Pasco and Hernando county news briefs

News and notes from Pasco and Hernando counties
Published January 13

Hernando County


Fertilizer ordinance now in effect

A fertilizer ordinance is in effect for Hernando County through March 31. This ordinance regulates how, where and when fertilizers can be applied to grass. During this time, only professional applicators who are trained, certified and registered may apply fertilizer.

The only forms of nitrogen fertilizer that may be applied during this time are those labeled as slow- or controlled-release.

Residents are asked to not fertilize their lawns unless a certified landscape professional is hired; the landscape professional should show a certificate of training through the Green Industries Best Management Practices Program.

For information, contact the Hernando County Cooperative Extension Service at (352) 754-4433 or visit Professional applicators needing to register with the county should call the Hernando County Permitting office at (352) 754-4050.

College offers annual MLK series

Pasco-Hernando State College will host the 34th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Lecture Series featuring Derrick White, visiting professor from Dartmouth College and historian and scholar of black studies. White will present "Making a King: The Contested Legacies of a Civil Rights Icon" at the following campuses:

• 10:15 to 11:15 a.m. Jan. 23 at Porter Campus at Wiregrass Ranch, Conference Center, Room B303,2727 Mansfield Blvd., Wesley Chapel.

• 1:15 to 2:15 p.m. Jan. 23 at the West Campus, Conference Center, Room R151, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey.

• 9:45 to 10:45 a.m. Jan. 24 at the North Campus, Room B104/105, 11415 Ponce de Leon Blvd., Brooksville.

The presentation will examine how various organizations have interpreted King's life and work in the decades after his assassination. White will explore King's socio-political philosophy in the months before his death, and how organizations such as the Institute of the Black World and the Martin Luther King Center clashed over the activist's legacy. Finally, White will review how the modern interpretation of King's life shapes contemporary civil rights policy.

There is no cost to attend a presentation. For information, contact PHSC at 1-855-669-7472.

Homeowners asked to skip a week of watering

The Southwest Florida Water Management District reminds residents who irrigate their lawns to skip a week or more of watering during the cooler months of January and February.

According to research by the University of Florida, grass doesn't need to be watered as often during the cooler months, and only one half to three quarters of an inch of water every 10 to 14 days is sufficient.

Grass needs water when grass blades are folded in half lengthwise on at least one-third of the yard; when grass blades appear blue-gray; and when grass blades do not spring back, leaving footprints on the lawn for several minutes after walking on it.

For further information, visit

Scholarships are now available

The following organizations are offering scholarships:

• Florida State Association of Supervisor of Elections will award three $1,200 scholarships this year to political science/public or business administration or journalism/mass communication majors who have completed two years of junior college or undergraduate work. Applicants must be enrolled or accepted as full-time students in a senior college or university in Florida. Completed applications along with two letters of recommendation must be submitted no later than March 29 to the Supervisor of Elections office in which the applicant is registered to vote. For information or an application, stop by the Hernando County Supervisor of Elections office at the Hernando County Government Center, 20 N Main St., Brooksville, visit or call (352) 754-4125.

•The Sons and Daughters of Italy Nature Coast Lodge 2502 will offer two $1,000 scholarships to Hernando County graduating seniors of Italian descent. To be eligible, students must be accepted as a full-time student at an accredited junior college, college or university following graduation in 2019. Students must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (unweighted), complete a four-page application and submit a 750-word essay relating to Italian history or culture. Applications must be postmarked no later than March 18. Winners will be requested to attend a dinner meeting on April 25 at St. Theresa Catholic Church, Rosmini Hall, along with their parents/guardians. Applications are available in all Hernando County public high schools.

Free tax preparations offered

Low- and middle-income residents can have their federal income tax preparations done free through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program. With support from the United Way of Hernando County, the VITA program provides free federal tax preparation assistance by appointment only, at the following locations:• United Way of Hernando County, 4028 Commercial Way, Spring Hill. 9 a.m. to noon Tuesdays and Thursdays, Jan. 22 through April 11. Call (352) 251-7178.• Mining Association Enrichment Center, 800 John Gary Grubbs Blvd., Brooksville. 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays Jan. 25 through April 12 (closed Feb. 18). Call (352) 688-8502.• Spring Hill Branch/Harold G. Zopp Memorial Library, 9220 Spring Hill Drive. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Jan. 25 through April 13. Call (352) 688-8502.

One-day VITA sites with the Mobile One United Bus will be offered from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 13 at Publix at Hernando West Store 220, 1400 Pinehurst Drive, Spring Hill; and 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 20 at Publix at Barclay Store 630, 14371 Spring Hill Drive, Spring Hill. For an appointment, call (352) 688-8502.

The service is available to those with low to moderate income (generally $66,000 or less) and no rental property or farm income. The following items are needed at the appointment: Social Security or Individual Taxpayer ID cards for everyone claimed on the return; photo ID for taxpayers; all income forms, W-2 and 1099 forms; information for all deductions/credits; copy of last year's tax return; proof of account for direct deposit of refund (e.g. a voided check).


