Make us your home page

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


  1. Boutique grocer eyes Pasco's Cypress Creek Town Center


    Tennessee-based Hutton Development is proposing a boutique grocery store at the northeast corner of State Road 56 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard, in the northern portion of Cypress Creek Town Center.

    The location, which has a Lutz address, puts it across the street from a proposed Aldi grocery store at the southwest corner of the same intersection.

    "There is a retail grocery that we'd like to get. One of the new fad of grocers, I guess you would call it,'' landowner Robert Sierra said about the latest proposal....

    Tennessee-based Hutton Development is proposing a 23,820-square-foot boutique grocery store in the Cypress Creek Town Center development in central Pasco. The land owner declined to identify the store.
  2. Expanded library hours, added public safety highlight Pasco's proposed budget

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — For the first time in three years, Pasco commissioners considered a proposed county budget that matched recurring spending with available revenue.

    It didn't last long.

    Instead of an austere budget, with enough money for employee raises and little else in new general fund spending, commissioners dipped into a reserve account for a multimillion-dollar spending spree. The proposed 2017-18 budget now includes money to: keep libraries open longer; add ambulance service in Trilby and west Pasco; bolster elderly nutrition; turn an empty building in Dade City into a one-stop community center for needy youth; double the size of employee raises, and honor all of the spending requests from Sheriff Chris Nocco, Elections Supervisor Brian Corley, Clerk of the Circuit Court & Comptroller Paula S. O'Neil and Property Appraiser Gary Joiner....

    OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
The proposed 2018 Pasco County budget includes $310,000 to expand operating hours at Pasco’s libraries. Here, library assistant Joyce Bair, 49, reads to children at the Regency Park branch.
(December 2016)
  3. Burger King, Wawa proposed for new Land O'Lakes development


    A corner in Land O'Lakes could become a Home of the Whopper.

    Brightwork Crossing, the mixed-use development near the northwest corner of State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard, is poised to include a Burger King restaurant, a Wawa convenience store and a Firestore tire and auto center, according to plans filed with Pasco County.

    Representatives of Quality Dining, which operates 158 Burger King restaurants in Florida, Indiana and Michigan, are scheduled to meet with Pasco County planners next week to discuss their proposed 3,349-square-foot restaurant. It would be the third Burger King in the vicinity, joining restaurants at the northwest corner of Bruce B. Downs Boulevard and SR 54 in Wesley Chapel and at County Line Road and Bruce B. Downs, just south of County Line Road in New Tampa....

    A 3,349-square-foot Burger King could be coming to Brightwork Crossing, the mixed-use development near the northwest corner of State Road 54 and Wesley Chapel Boulevard. [Miami Herald, 2005]
  4. Bowen: Pasco County tries to navigate pitfalls of homelessness


    The descriptions ranged from criminals to drug addicts to alcoholics to panhandlers. At least nobody said bums.

    Others characterized Pasco's homeless population as unemployed, down on their luck, parents, neighbors. Or simply, human beings.

    The divergent declarations — none of which should be construed as entirely inaccurate — were tossed about last week amid a group of four dozen people hashing out the pros and cons of turning the shuttered Boys & Girls Club headquarters and teen center on Youth Lane in west Pasco into a center for homeless services....

    The Coalition for the Homeless of Pasco County reported 2,512 homeless people in the county during its count in January including 418 considered chronically homeless. Additionally, the school district estimated 565 unsheltered children in 308 households. Pasco County and the coalition want to open a one-stop service center for the homeless known as a navigation center in the former Boys & Girls Club buildings on Youth Lane in west Pasco. Neighbors are objecting.
Times files (2013)
  5. Hawkes to run for seat on Pasco County bench


    Jeremiah Hawkes, the top civilian in the Pasco Sheriff's Office, is running for a seat on the Pasco County Court bench in 2018. 

    Hawkes, 40, is the son of Paul Hawkes, a lobbyist and former 1st District Court of Appeal judge. The elder Hawkes resigned from the bench in 2011 as he faced a Judicial Qualifications Commission ethics trial over his role in obtaining state financing for a posh $50 million courthouse dubbed the Taj Mahal for its excessive accoutrements....

  6. Jeremiah Hawkes to run for Pasco County Court judge


    Jeremiah Hawkes, the top civilian in the Pasco Sheriff's Office, is running for a seat on the Pasco County Court bench in 2018.

    Hawkes, 40, is the son of Paul Hawkes, a lobbyist and former 1st District Court of Appeal judge. The elder Hawkes resigned from the bench in 2011 as he faced a Judicial Qualifications Commission ethics trial over his role in obtaining state financing for a posh $50 million courthouse dubbed the Taj Mahal for its excessive accoutrements....

    Jeremiah Hawkes serves as management service bureau chief at Sheriff’s Office.
  7. Critical audit triggers questions over school impact fee payments in Pasco

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Pasco County sent nearly $5.2 million to the county school district during the first half of the 2016 fiscal year in impact fee payments collected on new residential construction.

    Now, district officials wonder if they received everything to which they were entitled.

