Some of the most popular stories from the week that was:
Once a motel, now a mission: 30-room Path shelter opens in Beverly Hills
The Path Rescue Mission in Beverly Hills recently opened its doors to its biggest endeavor to-date: renovating the former 30-room Beverly Hills Motel to be able to house an additional 68 people in their program. After two years and $500,000 worth of renovations since the $2 million-plus project began, The Path now has a suitable facility to house individuals, married couples and families — “any and every configuration,” said DuWayne Sipper, The Path executive director.
Crystal River OKs town square plans, Kings Bay Drive traffic-calming measures
Crystal River officials on Monday night made headway on blueprints for an upcoming town square planned for the southeast corner of U.S. 19 and South Citrus Avenue. Barring any complications, contracted developers expect construction on the roughly $1.3 million, two-phase project to begin in November.
Excessive heavy-metal contamination found in groundwater at Duke plant
Excessive amounts of arsenic, lithium, molybdenum and other contaminants have been found in several samples taken in May 2018, October 2018 and March 2019 from monitoring wells surrounding the coal plants on Duke's Crystal River Energy Complex. Now Duke Energy and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection are determining how to best limit or remove the contamination.
County ends Williams lawsuit, annexation battle in heated fashion
After a contentious two-year legal battle, county commissioners voted 3-2 to accept Greg Williams’ settlement offer to drop his lawsuit against the county in exchange for the county ending its opposition of the city’s voluntary annexation of 382 acres of Lakeside Ranches that Williams owns and uses for such things as weddings and receptions. “The cases are now settled,” he told a reporter. “As far as we’re concerned, the litigation is over. We can get on with our lives. We’re very happy.”
Inverness man sentenced to 10 years for possessing child porn
Herman Metcalf, 49, was sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years of sex-offender probation for downloading and stockpiling child pornography. “The images that were shown to the jury panel were so onerous, so wicked as to go beyond my ability to explain them; images so troubling, so horrible as to literally be life-shortening. I would hope that no one ever sees that evidence again,” said Judge Richard “Ric” Howard.
Divided commission moves forward on boat-ramp fees
Although Citrus County commissioners are divided — three for and two against — on whether to impose launch fees at four popular boat ramps, the issue is headed to a public hearing. The proposal is to charge $10 a day or a $50 annual pass for motorized boats and other boats on trailers, and $5 a day or a $25 annual pass for kayaks on vehicles with carriers. The annual fees for seniors over 65 and veterans would be half that.
CCSO apprehends suspect in Inverness Family Dollar, gas station robberies
Kevin Bellendorf, 47, of Lake Panasoffkee, is being held in the Sumter County jail after Sumter County Sheriff’s Office deputies arrested him following a string of robberies in Sumter and Hernando counties, including a robbery of the Inverness Family Dollar store and a city gas station in May.
7-year-old girls hospitalized in ATV crash in Chatmire
Two 7-year-old girls were hospitalized Aug. 7 after the all-terrain vehicle they were riding collided with a sports utility vehicle in Chatmire, near Dunnellon, throwing both of them from the ATV. Victoria Brown, the girl driving the ATV, was listed in critical condition and her passenger, Layla Cox, was in serious condition when the pair were airlifted to UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville.
Thanks from Marine Science Station
In a guest column, Earnie Olsen, the Supervisor of the Marine Science Station, thanked the Citrus County School Board, Citrus County School Superintendent Sandra “Sam” Himmel, and the citizens of Citrus County for their ongoing support, which enables more than 2,500 students each year to attend the coastal campus along the banks of the Salt River as part of their science curriculum, learning aboard boats that take them and their teachers to a variety of coastal habitats.
Mama's and Papa's: Inverness takeout eatery complements restaurant
Brad and Patty Gibbs’ newest dining adventure: Mama J’s Market recently opened next door to Papa J’s restaurant, carrying a variety of home-cooked take-out entrees and desserts. The two complementary businesses share two large kitchens, one each in the diner and market. The market also has an array of non-cooked items for sale, including relishes, jams and jellies, nuts, candies and even some clothing items. Papa J’s and Mama J’s Market are located in Colonial Plaza on State Road 44, just west of downtown Inverness.
Hot topic of the week: A proposal to charge $10 a day or $50 for an annual pass for boat launch fees at four popular area boat ramps raised a ruckus among people commenting on the Chronicle Facebook page. Donna Griffin wrote, “This is b.s. We pay for a licence to have a boat, now they want us to pay to use boat ramps that us taxpayers already paid for by our taxes. No damn way. Whose idea was this?”
Robert Norman wrote, “Interesting. Will see a lot of paddle craft launching in the grass/sand next to boat ramps if this passes.”
Robert H. Burkhart III said he thinks Citrus County residents should be free and people coming in from other places should be charged.
To those who thought $50 a year is a hardship, Ron Rock Jr. wrote, “I highly doubt that anyone on here has not dropped $50 in a night out drinking, or smoke more than $50 a week or go out and go riding or go hunting on a lease. Quit your pissing and moaning or don't use them. Go to Pete's Pier and put in.”
Quote of the week: “I read in the newspaper about a tunnel and you could have peeled me off the ceiling.” — Commissioner Ron Kitchen Jr. about the idea of a proposed tunnel beneath U.S. 41 connecting bike trails near Dunnellon.
Good news item of the week: For five local kids, reading books this past summer did more than boost their brain power. Reading won them a bicycle, courtesy of the Homosassa Walmart. The name of one student enrolled in the summer reading program was randomly picked from each Citrus County library branch and the winners got to choose a bicycle. The winners were: Amaya Dirsheri, Anastasia Philburn, Lydia Norris, Katherine Budd and Brayden Phelps.