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INTEREST-FREE INSURANCE LOANS AVAILABLE

Pasco County is taking applications until Dec. 22 for its noninterest loan program to help low- income residents pay their insurance premiums. Homeowners can receive up to $5,000. The program targets people who are disabled or age 62 or older, and they must have homes assessed at $120,000 or less. So far, about 25 to 30 people have applied, said George Romagnoli, community development manager. For information, call (727) 834-3445 in west Pasco; (813) 996-7341, ext. 3445 in central Pasco; or (352) 521-4274, ext. 3445, in east Pasco.

DADE CITY

Christmas Stroll today in downtown

Christmas cheer is coming to downtown today for the annual Country Christmas Stroll from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Historic Courthouse Square and Agnes Lamb Park. There will be a children's Santa house, carolers, holiday entertainment on two stages, carriage rides and holiday treats, and stores will stay open late. For more information, call (352) 567-0284.

COUNTYWIDE

Political parties keep their leaders

It looks like the leaders of the two big parties in Pasco County will stay in charge for the next two years. Democratic Party chairwoman Alison Morano is the only candidate for the top spot heading into the party's organizational meeting today. Republican Party chairman Bill Bunting retained his seat on Monday without any opposition, a month after GOP activists gave him a vote of confidence following the November election. Republicans took most races in the election, but Democrat Michael Cox unseated Republican Steve Simon on the County Commission - sparking criticism from some Republican heavyweights and giving a boost to Morano's attempts to rebuild the party.

LAND O'LAKES

Connerton takes 3 builder awards

Connerton won three awards from the Tampa Bay Builders Association last month. The awards were for Best Developer Brochure, Best Developer Web site and Best Developer 4 Color Ad. The 4,800-acre new town is still under construction and eventually will have 8,500 homes and more than 3-million square feet of commercial space.

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