Lutz News-Lutz/Odessa-March 30, 2016
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By Kevin Weisskweiss@lakerlutznews.com
Thomas Casey will be making his 16thswim this year to raise money for peoplebattling cancer.
Casey, 57, flies to his hometown ofBridgeport, Connecticut each summer toparticipate in the annual SWIM Across theSound a 15.5-mile swim marathonstretching from Port Jefferson, New York toBridgeport helping to raise $2.5 millioneach year.
It wasnt until 2012, though, that hefound out that he also is dealing with thedisease.
When he was diagnosed with Stage IVrenal cell carcinoma the most commonform of kidney cancer it came withoutwarning.
The Lutz resident said there was no his-
tory of cancer in his family.He was diagnosed shortly before he was
scheduled to make the trip to Bridgeport. Six weeks before the event, I went to
the doctors (office) because I was havingpain in my left side, and I found out I had di-verticulitis, and he said, Oh, and by the way,your left kidney is filled with cancer, Caseysaid. Being told you have cancer, everybodysays the same thing: Its like you got hit by afreight train, and its true.
Casey acknowledges its a strange feeling to know he is the only member of hisfamily to be stricken with the disease.
Ive got three brothers and a sister withno cancer, he said. Im the only one...out ofmy family that does any kind of (cancer)fundraising, and I get it. But, I dont take itthat way, and I never say, Why me? I dont
See SWIMMING, page 11A
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THOMAS CASEYLutz resident Thomas Casey was diagnosedwith Stage IV renal cell carcinoma in 2012.The cancer spread from his kidney to thebones in both of his arms.
Swimming against all odds
These womenlove to soarBy B.C. Manionbcmanion@lakerlutznews.com
Whether theyre supporting young girlsthrough scholarships to Space Camp, orhonoring women pilots who served inWorld War II, theres an organization ofwomen that supports the joy of flying in allof its forms.
The group, which calls itself The Ninety-Nines Inc., got its start in 1929.
It began when some female aviatorswanted to have to a long-distance race, saidMarilyn Shafer, of Land O Lakes, who is amember of the Florida Suncoast Chapter ofthe group.
It was supposed to start out inCalifornia and go over the mountains,Shafer said.
The men didnt want the women doingthat because it was too dangerous forwomen to be able to get over mountainssafely, Shafer said.
The women decided: Were going to doit anyway.
Through the race, the women discoveredhow fantastic it was to have the support ofeach other, and they decided to form an or-ganization of female aviators.
They sent out formal letters to every li-censed woman pilot in the United States. Iwant to say there was about 129, and 99 ofthem replied, Shafer said.
They tossed around some names.In the end, they chose to honor the
women who wanted to be part of the neworganization. So, they called themselves TheNinety-Nines.
Amelia Earhart was the groups first pres-ident.
Over time, the group has spread itswings substantially. Its now an interna-tional organization with about 4,900members, Shafer said.
Our mission is advancement in aviation,through scholarship, education and support,
while we keep in mind where we started our history, Shafer said.
The Suncoast chapter includes a wideswath of territory, including Pasco County
and going from Crystal River to Sarasota,from Ocala over to Winter Haven.
B.C. MANION/STAFF PHOTOMarilyn Shafer is enthralled by the joys of flight. The Land O Lakes woman belongs to TheNinety-Nines Inc., an organization that supports women and the joy of flying, in all of its forms.
By Kathy Steeleksteele@lakerlutznews.com
A lawsuit shuttered Hot Rods CountryBBQ in 2013.
Two weeks ago, the quirky Lutz restau-rant, locally famous for swamp bat and hotsauces, met the wrecking ball.
County records show the propertychanged hands in December 2015 whenSunset Livingston LLC bought Hot Rodsfrom Champor Corp Inc., for $525,000.Winter Park-based Alton Lightsey is listedas the registered agent for SunsetLivingston; Lutz real estate broker Jerry
Shaw is manager.Plans are to build a new restaurant with
an outdoor patio. The as-yet-unnamed restau-rant will serve beer and wine, and couldhave a few barbecue items.
Co-owner Jerry Shaw said, Its going tobe home-cooked, family style food.
The beer and wine license received ap-proval in January.
Next comes settling on a restaurantname, drawing up construction plans, andgetting the building permits, Shaw said.
No ribbon cutting is set, but Shaw hopesto open the restaurant within six months orso.
Its a matter of getting the drawingscompleted and approved, he said.
Hot Rods became legendary in Lutz forits offbeat menu items and rustic dcor.
It opened in 1998. A lawsuit over debtled to the restaurants closure in May 2013.
Rod Gaudin started Hot Rods with a bar-becue pit, next to a country store he had atSunset Lane and Livingston Avenue. He laterconverted a wood-frame house into therestaurant. Customers walked onto theporch and opened the front door with awater-spigot handle.
KATHY STEELE/STAFF PHOTOHot Rods Country BBQ, a Lutz landmark, closed in 2013, and now a dirt lot is all that remains. The restaurant recently was torn down tomake way for a new, unnamed restaurant at Sunset Lane and Livingston Avenue.
See HOT RODS, page 11A
New restaurant to take Hot Rods spot
See SOAR, page 11A
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Task forces ready to make choices on transportationBy Kathy Steeleksteele@lakerlutznews.com
Two task forces are grappling with criti-cal decisions on the future of State Road 54and State Road 56.
The final meeting of the West Task Forcewas scheduled for March 28, after TheLaker/Lutz News press deadline.
The East Task Force is scheduled to meeton March 31 at 5:30 p.m., at RasmussenCollege.
Eighteen transportation alternatives forthe state highway corridors are expected tobe whittled down to five alternatives, alongwith a no-build option.
The Pasco County Metropolitan PlanningOrganization is the sponsoring agency forwhat is a three-part review of how to ad-dress growing transportation needs on oneof Pasco Countys busiest thoroughfares.
The second phase of the review will be adrill down into the selected alternatives,said James Edwards, transportation planningmanager for the MPO.
The goal is to focus on options that ap-pear reasonable and