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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. Brothers-in-law brew 'good, local craft beer'


    TRINITY — John McGregor bought a beer kit in college, which marked the start of a hobby — brewing beer.

    Creating ale became a passion he shared with his brother-in-law, Matt Thompson, 39. So, brewing equipment eventually crowded McGregor's three-car garage.

    "I couldn't get one car in there," McGregor, 41, said.

    He had a choice: Store the equipment elsewhere or use it to start a business. McGregor, who worked in software sales at the time, chose the latter....

    John McGregor, 41, and Matt Thompson, 39, co-own Escape Brewing Co., a nanobrewery in Trinity. Their ales are on tap at their tasting room as well as a few Pasco County bars.
  2. Music school in New Port Richey to incorporate as nonprofit


    NEW PORT RICHEY — While Eric Mullins' mom worked as a lifeguard when he was a kid, she couldn't afford the cost of music instruction for him. So she struck a deal with a pianist.

    The woman provided "piano lessons for my mom's kid, and my mom gave her kids swimming lessons," said Mullins, 37, now a music teacher at Genesis Preparatory School and co-owner of a music school called Mullins Music....

    Mullins Music instructors are, from left, Sam Williams, Niko Pelley, Marina Mullins, Coenraad Appelgrijn and Eric Mullins. Eric Mullins and his wife Marina Mullins co-own the school.
  3. Pasco business uses garlic, onion in skin and hair care


    LUTZ — For a while, Moses Medina didn't like having his picture taken.

    "You could see my shiny scalp," he said.

    Medina, 52, who now co-owns Vive Naturals, had alopecia, a kind of hair loss that resulted in a couple of bald spots.

    So, 22 years ago, a friend suggested Medina use what his friend's grandmother used to undo her hair loss: allium — garlic and onion.

    He minced the garlic and onion in his kitchen, mixed them with warm water and applied the mixture to his scalp, almost daily. A few months later, hair showed up where there hadn't been any....

    Annette and Moses Medina own Vive Naturals, a hair and skin care company in Lutz.
  4. 'Gutsy' art gallery and shop to open in Zephyrhills


    ZEPHYRHILLS — When artist Fran Byers house-sat for a Zephyr­hills couple last year, she used a vacant room in the home as a studio. There, she painted.

    The space, in which the home­owner once ran a health and wellness business, was "a bright venue with a lot of Zen" — the perfect place for an art gallery, Byers, 57, said to the home­owner.

    "Go for it," the homeowner told her....

    Fran Byers, 57, owns Bug’s Splatter, an art gallery and shop that will open next weekend.
  5. Port Richey butcher follows in grandfather's footsteps


    PORT RICHEY — For three years, Curtis Frantz served as a scout in the U.S. Army. Then he worked in food and beverage sales. Then, his mother-in-law made a suggestion.

    Why don't you become a butcher?

    "A light bulb came on," said Frantz, 30, who now owns Your Family Butcher with his wife, Amanda, 28.

    "My grandfather was a butcher for 60 years," said Frantz. "I spent a lot of time in his shops. I grew up hunting and fishing with him, and he taught me how to process my own meat."...

    Spouses Amanda Frantz, 28, and Curtis Frantz, 30, co-own Your Family Butcher.
  6. Pasco business uses thermoplastics to make house numbers shine at night


    NEW PORT RICHEY — As the longtime owner a roof-cleaning company, Dante Rodriguez has rubbed elbows with lots of homeowners associations and with homeowners. He has learned about their concerns.

    Among them?

    "The spray-paint guys," said Rodriguez, 49 — the ones he says show up to paint people's house numbers onto their driveways.

    So Rodriguez did some research. And because of what he learned, he started another business: Bay Area Thermoplastics, which manufactures reflective curb markers that display a home­owner's house number and are an alternative to spray paint....

    Dante Rodriguez, 49, owns Bay Area Thermoplastics and its parent company, Bay Area Roof Cleaning Company, Inc.
  7. After starting with one van, non-emergency transportation service celebrates 30 years


    NEW PORT RICHEY — Next week, Wheelchair/Stretcher Limo, a non-emergency transportation service, will celebrate its 30th anniversary, a milestone that makes its founder, JoLynn Spivey, proud.

    In 1985, Spivey, now 57, worked as an emergency medical technician for an ambulance company in Pinellas County. There, she started a non-emergency unit to transport patients whose conditions weren't critical....

    Wheelchair/Stretcher Limo offers non-emergency rides to those in a wheelchair or a stretcher. The company has 11 conversion vans in its fleet and has more than 100 clients a day.
  8. After a fire, Custom Frame Store brings Pasco man's life full circle


    DADE CITY — Five months after Robert Schultz retired, a fire destroyed the uninsured double-wide mobile home he called home.

