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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. 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.
  2. 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....

    Doug Erickson, 49, and Darlene Cahill, 57, co-own Can Can Concealment. Eighty retailers in country sell their holsters.
  3. 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 in Dade City features eight courses made up of wooden platforms, rope obstacles and zip lines of varying levels of difficulty.
  4. 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....

    Miles Worssell, age 4.  Jess Glass, 35, owns That Little Bakery On Grand, an 810 square foot bakery on Grand Blvd. in New Port Richey.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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 creates intricate watermelon decorations like this one. The company also specializes in customized watermelon kegs and mix.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. '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.
  15. 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.