Some of the most popular stories from the week that was:
New Coney Island Drive-Inn to pull into Crystal River
Just like the place Elvis ate a footlong hot dog in 1961 when he was in Inverness filming “Follow That Dream,” the Coney Island Drive-Inn in Brooksville is coming to Crystal River. Owner Joe Eder plans to build a replica of the popular Brooksville landmark restaurant with the same menu that features Detroit-style Coney island hot dogs — and more.
Inverness man charged with soliciting sex from girl in online chats
Roy Alan Blotz was arrested Monday on felony charges of using the internet to solicit a child to commit a crime, and lewd and lascivious molestation of a person between the ages of 12 and 16, according to the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO). It’s alleged that 53-year-old Blotz started sending the girl, now 14, suggestive and illicit comments on social media sites during the summer of 2017.
Homosassa man dies after truck strikes his bicycle in gas station parking lot
Jeromy Landon Bresler, 36, died Sunday evening in a hospital after being injured earlier that morning when a truck rear-ended his bicycle in the parking lot of RaceTrac in Homosassa. Charges are pending.
Sheriff's office tells school district its police chief will be handcuffed in role
As the deadline nears to finalize the next contract for school resource officers (SROs) in Citrus County's schools, sheriff’s office officials are criticizing the school district's choice of former CCSO Undersheriff Larry “Buddy” Grant as its School Safety Specialist/Chief of Police, and telling them he'll be limited in his interactions with the sheriff's office. Grant will have limited or no access to CCSO-managed buildings, including the county’s Emergency Operations Center (EOC) to coordinate storm response or shelter needs with the sheriff’s office unless it's activated, and then only under the direct supervision of CCSO Maj. Justin Ferrara or an appointed designee.
Crystal River Town Square Park a ‘game-changer,’ mayor says
It’s just a vacant field right now, with a big boat on it. But by this time next year, the southeast corner of U.S. 19 and Citrus Avenue in Crystal River will be Town Square Park. “We think it will be a game-changer for the downtown area,” Crystal River Mayor Joe Meek told the Chronicle editorial board recently. “It’s not just a discussion anymore, but actual action.” Construction is set to begin in November, right after the annual Stone Crab Jam wraps up.
Crystal River's going to be on ‘Carnival Eats’ June 23, and the Chamber's hosting a watch party
The episode of “Carnival Eats” that was filmed at the Manatee Festival this past January and features local food businesses OMG! Pretzel Bites and Hippie Chick Cheesecake will air on the Cooking Channel at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 23. The Citrus County Chamber of Commerce is hosting a watch party beginning at 8:30 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at Riviera Mexican Restaurant & Cantina, 1935 SE U.S. 19 in Crystal River.
From Citrus High to Normandy: 'Sky soldier' makes the jump of a lifetime
Sgt. Christian McIntyre has made a career of jumping from airplanes, and on Sunday, June 9, the 2011 Citrus High School alumni made a 1,200-foot jump from an aircraft as part of the D-Day commemoration ceremonies in Normandy, France. "I want to stay in the military ... I love it," McIntyre said. "You don't get to jump out of airplanes anywhere else."
Eight boats, 10 hours: Citrus Hills woman recounts shipwreck off the Galapagos shores
“We’re bouncing through the waves; it’s very gentle, recalled career excursionist Holly Davis. “I dozed back off and all of a sudden there was this ‘Wham!’” The boat she was in, the Majestic Explorer, had run aground atop shallow rocks on the northern shores of Isla Santiago, miles and hours away from the nearest port. Davis and the 13 other passengers were transported from boat to boat eight times during their 10-hour passage back to port.
Postscript: Glenn Browne, a superstar of professional bass tournament fishing and an ‘even better man’
In the world of bass tournament fishing, Glenn Browne was a superstar. “He started fishing tournaments when he was only about 16, and even then you saw that he was going to be something special,” said best friend and fellow angler Jimbo Denton. “He put in his time, and he started winning tournaments.” Known as “The Flipping Legend,” Glenn “GB” Edward Browne, of Citrus Springs, died May 28 after a valiant battle with cancer. He was 43.
Citrus Springs couple accused of manufacturing marijuana wax with infant at home
Samuel Gorman, 28, and Amber Branson, 27, were arrested June 6, accused of exposing their 3-month-old child to their marijuana-dealing operation and production of marijuana wax. The Florida Department of Children and Families removed the infant from the couple’s care.
Hot topic of the week: The school district’s new police chief, Larry “Buddy” Grant, and the sheriff’s office’s criticism of him. The story in Wednesday’s Chronicle drew a lot of interest and comments on our Facebook page. Some people think it’s a personal, petty conflict between the sheriff and Grant, the former CCSO Undersheriff, and others wondered if there’s “more to the story.” Those who know Grant rallied to his defense. Renee Wunderly Benjamin wrote: “Buddy has been a part of this community and keeping us safe all of his life. Now he has been hired to keep our kids safe, which is an important position. This role is no joke and someone who knows what they are doing should be in it ... leave him alone and let him do the job.” Josh Wooten, Chamber CEO and former county commissioner, wrote: (Former Sheriff) Jeff Dawsy ad Buddy Grant ran an agency that won every conceivable award for their SRO (School Resource Officer) program. Enough with the pettiness. Do the right thing by the kids.”
Quote of the week: “There is no cooperation with the sheriff and with the school board. I’m personally insulted by this letter; it’s juvenile, it’s petty.” — Sandra Counts, Citrus County School Board member, commenting on a letter written by Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Justin Ferrara, critical of Buddy Grant, the school district police chief
Good news item of the week: All last year, Blake Josic, 7, saved coins in a donation box for “his eagles” and brought it to the Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park to benefit the park’s bald eagles. “The eagles remind me of my grandpa,” he said. He donated the $100 he had saved “so they (the eagles) have food, shelter and a big flag.”