State demands Aloha answer about charges
State regulators want to know why former water company Aloha Utilities has failed to explain its practice of charging for street lighting in some west Pasco communities. In a Tuesday letter to Aloha, the Florida Public Service Commission says the firm now has until Jan. 6 to provide its response, which was originally due Nov. 30. If Aloha does not meet the new deadline, the letter says, commissioners may decided to fine it up to $5,000 a day. At issue is whether Aloha is charging customers more than it pays for the services from Progress Energy. Companies that resell at a profit are considered electric utilities subject to full regulation by the commission. "You would think they'd want to quickly show the PSC they're not breaking the law," said Sen. Mike Fasano, R-New Port Richey. A lawyer representing Aloha said the company would comment later.
Police: Stores sold alcohol to teens
Authorities sent two underage people to 19 different stores Wednesday, to see which businesses might sell alcohol to them. The Zephyrhills Police Department worked with the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco for the investigation, which they called "Operation Safe New Year." Out of the 19, six locations allowed the duo to buy alcohol, police said. They were Beverage Chest, 5058 Gall Blvd.; Cleamone Liquors, 7342 Gall Blvd.; Robby's Liquors, 5046 Gall Blvd.; Sunoco, 5855 Gall Blvd.; Time Saver, 37853 State Road 54; and Walmart, 7631 Gall Blvd. The clerks who sold the alcohol were given notices to appear in court.
Empty house burns early Thursday
An unoccupied home caught fire early Thursday morning. About 5:45 a.m., Pasco County Fire Rescue was called to a fully engulfed single-story home at Woodward Drive and Warrior Way. No one was home and no one was injured. The fire was put out by about 6:40 a.m., and investigators were working to determine the cause.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Reception Jan. 14 opens photo show
A reception will be held from 3 to 7 p.m. Jan. 14 to mark the opening of an exhibit of photos by Chasco Camera Club members Jan. 12 through Feb. 17 at Pasco-Hernando Community College Art Gallery in the Pottberg Library, 10230 Ridge Road, New Port Richey. Hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays; 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Closed Sundays. For information, call (727) 816-3229.