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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. Volkswagens to descend on Dade City for annual Florida Bug Jam


    DADE CITY — This weekend, the 28th annual, Marvel comic-themed, Florida Bug Jam will include a parade and a concert. But the highlight is what else visitors will see.

    "Volkswagens everywhere," said Bug Jam promoter Randy Yoho.

    In fact, Yoho said, the Bug Jam is one of the largest Volkswagen car shows in the country — and it keeps growing.

    Last year about 10,000 lovers of the German automaker showed up from as far away as Japan and Germany....

    The 28th annual Florida Bug Jam takes place Nov. 12 and 13 at the Pasco County Fairgrounds in Dade City.
  2. Original adaptation of 'Peter Pan' opens Live Oak Theatre season


    BROOKSVILLE — Live Oak Theatre Company's first production of the 2016-17 season fuses a familiar story with an original twist — and that was Randi Olsen's goal.

    As the theater's volunteer artistic director, Olsen chooses the shows for each season.

    "I wanted to highlight classic stories that we all grew up with, stories that are family friendly and have some sort of lesson in them," Olsen said....

    Captian Hook, played by Kevan Richards, and his pirates, in front, played by Casey Looper, Lucas Santerelli and Joshua Santerelli, steer the Jolly Roger in Live Oak’s production of Peter Pan.
  3. Popular Halloween event at Heritage Museum expands to two weekends


    BROOKSVILLE — The Hernando Historical Museum has a treat for folks who like a good fright: This year, its annual Haunted House and Fall Festival will be held over two weekends instead of one.

    The expansion is the result of the festival's increasing popularity, which organizer Amanda Mullen attributes to one factor: The building that houses the attraction is believed to be haunted.

    Last year, the event, which is the museum's largest fundraiser, drew about 2,000 people — some from as far away as Sarasota....

  4. Annual Dade City festival features scarecrows, pumpkins and plenty of family fun


    DADE CITY — The Pioneer Florida Museum and Village has planned an occasion for families to celebrate fall's recent arrival: the annual Scarecrow Festival.

    This year's festival, which will take place Saturday at the museum, is the 12th in Dade City and the third at the museum, according to Stephanie Black, the museum's executive director. It will feature attractions that cater to kids. But adults, she said, can have plenty of fun, too....

  5. Terra, a Zephyrhills restaurant, offers fresh and healthy fare


    ZEPHYRHILLS — Iris Ivanac values healthy, fresh food, but she also values flavor. So last year she opened Terra, a family-owned and operated restaurant that fuses them.

    "We're trying to promote a healthy lifestyle — a healthy lifestyle that does not compromise taste," said Ivanac, 33.

    She has owned and operated restaurants all her life, as the daughter of restaurant owners. Prior to Terra, she owned a Zephyrhills pizza parlor. But her brother's health inspired the fare at Terra, which opened in December....

    There’s more to healthy eating than a “big ol’ bowl of kale,” said Iris Ivanac. Terra hosts meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans.
  6. Hudson ice cream parlor provides sweet, cold treats


    HUDSON — As a child, Alex Mullore enjoyed a frequent treat: ice cream.

    "I grew up in Tampa, and my father used to take me to Bo's Ice Cream at least once a week," said Mullore, 42. "And for good grades, ice cream was the reward."

    Now, Mullore provides a comparable experience from behind the scenes, as owner of Hudson Beach Ice Cream.

    In 2007, after Hudson Beach Ice Cream's original owners put the parlor up for sale, Mullore happened to seek a business — "something fun that I could do with my kids," he said....

    Patricia Rosario, 22, and Mariah McDonald, 18, are Hudson Ice Beach Ice Cream’s manager and assistant manager respectively. Owner Alex Mullore bought the ice cream parlor in 2007.
  7. Pasco family's business brings big bargains to local shoppers


    ODESSA — The Bradley family's business is built on what Sue Bradley says everybody likes: bargains.

    "When you get a $200 item, and you're only going to spend $120 on it, why wouldn't you?" said Bradley, 57, whose west Pasco store, Bargain Warehouse Outlet, provides patrons with opportunities to do just that.

    The business opened in April. She owns and runs it with her husband, Van Bradley, 69, and his daughter, Christine Walker, 43, who is the store's managing partner....

    Sue Bradley, Van Bradley and Christine Walker own and run the Bargain Warehouse Outlet. Their merchandise is from liquidators.
  8. For Dade City couple, one, two and now three restaurants


    DADE CITY — In 2010, Curtis and Rebecca Beebe opened a restaurant out in the countryside of east Pasco called Pearl in the Grove. Previously, Curtis had worked in information technology. Rebecca was a schoolteacher.

    Both were terrified.