Camp offered to grieving children

Suncoast Kids Place, Center for Grieving Children, Teens and Families, will host Camp Erin Tampa Bay Jan. 25-27 at Lakewood Retreat, 25458 Dan Brown Hill Road, Brooksville.

This will be a transformational weekend camp specifically designed for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of a loved one. Camp Erin combines traditional, fun camp activities with grief education and emotional support. It is led by grief professionals and trained volunteers, and offered at no cost to families.

Camp Erin will allow participants to increase their levels of hopes, self-esteem and to learn that they are not alone.

Applications for campers and volunteers are available at For information, call (813) 990-0216.


Center offers various activities

The Tri-County Community Center, 28444 Forbes St., is offering the following programs:

• Pokeno, 12:30 p.m. every third and fourth Monday (bring pennies).

• Card games, 12:30 to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays.

• Coffee social, 9 to 10 a.m. Wednesdays.

• Knit and crochet, 1 to 3:30 p.m. Wednesdays.

• Jolly Quilters, 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays.

• Bingo, 6 to 10 p.m. Thursdays.

For information, call Dorrie at (352) 587-4014.

Spring Hill

Botanical Gardens waive wedding fee

The Nature Coast Botanical Gardens is waiving its wedding fee for the month of February.

The fee waiver is for the use of the gardens, located at 1489 Parker Ave. There is a fee for table and chair rentals.

The gardens new paved paths lead guests to the Rose Garden Gazebo or the Asian Garden for a wedding event. A picnic area is available for the reception.

For further information, visit the website at and click on the "Your Wedding" tab.

Program offered on mental health

The Hernando County Community Coalition will offer a Mental Health First Aid training course Feb. 8 at Pasco-Hernando State College's Spring HillCampus, 450 Beverly Court.

This is an eight-hour program designed to provide key skills to help someone who is developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. Just as CPR training helps a layperson without medical training assist individuals in medical emergencies, this Mental Health First Aid training also helps one to assist those having a mental health crisis.

The training is free. For further details and to sign up, email to or call ((352) 596-8000.


Pasco County


Big Brothers Big Sisters needs mentors

January is National Mentoring Month and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Tampa Bay has embarked on a recruiting campaign in Pasco County to find adult volunteer mentors who would like to change the life of a child for the better.

Big Brothers Big Sisters offers several programs to choose from in Pasco County, all which require only 4 to 8 volunteer hours a month. The community-based program enables the "Big" and "Little" to spend time together in the evening or on weekends, enjoying activities that they choose. There is a school-based program for matches who would prefer to meet one hour each week at the child's school during the academic year.

To learn more about becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister, several orientation and training sessions are held throughout the county each month. For a complete schedule, visit and follow the "Volunteer" links. No RSVP is required. For information, call (813) 997-6881.

Tax office holds essay contest

Pasco County Tax Collector Mike Fasano announced his office is accepting entries in a month-long essay contest, which begins Feb. 1 and continues through Feb. 28.

The essay contest is open to Pasco County high school students, including students that go to public, charter, private, parochial, and home schools. The essay is to be 500 words or less and answer the question: Should property taxes be raised or lowered? What would be the impact of whichever decision you make?

Entries will be judged by a panel of directors from the Pasco County Tax Collector's Office. They will be reviewed on how well the student communicates his or her response to the question, as well as overall essay structure, appearance and readability.

Essays can be sent to Greg Giordano, Assistant Tax Collector, Pasco County Tax Collector's Office, P.O. Box 276, Dade City, FL 33526. Entries can be delivered to the New Port Richey office at 4730 U.S. 19 (sent in care of Greg Giordano); as well as by email at For information, call Giordano at (727) 847-8179.


Community club hosts ice cream social

Crest Ridge Gardens Community Club, 4806 Phoenix Avenue, will host a free Ice Cream Social from 2 to 4 p.m. Jan. 27. The event is a chance for residents to get to know their neighbors.

For further information about the club, visit


Flotilla to offer boating safety class

The Hudson Flotilla 11-7 U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer the About Boating Safely course from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 26 at its training facility, 9135 Denton Ave.

Successful completion earns the Florida Boating Safety Education Card. The cost is $40 per person, $20 for additional family members. The fee includes a digital manual and processing. Advanced registration is appreciated. Email or call (727) 697-8013.

Land O' Lakes

'Lawnscaping' series to be offered

The Pasco County Cooperative Extension Service will offer a "Newcomers Guide to Pasco Lawnscaping" series at the Land O’ Lakes Heritage Park Community Center, 5401 Land O’ Lakes Blvd. Sessions will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 26 and Feb. 2.

The series is recommended for newcomers, but will appeal to all homeowners struggling with lawn and landscaping issues in Central Florida. It will be presented by County Extension Director/Urban Horticulture Agent Whitney Elmore, Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Manager Jim Moll and Florida-Friendly Landscaping Program Coordinator Frank Galdo.

Topics include:

•Growing Resilient Turfgrass — includes information on diseases, pest and turf species

• Soil Fertility and Proper use of Fertilizers

• Using Irrigation Properly and Irrigation Troubleshooting — includes information on reclaimed water use

• Florida-Friendly Landscaping — Common Landscaping Pitfalls.

