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Ribbon-cutting to be held at Withlacoochee trail

Proponents of an extension to the Withlacoochee State Trail are expecting to gather Monday for a ribbon cutting at a new trailhead along U.S. 301 in Trilby. Denny Mihalinec, who led the drive for the parking area, said the trailhead will mark the southern end of the 46-mile paved trail, which runs along abandoned railroad lines. Monday's event is at 10:30 a.m. at the new parking area, about 6 miles north of Dade City along U.S. 301. The public is invited. Mihalinec said the celebration is just the beginning, as he gathers momentum and signatures toward a goal of extending the trail farther south into downtown Dade City. Eventually, he said, there may be support to extend it yet again into Zephyrhills. The trail _ part of the Florida state park system _ is a popular recreation spot for walkers, joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters.

Court date set to hear

dispatch center dispute

PORT RICHEY _ A Feb. 3 court hearing has been scheduled in the dispute over the validity of a citizen petition challenging the City Council's decision to close the police dispatch center. Circuit Judge W. Lowell Bray will hear the matter at 9 a.m., according to his office. When the petition surfaced last fall, city officials said they did not think it was valid because the 3-2 dispatch vote had to do with budgetary concerns. The residents, who organized as Save Our Police, say all residents should be able to weigh in on a referendum during the April election. Bray has been asked to rule on the legality of the petition.

24-year-old to stand trial

for June 2001 charges

NEW PORT RICHEY _ George "Jimmy" Goughf, 24, will stand trial this week for his alleged role in several days of mayhem in June 2001. Detectives say Goughf _ along with Edwin Humphrey, Richard Matthew Touchton and Robert Hay _ beat and kidnapped a cabdriver, took him back to his Hudson home and terrorized him and his roommate for hours. Investigators say Humphrey, Touchton and Goughf later killed Hay when he threatened to go to authorities. Hay had been shot three times with a shotgun off Old Dixie Highway, near Belcher Mines. Humphrey has received three life sentences for his part in the crimes. Touchton is slated for trial in March. Attorneys began jury selection for Goughf on Monday.