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Local
Strategic plan will chart local growth

Preserve the beauty of Citrus County. Fix deteriorating roads. Stop the northern Florida Turnpike extension. Build more workplace housing. Open a manatee rehabilitation center.

Those were just some of the recommendations from the 85-member crowd that attended Monday’s strategic planning town hall meeting at the Citrus Springs Community Center in Beverly Hills.

The county is developing a strategic plan it will use to chart local growth over the next five years.

Davis

County Commissioner Holly Davis, the leading proponent of the project, thanked attendees Monday for coming because it is important they speak up about their vision for Citrus County.

it is imperative people speak up about this.

“We need to be a frugal and proactive county going forward,” Davis said.

Many speakers represented the “no-build” group opposing the northern extension of the Florida Turnpike through Citrus County. They fear more road congestion and environmental destruction should the state choose one of the two potential routes that would cut through Citrus County.

Jones

Resident Art Jones, founder and president of the nonprofit One Rake at a Time Inc., received a few catcalls from the audience when he advocated working with the Florida Department of Transportation to bring the road to Citrus County and make it easier for tourists to visit the manatees in Crystal River.

Jones also pushed for a manatee rehabilitation center, an idea Davis told the Chronicle after the meeting might have some merit.

Selsavage

Debbie Selsavage, with Coping With Dementia LLC, said any strategic plan must address the “economic and cultural contribution” of seniors. Plans for a dementia education facility are vital, she said.

“Any plan that is beneficial to seniors is beneficial to the county,” she said.

Others stressed the plan must preserve the beauty of Citrus County and at the same time, provide more affordable housing.

Karen Esty of Inverness said the county must revisit concurrency regulations to prevent unregulated development and traffic gridlock.

Esty said landfill capacity needs to be addressed to deal with new development.

Mark Svetska of the Pine Ridge Homeowners Association said the plan must address the deteriorating roads countywide. He said 84 percent of roads in Pine Ridge are overdue on improvements or need paving.

Janet Barek, president of the Citrus Springs Civic Association, said she supports putting a referendum on the general election ballot asking residents to support four-year sales tax of either a half-cent or full cent with the express purpose of repairing county roads. It would sunset after four years.

Oliver

County Administrator Randy Oliver then took a straw poll of the audience asking who would support the sales tax?

About half raised their hand.

Oliver reminded the crowd that passage of the referendum would require 50 percent plus one and that past sales tax referendums failed.

Starting Tuesday, about 40 community stakeholders will meet to discuss residents’ comments and add their own to the making of the strategic plan.

Strategic Planning Workshops will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 5, and Wednesday, April 6, at the Citrus County Canning Center at 3405 W. Southern St. in Lecanto.

The public is welcome to attend, but will not be asked to join any working group or have a chance for input.

The county hopes to complete the strategic plan process by the end of June.


Local
At 100, Citrus County man reflects on life

George Hausold never thought much about being killed while flying over Nazi Germany and its allies in his B-24 Liberator as shrapnel pierced the plane’s aluminum skin and the crews’ flesh and bones.

Even as he parachuted from his falling plane over Hungary and saw angry farmers and German solders awaiting his landing, did he think he was going to die.

“But they beat the hell out of me,” he told the Chronicle, chuckling.

And when he was sent to POW camps across Axis controlled lands he never thought he would not make it back home to New Jersey.

Special to the Chronicle 

The exact aircraft George Hausold escaped from over Europe before it exploded is seen above. The bombardier said when it was time to jump he exited from the nose-gear opening at the front of the aircraft and deployed his parachute. He was captured and sent to a prison camp in Germany.

But then again, he also never thought he’d beat the odds and make it to 100 years old, either.

But on Monday, April 4, Hausold did just that, becoming a member of a small group of men and women owning the title of centenarian.

Of the world’s 7.9 billion people, only 0.004 percent of them are centenarians living today.

Hausold shrugged about turning 100 when sitting at his kitchen table in Hernando with a Chronicle reporter.

His memory is still sharp as he recalled his life and family. Reflecting on his many years, he said he tried not to get overly concerned about things and rolled with the punches.

His greatest accomplishment was not his dangerous stint in the U.S. Army Air Corps during the World War II, but rather his family.

His father was a bus driver in New Jersey and his mother was a homemaker.

Before the war and during the first war’s first year, Hausold worked as a machine operator for BG Corporation in Manhattan, which supplied spark plugs to the military.

