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Arleen Spenceley, Times Staff Writer

Arleen Spenceley

Arleen Spenceley is an editorial assistant and staff writer for the Pasco Times edition of the Tampa Bay Times. Before she joined the staff in July 2007, she wrote as a Times correspondent in Hernando and Pasco counties for three and a half years. She graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism in December 2007 and continued to work for the Times until Dec. 2012, when she resigned — albeit reluctantly — to finish her master's degree. She graduated with her M.A. in rehabilitation and mental health counseling in May 2013 and happily returned to the Times staff in November.

Phone: (727) 869-6235


  1. Honesty, communication, respect led to 73 years of marriage, Hudson couple says

    Human Interest


    On the love seat in their Hudson living room, Bessie and Bob Bianchi tell their story.

    She is 92; he is 95.

    They met as neighbors in a Washington Heights apartment building in Manhattan. He was 15 and played jacks and hopscotch with her. She was 12 and didn't like him.

    But "I told my mother, 'I'm going to marry that girl,'" Bob said.

    And he did — 73 years ago Sunday....

    Bob and Bessie Bianchi, ages 95 and 92 respectively, will celebrate their 73rd anniversary Sunday. After growing up together in New York, Bob joined the Marines and moved to Virginia. There, he wrote letters to Bessie. In one, he wrote, “I won $76 in a craps game. I’m coming home, and we’re going to get married.”  And they did — on Nov. 22, 1942, in New York City.
  2. Local filmmaker's dream is to showcase Florida in project shot at Weeki Wachee Springs

    The Feed


    Bobby Marinelli stopped short en route to the underwater theater. He turned toward the actor who walked beside him.

    "Where's your tail?" he asked.

    She grabbed it and carried it to the dock between Buccaneer Bay and the theater, where she would play the role of a Weeki Wachee mermaid in an effort to help Marinelli pursue his dream.

    Marinelli is a filmmaker who, with a volunteer cast and crew, took three days at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park last month to shoot a four-minute sizzle reel — a trailer for a movie he hasn't made yet....

    Director Bobby Marinelli, right, talks with mermaid actor Emmy Buckner and Derrick Aguis, left, between takes outside the Mermaid Theater at Weeki Wachee Springs State Park.
  3. 'Good Cemeterian' volunteers to restore veterans' headstones

    Human Interest


    At the Lutz Cemetery, Andrew Lumish kneeled in the grass over a World War II veteran's grave. Under a gray sky, he used a soft bristle brush to scrub the headstone.

    It had been darkened by "mold, mildew and 40 plus years of weather," Lumish said.

    He wanted to fix that, to honor a veteran whose stone had been forgotten. Doing that, he said, is his hobby.

    A few years ago, Lumish, 45, of Land O'Lakes, whose other hobby is photography, carried a camera into the Oaklawn Cemetery, an aged Tampa burial ground. ...

    Andrew Lumish, 45, kneels over World War II veteran Harry R. Littleton’s headstone in the Lutz Cemetery to restore it.
  4. Zephyrhills woman competes in 'the Super Bowl of bodybuilding'

    Human Interest

    ZEPHYRHILLS — In 2009, Jennifer Taylor paid $250 to a kickboxing gym — the entry fee for its body transformation contest.

    "I was unhappy with the way I looked," Taylor said.

    Taylor, 42, thought if she paid to be part of a contest, the results she wanted would follow.

    They did — and then some. She won, and found a passion for the sport in which she competed last month at Mr. Olympia 2015 in Las Vegas: bodybuilding....

    Jennifer Taylor, 42, recently competed in the Mr. Olympia competition in Las Vegas.
  5. Short film aims to show the 'hip' side of Dade City



    Tim Moore knelt in front of the counter at the back of Bonita Flower Shop. • He pointed his camera at the fruit of a floral designer's labor: an arrangement for a custom order — one of several scenes Moore's team from Diamond View Studios shot last week for a film project initiated by Dade City resident Jennifer Frazier. • The final product will be a four- to five-minute film designed to depict what Frazier says too few know about Dade City: that "it's actually pretty hip."...

    Lifelong Dade City resident Sara Ross works on a project at Quilts on Plum Lane in downtown as Diamond View Studios’ Tim Moore, background, and Alvin Renz shoot video last week.
  6. Pasco priest recalls 'beautiful moment' with Pope Francis


    SAN ANTONIO — On Sunday morning, the Rev. Garry Welsh took a 10-minute walk along the Benjamin Franklin Parkway from a Philadelphia hotel to a security checkpoint.

    There, the Secret Service stopped him.

    Welsh, 48, a Catholic priest and the pastor at St. Anthony Catholic Church in San Antonio, presented his credentials: a press pass and a ticket.

    Then, he was on his way — to concelebrate Mass with Pope Francis....

    Rev. Garry Welsh, of St. Anthony Catholic Church in San Antonio, concelebrated Mass with Pope Francis in Philadelphia last weekend.
  7. Pasco holster company provides 'self-defense with fashion sense'


    NEW PORT RICHEY — When Darlene Cahill's husband asked her to take a firearms training course with him, she was hesitant.

    She didn't like guns. She had never even touched one. But the class inspired the business that Cahill, 57, and her business partner, Doug Erickson, 49, co-own: Can Can Concealment.

