Democrat files for Property Appraiser race
A Democrat who filed papers Friday to run for Pasco property appraiser would be the first woman to hold that office. Allison Newlon, 41, said she became a candidate after being asked by the county Democratic Party. A Realtor from San Antonio, Newlon said she would like to use technology to improve service at the property appraiser's office. For example, she wants to let residents file applications for homestead exemptions online. Though she's a Democrat, Newlon is no stranger to Republicans. She's hosted a fundraiser for state Senate candidate Wilton Simpson of Trilby. She's also married to a Republican, San Antonio city Commissioner Tim Newlon. She faces long odds to win the job. Mike Wells has been property appraiser since 1996 and has raised $37,000 toward his fifth term. Wells faces 30-year-old Walter Price of Land O'Lakes in the August GOP primary. "It's an elected position," Newlon said. "It's meant to change hands every so often. Maybe now is the 'so often.'"
Sexual predator gets life sentence
Brian Torres Sr., convicted last month of sexually abusing three minors, was sentenced Friday to life in prison. A jury found Torres, 40, guilty of capital felony sexual battery as well as five lesser counts of abuse. In handing down the life sentence, Circuit Judge Susan Gardner said the law gave her no leeway on the capital conviction. Torres, who is from Tampa, also received a 25-year sentence for first degree felony sexual activity with a minor as well as two 15-year sentences and two 10-year sentences on the lesser charges. Gardner denied his attorney's requests for a new trial as well as his request that he be allowed to remain out on bail pending an appeal. Authorities said the incidents involved victims that Torres knew happened sometime between 1998 and 2006. Torres said nothing during the sentencing. His aunt called him "a hard-working, good-hearted" person. One of the victims testified that her life was "a complete downfall" and that she has trouble socializing as a result of the abuse.
Free college and financial aid fair
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis will host a college and financial aid fair from 10 a.m. to noon today at Palm Harbor University High School, 1900 Omaha St. The free event will feature representatives from regional colleges, local career education and technical training schools and the service academies. The fair will include breakout sessions with admissions officers from the University of Florida, financial aid experts from St. Petersburg College and representatives from the military service academies. For information contact Bilirakis' Palm Harbor office at (727) 773-2871.
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