County Commissioners on Tuesday will discuss spending up to $24,620 to fill in the empty Central Ridge pool with concrete.
The county closed the pool in 2019 due to poor attendance and high maintenance costs. It’s sat empty ever since.
The Beverly Hills Recreation Association once owned the pool, Beverly Park and community center. The county took it over when the association could no longer afford it, creating the Central Ridge Community Park.
County Commission Chairwoman Ruthie Schlabach told the Chronicle the board approved filling it in last October and she put it on the agenda for Tuesday.
“It’s unsafe and not repairable, according to staff,” Schlabach said.
There’s been no official county staff report regarding pool safety, according to county spokeswoman Veronica Kampschroer. However, there have been discussions between the county and the Florida Department of Health regarding the safety of reopening the pool in its current condition, she said.
Civic association president Harvey Gerber is asking people to show up at Tuesday’s meeting to oppose filling the pool with concrete and back a different proposal.
At a recent Keep the Pool Open Committee meeting, members discussed asking the commissioners to sell the pool – along with a small piece of vacant land about 200 yards away – to Nature Coast Affordable Housing Corporation (NCAHC).
That entity would refurbish the pool and build a playground to be used for free by the children of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Citrus County. Civic association members could use it for a reduced fee.
County commissioners will meet at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Citrus County Courthouse, 110 N. Apopka Ave., Inverness.
Michael D. Bates is a staff writer with the Citrus County Chronicle and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As Inverness Mayor Bob Plaisted greeted the 100 or so pro-life supporters at the annual Citrus County Right to Life Roe v. Wade Memorial Service Monday, Jan. 23, at the Historic Courthouse in Inverness, he called it a “somber anniversary but also a time for joy.”
It’s somber, he said, because they had gathered to mark the 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Jan. 22, 1973, U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion on demand.
More than 64 million abortions have taken place in the U.S. in the past 50 years.
“But it’s a time of celebration because the decision was overturned by the Supreme Court,” he said.
On June 24, 2022, after a review of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Dobbs regarding the constitutionality of the 2018 Mississippi state law that banned abortions after the first 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The result of this ruling overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the federal constitutional right to abortion in the United States.
Kathleen Indelicato, Citrus County Right to Life president, said, “As everyone is aware, based upon the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, the individual states now have the power to determine abortion rights.
“Florida allows abortion up to 15 weeks,” she said. “Pro-abortion individuals make a lot of noise and are more visually active than pro-life individuals…and one of our causes is to remind the citizens of Citrus County that we are a community that supports life … and it’s because of all the hard work of pro-life individuals that Roe v. Wade has been overturned.
“Should our voices fade away, only the voices of the pro-choice advocates will remain,” she said. “Citrus County Right to Life still has work to do.”
The executive directors from the two local pregnancy centers, Stephanie Bell from the Pregnancy & Family Life Center of Citrus County and Barb Gosa from the Citrus Pregnancy Center, also spoke.
“How many of us thought we would ever see the overturning of Roe v. Wade? It’s a celebration for us in the pro-life movement,” she said, “but it’s also an indicator that our work has just begun. We’re seeing more abortion-minded women come into our center because now their time to get an abortion is very short…and at 11 or 12 weeks, they come in and have to make a decision fast.
“But let me tell you, the ultrasound machine does wonders,” she said. “When they see the baby’s heartbeat, their hearts and lives are transformed.”
Gosa talked about a woman years ago who came into a pregnancy center where she worked, and despite her best efforts and fervent prayers, the woman chose abortion.
“She called me on her way home from the abortion clinic and asked, ‘Do you hate me now?’ I told her no! I could never hate you,” she said.
“While we do celebrate today, we also grieve because of lives lost … and the pain abortion causes,” she said.
Keynote speaker Kathy Fillappelli, from the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg, said, “This is a day of mourning for our country. You would think America would be the country that would be the ‘land of the free,’ even for those in the womb.
“How do we get back to that?” she asked. “Yesterday marked the 50th year since Roe v. Wade, a decision for the most extreme abortion policy in the Western world.”
She went on to say that countless people over the past 50 years have been affected and hurt by the legalization of abortion.
“Yes, the mother, definitely the child that’s aborted, yes, the father and the grandparents and siblings – so many people. But we don’t hate the women who have an abortion,” she said. “We are called to defend, protect and nurture life, but we don’t hate them, and God doesn’t hate them either.”
Nancy Kennedy can be reached at 352-564-2927 or by email at email@example.com.
After a soft opening this last weekend, the new Chili’s in Inverness had its official grand opening Monday.
The restaurant is sharing space with Capital City Bank at the new Corta Commons at 800 W. Main St., by State Road 44 and U.S. 41. The bank also opened Monday.
Inverness City Manager Eric Williams believes the new stores and restaurants will be a good fit for the city.
“I think you just have a good opportunity for redevelopment, especially right here on the highway,” he said.
The only other Chili’s in the county is off U.S. 19 in Crystal River.
“We’re so excited to be open in Inverness, eliminating a 25-plus-minute commute for locals to get their fix on hand-shaken (margaritas) and sizzling fajitas,” said Chili’s spokesman Jake Young.
This Chili’s is different because most are free-standing.
The old Regions Bank, which had been at that site for 30 years, was torn down last year to make way for the plaza. Regions opted for a smaller branch almost directly across the street.
Young said the Chili’s is opening with a full staff of 80 team members. Employee training has been going on and the wait to open “wasn’t anything stemming from staffing issues.”
Inverness City Manager Eric Williams said both chains, along with more coming, will be a good fit for the city.