“I was driving to my girlfriend’s at the time ... in my 1935 Dodge. I had the radio on when they announced Pearl Harbor (and its bombing by Japan),” he said. “I really didn’t know where Pearl Harbor was.”

“(But) I was going to stay with the company. The work was easy and I was helping the war effort,” Hausold recalled.

Holding a key job necessary for the war industry, Hausold was exempted from the draft.

How did Hausold become a bombardier on a B-24?

“I was always very interested in aviation. I made model airplanes and gliders and helicopters,” he said.

On June 18,1942, he enlisted.

George Hausold’s crew is pictured before a mission to fly over the European theater of operations during World War II.

“That’s when you started hearing about the concentration camps and stuff like that,” he said.

“And I was interested in learning to fly and could do my duty too,” Hausold said.

The 20-year-old went through basic training and then to Wichita Falls in northern Texas for more training. It was also a way to weed out flight applicants by way of heavy calisthenics, he said.

“A lot of us would pass out. If they saw you then you were out (of the program), he said.

“But I went through it fine. I had to take an IQ test ... and I qualified to be a pilot, bombardier, or a navigator,” he said. “I wanted to be a hotshot pilot.”

The U.S. Army sent him to Blythe, California, where he learned how to fly.

There was one problem.

“I had a little problem landing. I had trouble with depth perception. I couldn’t quite determine the distance to the ground when I was landing,” he said.

So landings were a little bumpy, he joked.

“But they said I could still choose between navigator or bombardier,” he said. “So I chose bombardier because I thought that’s where the action is.”

Hausold’s odds of surviving were not good and he knew it.

During World War II, 46 percent of bomber aircrews were killed. When those wounded and taken prisoner were added, the odds increased to 60 percent to be either killed, taken prisoner, or wounded.

The B-24s earned their nickname as flying coffins.

He tried not to think of the dangers as the Germans shot anti-aircraft guns at him or the shrapnel exploding around his plane as he and the crew flew through smoke from the explosions so think he jokingly said you could walk on it.

His targets during his dangerous daytime raids were usually factories, oil refineries or oil storage facilities.

He said the air sirens alerted civilians long before he arrived over his targets giving them enough time to scatter. He said he tried not to think about people dying from the bombs he dropped.

And he knew he could easily be shot down and not able to escape from the plane.

“It’s odd. I thought that I should be more afraid, but I was more afraid of making a mistake that would cause the (crews’) death.”

So he kept his eyes on the crosshairs of his bombsight and with controls attached to the autopilot, guided the plane to its destination.

“I remember it looked like fireflies. Then I realized that was anti-aircraft shells going off ... and we had to fly through it,” he recalled.

His plane was hit plenty.

On June 30, 1944, during a bombing run over Austria, at about 11 a.m. shrapnel tore through the plane and through the pilot’s calf and copilot’s shin bone. He bandaged them as best he could and they managed to make it back to base.

But in 1944, flying over Hungary to what is now Poland, Hausold’s pilot was forced to descend under the clouds along with a German Focke-Wulf 190 fighter plane chasing him and firing its 20 mm cannons.

Hausold’s bomber was hit and caught fire. Electric communications within the plane stopped working. By the time he got to the cockpit, the pilots had already parachuted out, so he did the same.

The nose gunner and plane belly gunner couldn’t escape. The navigator, who had tried to put out the fire, died 10 days later from his wounds.

As he floated down over fields, he saw a group of farmers and German soldiers form a ring and await the young lieutenant’s landing.

Despite brandishing pitchforks and rifles, he was never afraid his life would soon end.

“That’s youth,” Hausold told the Chronicle and shrugging.

He was sent to different prisoner of war camps and eventually liberated April 29, 1945.

The army Air Corps offered to let him stay in the service after the war, but having just gotten married, and with no guarantees of where he would serve, Hausold instead joined the civilian ranks.

Back in New Jersey, his uncle helped him get a job with New Jersey Bell installing and repairing telephone switchboards. With credit for his technical training he was paid $29 a week. He and his wife had a boy and girl.

Thirty-five years later when his boss died of a heart attack, he declined the telephone company’s offer to take over the job.

“I didn’t want the stress,” he said.

So he quit at 58 years old and moved to Rainbow Springs and later to Hernando.

He and his wife traveled. He played golf.

His wife died unexpectedly at 60.

“The first time I saw her I thought to myself I’m going to marry her,” he said wistfully as he recalled her.

