NEW PORT RICHEY
11-year-old arrested on arson charges
An 11-year-old boy was arrested Wednesday after, police say, he set several fires to his home and other houses in the 6000 block of Indiana Avenue in the past few months. Neighbors have made at least 11 emergency calls since July 2011, a New Port Richey police report states. The call frequency increased in January. In the past week, police responded to four calls. The boy was setting fire to sheds, trees, chairs, a lattice, a wheelbarrow and a house, the report states. Police interviewed the boy during several calls but were never able to obtain enough evidence for an arrest. Police staked out the area Wednesday night when they caught the boy in the act and arrested him, the report states. He admitted starting six fires and was booked in the Juvenile Assessment Center on six charges of arson. The Times is withholding his name because of his age.
Main Street deal approved belatedly
The City Council officially approved a contract this week with Greater New Port Richey Main Street after discovering it had not been implemented prior to the start of the fiscal year. Council members agreed on Tuesday evening to pay Main Street — a nonprofit group that works to promote the downtown area by hosting events and helping businesses — a $10,000 grant, as well as to sponsor $5,000 in services for both the Main Street Blast and Cotee River Seafood Festival special events. Among other things, the contract outlines new operations for Main Street, including implementing an ombudsman program in which a Main Street liaison will be available to help prospective business owners through city permitting. The city had actually already paid Main Street its $10,000 prior to implementing the contract. The paperwork had been on hold, however, because of the departure of former City Manager John Schneiger and the recent illness of Main Street executive director Beth Fregger.
Surveys sent out with water bills
Don't toss the extra paperwork in this month's water bill: Dade City mailed out 1,000 citizen surveys with the bills, seeking residents' feedback on a variety of issues. The mailing included a self-addressed, stamped envelope for residents to return the survey, which is due Feb. 22. Officials encourage residents to take a few minutes and share their thoughts with City Hall.
Lauded gospel quarter to perform
The Georgians, the Southeastern Southern Gospel Music Conference's male quartet of the year, will perform at 3 p.m. Feb. 16 at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church, 37015 Orange Valley Lane (corner of Fort King and Clinton avenues). A free-will offering will be accepted. For information, call (352) 567-8424 or visit www.shephillslc.org.