment and children’s activities, including a bounce house, in both an indoor and outdoor setting. This is a family and pet-friendly event.

Live music with Duke Gaffnet will be from 3 to 6 p.m., with Carrie and Christian from 6 to 9 p.m. Prizes and giveaways will be offered for best costumes and more.

There will be a $5 cover starting at 2 p.m. Meals, drinks, miniature golf and golf course fees are separate. Visit or call (813) 996-4653.


Loquat Fest includes art, poetry and — yep — loquats

The seventh-annual Florida Loquat Festival will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 21 at Frances Avenue Park. Volunteers, harvesters and harvest donors are wanted to participate. Canners also are wanted to prepare and sell preserves, including jellies, jams, compotes, canned halves and slices.

The first Loquat Art Show will be held at the festival. Artist Maureen Murphy will jury entries accepted for this event. Awards will be presented, including $250 for best of show, $200 for first place, $150 for second, $100 for third and $50 for honorable mention. Artists selected must set up a display in a canopied 10-foot by 10-foot tent, with set-up beginning at 8 a.m.

Poets and writers are needed for the Florida Loquat Literary Festival. Submissions are welcome, and all authors are invited to read at the event and to be published in the annual book, Leaves of Loquat, which will be presented next winter. Prizes will be awarded, including $200 for first place, $100 for second and $50 for third.

The deadline to submit entries is March 6. Writers can submit two poems. If making more than one submission, send both in a single document. Include a brief biography, sharing writing experience/publications, if any, and send to Submissions may be mailed to Friendship Farm and Fare, P.O. Box 596, New Port Richey, FL 34655-0596.

Those interested in volunteering to set up or help at the festival, being Literary Festival sponsors, or who want further information on the art show or other festival programs, can email Marilynn deChant at

YMCA to offer free swim lessons to kids

The YMCA of the Suncoast will offer free water safety lessons with the four-day “Safety Around Water” program March 16-19 at the James P. Gills Family YMCA, 8411 Photonics Drive.

The program is free and open to children 3-12 who are beginners or non-swimmers. During the four-day course, certified instructors will teach the children a sequenced set of skills that will reduce the risk of drowning and give them confidence in and around the water.

Participants must be present the first day of class and bring their own swimsuits and towels. YMCA membership is not required, but pre-registration is required due to limited space. Stop by the YMCA or call (727) 375-9622.

Business now offers U-Haul products, services

BBM Transport Services LLC, 4617 U.S. 19 N, is offering U-Haul products and services, including U-Haul trucks, trailers, towing equipment and moving supplies. For details, stop by or contact BBM at (727) 359-0415, or visit


Safety Town plans yard sale

A yard sale will be from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. March 27 and 28 at Pasco Safety Town, 15325 Alric Pottbert Road, off State Road 52. All proceeds from the sale will benefit the continuing safety education of children ages 5 to 8 at Safety Town. For details, call (813) 929-1203.


Dinner dance benefits scholarships

The African American Club of Pasco County is selling tickets for its seventh-annual Scholarship Dinner Dance, from 6 to 11 p.m. March 21 at Seven Springs Golf and Country Club, 3535 Trophy Road.

Tickets are $65 and must be purchased by March 14. Donations, tickets and VIP tables can be purchased at Checks can be made out to AAC of Pasco County and mailed to the club at P.O. Box 45, Port Richey, FL 34673.

The club’s goal is to raise $20,000 for scholarships in 2020 to support Pasco County youth. For further information, contact Trish Stevenson at (727) 495-3207.


Skating event benefits Sunrise of Pasco

“Skating with a Purpose” will be from 7 to 9 p.m. April 2 at AdventHealth Center Ice, 3173 Cypress Ridge Blvd. The event includes ice skating and a variety of appetizers provided by Top Shelf Catering.

The cost for ice skating is $12, with $2 of each skater’s fee donated to Sunrise of Pasco. VIP tickets are being sold separately for an additional $10, which gives access to a VIP room with food, access to a cash bar and an activity to benefit the children at the Sunrise shelter.

Sponsorships are available. For details or to purchase VIP tickets, contact Vicki Wiggins at or (352) 521-3358.

Sunrise of Pasco is a nonprofit domestic and sexual violence shelter that offers free services to victims and maintains a 40-bed emergency shelter to women and children in crisis.