Local News

  • Piano comforts his soul

    HERNANDO — When Roland “Ronnie” Smith sits down at the piano, it is well with his soul.

     A career church musician, he now has stage 4 cancer and dementia with all the confusion and memory loss that brings.

    But when he’s at the keyboard, he’s transported. He is back in the grand cathedrals and tiny chapels, playing for Presbyterians and Anglicans, playing a grand piano, playing an even grander pipe organ.

  • Cheers for chief as Thorpe says goodbye

    LECANTO — Beach balls and breakfast adorned the long table in the upstairs board room Wednesday morning at Lecanto Government Center for staff to give the county administrator a festive send-off.

    Before reporting to their desks and meetings, employees had a last coffee and doughnut with Brad Thorpe, who retires Friday from serving the county in several positions, elected and appointed, since 1992.


    1974 — Brad Thorpe, who spent his childhood in St. Petersburg, graduates from Florida State University — where he had a scholarship in track and field — with a bachelor of science degree in criminology.

    1974 to 1977 — After moving to Fort Collins, Colorado, Thorpe becomes a police officer.

  • Young minds put to ease

    Teachers return to work today in preparation for the roughly 14,000 Citrus County School District students who will be walking in for the first day of school next week.

    On Wednesday, Aug. 6, the 2014-15 school year begins and the big first-day transition for many soon-to-be freshmen can be daunting. 

    As with most typical first days of school, buses may well run late, children will show up unannounced and traffic likely will be tied up.

    But to a high school freshman, that is the least of his or her worries.

  • Weekends in the area are getting busier

    This Friday, Saturday and Sunday will bring a mix of free family-friendly events that welcome scallop lovers, give back to the community and provide music to the ears.

    - There will be a free street party from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday at the corner of Pine Avenue and Old Main Street — next to Coach’s Pub and Eatery. It’s the return of the Pine Street Jam.  Back by popular demand, it’s the music of Jimmy Buffett with the band The Caribbean Chillers. 

  • Four arrested at alleged drug house

    Four people were taken into custody early Wednesday morning following a raid involving multiple law enforcement agencies.

    At 5:40 a.m., authorities served a search warrant at 1093 N. Bearmount Terrace near Crystal River and 

    arrested Dwight Taylor, Robert Bryant, Adriane Wilson and Cheri Crouch.

    Taylor is charged with possession of methamphetamines with intent to distribute, possession of paraphernalia and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon.

  • ­Hernando man hurt in I-75 crash

    A Hernando man had to be cut free from his vehicle early Tuesday morning on Interstate 75 and airlifted with critical injuries to Ocala Regional Medical Center.

    Shortly before 7 a.m., Richard Whitlock, 54, was driving a 1993 Ford F150 pickup truck southbound on I-75 in the outside lane in the area of the 318 milepost.

    Whitlock was driving ahead of a tractor-trailer driven by William Jackson, 43, of Fort White. An unidentified vehicle traveling between Whitlock and Jackson changed lanes to the inside lane to pass Whitlock.

  • CF gets support for digital media scholarships

    Support from AT&T is providing six $5,000 scholarships for the College of Central Florida’s new Digital Media program at the Citrus Campus.

    Tuesday, Troy L. McNichols, AT&T Florida regional director, presented a check for $30,000 to Dr. Vernon Lawter, vice president of the CF Citrus Campus, and Chris Knife, executive director of the College of Central Florida Foundation.

  • A special(ist) job

    All it took was volunteering for one Relay for Life when she was in college and Holli Herndon was hooked on the American Cancer Society and what the organization does.

    After 12 years of volunteering, Herndon, 30, is now the ACS Relay for Life staff specialist.

    “I started as a walker, then team captain, moved up into committee and the last two years I was event chair. I was hired in April,” she said.

    Prior to that, she taught elementary school for five years in Citrus County.

  • Delivery of vote-by-mail primary ballots begins

    Citrus County Supervisor of Elections Susan Gill has announced that nearly 20,000 vote-by-mail ballots for the Tuesday, Aug. 26, primary election were mailed on Wednesday, July 23 to voters with requests on file. 

    Eligible voters, who have not previously requested a ballot, may do so by calling the elections office at 352-341-6740, going online to www.votecitrus.com, or submitting the request in writing. Written requests must include the voter’s date of birth, signature and Citrus County residential address.