Helicopter saves the day for baby

Published August 11, 2007


A two-hour trip to the maternity ward can be a little tricky when you go into labor.

Deverie Leach, 20, was scheduled for a caesarean section on Aug. 20 because their son has a form of gastroschisis, a defect in the abdominal wall that allowed several of his internal organs to develop outside his body. But she went into labor on Tuesday, and her husband, Jonathan, 21, started to drive her to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg.

Shortly after getting on the Suncoast Parkway, she showed distress. He immediately pulled off the road and called 911. Spring Hill Fire Rescue paramedics quickly arrived, but no local hospitals were equipped to handle the delicate nature of her pregnancy.

The Florida Highway Patrol held up northbound and southbound traffic along the parkway to create a landing zone for a Bayflite medical helicopter. Less than 30 minutes later, she delivered Tristen Lee Leach, a 7-pound, 2-ounce son, by caesarean section at Bayfront.

Shortly afterward, Tristen underwent the first of several operations he will need over the next several weeks to correct the birth defect 


City manager quitting for advisory job in Iraq

City Manager Jerry Calhoun is resigning to go to Iraq as an adviser to local government leaders.

Calhoun, 53, will be in Iraq on a one-year contract, working on a team of advisers in the Babil province. He was hired by North Carolina's RTI International, a private research company that has a $290-million federal contract to help Iraqis improve how their local governments are run.

His base salary in Iraq will be $97,000, compared to the roughly $90,000 he receives as Port Richey's city manager and director of finance and utilities. He said he'll also get hazard pay but isn't sure how much..

Calhoun got the job through the International City/County Management Association, which is a subcontractor for RTI.

Calhoun said he'd been trying since 2004 to get a job with the State Department but was not successful. In April, he let the International City/County Management Association know he'd volunteer for an advisory position in Lebanon.


Pasco teachers object to staffing shelters

The Pasco school employees union has filed a unfair labor relations charge with the Florida Public Employees Relations Commission over a memo telling workers they might be called to work at emergency shelters.

Union leaders said in their filing that superintendent Heather Fiorentino had, in telling employees they could be forced into service, unilaterally changed the terms of their employment. They said several attempts to get Fiorentino and her administration to take it back had failed.


More than 55 apply to be police chief

More than 55 candidates filed applications to be Brooksville's police chief by Friday's 5 p.m. deadline.

Two of them are former Brooksville police captains who have histories with former Chief Ed Tincher, who was ousted from office earlier this year.

One is Ray Schumacher, who left the department in 1999. He reported Tincher to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement in 1993 saying Tincher was selling confiscated guns to friends and collectors - charges prosecutors declined to pursue because there was no evidence of criminal intent. After the incident, one officer reportedly heard Tincher say he wished Schumacher was dead.

The other is Terry Chapman, who resigned in 2000 while on medical leave after being shot. He was Tincher's replacement from the time the chief was fired in May 1994 to the next year when he was reinstated amid a public backlash.

Noteworthy is a candidate who did not apply, Lt. Rick Hankins, Tincher's protege..