“You have a good opportunity for redevelopment along the highway,” he said.
Construction is moving fast at the site of the new Chipotle Mexican Grill at 911 Main St. in Inverness.
The location used to be home to Joe’s Family Restaurant but after 28 years, the family decided to open a smaller, 155-seat building nearby at 1754 U.S. 41 North, a former art studio next to the Roller Barn.
Chipotle has not announced an opening date. The restaurant, with 211 restaurants in Florida and over 3,000 globally, is known for its bowls, tacos and burritos that are made to order in front of customers.
All three of these chains are in various states of development.
Probably the farthest along is the lube store being built next to 7-Eleven off State Road 44 in Inverness.
A new standalone Starbucks is going in where the former Insight Credit Union was off State Road 44. No word yet whether Insight will relocate in the city.
Aldi is coming to the northwest corner of State Road 44 and Forest Drive. The old Farm Bureau building and Aaron’s Rent will be razed to allow for more parking. The grocery chain has not released any official construction start-up date.
Michael D. Bates is a staff writer with the Citrus County Chronicle and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated Monday the state’s rejection of a proposed nationwide advanced African American studies course, saying it pushes a political agenda – something three authors cited in the state’s criticism accused him of doing in return.
DeSantis said his administration rejected the College Board’s Advanced Placement African American Studies course because “we want education, not indoctrination.” It was revealed last week that the Florida Department of Education recently told the College Board it would bar the course unless changes are made.
The state then issued a chart late Friday that says the course promotes the idea that modern American society oppresses Black people, other minorities and women, includes a chapter on “Black Queer Studies” that the administration finds inappropriate, and uses articles by critics of capitalism.
The governor said the course violates legislation dubbed the Stop WOKE Act he signed last year. It bars instruction that defines people as necessarily oppressed or privileged based on their race. At least some writers the course cites believe modern U.S. society endorses white supremacy while oppressing racial minorities, gays and women.
“This course on Black history, what’s one of the lessons about? Queer theory. Now who would say that an important part of Black history is queer theory? That is somebody pushing an agenda,” said DeSantis, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2024.
Florida House Democratic Leader Fentrice Driskell called the administration’s rejection of the course “cowardly” and said it “sends a clear message that Black Americans’ history does not count in Florida.”
“Imagine how boring and closed minded we’d all be if we only met ideas that we agreed with,” she said Monday.
The College Board, after a decade of development, is testing the African American Studies course at 60 high schools nationwide. No school or state would be required to offer it after its scheduled rollout.
The organization offers AP courses across the academic spectrum, including math, science, social studies, foreign languages and fine arts. Taught at a college level, students who score high enough on the course’s final exam usually earn course credit at their university.
The College Board hasn’t responded to emails and calls since Friday. It issued a statement last week saying it encourages feedback and will consider changes.
The state, in its Friday chart, criticized five living authors. The Associated Press emailed them and three responded.
The section on “Black Queer Studies” includes readings by Roderick Ferguson, a Yale University professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies. The state says he “exclaims, ‘We have to encourage and develop practices whereby queerness isn’t a surrender to the status quo of race, class, gender and sexuality.’”
Ferguson said that quote comes from an interview he did about his book, “One-Dimensional Queer.” The book, he said, is a discussion of “employment discrimination, laws against LGBTQ+ people, the suppression of progressive movements in the U.S., police violence against minority communities, restrictions on immigration (and) anti-black racism.”
“These are real histories. The arguments about them are based on scholarly investigation and research – as are the arguments from the other scholars on this list,” Ferguson said. “Unfortunately, we are in a moment in which right-wing forces are mobilizing to suppress the free discussion of those realities. If we need an example of that mobilization, we could probably just turn to the forces that came together to reject this course.”
The state calls out the course for including “Black Study, Black Struggle,” a 2016 piece by UCLA history professor Robin D.G. Kelley, saying he “argues that activism, rather than the university system, is the catalyst for social transformation.” Kelley called that description oversimplified.
His piece challenges student activists to move their efforts beyond campus and decries racism, inequality, capitalism, militarism and police brutality. But he also said activists must love everyone, “even those who may once have been our oppressors,” and read and understand Western literature if they are to criticize it.
He said one point is “that we should not pay so much emphasis on trauma and victimization, but instead understand how we have fought for justice not just for Black people but for the whole nation (yes including struggling white people), despite the violence and oppression we have experienced.”
The state also points out Kelley wrote the 1990 book “Hammer and Hoe,” a history of communism in Alabama during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“It won several awards and accolades, including from a few conservative anti-Communist historians, because it is based on thorough research – something DeSantis’s people are not familiar with,” Kelley said.
The state criticized the inclusion of a section about “Movement for Black Lives,” a coalition of more than 50 groups including Black Lives Matter and the National Conference of Black Lawyers. It says the group wants to abolish prisons and that it alleges there is a “war” against gay and transsexual Black people.
The state criticizes the section’s inclusion of a reading by Leslie Kay Jones, an assistant sociology professor at Rutgers University. It cites her quote, “Black people produce an unquantifiable amount of content for the same social media corporations that reproduce the white supremacist superstructure that suppresses us.”
Jones said she found no indication that the Movement for Black Lives has ever advocated for prison abolition. She is surprised DeSantis’ staff attacked her for criticizing social media companies, as he does the same.
She said this is why students should have the ability “to come to their own conclusions through an evaluation of primary and secondary texts.”
“Is Ron DeSantis claiming that Florida students are unable to formulate their own opinions?” she said.
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