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2 bids to build hospital withdrawn

Published April 19, 2007



Two down; two to duke it out. Earlier this year, four bids were thrown in the ring to build a hospital in Wesley Chapel.

On Wednesday, the deadline for applications to the state's review process, two of those bids were withdrawn. University Community Health and Adventist Health System abandoned its individual bids, opting to combine forces in a joint bid. Its rival is BayCare Health System, backed by USF Health.

All want to raise acute-care facilities of about 100 beds each to serve central Pasco's growing population. The state reviews bids twice a year to regulate health care supply and determine how and where facilities get built. The decision is due in June.


Animal hospital break-in nets $8

Police are looking for burglars who broke into the Cypress Creek Animal Hospital, busting out a window and then rummaging the reception area before stealing $8 in change.

Pasco deputies say the burglars used a landscaping timber to smash the front window of the clinic, located at 25227 Wesley Chapel Blvd., at about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.


Garage sale to benefit Mothers & More

The Wesley Chapel area chapter of Mothers & More, a nonprofit group dedicated to improving life for mothers, will host a multifamily garage sale from 8 a.m. to noon Saturday in the parking lot of Sugar and Spice Preschool in Lexington Oaks.

The event coincides with the community garage sales in Lexington Oaks. The 75-member Mothers & More chapter will offer baked goods and a variety of household and clothing items for sale to help raise money for the group, which meets regularly at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month at the Club in Seven Oaks.


Man, 54, accused of exposing self to teen

A 54-year-old man was arrested Tuesday morning on charges he exposed himself to a 14-year-old girl, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office reported.

The sheriff's report says Timothy Lee Smith admitted to exposing himself to the girl several times in the past year.

Smith of 12151 Catalona Ave., New Port Richey, was charged with lewd or lascivious exhibition. He was released on $10,000 bail.

Smith could not be reached for comment Wednesday. When a reporter called the phone number on his arrest report, no voice responded to numerous hellos.

But loud sounds could be heard in the background for more than a minute, apparently from a revving chain saw.


Former police chief fights his 2nd firing

Bill Downs was fired twice in four years.

Now, for the second time, he's suing the city.

In a lawsuit filed Wednesday in the 6th Judicial Circuit, Downs, 61, is asking to be reinstated as police captain and compensated for lost pay.

Downs alleges that city officials violated their personnel manual by when they dismissed him in January as part of a cost-cutting effort to combine the police and fire departments. Downs had planned to retire early next year.

Downs was police chief when he was fired the first time in 2003. When an arbitrator found that firing to be unjustified, Downs was rehired as captain, and the city had to pay him $116,214 last year.


Theater honored for exterior restoration

Richey Suncoast Theatre won an honorable mention from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council's cultural division for its exterior restoration of the 1920s landmark building.

The theater was nominated by the city's redevelopment department, said Charlie Skelton, president of the theater board of directors.

"We spent $13,000 on the outside of our building repainting and recovering the gold dome," he said.

First place went to St. Petersburg's Mahaffey Theater, which had $20-million in renovations. Skelton accepted the trophy on behalf of the theater at Tuesday's City Council meeting.


All-county chorus will perform on Saturday

The All-County Elementary School Chorus will perform at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Performing Arts Center at River Ridge High School, 11646 Town Center Road, New Port Richey.

The musical talents of 95 Pasco County children will be led by guest director Francis Hannaway and accompanist, La Gretta Snowden. The concert is free. Call (727) 774-2243.

[Last modified April 19, 2007, 08:03:21]

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