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Meeting set in New Port Richey to discuss private water utilities

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Meeting set to discuss private water utilities

Members of a special committee created to study private water utilities will hold a public meeting next week to hear from customers of such companies. The meeting will be from 9 a.m. to noon Wednesday at the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive. The panel is studying problems related to private utilities and will issue a series of legislative recommendations by Feb. 15. County Commissioner Jack Mariano, a member of the 18-member committee, said the panel has already met five times. He worries discussions so far have not focused enough on consumers dealing with poor water quality and high rates. "Every opportunity to help the small utility has been voted on positively," he said. "All the things that can help the citizens just aren't there." For more information, visit


Holiday elves needed for seniors

Scores of elves are needed for this year's "Be a Santa to a Senior" program, which provides companionship and gifts to seniors who may be spending the holiday season alone. Ornaments have been placed on Christmas trees and wreaths at participating businesses with gift requests for the seniors served by this program. Holiday shoppers may pick up an ornament, purchase the gifts and bring them back to the business, unwrapped but with ornament attached, by Friday. Volunteers will wrap and deliver the presents. "The holiday is often considered a time for children, but seniors — especially those who are isolated and lonely — need to be remembered as well," said Joy A. Cook, owner of Home Instead Senior Care in west Pasco. Last year the program provided more than 4,000 gifts to 747 seniors. This year organizers hope to bring holiday cheer to 820 seniors. For information or tree locations, visit or For other questions or to volunteer, call Cook at (727) 845-5819.


Time to Stuff the Bus with food

Pasco County Public Transit invites the community to "Stuff the Bus with Food" from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to help local residents in need. A bus will be parked that day at the Publix supermarket at Southgate Shopping Center, 5127 U.S. 19, to accept donations of nonperishable food items. All the food collected will be donated to the Volunteer Way Food Bank, which provides food every month to more than 20,000 low-income, homeless, seniors, children and needy families. The Volunteer Way has been distributing food free of charge for more than 20 years. Volunteers are welcome at this event. To lend a hand, contact the Volunteer Way at (727) 815-0433 or