Unopposed Simpson takes senate seat
It's official: Wilton Simpson will be the next state senator for District 18 that includes west Pasco, Dade City, all of Hernando County and most of Sumter. Simpson won the seat unopposed after Democrats missed a 5 p.m. deadline Thursday to field a replacement candidate after their candidate dropped his bid. Simpson, 46, is a Republican egg farmer and businessman from Trilby who was making his first run for public office. He also avoided a potentially bruising primary after state Rep. John Legg, R-New Port Richey, decided to run for an adjacent Senate district just weeks before the August primary election. Though this is Simpson's first campaign, he has long been a politically connected donor who also served on boards for the Pasco County Fair, Economic Development Council and the Pasco Farm Bureau.
NEW PORT RICHEY
Donations sought to help ailing dog
Gwendolyn, a sweet-tempered, severely neglected dog, was recently taken to Regency Park Animal Hospital in bad shape. She had a staph infection, intestinal parasites, heartworm disease and a severe upper respiratory infection. A few of her mammaries were infected from constant breeding. And her paws were swollen to twice their normal size due to an untreated yeast infection. Pasco Animal Services picked up Gwendolyn as a stray, and volunteers with Rugaz Rescue took custody of her and brought her to the animal hospital, where she is in stable condition. It's unclear who owned her before; no one has been charged for her neglect. "She is one of the worst starvation cases I've seen, but Gwendolyn just has an incredible spirit. That is what is keeping her going," said Devilyn Saunders, founder and director of Rugaz Rescue, a local nonprofit that helps abandoned and neglected Bully Breed dogs. The group is asking for donations for Gwendolyn's care. Donations can be made directly to the Regency Park Animal Hospital by calling (727) 848-6247; or via PayPal at the nonprofit's website, www.Rugaz Rescue.com.
Faulty cable leads to power outage
More than 2,000 customers found themselves without power for a couple of hours Wednesday night when an underground cable went bad and had to be removed. The outage affected homes and businesses in the Lake Bernadette area, which is west of Zephyrhills, said Progress Energy spokesman Rob Sumner. "It was like the whole world shut down," said Sallie Timpanelli, a Lake Bernadette resident and the mother of local singer-impressionist John Timpanelli. She said no storm was brewing at the time, and she wondered if there had been a car accident nearby. Crews worked to replace the faulty cable, which began affecting the power about 10 p.m. Electricity was restored to all customers about midnight, Sumner said.