1980-1989

Driven by even more developments – Citrus Hills, Pine Ridge and Black Diamond – the county saw more residents flock to the county.

The population, which started the decade at 54,703, nearly doubled and stood at 93,515 in 1990.

In the 1980s the county was designated as the Florida Manatee Capital. It is the only place in the United States where visitors can legally interact and swim with the threatened West Indian Manatee, who come to the area’s spring-fed river for their winter home.

The Chronicle was sold to Landmark Communications in 1981 and became a tri-weekly newspaper, serving the entire Citrus County market. In that same year the Florida Press Association named the Chronicle Florida’s best weekly newspaper.

In 1982, the newspaper left its historic courthouse square location for a new modern newspaper publishing facility on State Road 44 west in Inverness. At the same time, the paper remodeled its historic Crystal River office.

In February 1985 a fire rushed through Citrus High School in Inverness causing an estimated $800,000 in damages to the historic structure. School for the students attending CHS was cancelled for the remainder of the week and officials were meeting to plan where to house the students impacted by the fire.

In 1986 the Chronicle became a six-day daily newspaper to fight off competition with the St. Petersburg Times, Tampa Tribune and Ocala Star Bannner, which all had offices in Citrus County. The Chronicle added the seventh day in 1989 – The Sunday Chronicle.

Also in 1989 county employees transformed the auditorium into a temporary jail. This became a priority when 5th Judicial Circuit Judge William F. Edwards ruled that overcrowding at the county jail was to stop – immediately.

It was a period of important milestones across the nation.

In 1980 Ted Turner launched CNN.

There was an assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

The Vietnam Memorial Wall in Washington was dedicated in 1982. On the wall are the names of all those who died in the fighting. A memorial on the Courthouse Square liists the names of Citrus County residents who paid the supreme sacrifice during that conflict.

The last episode of M*A*S*H aired in 1983 and in 1984 the Macintosh computer was introduced.

In 1986 Space Shuttle Challenger exploded shortly after takeoff.

In 1989 the internet went global.

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