    The question comes in the wake of a critical audit of the county's central permitting department that found incomplete or missing documentation needed to verify school impact fee payments, a lack of internal controls and personnel failing to follow the county's own land development code....

    “I was concerned about it,’’ said  Olga Swinson, the school district’s chief financial officer, of the audit.
  8. Linda Jack, New Port Richey veterinarian, to challenge Rep. Amber Mariano


     New Port Richey veterinarian Dr. Linda Jack, has filed to run as a Democrat for the Florida House District 36 seat held by freshman Rep. Amber Mariano, R-Hudson.

     Jack, 56, said in a released statement that she put herself through college and launched a successful career performing and teaching music before returning to graduate school to study veterinary medicine. She obtained her doctorate in veterinary medicine in 2006 from North Carolina State University and subsequently worked in Virginia and North Carolina before moving back home to Florida in 2015....

  9. PEDC taps Visit Pasco for marketing manager



    The Pasco Economic Development Council has turned to the county's tourism agency to fill its marketing needs.

    The PEDC announced Tuesday that Lauren St. Martin, formerly of Visit Pasco, is the new marketing/communications manager for the economic development group.

    The full release is below. 

    PASCO COUNTY, FLORIDA (June 6, 2017) —  The Pasco Economic Development Council is pleased to welcome new Marketing/Communications Manager, Lauren St. Martin.  St. Martin joined the team in May, shortly after the departure of Jennifer Lachtara....

  10. Dade City drainage spared in governor's veto storm

    Local Government

    Downtown Dade City shoppers may not have to park in rainy-day puddles much longer.

    A $1.4 million state appropriation to retrofit Dade City's storm-water system was one of the few local projects to escape last week's flood of gubernatorial vetoes.

    "It feels like we won the lottery,'' said City Manager Billy Poe.

    The funding, the second phase of an expected $1.9 million project, will help the city divert storm water from accumulating on downtown streets and route it underground to discharge into city-owned Irvin Pond....

    Among the local projects vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott was $1.5 million for the Pasco/Hernando Lighthouse for the Visually Impaired and Blind for a new center planned for Ridge Road in west Pasco. Scott vetoed more than $28 million worth of projects sought by Pasco interests in the 2017-18 state budget.
(Times files 2008) )
  11. Kevin Guthrie tapped for expanded role in Pasco government

    Local Government

    DADE CITY — Kevin Guthrie has been promoted to assistant county administrator for public safety, the first key hire by County Administrator Dan Biles.

    Guthrie, 46, joined Pasco County as emergency management director in February 2016. Less than two months later, he was named to the newly created role of director of emergency services, where he assumed responsibility for the emergency communications center and helped soothe over an ongoing dispute between Sheriff Chris Nocco and then-County Administrator Michele Baker over managing the 911 center....

  12. Gunter to make third run for office


    Citing an inspiration “from our great President Donald J. Trump,’’ New Port Richey pastor Bill Gunter has announced a third attempt at public office.

    Gunter, who lost a Republican county commission race to incumbent Jack Mariano in 2012 and was defeated by Democrat Amanda Murphy in the 2013 special election to replace former Rep. Mike Fasano, said he is now seeking the District 37 House seat held by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes. Corcoran must leave legislative office next year because of term limits....

  13. Prosecutor seeks state House 37 seat


    Assistant state attorney Elle Rudisill of Land O’Lakes announced Thursday she is running for the state House District 37 in 2018. That seat is held by Speaker Richard Corcoran, R-Land O’Lakes, who must leave office next year because of term limits.
    Rudisill, 29, joins retired law enforcement officer George Agovino of Land O’Lakes  in seeking the Republican nomination.
    Agovino filed his candidacy paperwork March 8. As of Thursday morning, Rudisill’s documentation did not appear on the Florida Division of Elections web site.
    “Growing small businesses, educating all of our youth and protecting Pasco will be my aim in Tallahassee,’’ Rudisill said in a released statement....

  14. Bowen: Only thing missing on new U.S. 41 bus route is riders

    Mass Transit

    Paula Lange could use some company.

    Lange, 57, of Zephyr­hills works for Pasco County Public Transportation. She drives the morning run on the newly minted U.S. 41 bus service in Land O'Lakes and Lutz.

    She might as well be the Maytag repairman.

    On May 26, the fifth day of service for the route and the final weekday during which people could ride without paying, the day's first passenger boarded at 8:30 a.m. That was 21/2 hours after the day's run began....

  15. Apartment owners take issue with Pasco school impact fee plan


    NEW PORT RICHEY — A proposed financing plan for new school construction in Pasco County unfairly shifts higher costs to apartment building owners, says the regional trade group for multifamily housing.

    Mark C. Ogier, representing the Bay Area Apartment Association, renewed the call for a new sales tax to pay for school construction instead of relying on higher impact fees assessed on newly built homes and apartments....

    The Pasco School Board is seeking to raise an additonal $121 million over 10 years for new schools through higher impact fees on new home construction. The Bay Area Apartment Association, however, contends the proposed fee on new apartments is unfair because it represents a 184 percent increase. [Times files, 2014]