1. Pasco

Pasco and Hernando News Briefs

Published Nov. 23, 2018

Hernando County


Horner appointed to Learning Coalition board

Gov. Rick Scott has appointed Jacob Horner to the board of directors of the Early Learning Coalition of Pasco and Hernando counties. His term began Nov. 16 and ends April 30, 2021.

Horner, 29, of Odessa, is senior manager of government affairs with WellCare Health Plans. For information, contact Naomi Gillick at (727) 233-8291 or

Utilities offer water-saving rebates

The Hernando County Utilities Department is offering three water conservation rebate programs through Sept. 27, 2019. The programs are available to Utilities customers only:

• Low-Flow Toilet Rebate Program: Up to $200 ($100 per toilet) water bill credit is given to qualified customers who have their high gallon-per-flush toilet (manufactured prior to 1994) changed out with a new water-saving toilet. A participating plumber must be used to purchase and install the new toilet(s).

Rain Sensor Rebate Program: A $50 water bill credit is available to qualified customers who replace the rain sensor on their irrigation system. Outside water use accounts for at least half of total household use. The irrigation system must be older than 2005 and a participating irrigation contractor must be used to purchase and install the rain sensor.

High-Efficiency Clothes Washer Rebate Program: A $100 water bill credit is given to qualified customers who replace their non-high efficiency clothes washer with a new Energy Star-labeled efficiency clothes washing machine. Customers must request an authorized code prior to purchasing a high-efficiency washing machine.

For lists of participating plumbers and contractors, and additional program details, visit or call (352) 754-4705.


Artists wanted for new exhibit

The Uptown Art Gallery wants artists to submit 3-5 pieces of artwork for its "Spirit of the Holiday" exhibit.

Artwork must be submitted between 9 a.m. and noon Dec. 1 at the gallery at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave. Works must be gallery-ready to hang, with a wire securely attached to the back of the work. A card should be attached to the back or bottom of the piece with the artist's name, medium used and the price (if not for sale, state that instead of a price). Student work is welcome.

All mediums are welcome, including 3-D art. New display cases are available to secure smaller items.

Those who participated in the "Giving Thanks" exhibit are reminded to pick up their pieces on Dec. 1. For information, contact Judity McIntire at (207) 809-9066 or (352) 540-3810.

Conservation center hosts archery event

A 3-D Archery event will be offered at 9 a.m. Dec. 8 at Chinsegut Conservation Center, 23212 Lake Lindsey Road, north of Brooksville. Those participating should arrive prior to 9 a.m. to register.

Bring your own bows and shoot on the 15 lane, 3-D archery course sponsored by Drawn by Grace. The cost is $10 for adults, $5 for ages 13-16, and free for ages 12 and younger; there is a $25 per family maximum. For details, call (352) 754-6722.

City hosts decoration contests

The City of Brooksville Beautification Board's "Best Christmas Decorations of 2018" contest is underway. Board members will select winners on Dec. 11 in two categories: best residential Christmas display and best commercial Christmas display.

City residents and businesses wishing to participate must have their properties lit up by 6 p.m. for a chance to claim this year's bragging rights.

Award winners will be recognized at the Brooksville City Council meeting at 7 p.m. Dec. 17. Winners will receive a plaque and a gift of recognition.

To nominate a property, call Dodie Barger at (352) 540-3830.

Participants wanted for Heritage Day

The Hernando Historical Museum Association is seeking vendors, artists, crafters, storytellers, authors and re-enactors to participate in the upcoming Heritage Day Festival from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Feb. 16 at the 1885 Train Depot and Countryman Family One Room Schoolhouse at 66 and 70 Russell St.

All those participating will set up along the Good Neighbor Trail. The vendor fee is $30 for a 10-foot by 10-foot space. There is no cost for demonstrators intending to display, act out, enrich or teach attendees. For details and vendor application, call Mary at (352) 515-3054 or email

Spring Hill

Model railroad club hosts open house

The West Hernando Central Model Railroad will host an open house, as well as a model railroad show and swap meet from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 8 at 4042 Deltona Blvd.

There will also be modeling demonstrations, including weathering, modular building, spray painting, Lionel repairs and HO engine repair assistance. Custom building and DCC decoder installation is available. Refreshments will be available.

New members are being sought. Children accompanied by an adult are welcome. Parking is available in back of the building. For information, contact John at (352) 684-2484.

Sponsors wanted for dark dining event

The Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind will host the fifth-annual Dining in the Dark on Feb. 9 at Silverthorn Country Club, 4550 Golf Club Lane. Those who make reservations to the event by Dec. 15 will be entered to win the early bird prize valued at a minimum of $100.

Dining in the Dark is a unique culinary "celebration of the senses," enhanced by darkness. It will include a reception, silent auction and dancing.