    The business manufactures hand-sewn concealed carry compression holsters so women can achieve what Cahill sought when she bought a gun....

    Can Can Concealment offers hand-sewn holsters, like this Hip Hugger Classic.
  8. TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park opens near Dade City



    Jennifer Spicer dodged puddles and mud in the mulch as she stepped into a harness. Sunday's rain had passed, which meant she would get to do what she had hoped: spend time in the trees with her family — a feat made possible by TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park.

    The attraction, which features zip lines and obstacles up to 50 feet in the air, had its grand opening Tuesday. Last weekend, Spicer, 38, got a sneak peek of the park, which is owned by Benjamin Nagengast....

    TreeHoppers Aerial Adventure Park staff member Harley Evans navigates a course during Tuesday’s grand opening. Owner Benjamin Nagengast says the park of zip lines and obstacles was built under the guidance of an arborist.
  9. Big batches of sweets are the feature at That Little Bakery on Grand


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Her bakery is small. But behind the counter, Jess Glass bakes big batches of sweet treats.

    At That Little Bakery on Grand, there are lemon bars. And triple-layer cakes. And cinnamon rolls so big that Glass, 35, calls them cinnamonsters.

    But better than what she bakes is with whom she gets to bake it: her family — a result of her decision to chase a dream....

    Jess Glass, 35, runs That Little Bakery on Grand in New Port Richey with help from her husband, Michael Worssell, 37.
  10. West Pasco Habitat's Kinship Urban Farm is designed to feed and teach

    Human Interest


    Eric Stewart walked out of the sun and into the shade on a path between vegetable patches.

    He had dirt on his shirt and sweat in his eyes. But his work as part-time manager of West Pasco Habitat for Humanity's Kinship Urban Farm is worth getting dirty for.

    "This used to be a parking lot," Stewart, 30, said of the half-acre farm. "Now we're growing thousands of pounds of food."...

    Mitchell High School student and farm volunteer Zachary McKinley prepares seeds and soil in pots Friday morning. About 20 regular volunteers show up each week, Stewart said.
  11. Merger of Arc Nature Coast and Center for Independence expected to benefit both


    Mark Barry, executive director of the Arc Nature Coast in Hernando County, had discussed a merger with the Center for Independence in Pasco multiple times.

    Both organizations are chapters of the Arc of the United States, which provides services for adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Arc Nature Coast serves more than 200 people; the Center for Independence serves about 30....

    Mark Barry, executive director of Arc Nature Coast, had made the offer before.
  12. Hot air balloonists provide tranquil rides in Pasco's skies


    LAND O'LAKES — Many mornings, Jessica Warren stands beside the basket beneath a hot air balloon that will rise with the sun.

    From inside the basket, "the sunrise is spectacular," Warren said.

    The first time she saw one from a balloon is why she and her husband turned what started as a hobby into a business: American Balloons.

    After their wedding in 1996, Warren, 37, and husband Tom, 39, moved to a house in Town 'N Country, where the woman across the street was a hot air balloonist....

    American Balloons owns four balloons which take off from Wesley Chapel.
  13. Pasco couple creates custom kegs — out of watermelons


    LAND O'LAKES — With a carving knife and a commercial kitchen spoon, Steve Stallone perfects his craft, which probably could be the highlight of almost any party: a watermelon keg.

    Stallone and his wife, Chelsea, both 27, co-own a business called Wikid Watermelon.

    Stallone started his culinary career at a couple of chain restaurants, Red Lobster and Cody's Original Roadhouse, in 2003, when he lived in Spring Hill. He later worked at Salishan, a retirement community in Hernando County, where colleagues noticed his knack for decorating buffets with fruit....

    Wikid Watermelon owner Steve Stallone, 27, customizes a jumbo party keg for a client’s birthday. The keg includes 2 gallons of fresh “Nojito,” which is Wikid’s own watermelon nonalcoholic fresh mojito mix, and comes with the tap installed.
  14. New Port Richey gas station serves up a different kind of fuel


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Where fast food usually reigns, fresh food has taken root: inside a Pasco County gas station.

    It's "handcrafted barbecue," to be exact, said Dave Weisser, 52, who owns Dave's Pit and Pig.

    The restaurant, which has four tables and 14 chairs inside a Mobil station on Little Road, is the result of a passion that Weisser shares with his wife, Cheri, who manages the restaurant....

    It’s “handcrafted barbecue,” said Dave Weisser, owner of Dave’s Pit & Pig in New Port Richey. The restaurant is the result of a passion Dave Weisser shares with his wife, Cheri Weisser, who manages the restaurant, which is located in a Mobil gas station.
  15. Trinity coffeehouse owner wants to provide a place to build community


    TRINITY — When Clara Vanderhoof moved from Olympia, Wash., to Florida, she immediately had a question for Floridians.

    "Where are all the coffee shops?"

    Vanderhoof, 50, came from a coffee culture an hour south of Seattle, where coffeehouses are social hubs.

    "Not like the greasy spoon restaurant, not grab your coffee and go," she said. At an authentic coffeehouse, where "people create community."...

    Owner Clara Vanderhoof of Perks Coffeehouse uses local businesses to stock her coffee shop.