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Local
Pine Ridge calls for parkway delay and traffic noise safeguards

The Pine Ridge Property Owners Association will ask transportation authorities this week to delay construction of the Suncoast Parkway extension from State Road 44 to U.S. 19 until there is sufficient funding to construct the entire segment in one package.

Association President Mike Perry is also asking that some kind of noise abatement structure (maybe a sound wall or berm) to reduce noise from the parkway and improve the quality of life in Pine Ridge.

Association President Mike Perry fired off a letter to Elizabeth Narverud, chairwoman of the Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) asking to provide input into the design of the remaining parkway segments from State Road 44 to U.S. 19.

The MPO will consider Perry’s requests when it meets at 1:30 p.m. June 2 at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave.

Construction starts next year on extending the toll road 3 miles from State Road 44 to County Road 486, about 1,500 feet east of the Pine Ridge entrance. Eventually, the road will get two more extensions: from County Road 496 to County Road 495 (North Citrus Avenue) and then on to U.S. 19.

In the letter, Perry also asked that the design of phase 3A between County Road 486 follow the Duke Energy corridor more closely to reduce impacts to Pine Ridge.

He’s also asking for an opportunity to meet with the MPO in the next few weeks to discuss all these issues.

The Hernando-Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization meets at 1:30 p.m. June 2 at Brooksville City Hall, 201 Howell Ave.

To view the entire agenda, visit https://bit.ly/3z7Sonj


Local
Homemade: Bohemian Beads and Silk

Editor’s note: According to the Small Business Association, an estimated 50 percent of the 31.7 million small businesses in the U.S. are run from home.

That’s about 15 million people who manufacture products or provide services using their homes as their base of operation.

The Chronicle’s occasional series, Homemade, tells the stories of, not just a person’s home-based business, but of the why and the “how-I-got-here” behind it.

When Marion Walsh, owner of Bohemian Beads and Silk, first introduced herself at a craft show where she was selling her hand-painted silk scarves and bead bracelets, she told a Chronicle reporter, “I’m a Kiwi.”

The Kiwi, a flightless bird, is the national icon of New Zealand.

New Zealanders have been called “Kiwis” since World War I when Australian soldiers gave them that nickname.

As Walsh further explained, she’s a native of New Zealand, an island nation in the southwestern Pacific Ocean, 8,000 miles from Citrus County, Florida.

“People ask me why I came to America,” she said. “I tell them, ‘I came here because of love.’”

His name was Chet Walsh, an American from Boston.

He had worked for General Electric, traveling all over the world. After retiring, he and his late wife bought a house in New Zealand on the Keri Keri Inlet.

“That’s where I lived,” Walsh said. “I met him and his wife, and we were all friends.”

Chet Walsh and his wife stayed in New Zealand for about five years before moving away.

“About seven years later, he came back to New Zealand. His wife had died and he came back and looked me up, which was so romantic,” she said. “We hit it off. I didn’t expect it to happen, but it was wonderful that it did, a lovely surprise.”

She had retired from a career as an early child educator and the couple traveled for a year on cruise ships to Norway and Russia, to Hawaii and Australia.

Chet had had a home in Crystal River, and in 2017, they moved here, got married and made their home in Citrus Hills.

Marion Walsh joined a jewelry making group in Beverly Hills and the couple continued taking occasional trips together.

At one point, they traveled back to New Zealand for a second wedding ceremony with Marion’s family – she has four children from a previous marriage.

Then Chet was diagnosed with lung cancer and Marion took care of him until he died in 2019.

“We only had three years together, but they were extremely happy years,” Marion said.

Now what?

“After Chet died, I was going to go home to New Zealand,” Marion Walsh said. “But I’d been here long enough that this place became part of my identity, and I had friends here.

“So, I spoke to an immigration lawyer and decided to become an American citizen,” she said.

Currently, she’s preparing for the 100-question U.S. Citizenship Test, learning about such things as the Constitution, the founding fathers, the American political system.

She said growing up in New Zealand, she learned about America in school, about the New Deal, the Boston Tea Party, the War of Independence, the 50 United States.

“America is exciting to me,” she said. “American culture is large and sometimes overwhelming because there’s so many choices.”

She said she’s been surprised at the divisiveness in this nation, and the political upheaval we’re going through.

“The Jan. 6 insurrection was deeply disturbing,” she said.

In contrast, the “Kiwi sentiment” is about fairness, she said.

“We believe in fair play, that everyone in New Zealand has a ‘fair go.’ We even have a program on TV called ‘Fair Go’ and anyone with problems can be interviewed and their problems discussed and made sure that their rights are fair and seen to,” she said.