The cost is $10 per person, and includes both sessions. Parking is free. Seating is limited and registration ends Jan. 24. To register, visit, or call (352) 518-0156.

New Port Richey

International children's choir to perform

Children of the World choir will perform at 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at First Baptist Church Elfers, 4050 Redleaf Drive, as part of its 2018-19 Refuge + Strength tour, which is taking the choir throughout the U.S., telling stories of refugee children and families, and raising awareness of the challenges they face.

Children of the World is an international children's choir founded by the humanitarian organization World Help. This year, children have come as far as Uganda and Nepal to sing, dance and tell stories of the refugee children.

Other nearby stops along the tour include concerts at 8:30 and 9:30 a.m. Jan. 23 at Elfers Christian School, and at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 24 at Faith Community Church in Seminole.

Quilt show set for Feb. 2

The quilters of Leisure RV Resort will host the 14th annual Leisure Days Quilt Show from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 2 at 34533 Leisure Days Drive.

The show will include quilts created by individual quilters, wall hangings and specialty quilts from family treasures. Admission is $5. For information, call Helen at (813) 395-5706.

Free dental services offered to the needy

Dr. Vincent Monticciolo, through Dentistry from the Heart will host his 18th annual free dentistry day Feb. 8 at his practice, Monticciolo Family and Sedation Dentistry, 5139 Little Road.

The day will begin with patient registration at 6 a.m., an opening ceremony at 6:45 a.m., with the first patient seen at 7 a.m.

An estimated 450 individuals in need will receive free dental services, including a free cleaning, filling or extraction. People will be seen on a first-come, first-served basis.

Dr. Monticciolo will be joined by his staff, local dentists, dental hygienists, dental assistants and numerous other volunteers. There will be about 200 volunteers lending a hand at the event. Area businesses are donating food and drinks for the volunteers, and OneBlood of Trinity/New Port Richey will have a blood mobile unit for blood donations.

Dentistry from the Heart is a worldwide nonprofit organization, founded by Dr. Monticciolo, that is dedicated to providing free dental care to those in need.

Festival celebrates collards, winter gardens

The New Port Richey FarmNet will host the fourth-annual Collards Festival and Winter Garden Expo from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 26 at Grand Gardens, 5721 Grand Blvd.

The event will feature cool weather produce, bedding plants and seedlings for cool weather, gardening materials, organic and heirloom seeds, locally-grown vegetable seedlings, organic soil and locally-grown loquat fruit trees. There will be opportunities to acquire a plot at Grand Gardens.

T-shirts and cookbooks will be available. Tours of Grand Gardens will be offered, and there will be a program about FarmNet and New Port Richey's growing urban agriculture project.

There is no cost to attend. Donations toward FarmNet programming will be appreciated.

Port Richey

Roller derby to benefit homeless

Revolution Roller Derby, a flat-track roller derby league, will host a battle at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 27 at SpinNations Skating Center, 8345 Congress St.

The bout will be between Revolution's co-ed team, Mom & Pop's Militia, and a mash-up of other skaters from around the world.

The event is to benefit the Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County. There will be a collection of canned goods, household items and gift cards for the nonprofit organization. Visit the website at to see what other items are needed.

Entry will be $12 at the door. Those who bring donations will receive $2 off entry. Spectators are encouraged to bring chairs for closer seating. Refreshments will be available at the cafe. For information, call (727) 280-7981.

San Antonio

Vendors wanted for community yard sale

The Rotary Club of San Antonio will host a Community Yard Sale from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 9 at San Antonio City Park, 12202 Main St.

Vendor spaces are available for $20 (you keep all your proceeds). Vendors are to bring their own tables and chairs.

The yard sale is held in conjunction with the monthly farmer's market sponsored by the Rotary Club. Hot dogs and drinks are available for purchase. For information or to reserve a space, call Betty at (352) 588-3825 or email

Wesley Chapel

Deadline approaches for ’Spotlight on Talent’

Applications are being accepted through Jan. 24 for the 36th-annual “Spotlight on Talent” competition. The event is organized by the Heritage Arts Center Association and is open to students through 12th grade.

More than $4,000 in cash prizes and awards will be given, as well as a $1,000 scholarship to a Pasco County graduating senior. All types of talents and performers are welcome.

Applications are available online, at area schools, Chambers of Commerce and music and dance studios. Auditions will be Feb. 9. Final shows will be March 9 at the Arts at Wesley Chapel High School. For details or to register, visit, email to or call (352) 567-1720.


Soccer tryouts set for Jan. 28-Feb. 1

Elite Soccer Skills Academy will have tryouts for the ESSA Soccer Development Games Program for the 2019-20 season Jan. 28 through Feb. 1 at Samuel W. Pasco Athletic Complex, 39835 Chancey Road.

The program is for boys and girls ages 5 to 23. There is no cost for tryouts, but those attending must preregister as spaces are limited. To register or for further information, visit the website at

Contact Phyllis Day at or (352) 848-1408. Follow @pdaytimes.