In 1986 he remarried. His second wife is now 97.

Asked how he felt living such a long life, Hausold responded, “Like I’m a 100 years old.”

When asked, he said his best decision in life had nothing to do with his career or military service, but rather getting married and having a family.

At 100 years old, his single advice for anyone who cared to listen: Decide what you want in life and “go for it.”


Elections
Webb announces run for county commission
  • Updated

A former county commissioner has thrown his hat into the ring for the District 4 race, the Supervisor of Elections Office announced Monday, April 4.

Republican Winfield “Winn” Webb filed for the District 4 race. Webb previously served on the County Commission from 2008 to 2012, when he ran for sheriff against Jeff Dawsy, before losing in the General Election. Webb sought a second term on the Board in 2014, losing to Scott Carnahan in the 2014 Primary Election.

Webb is one of three candidates seeking to replace Carnahan, who previously announced he would not seek a third term in office. Also vying for the seat are Republicans Phillip Nichols Jr. and John Murphy Jr.


Crime_and_courts
Crystal River man pleads no contest to child-porn charges; faces up to 20 years

A Crystal River man agreed to leave up to two decades of his life in a judge’s hands for stockpiling illegal pornography.

In exchange for a prison sentence of up to 20 years, 58-year-old Wayne Alan Adams pleaded no contest Monday, April 4, to 13 counts of possessing 10 or more images of child pornography.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

Adams

Citrus County Circuit Court Judge Richard Howard will sentence Adams May 2. Adams’ lawyer, Eric Evilsizer, reminded Howard on Monday that his client’s open plea was the subject of discussions in the judge’s chambers with prosecutors.

Assistant State Attorney Blake Shore told Howard that Adams scores 14 years in state prison as a guidelines sentence, giving the judge a sentencing range of between 14 and 20 years unless he finds a basis for a downward departure.

Howard could also order Adams to serve probation or house arrest after he’s released from custody, Shore noted.

According to Adams’ arrest report, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children alerted Citrus County Sheriff’s Office authorities in June 2020 to an online-storage provider finding 459 images of suspected child pornography on an account belonging to Adams.

Sheriff’s office investigators executed a warrant in October 2020 to search Adams’ home, where they seized computers, hard drives and other electronic devices.

Adams, according to his arrest report, at first denied viewing child pornography but then admitted to seeking out, downloading and then saving the illicit images to his computer for roughly two years.

Adams said he didn’t intentionally upload the materials to his online-storage account.

“He referenced his ‘disease’ and ‘perversion’ many times,” Adams’ arrest report states, “stating that he knew it was wrong but kept ‘downloading and deleting, downloading and deleting.’”

Mugging, kidnapping case involving four defendants coming to end

Four men accused of mugging and kidnapping another man are seeing resolutions approaching for their respective criminal cases.

John Monsegur III, Bronson Charles, McGyl Pauris and Jonathan White Jr. were arrested and charged in connection to the July 2019 offense.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

Monsegur III

It’s alleged a man went to Monsegur’s Beverly Hills home, where Monsegur and White struck him before stealing his clothes, jewelry, cellphone and about $4,000. Charles and Pauris then allegedly helped Monsegur and White bind and load the man into his own SUV.

Traveling in two vehicles, the group drove their alleged abductee to Citrus Springs, where they tossed his keys in the woods and drove away, leaving the man bound and dressed in nothing but his underwear. He was able to free himself and make it to a nearby residence to call 911.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

White Jr.

Monsegur, Charles and White had their cases heard Monday in Howard’s court before their scheduled trials next week.

Assistant State Attorney Kevin Davis told Howard that White and Charles agreed with prosecutors to testify against Monsegur at the 28-year-old’s upcoming trial on charges of armed kidnapping, armed robbery, aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, and grand theft.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

Charles

White’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Charity Braddock, said her 28-year-old client from Beverly Hills is slated to be deposed by prosecutors Thursday before he’s expected next Monday to change his not-guilty plea to charges similar to Monsegur’s.

Charles, a Dunnellon 29-year-old, pleaded no contest to amended charges of false imprisonment and grand theft, in exchange for up to 10 years in prison. Davis said Charles will also no longer be prosecuted as a principal to armed robbery and aggravated battery.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

Pauris

Pauris, a Beverly Hills 25-year-old, has a status hearing for his case on April 20. He’s being charged as a principal to kidnapping and grand theft.


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