“I find Americans plain speaking and direct, and Americans are curious,” she said. “Kiwis – we like to know about the rest of the world, because we’re small and surrounded by oceans. So, we’re outward-looking, and we’re very conservation-minded.”

That’s where her art comes into play.

Love for wildlife, love for art

Towering mountains, mist-covered fiords, untamed wilderness, sandy beaches, lakes and bays and canyons and forests – Marion Walsh’s passion for nature and wildlife began in New Zealand and has carried over to her new home in America.

“I’ve always been an artist,” she said. “I belonged to an embroidery group in New Zealand, and then I learned silk painting and fiber art at a workshop; I’ve been doing it for 10 years.”

She makes vividly colored scarves from 100 percent silk, both long and shorter lengths, hand-painting them with fabric dye, images of sea life, wildlife, boats and birds, sea turtles, fish, also still life images, all drawn free-hand first onto the silk.

“Dyeing is a challenging medium, but most satisfying,” she said. “Some happy accidents have occurred, like using salt for a dramatic effect.”

She also makes bracelets from sea glass beads, crystals, pearls and turquoise.

A portion of her proceeds go to charitable causes. Recently, she created a scarf with the colors of Ukraine and sunflower images, donating toward relief for the Ukrainian people.

She also contributes scarves to be raffled off at the Democratic Women’s Club in Inverness.

Walsh sells her scarves and jewelry at the Inverness Market at the Depot from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first and third Saturday of each month under the open-air Depot Pavilion.

She also sells at other, occasional local craft shows, and has her creations for sale at Anchored Souls boutique in Crystal River.

“I love Florida; I love living here,” Walsh said. “But some of the Americanisms people say I find interesting: ‘Not on my watch,’ I didn’t know what that meant when I first heard it. And the words ‘ornery,’ and ‘y’all’ – how do you even say it?”

Contact Marion Walsh at 352-999-8586 or email: marion.masonpearce@gmail.com.


Crime_and_courts
Plea-or-set court hearing slated for human-trafficking case

A deadline was set for when Kristin Ashley Jarvis should decide how she wants to resolve accusations she paid a student for sex while employed at a local school.

Citrus County Circuit Court Judge Richard Howard on Tuesday, May 31, scheduled July 26 as when he expects the Inverness 36-year-old to either change her not-guilty plea or go to trial.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

JARVIS

“These things have to be resolved soon,” Howard told Jarvis’ lawyer, Christopher Blaisdell, and her prosecutor, Assistant State Attorney Kevin Davis. “This is starting to get a little bit of age.”

Howard slated Jarvis’ next court date after Blaisdell and Davis discussed the case with the judge at his courtroom bench, out of public earshot.

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office and U.S. Marshals Service authorities took Jarvis into custody in October after a warrant was issued for her arrest.

Prosecutors charged Jarvis in December with human trafficking of a child for commercial sexual activity, soliciting or engaging in sexual conduct with a student, sexual activity with a minor, traveling to meet a minor, and contributing to the delinquency of a minor.

It’s alleged the illicit relationship between Jarvis and the then-17-year-old boy spanned from late November 2018 to mid-January 2019.

At the time, Jarvis was a paraprofessional at the Citrus County Renaissance Center, a schooling program in Lecanto for fifth-grade through 12th-grade students who’ve been expelled from the county school system.

Silver River Mentoring and Instruction (SRMI), an Ocala-based organization, operates the Renaissance Center under contract with the county school district.

It wasn’t until April when the sheriff’s office and SRMI learned of the allegations against Jarvis, prompting SRMI to suspend Jarvis and not offer her another employment contract.

SRMI hired Jarvis in August 2018 to be a long-term substitute at the Renaissance Center before promoting her in July 2020 to be a paraprofessional.

Trial dates scheduled for local duo accused of sexually abusing young woman

Howard on Tuesday set the week of Aug. 15 as Anthony Reed’s and Jamie Rene Tobey’s trial date for their alleged sexual abuse of a then-18-year-old woman in October 2020.

fredhiers / Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

REED

Aug. 8 was also slated as the pair’s final pretrial hearing, ordered Howard, who noted Reed’s case would take precedence for trial.

Authorities arrested Reed, a Beverly Hills 41-year-old, and Tobey, a Homosassa 39-year-old, in December 2020.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

Tobey

Prosecutors charged Reed with false imprisonment and sexual battery involving physical force. Tobey was charged with sexual battery and principal to sexual battery.

Change-of-plea date set in woman’s child-neglect case

Howard on Tuesday scheduled for Inverness 46-year-old Tracy-Anne Druyetis to return to court Thursday to resolve accusations she drank herself unconscious in August while caring for three children swimming at a local lake.

