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NEW SHERIFF'S UNIT TO FOCUS ON ECONOMIC CRIMES

Sheriff Bob White has formed a team of eight specialized detectives to fight crimes such as counterfeiting, forgery, identity theft and exploitation of the elderly.

Sgt. William Moltzan will supervise the Economic Crimes unit, whose arrival was announced Wednesday in the wake of several high-profile cases involving complex trickery.

"You need special skills and special knowledge to work these cases," Moltzan said. "We've picked some very motivated, intelligent people."

The agency has had an economic crimes unit before. Sheriff Lee Cannon dissolved the last one in 1995 amid a controversy involving its top detective.

DADE CITY

Master Gardeners plan holiday seminar

"Holiday Plants" will be the Pasco County Master Gardeners seminar presentation from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at Clayton Hall, extension office, 36702 State Road 52, Dade City.

There will be information on what to look for when buying, how to care for these plants and what to do with them after the holidays are over.

Betsy Crisp will discuss the new Simply Florida cookbook, filled with 214 recipes by extension agents to promote Florida agriculture.

The cost is $23 if purchased at the extension office; add $5 if it will be shipped directly. After the seminar, check out the $1 plant sale and pick up melaleuca mulch for $2 per cubic bag.

Melaleuca mulch settles the least, fades the least and is most termite resistant.

Call (352) 521-4288, (727) 847-8177, ext. 4288 or (813) 996-7341, ext. 1921.

WESLEY CHAPEL

Two-car crash sends passenger to hospital

Judy Barney, 60, simply wanted to check out the Zephyrhills YMCA. Instead, she ended up being flown by helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa after her car collided about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday with a Scion TC driven by 18-year-old Maria Nuguid.

The accident occurred on Eiland Boulevard just outside Lake Bernadette. Barney was in a Mercury Grand Marquis driven by her husband, Gary Barney, 60, who was unhurt.

Nuguid, who was also unhurt, was trying to turn left out of Lake Bernadette when she slammed into the passenger side of the Barneys' car. She is being charged with violation of right of way, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Barney's condition was unavailable.

WESLEY CHAPEL

Kitchen fire damages 4 condominium units

An automatic sprinkler system saved a multimillion condominium project from serious damage Tuesday when a kitchen fire broke out at the 25-unit Windsor Club at Seven Oaks.

The fire was reported at 27750 Cowdrey St. at 6:40 p.m. When firefighters entered unit No. 205, they discovered the sprinklers had doused the flames, Pasco Fire Rescue report said.

An unidentified female was injured, the report said, as she moved a pot of oil from the stove. The apartment had minor fire damage, while three others had water damage. Four families were moved to other apartments, the report said.

Total damage was estimated at $65,000, the report said.

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