    In the fire's stressful wake, a friend of Schultz, 67, made an observation: He needed to relax.

    His friend suggested yoga. So Schultz took a yoga class at a studio attached to a frame shop, called the Custom Frame Store, which his yoga instructor owned.

    "I walked in (to the frame store) and told her this brought me full circle," he said. "I had learned framing in college to work my way through school."...

    “I frame just about anything — pictures, oils on canvas, baseballs people have caught at Rays games,” said Robert Schultz, 67, who owns the Custom Frame Store in Dade City.
  9. Port Richey motorcycle school teaches skills, safety


    Spotlight | Florida Professional Motorcycle Training

    PORT RICHEY — Dave Cruz's first crash on a motorcycle, in 1981, shook him. The recovery after his second crash, in 1997, took a year. But it wasn't until 2004 that Cruz took his first class on how to properly and safely operate a motorcycle.

    What he learned prompted a question, said Cruz, 59, who now owns Florida Professional Motorcycle Training: "How the heck did I stay alive on a bike for 35 years?"...

    Dave Cruz, 59, owner of Florida Professional Motorcycle Training, wants to help other riders manage risks on the road.
  10. The name tells only part of the story at Market Off Main


    NEW PORT RICHEY — When the owners of a Main Street produce market decided in 2008 to turn it into a cafe and creamery called Market Off Main, they picked an unlikely place to put it: in a run-down house.

    "It had been unoccupied for several years," said Jerry Kuss, 72, who found the building and now co-owns the business with Rose Mohr, 67.

    "It didn't look very inviting from the front," Mohr said. "It was a location that was not appreciated (by the public)."...

    Jerry Kuss, 72, and Rose Mohr, 67, the co-owners of Market Off Main, have turned a run-down house into a thriving business.
  11. Benedictine nun uses aquaponics to raise fish, grow food and teach others

    Human Interest

    ST. LEO

    Sister Miriam Cosgrove peeled back the black plastic tarp that covered a 250-gallon fish tank. The tilapia inside swam to the surface. "A feeding frenzy," Cosgrove, 73, said as the fish fought for each pellet of food that the Catholic sister dropped into the water.

    The tank is one of 10 in the greenhouse next to Holy Name Monastery, installed in December so Cosgrove, who will have been a Benedictine nun for 55 years this summer, could minister to the world in a new way: with aquaponics — "a sustainable, self-sufficient fish farm."...

    Sister Miriam Cosgrove, left, and employee Elizabeth Reasons work at Holy Name Monastery’s aquaponics farm in St. Leo.
  12. Illusionist makes magic happen in Pasco


    NEW PORT RICHEY — On the stage at Merlin's Theater, David Evangelista entertains each audience with what he has practiced for decades: magic.

    A year and a half ago, the 53-year-old illusionist and magic shop owner opened the 65-seat venue — a place where he and other magicians can perform the tricks Evangelista first picked up as a kid.

    When Evangelista was 9 years old, his grandmother bought him a deck of magic cards. Then he got a magic set....

    David Evangelista, 53, owns Merlin’s Magic Shop and Theater.
  13. Pasco food truck owners turn hot dogs into gourmet meals


    WESLEY CHAPEL — In a 24-foot-long truck called Americanwiener, Ben Laffey lives his dream: making hot dogs.

    Laffey, 39, co-owns the food truck with his wife, Amy, and has earned the distinguished title of "wiener creation genius."

    His penchant for using toppings to turn grilled dogs into gourmet meals was preceded by a decade in a corporate job. The journey started while he studied at the California School of Culinary Arts....

    Ben Laffey, 39, and his wife Amy Laffey, 39, co-own Americanwiener, a food truck that serves gourmet hot dogs and hand-cut fries.
  14. Perspective: How chastity can lead to good sex


    As a colleague and I crossed the parking lot at the Port Richey bureau of the Tampa Bay Times, he pointed at the bumper sticker on my car's rear windshield.

    He read it aloud: "Chastity is for lovers."

    He furrowed his brow and tilted his head, perplexed by what he had read.

    "How can chastity be for lovers if it means you can't have sex?" he asked.

    What I said surprised him:...

  15. Charter business promises glimpses of Pasco's beauty and stress relief


    NEW PORT RICHEY — On Anclote Key in 2002, Wendy Longman and her husband met a retired aerospace engineer from San Diego. He had a goal: to charter sailboats as a business.

    "You know how to sail; we know how to market," Longman, 46, said she told him.

    Her husband, Bruce Longman, worked in marketing, so the couple helped him start Windsong Sailing and Fishing Charters.

    But "the 2004 hurricanes weren't nice to him," Longman said, and he also was going through a divorce....

    Capt. Wendy Longman and her husband and business partner, Capt. Bruce Longman, have dozens of rentable assets for customers to charter or take out on their own.