Citrus County Sheriff's Office 

DRUYETIS

Druyetis’ lawyer, Alexei Lizanich, and Davis told Howard the felony case should close then with Druyetis changing her not-guilty plea to three counts of child neglect.

It’s alleged Druyetis was found passed out and falling off a bench at Lake Hernando Park while supervising two girls and a boy between the ages of 6 and 8 swimming in the lake.

Deputies reviewed Druyetis’ medical records, which showed Druyetis was diagnosed with alcohol intoxication the day of the incident, according to her arrest report.

Trial scheduled for man accused of sexual abusing adult with diminished mental capacity

Morris Randel Kinser Sr. will stand trial the week of July 18 on accusations he had sex in May 2021 with an adult who has a diminished mental capacity, Howard ordered on Tuesday.

fredhiers / Fred Hiers Chronicle Reporter 

Kinser Sr.

Howard also scheduled July 11 as the Beverly Hills 71-year-old’s final pretrial hearing.


News_notes
In brief

Leader of revived state guard sought

Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office is advertising for a director of the revived Florida State Guard. The director, who must have “knowledge of military culture and organization” for a position considered part-time, would be responsible for recruiting, training, and mobilizing the 400-member volunteer guard, which was approved by lawmakers this year to supplement the Florida National Guard during emergencies. The director will report to the adjutant general of the Florida National Guard.

A news release from DeSantis’ office said the “ideal candidate will have demonstrated experience in military style operations, emergency management, leadership and problem solving.”

DeSantis made a priority this year of reviving the civilian guard, which has been inactive since 1947. Lawmakers passed a budget in March that includes $10 million to reactivate the guard and cover the costs of six positions. The budget for the 2022-2023 fiscal year has not been formally sent to DeSantis, who has line-item veto power.

Demings files paperwork to challenge Rubio

Democratic Congresswoman Val Demings formally filed paperwork Tuesday in her bid to unseat two-term U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.

Speaking to reporters before turning in qualifying papers in Tallahassee, Demings said Rubio’s politics are out of touch with Floridians and that he has taken the wrong stance on hot-button issues of abortion access and gun control.

“If there is legislation on the table that is good for Florida, and when I say good for Florida, that means Floridians, I am going to support that legislation,” Demings, a former Orlando police chief, said. “If it is bad for Florida or bad for Floridians, I am not going to support that. Time and time again, we have seen Florida’s senior senator (Rubio) play political games.”

Demings has represented parts of Central Florida in Congress since 2017. The formal qualifying period for this year’s elections is June 13 to June 17, though candidates can file paperwork starting this week.


Local
Medicare costs expected to decrease as Alzheimer's drug price decreases

With a third of Citrus County’s residents being seniors and nearly all Medicare recipients, Medicare’s highest-ever price increase hit this community hard this year.

But the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the price for Medicare B would decrease in 2023. The agency said it could not reduce the rates the remainder of this year because of legal concerns and because it would be impractical.

CMS this year raised the price for Medicare Part B nearly 15 percent to $170.10 per month. The hike was due to CMS estimating the costs for the new, controversial Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm.

Medicare Part B partially covers the cost of services from doctors and other health care providers, outpatient care, home health care, some medical equipment, and some preventive services like vaccines and screenings.

Medicare part A helps cover the cost of inpatient care in hospitals, nursing facilities, hospice care and home health care.

CMS had overestimated the cost to the government for Aduhelm and that was the primary reason for the Medicare Part B premium hike, CMS said in a recent statement. But after last year’s announcement of the Medicare Part B hike, CMS modified who would be eligible for coverage for Aduhelm. In addition, the drug’s manufacturer, Biogen, halved the original $56,000 annual price.

Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra had ordered CMS, at the beginning of 2022, to review again the cost of Aduhelm and its overall cost on the Medicare service. He would not say what the 2023 decrease might be.

Aduhelm is the first new Alzheimer’s drug in nearly 20 years and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in June, 2021.

It does not reverse the damage caused by the disease, but rather is meant to slow its progression. But critics of the drug say there’s no substantial evidence it slows Alzheimer’s.

Studies show that Aduhelm reduces beta-amyloid plaques in the brains of people with mild Alzheimer’s disease impairment or mild dementia.

As researchers consider the effectiveness of the new drug, Citrus County has plenty of people afflicted with Alzheimer’s.

In 2020, the most recent year data was available from Florida HealthCharts, 12.5 percent of seniors 65 years old and older living in Citrus County likely had Alzheimer’s Disease, according to the state agency which collects local health care data. The percent of Citrus County seniors with the disease has remained about the same since 2012, according to Florida HealthCharts.

There are about 55,000 Citrus County residents 65 years and older, meaning there are an estimated 6,900 people in the county with Alzheimer’s.


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