    Starting the business was an unfamiliar venture, said Curtis, 53, but "failure was not an option."

    As it turned out, it wouldn't need to be. Touting locally sourced food, Pearl flourished and became one of the most highly acclaimed restaurants in the Tampa Bay area....

    Rebecca and Curtis Beebe are pictured with their son, Jackson Beebe, 24, left, at Rebecca’s at City Market, their newest of three restaurants in east Pasco.
  9. Navy and Army veterans open Rebel Dog Brewing in Port Richey


    PORT RICHEY — When Nate Bryant, a Navy veteran, opened a home brewing supply store, Donn Daniels, an Army veteran, was his second customer.

    Daniels, 34, bought the supplies to brew his own beer, and Bryant, also 34, expressed an interest in brewing.

    He couldn't do it at the store, he said, because his only source of water was a sink.

    But Daniels, who became a regular customer, pitched an idea: Together they could move the shop and turn it into a brewery....

    Navy veteran Nate Bryant, left, and Army vet Donn Daniels co-own Rebel Dog Brewing, now open in Port Richey.
  10. New shop in Wesley Chapel bakes fresh donuts from scratch


    WESLEY CHAPEL — In high school, Dana Morris flew to France as an exchange student, and fell in love.

    That is, "with European pastries, and bakeries, and coffee," she said.

    It became the basis for her new donut shop, Buttermilk Provisions.

    Morris took culinary courses in France but studied accounting instead in college and worked after that as an accountant for a private club that had a pastry chef....

    Dana Morris is the owner of Buttermilk Provisions on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard in Wesley Chapel.
  11. Fitlife Foods offers healthy options for time-starved shoppers at new Wesley Chapel location


    WESLEY CHAPEL — David Osterweil is a husband and a dad, a CEO and a marathoner. That means he has felt like a lot of people do: too busy to prepare healthy meals.

    But he has a solution: Fitlife Foods, which opened its first Pasco location this month.

    The store is "for success-minded people who value their health, value their time and, most importantly, value great flavor," said Osterweil, 38, who founded Fitlife....

    David Osterweil, 38, is founder and CEO of Fitlife Foods, which opened a Wesley Chapel location.
  12. Despite defections, Gulf View Square tenants, manager see hope for mall



    At 3:45 on a recent weekday afternoon, a walk through Gulf View Square mall was mostly quiet.

    "To put it in perspective, I went to Countryside (mall in Clearwater)," said Steve Baginskie, who owns Yancy Street Comics, a comic shop at Gulf View Square. "They were as busy on a Monday as this mall is on a Saturday."

    But despite smaller crowds and recent defections of stores, Baginskie and other Gulf View tenants say all is not lost. And they still have hope for the 36-year-old mall's future....

    Yancy Street Comics occupies a 5,300-square-foot location in the Gulf View Square mall in Port Richey.
  13. Curiosity led to Dade City couple's love affair with alpacas


    DADE CITY — Eight years ago, Debbie Pettis read a newspaper article about an alpaca farm.

    "I had never heard of the animal," Pettis said.

    Alpacas, she learned, are of the camelid family — cousins to llamas. And they're strange looking, thought Pettis, who works part time for a global consulting firm. But she took an interest. So she called the farm she read about and scheduled a tour....

    They know their names, says Debbie Pettis of her “boys” and “girls.”
  14. Wesley Chapel family harvests, sells raw honey


    WESLEY CHAPEL — Monica Obando is an apitherapist and a beekeeper. So she respects what other people fear: bees.

    She and her husband, Juan Obando; her sister, Jenny Castro, and her mother, Maria Leguizamon own enough bees to have started a business: Santa Monica Florida, which harvests and sells raw honey.

    The venture began in 2011, when Monica Obando, 42, suffered from arthritis. Her husband had heard about apitherapy, the use of what bees produce, such as venom, to help alleviate pain caused by various illnesses. So they took a class in it....

    Maria Leguizamon, Monica Obando and Jenny Castro co-own Santa Monica Florida with Obando’s husband, Juan Obando. The business harvests and sells raw honey.
  15. Shop for 'shabby chic' furniture in New Port Richey


    NEW PORT RICHEY — When others see an old piece of furniture, Jenny Barker, who owns a downtown shop called Vintage Chickabees, sees an opportunity.

    "I upcycle it," she said — she uses chalk-based paint and wax to refurbish wooden tables and chairs and dressers that otherwise might be discarded.

    The art projects started when Barker, 38, a widow and mother of four, was a gymnastics instructor. She wanted to earn additional income. So she attended workshops where she learned techniques for restoring old furniture — she had a lot of it, she said....

    Jenny Barker, 38, upcycles furniture and sells it at her shop, Vintage Chickabees.