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C.T. Bowen, Pasco Times Columnist

C.T. Bowen

C.T. Bowen has been reporting and writing about the people and politics of Pasco County since moving to Florida in 1987. A native of upstate New York, he lives in Land O' Lakes with his wife, Mary Beth, a public school teacher. They have two sons.

Phone: (727) 869-6239

Email: bowen@tampabay.com

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  1. County offers to buy private Summertree utility

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — If you can't beat them, buy them.

    That's the strategy being pursued by Pasco County as it seeks to remedy long-standing complaints about water quality and cost in the Summertree neighborhood. Last week, Pasco commissioners authorized their staff to offer $2 million for the private system, owned by Utilities Inc. of Florida, that serves 1,206 customers south of State Road 52 in west Pasco....

    After long-standing complaints about water quality and cost in the Summertree neighborhood, Pasco County is offering $2 million for the private system, owned by Utilities Inc. of Florida.
  2. Bowen: Environmental mulligan is long overdue

    Wildlife

    Pasco County is getting a do-over on protecting the environment. Actually, make that a do-anyway. As in, we'll do it anyway, even through we probably would rather not.

    After years of inactivity amid a prolonged economic morass, the Pasco County Commission is moving forward with a long-delayed plan to establish corridors allowing wildlife to traverse a rapidly developing county. The county calls these "critical linkages," and the intent is to set aside land to connect existing green space at the Starkey, Crossbar and Cypress Creek preserves and other locations. The county plans to roll out public presentations on its proposed ordinance in the next couple of months, followed by public hearings and commission consideration in late July....

  3. C.T. Bowen: Realtor says new name needed for an old problem

    Roads

    What's in a name? Plenty if you're into image building.

    And if half your image is urban ugly/retail slum/empty storefront, there's plenty of building to do.

    That is a task that continues to confront west Pasco Realtor Greg Armstrong as he seeks to beautify U.S. 19. Certainly, things are starting to look a little better. The barricades are fewer, the traffic flow is smoother and pedestrians actually travel on sidewalks instead of the road's edge....

  4. Pasco toughens regulations on where sex offenders may live

    Public Safety

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County commissioners are making it more difficult for registered sex offenders to reside in the county.

    With a 5-0 vote Tuesday afternoon, the board approved a new ordinance prohibiting sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, playgrounds, day care centers, parks and public libraries. State law sets the buffer at 1,000 feet and excludes libraries....

  5. Pasco eyes big changes to curbside recycling

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County is moving toward an overhaul of its curbside recycling effort that could end the 22-year-old blue bag program and replace it with a system that will accept paper and cardboard, but discontinue glass.

    It is a significant alteration. Private haulers in Pasco currently offer twice-a-month curbside recycling of plastics, glass containers and metal cans, while the county has set up more than 100 drop-off bins at schools, fire stations and libraries for recycled paper and cardboard....

    When the county revamps its curbside recycling system, cardboard and paper will likely be in, but glass and the blue-bag collection system are probably out.
  6. Bowen: With sign code, commissioners decide — stylish or tacky?

    Local Government

    Pasco County commissioners need to decide if premier is synonymous with stylish. Or if gaudy, cluttered and tacky are acceptable alternatives.

    It is a familiar debate, occurring routinely in the dozen years since a prior commission adopted controls on the size and types of outdoor advertising permissible in the county. Low-to-the-ground monument signs are in; giant pole signs are out.

    The rules also limit the use of banners and balloon signs to four times a year, 35 days at a time. In other words, businesses' ''temporary'' signs — think giant air puppets and tethered replicas of hot-air balloons — can be in place nearly 40 percent of the year....

  7. Borrowed money could seal mutli-lane SR 56 extension

    Roads

    DADE CITY — Turning a nearly 7-mile stretch of turf into a four-lane highway connecting Wesley Chapel to Zephyrhills could occur quicker than expected under a state program that could loan up to $25 million to Pasco County and private developers.

    The proposal, announced last week by Rep. Danny Burgess, R-San Antonio, and Sen. John Legg, R-Trinity, would tap the Florida Department of Transportation's revolving loan program known as the State Infrastructure Bank for the eastward extension of State Road 56. ...

  8. Pasco economic development chief to step down

    Economic Development

    WESLEY CHAPEL — The Pasco Economic Development Council will be looking for a new leader after its chief executive officer and president, John Hagen, said he will leave the organization after five years.