This dinner dance is a fundraiser that benefits Lighthouse services for people who are visually impaired and blind. Seats are $100 each. Sponsorships and advertising opportunities are available. For reservations, visit For information, call (727) 815-0303 or (352) 754-1132, or email to


Pasco County


Driver safety course offered to seniors

The AARP Driver Safety Program class will be offered at several Pasco County locations during December. The course is open to drivers ages 50 and older who, upon completion, may receive a discount on their auto insurance premiums. The certificate is valid for three years. The cost for the course is $15 for AARP members (bring membership card) and $20 for nonmembers. Space is limited; preregistration is required. For class times, contact the instructor.

• Dec. 7, Land O' Lakes Library, 2818 Collier Parkway, Land O' Lakes; call Bev Cogdill, (813) 907-3908.

• Dec. 11, Centennial Park Library, 5740 Moog Road, Hudson; call Mohan Hebbar, (407) 342-9300.

• Dec. 14, New River Library, 34043 State Road 54, Zephyrhills; call Bev Cogdill, (813) 907-3908.

• Dec. 28, Zephyrhills Library, 5347 Eighth Ave., Zephyrhills; call Bev Cogdill, (813) 907-3908.

Animal Services uses face recognition app

Pasco County Animal Services is using facial recognition technology to identify lost dogs and cats with the Finding Rover App. Pet owners can download the free app from the App Store or Google Play.

Those who lose a pet or find one can upload a photo of the animal to the app or at to begin the search and matching process. Every dog and cat that enters the Pasco County Animal Services shelter system is registered on Finding Rover. In addition to helping lost pets return home, Finding Rover also features dogs and cats available for adoption.

Tax office sponsors holiday giving opportunities

The Pasco County Tax Collector's Office is sponsoring the following events to help the community during the 2018 holiday season:

Toys for Tots: All five tax collector offices are drop-off sites for the Marine Corps League's annual toy drive. Toys will be collected up to Dec. 15.

Salvation Army's Red Kettle Drive: The Gulf Harbors and Wesley Chapel offices will be Red Kettle donation sites from 8:30 a.m. to noon Dec. 8 and Dec. 15.

The Volunteer Way/Farm Share: Collection jars are located at all five tax offices throughout December. Donations collected will help purchase fresh food for families in need.

Be a Santa to a Senior: "Giving Trees" are located in each of the five tax offices. Visitors can stop by and claim an ornament, which has a Christmas wish from a senior citizen in the community. Ornaments are available until all have been claimed; gifts will be collected up until Dec. 15.

For details on each program and other information, call Greg Giordano, Assistant Tax Collector, at (727) 847-8179.


Mobile blood drive sets up at hospital

A blood drive with OneBlood's Big Red Bus will be from noon to 5 p.m. Dec. 7 at Regional Medical Center Bayonet Point, 14000 Fivay Road.

All donors will receive a OneBlood fleece blanket and wellness checkup to include blood pressure, temperature, iron count and cholesterol screening.

Photo ID will be required. Appointments can be scheduled online at and using sponsor code #12280.

Chair-ity Festival returns to SunWest Park

The second annual CARES Beach Chair-ity Festival will be 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Dec. 15 and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 15 at SunWest Park, 17362 Old Dixie Highway.

The festival will include food vendors, beach games, bands performing throughout the weekend, crafts, draft beer and games. Saturday's highlights include pictures with Santa, a volleyball tournament and fireworks at dusk. The auction will be on Sunday, and will include sponsors' one-of-a-kind painted Adirondack chairs, which will be judged and auctioned to the highest bidders.

Admission is free; parking is $5. Proceeds will benefit CARES, a nonprofit agency that helps seniors, caregivers and families in Pasco County. For information, call (727) 967-5737 or visit

Land O' Lakes

All-Star football game pits east vs. west

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes in Pasco County will host the fourth annual All-Star Football Game at 7 p.m. Dec. 7 at Sunlake Field, 3023 Sunlake Blvd.

All Pasco County public high schools have drafted their best few senior players to represent the All-Star teams for this final game of the 2018 season. It will feature the Best of the East vs. the Best of the West. Rosters are available online at An All-Star cheerleader team also has been assembled and can be seen on the website.

The West team includes students from Sunlake, Mitchell, Anclote, River Ridge, Hudson, Fivay and Gulf high schools. The East team includes students from Land O' Lakes, Pasco, Zephyrhills, Wiregrass, Wesley Chapel, Zephyrhills Christian Academy, Bishop McLaughlin and Cypress Creek high schools.

Tickets to the game are $10 and can be pre-purchased at any high school or at the gate on game day. Corporate sponsorships are available. For details, contact Bob Durham, area director, at (813) 784-4410 or

New Port Richey

YMCA hosts prayer breakfast

The YMCA of the Suncoast's 12th annual West Pasco Prayer Breakfast will be Dec. 7 at Spartan Manor, 6121 Massachusetts Ave. Doors open at 7 a.m., and a buffet breakfast will start at 7:15 a.m.

