Arrested Telemarketer blames state
Kenneth Bates Choco, a 53-year-old from Palm Harbor, was arrested Wednesday on a charge of telemarketing without a license in Pasco County. "They came in with 15 armed agents just like they were raiding a crack house," he said. "They could have sent a letter." Choco is suspected of owning and operating an unregistered telemarketing business in Port Richey called Cool Ducts AC and Heat, according to the Division of Consumer Services. Choco's business was found during a regular check of telemarketing businesses, said Major Bob Johnson of the law enforcement branch of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Choco said he was under the impression that he was exempt from having a telemarketing license because he holds a mortgage broker's license. He thought he didn't need both. He was arrested and taken to the Land O'Lakes jail and released the same day on $5,000 bail. He said he was also fined $10,000. Because of the financial hit, Choco said he had to immediately lay off 14 employees. "It's extortion by the state," he said. "They're broke right now."
Leak forces high school evacuation
A gas leak in the kitchen forced the evacuation of Dunedin High School on Friday. Dunedin Fire Rescue responded at 11:23 a.m. and isolated the area. Clearwater Gas was called to make repairs and fans were turned on to clear the air. Students were back in class by lunchtime. "The students were absolutely wonderful," said Bill McElligott, Dunedin Fire Rescue division chief.
School bus in minor crash
A school bus and another vehicle collided about 2:20 p.m. Friday near Druid Road and S Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, officials said. Details about the crash were limited, but a dispatcher said two students on the bus were taken to a local hospital as a precaution. The accident appeared to be minor, the dispatcher said. It is unknown who is at fault.
Every mutt has its day — today is it
The Suncoast Animal League's Mutt March will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at Highlander Park at Michigan Avenue and Pinehurst Road. Activities will include a mutt derby, a silent auction and a performance by Melissa McGhee, American Idol Season 5 finalist. There will also be vendors and animal rescue groups on hand. For information, visit www.suncoastanimal league.net.