    Hagen, who turned 65 last month, told the EDC's executive board in a conference call Monday that he would not seek renewal of his contract, which expired April 1. He cited personal reasons for his departure....

  9. Pasco commission hears update on renewed effort to extend Ridge Road

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Fifteen years after filing for an Army Corps of Engineers permit for a new east-west highway between Moon Lake and Land O'Lakes, Pasco County is again trying to get federal permission to build the 8-mile Ridge Road Extension.

    The preferred route is a nearly $102 million highway, elevated through parts of the Serenova Preserve, that would affect fewer wetlands than the county's original proposal. Still, the highway would impact nearly 23 acres of wetlands and 86 acres of upland wildlife habitat....

  10. Pasco businessman resigns from charter government committee after residency question raised

    Local Government

    WESLEY CHAPEL — Pasco County's charter government advisory committee has yet to hold its first meeting, and already its membership is changing after a Wesley Chapel man discovered that commissioners appointed an out-of-county homeowner to the panel.

    Timothy Holladay, 64, the owner of an insurance agency in Port Richey, lists a Pasco address on his voter registration. Property records show Holladay and his wife sold their Ross Lane house in June 2014 and closed on a Redington Shores condominium three months later. The Holladays claimed a homestead exemption for the Pinellas County property for the 2015 and 2016 tax years....

  11. Appellate ruling sets up controversial mining case for trial

    Local Government

    SPRING HILL — The legal battle over mine blasting in north-central Pasco is headed back to a local courtroom after an appeals court overturned a previous ruling that favored the developer over neighbors.

    The March 27 opinion from the 2nd District Court of Appeal said the disputed facts in the case — over whether the county-issued development order for Outlaw Ridge Inc. violated Pasco's comprehensive land plan — needed to be decided at a trial. It overturned Circuit Judge Linda Babb's earlier ruling granting a summary judgment for the company....

    A dump truck emerges from behind a pile of dirt and sand Wednesday (3/27/13) at the Lago Verde sand mine in Spring Hill where cattle feed in open pastures surrounding the site.
  12. Bowen: Cat facts don't support some of fans' claims

    News

    Let's get this confession out of the way. I am not a cat person. Never have been. Last year, the teenage offspring brought home a tiny kitten rescued by a friend, and I made him return it. Don't worry; it found a safe home.

    This disclaimer is necessary because of the topic at hand. You guessed it. Cats. Lots of them — some sick, some healthy.

    And, sometimes, according to animal advocates, mixed together in the adoption room at Pasco County Animal Services in Land O'Lakes. The result, if the scenario is accurate, is that an unknowing public has adopted unhealthy animals. But let's wait to see if the proof materializes for that allegation....

    Columnist C.T. Bowen says he is not a cat person, but luckily there are plenty of caring people in Pasco County who are.
  13. Bowen: Memories dim except for grieving parents

    Criminal

    Memories fade. People change. Nine years will do that.

    It emerged as a recurring theme in a criminal courtroom in Dade City last week. At the defense table, clad in a brown business suit covering a white dress shirt and necktie, sat Luc Pierre-Charles, accused of the execution-style killings of two Wesley Chapel High School students in the summer of 2006 along on a dirt road in Trilby.

    This was Pierre-Charles' second trial. The 2nd District Court of Appeal tossed his 2009 conviction, ruling that hearsay evidence about Pierre-Charles' younger brother, Andre, implicating his older sibling, should not have been part of the prosecution's case....

    Luc Pierre-Charles is being retried for murder.
  14. With refusal to renew charter, Pasco's oldest GOP club is no longer

    Politics

    TRINITY — The club with clout is suddenly the club without.

    The West Pasco Republican Club, a fixture in local political circles for four decades, faces a likely demise after party leaders declined to renew the group's charter this week.

    The club president called it a political vendetta against one of the group's former longtime leaders, Tax Collector Mike Fasano, who supported Democrat Charlie Crist in the 2014 gubernatorial race....

  15. Pasco commissioner tepid on charter government

    Blog

    Pasco County Commissioner Mike Wells Jr. is tepid on the ongoing plan to study charter government and potentially overhaul how local government operates.

    "I've said it before, if it's not broke, why are we making changes?'' Wells told 80 members of the West Pasco Republican Club Tuesday evening at the Heritage Springs Country Club.

    During a question-and-answer session, Wells said he expected the cost of government probably would increase under a charter because "it's more layers of government, in my opinion.''  He also indicated he is no fan of term limits....