NEW PORT RICHEY
Grow house raided near high school
Pasco detectives confiscated $79,000 worth of marijuana in a grow house just down the street from Gulf High School, authorities said. The raid happened just before 11 a.m. Wednesday at the house at 5241 School Road, according to the Pasco County Sheriff's Office. Detectives found 79 marijuana plants growing in a hydroponics setup, as well as jars and small bags of marijuana, a pipe and rolling papers, the report said. Jeff Wagner, 40, who lives at the home, was arrested Wednesday on charges of cultivation of marijuana, possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of a controlled substance and possession of paraphernalia. He told deputies the grow house was his, the report said, and "he learned how to make it through the Internet." Wagner was booked at the Land O'Lakes jail and released on $12,150 bail. If convicted, he could face enhanced penalties because the home is within 500 feet of a school, the Sheriff's Office said.
Utility fund helps boost city budget
Despite a sour economy and a drop in property values, Dade City has managed to avoid layoffs for the upcoming fiscal year. Earlier this week, city commissioners adopted a tentative budget topping $25 million for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1. The proposed property tax rate will remain at $7.10 per $1,000 of taxable property, the same as this past year. But the proposed spending plan is up 31 percent, with much of that coming from the utility fund, not property taxes, to help pay for the new City Hall complex and an extension of Morningside Road. A public hearing is slated for 5:30 p.m. Sept. 28 at commission chambers, 14150 Fifth St., before the budget is finalized.
An opportunity for artists to shine
The HiBrow Art Gallery is seeking original local artwork for its 2010 Fall Collection exhibit. A mix of framed original artwork in oil, acrylic, watercolors, photography and colored pencil, along with sculpture, pottery and jewelry, will be featured. Artwork may be brought to the gallery at 14125 Seventh St. from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 24-25, or by appointment. Artists who have websites featuring their work may also send links to the gallery. For information, contact gallery executive director Camille Hernandez at (813) 713-0124 or e-mail camille@dadecity centerforthearts.org. A gala celebrating the fall collection is scheduled for 7 to 9 p.m. Oct. 8.