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Deja vu of frustrating routine

Again with the flooding, the heat and the loss of basic services.

It's getting old in the tiny communities of Trilby and Lacoochee. To the north and east, there's the bloated, sluggish Withlacoochee River. To the south and west, swamped pastures, overflowing farm ponds and overloaded roadside drainage ditches.

On Tuesday, for the second time in a month, residents lined up at the Trilby Community Association headquarters along Trilby Road to apply for aid, hunt for ice and pick up what food and water came available.

Association president Denny Mihalinec said he was working with Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and any other agencies he can to create a supply zone.

Next door at the Trilby United Methodist Church, 37504 Trilby Road, elder Charles Downey opened the 3,000-square-foot function hall as a shelter for anyone whose home was either flooded or damaged or just too hot to live in.

Anthony Fink was working as a volunteer at the community center. There was nothing to do at home on Old Trilby Road, he said. Everything's flooded and the power still was out.

"I've got a hole this big in my roof," he said, spreading his arms wide. "But we still want to help other people. That's all you can do, try to help."

Outside the community center, people had just about had enough of this hurricane season.

"This is the second time I've bought groceries, just to see them spoiled," Latori Hamilton said. "I have a child, and what am I supposed to feed him, chips and crackers?"

Any help Mihalinec could provide would be welcomed, she said. By 3 p.m., food and water were available, and organizers said they expected to have ice by today.

Hamilton said she's tired of seeing trucks roll by from Withlacoochee Electric Cooperative and Tampa Electric Co. because her electric utility, Progress Energy, hasn't shown up at her street in Trilby.

"I'm fed up," she said. "I see trucks everywhere, but not here. It seems like we're always the last ones."

Up the road in Lacoochee, more tension.

Isa Blanford, a Pasco County Housing Authority employee and a member of the Circle of Hope Community Partnership, said no one is providing aid. She said she asked Pasco County for help but was getting the runaround.

"They're saying we don't need it," Blanford said. "What do you mean we don't need it?"

At Pasco Emergency Management, spokeswoman Diane Jones said the county still is trying to get aid from the state to spread throughout the county. The state aid hadn't arrived by Tuesday afternoon, so emergency management was still trying to figure out where to send the supplies they could get ahold of. She said someone would get in touch with Blanford about the community needs.

"There are just so many counties that need help," Jones said.

Mark Edenfield, who lives near the Withlacoochee River, motors through the swollen river Tuesday near Lacoochee. The river is about 16 feet above its normal level. "If you want to get drowned in this river all you got to do is get off in it now," he said.

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