The keynote speaker is Scott Fink, president and CEO of six automobile dealerships in the Tampa Bay area, including Hyundai of New Port Richey. Individual tickets are $30 (which includes a $10 tax deduction). For information, call Deannie Hoyt at (727) 375-9622.

Shoppers can drop of kids at library

The New Port Richey Public Library, 5939 Main St., will host "Let it SNO — Shoppers Night Out" from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Dec. 7.

The event gives parents a chance to drop off their children in kindergarten through fifth grade so they can do their holiday shopping. Children will participate in winter-themed crafts, snacks and activities, including a show featuring Mad Science of Tampa Bay and pizza. Parents receive an armband that gives discounts for the evening at participating local businesses downtown, including the White Heron Tea and Gifts, Cotee River Brewing Company, boulevard Beef and Ale, and others.

There is no cost, but advanced registration is required as space is limited. Parents must sign a liability waiver and be present at drop-off and pick-up. For information, call library youth services at (727) 853-1267.

FarmNet hosts organic food drive

New Port Richey FarmNet is hosting its fourth-annual Holiday Organic Food Drive. Organizers from Friendship Farms and Fare are partnering with Metropolitan Ministries and the Tampa Bay Network to End Hunger to inspire the community to share high-quality organic food with the less fortunate.

Contributions of certified USDA organic food in cans and boxes for distribution can be dropped off at the following locations: Wright's Natural Market, Better Health and Nutrition, The Health Nut, Judy's Natural Market, West Pasco Habitat for Humanity and (Sunday only) Grand Gardens.

Donations must be nonperishable; no produce will be accepted. Monetary donations may be sent to Friendship Farms and Fare, P.O. Box 596, New Port Richey, FL 34656-0596. For information, call Dell deChant at (727) 849-1626.

Wesley Chapel

Bariatric seminar to be presented

Those who are at least 100 pounds overweight are invited to a free bariatric seminar from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dec. 12 at Florida Hospital Wesley Chapel, 2600 Bruce B. Downs Blvd.

The program will be presented by Naga Thatimatla, MD, a board-certified general surgeon who specializes in bariatrics and performs both the vertical sleeve gastrectomy and revision surgery. Dr. Thatimatla will discuss who can be a candidate for weight loss surgery, how it is performed, recovery time, keeping the weight off and expectations.

The program is by reservation only. To reserve a seat, call (833) 300-2371.

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


  1. Special Olympics athlete Lucas Yingling, 7, is cheered on by Pasco-Hernando State College basketball player Hayden Greene during a conditioning clinic held at Wendell Krinn Technical High in New Port Richey. Michele Miller
    Team members help Special Olympians hone their skills.
  2. First-year Cox Elementary School teacher Kevin Knibbs, 33, of Dade City, walks with students Angel Young, 8, left, and Kaivion Williams, 9, right, while en route to his third-grade class on Sept. 30 at the school in Date City. Knibbs decided to become an educator after working as a school custodian. DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Kevin Knibbs never thought about working with students — until he started interacting with them.
  3. A vistor at Harvest Moon Fun Farm's grabs a pumpkin from the pumpkin patch in Masaryktown. ANGELIQUE HERRING  |  Tampa Bay Times
    Things to do for Halloween in Pasco and Hernando counties
  4. Bayonet Point Middle School teacher Cynthia Thompson wants to become Pasco County schools superintendent. Courtesy of Cynthia Thompson
    Cynthia Thompson is a graduation enhancement instructor at Bayonet Point Middle School.
  5. A Bird electric scooter is seen along the Tampa Riverwalk in May in Tampa. The New Port Richey City Council is considering allowing scooter sales and rentals. CHRIS URSO  |  Tampa Bay Times
    City staff members recommend a vote for scooter sales, but against scooter rentals.
  6. Pasco County community news TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty
    Pasco County letters to the editor
  7. Pasco County community news TMCCARTY80  |  Tara McCarty
    Pasco County news briefs
  8. Joanne Glenn, Pasco eSchool principal, addresses the eSchool faculty on opening day of teacher preplanning week in 2018. Pasco eSchool is launching its first online dual-enrollment courses in conjunction with Pasco-Hernando State College in the second semester.  GAIL DIEDERICH | Special to the Times
    Students will have access to two sections of two courses — microapplications and public speaking.
  9. The microbrewery Double Branch Artisanal Ales is the first tenant signed at The Grove after the acquisition of the Wesley Chapel shopping center last month by Mishorim-Gold Properties for nearly $63 million. Double Branch Artisanal Ales.
    Mark Gold wants The Grove at Wesley Chapel to become the community’s downtown
  10. Disco Freak will perform music from the 1970s in a free concert Oct. 27 at the South Holiday Library. Pasco County Libraries
    Things to do in Pasco and Hernando counties