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Surplus ice from the storm recovery will be given away

There's too much to store and it's too expensive _ and logistically complicated _ to ship. So Pasco County today will hand out surplus ice left over from Frances recovery efforts to anyone who can use it.

Ice will be distributed at four locations, three in east Pasco and one west side location.

Sometime this morning, the Greater Trilby Community Association will receive the first 20 pallets of ice in oversized bags of up to 100 pounds each, to give away. There is no cost, just come and get it.

"Anyone who can use it, it's there," said Denny Mihalinec, president of the association. "We just don't want it to go to waste."

The ice is courtesy of the Pasco County Office of Emergency Management. Operations coordinator Jim Johnston said the ice can't be stored forever, and getting truckloads through the maze of traffic around Pensacola would be too difficult.

Johnston said he hopes the ice can help anyone still reeling from the effects of Frances.

Mihalinec is due the first shipment, as soon as trucks can get rolling. It will be piled up outside the association's headquarters, across the street from the Trilby post office, 37451 Trilby Road, next door to the Trilby United Methodist Church.

The next shipment will be bound for the Winn-Dixie store at 12715 S. U.S. 301 in Dade City. The next goes to the Home Depot in Zephyrhills, 32715 Eiland Blvd.; and the last, due before 1 p.m., goes to the Lowe's Home Improvement location at 8312 Little Road, New Port Richey.

Mihalinec said most residents in his area of northeast Pasco have power, but in some flooded areas, there could still be people in need. Especially if power trucks can't get through standing water.

At the very least, someone with a big freezer could save the ice. It could come in handy the next time, he said.

Hurricane season doesn't end until Nov. 30.