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Local News

  • Local briefs 2/4/2016

    Man pleads to child-porn charge

    A Citrus County man pleaded guilty Wednesday to distributing child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

  • State recognizes Citrus County for slimming down

    The Florida Department of Health has named Citrus County as a 2016 Healthy Weight Community Champion, one of 80 communities to get the honor.

    The recognition highlights local governments’ efforts to increase physical activity and improve nutrition. Examples of criteria for the recognition include whether a jurisdiction maintains a system of parks, provides incentive programs to attract grocery stores to underserved neighborhoods and prioritizes personal safety in areas where people can increase physical activity.

  • Woman, 50, accused of sex with teen

    A 50-year-old Homosassa woman is facing two counts of lewd and lascivious battery for an alleged year-long sexual relationship with a teenage boy.

    On Dec. 29, 2015, Diane Hope Day’s alleged victim told a Citrus County Sheriff’s Office deputy about his relationship with Day, which began in August 2014 and lasted for about a year, according to Day’s arrest report.

  • Man allegedly traded teen pot for sex acts

    A Lecanto man was arrested on sex-related charges Tuesday after a teenager accused him of trading marijuana for sexual acts.

    Forensic investigators interviewed Timothy S. Miller’s alleged victim on Tuesday at Jessie’s Place, a child-advocacy center in Lecanto, according to Miller’s arrest report.

  • Training builds teamwork

    A major hurricane barrels through Florida’s western coast, pummeling Citrus and neighboring counties.

    With calls for help coming in from across the region, rescue agencies must band together to respond with haste and know-how.

    Special operation teams from fire departments in Citrus County, Sumter County and The Villages devised a joint-training regime on Jan. 13 to prepare for a variety of advanced-rescue calls, spanning across borders.

  • EMS raises rates, adds fees

    Some of the once-free services provided by Nature Coast Emergency Medical Services now come with a price tag.

    Beginning in January, the nonprofit first-responder started charging for lift assistance, medical alarm calls and calls in which the patient refuses transport. It also raised its base rate for an ambulance ride from $500 to $545 — moves it says are necessary to offset increasing costs to provide the services.

  • Road warrior

    FLORAL CITY — Harry van den Berg is a trailblazer in the truest sense of the word.

    The Floral City resident bicycles on the Withlacoochee State Trail six days a week, averaging 8,000 to 9,000 miles a year on it, and knows nearly every inch of its 46 miles. Van den Berg spends more time on bicycles than in his car, and he recently rode his recumbent bike from his home in Floral City to a Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) meeting in Brooksville.

  • Expect spring early, or so says Phil the groundhog

    PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — The handlers of Pennsylvania’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, said the furry rodent failed to see his shadow at dawn Tuesday, meaning he “predicted” an early spring.

    “Is this current warm weather more than a trend? Perchance this winter has come to an end? There is no shadow to be cast, an early Spring is my forecast!,” read Jeff Lundy, vice president of the Inner Circle of The Punxsutawney Groundhog Club.

  • Driver named in Floral City crash

    More details were released Tuesday about the Monday morning crash in which a tractor-trailer damaged a carport awning in Floral City.

    According to Florida Highway Patrol, 67-year-old John Froble Powell of Hartwell, Georgia, was driving a semitrailer west on County Road 48, approaching the intersection with U.S. 41.

    Powell’s trailer was carrying several flat-bed trailers and supporting Styrofoam blocks. Powell was trying to make a right-hand turn onto U.S. 41, but took the turn too short.

  • Citrus Springs man unhurt in vehicle fire

    A Citrus Springs man’s semitrailer caught fire early Tuesday morning in Sumter County, closing down lanes of I-75.

    At about 4:50 a.m., 63-year-old Javier Salvidor was driving a Volvo semitrailer north on I-75 near mile marker 322, where he pulled over to find his tractor trailer on fire, according to Florida Highway Patrol.