tampabay.com

Do visits from the dead meet city codes?

By TIMES WIRES
Published May 17, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY

Teresa Gurnell, a Wiccan, wants to offer "spiritual counseling" at her New Age gift shop, the Dragon Den. City codes say nothing about whether spiritual counseling is allowed in the downtown district. So Gurnell had to appear before the City Council on Tuesday. Her request passed. But Mayor Dan Tipton, who voted no, had his doubts:

Tipton: What - how does this work? Or what is this about? Let me just ask you a question: Does it have anything whatsoever to do with witchcraft?

Gurnell: No, not necessarily. Well, I am a witch. But does my spiritual counseling have anything to do with witchcraft? No.

Tipton: Well, looking at the other information you furnished us with - will you actually have clients in there where you'll want to go back and, try to, uh, visit the dead?

Gurnell: Ummm -

Tipton: I spent a lot of time on this, so I want to be clear on this.

Gurnell: That's okay. That's not a normal practice. But do deceased people come to me? Yeah, they do.

Tipton: Deceased people?

Gurnell: Deceased people come to give me messages for people. Yeah, that happens.

Tipton: Okay, I'm not going to support this myself. But thank you very much for clearing up my questions.

TARPON SPRINGS

City plans to triple water impact fees

City commissioners want new development in their city. But they also want the newcomers to pay their way.

That is why the City Commission is poised to triple the city's water impact fee over the next two years. A final vote will be taken June 5.

Voters' decision in March 2006 to build a local water treatment plant now allows the city to increase impact fees, in part, to help cover the future cost of that plant.

BROOKSVILLE

Pollution cleanup stays on schedule

It's painstaking and slow, but the cleanup of Hernando County's former public works depot in South Brooksville remains on track, county and state officials said Wednesday.

Much of the contamination is below ground, where people can't come into contact with it. But a report on the cleanup noted two concerns: the potential threat to the water supply and the need to make sure that the yards of residents near the site are free of arsenic and lead.

LARGO

Far-flung polling place serves French voters

The poll workers at Schiller International University were treated to quiche and red wine at lunch. The voters in this month's French presidential election slipped paper ballots into an urn.

Schiller declared a multipurpose room "French soil" for a day.

"We loaned it to the French consulate because they (the electorate) must vote on French soil, " said Dr. Cathy Eberhart, Schiller's interim president.

On May 5, 234 French nationals voted at Schiller. Eighty-four percent went for the conservative Nicolas Sarkozy.