Some of the most popular stories from the week that was:

Homosassa man charged with sexual battery of 7-year-old girl

Carl Fry Jr. MUG

Carl Fry Jr.

Carl Elwyn Fry Jr., 29, was arrested July 5 on a charge of sexual battery for allegedly forcing a young girl to perform a sex act on him. If convicted of the capital-felony charge, he must serve a life sentence in prison.

National Hurricane Center, Citrus EOC keeping an eye on tropical system in the Gulf

As of Monday afternoon, forecasts showed a tropical system in the Gulf of Mexico that had an 80% likelihood of developing into a tropical depression, with the worst of it skirting Citrus County and heading to the Florida Panhandle, Mississippi and Texas. By Thursday, the storm had been named Barry and was headed toward New Orleans.

Pedestrian airlifted after vehicle strike during Independence Day event

A pedestrian with traumatic injuries was airlifted to a hospital the evening of July 3 after being struck by a vehicle in downtown Inverness during the city’s Independence Day event. Days later, the pedestrian was identified as 16-year-old Jeffrey Spencer Cheesman.

Inglis woman dies in house fire

CCSO investigating shooting that injured girl

Citrus County Sheriff’s Office detectives are investigating a shooting from last week in Lecanto that left a vehicle riddled with bullet holes and a girl injured. The shooting occurred around 8 p.m. on July 3, on a dirt road off of South Kirk Point. Those with information about the shooting can call CCSO’s non-emergency number at 352-726-1121 and ask for its Major Crimes Unit. Tipsters can also remain anonymous and be eligible for a cash reward by calling into Citrus County Crime Stoppers at 1-888-269-8477.

Firefighter hospitalized, Lecanto home destroyed in fire

A fire destroyed a single-wide mobile home on West Sanction Road on July 3 and a firefighter was hospitalized during the response and later released. Citrus County Fire Rescue called the American Red Cross to help the family with housing assistance, and the State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating the fire’s cause.

Inverness looking over possibility of indoor sports center

Frank DiGiovanni mug

Inverness City Manager Frank DiGiovanni

207 new homes coming to Twisted Oaks

Twisted Oaks expansion

Look for these trees to come down as 207 new single-family homes go up at The Fairways at Twisted Oaks.

Electrical box, lightning spark blazes at two Inverness homes, killing pets

South Jean Avenue Fire

Citrus County Fire Rescue and Inverness Fire Department firefighters work the afternoon of July 5 to extinguish a fire off of South Jean Avenue that began from a lightning strike. No injuries were reported, but a cat was killed in the blaze.

Two separate fires — Friday, July 5, and Monday morning — destroyed a pair of Inverness-area homes and killed pets inside, a dog and a cat. On Monday, firefighters arrived to find a single-story home 50% engulfed with flames coming from its roof. A neighbor told Citrus County Fire Rescue a lightning bolt struck the house. Emergency responders brought the blaze under control, saving a nearby RV and neighboring homes.

Crystal River Wawa construction about to start

Wawa construction aerial.jpg

Construction of the Wawa store on U.S. 19 in Crystal River has slowed since this Jan. 2019 photo was taken. Presently, the area where the store will be built is quiet. But that will soon change.

The ‘Wawa coming soon’ sign is finally up at the corner of State Road 44 and U.S. 19. Wawa cleared its last city hurdle a couple weeks ago by obtaining a building permit and was only awaiting a fuel permit from the county to get going. Building activity is expected to begin in about a month and the grand opening could happen in seven months.

Hot topic of the week: Even before the US team won the Women's World Cup title, the soccer team made news when Megan Rapinoe said if they were invited to the White House, "not many, if any" of the players would go. We asked people about their thoughts Monday on our Facebook page. Scattered among the anti/pro-President Trump comments: 

Annie O’Rourke Williamson wrote: “They have the right to decline the invite. However, when they are on that (soccer) field and playing on Team USA, you better be standing and respecting our national anthem and our flag. I’m over these athletes accepting the fame, glory and monetary rewards but won’t respect the country that’s providing all of the rewards.”

Sally Spencer Van Osdell wrote: “I think anyone who gets invited to the White House should go. It’s an honor and it doesn’t matter who the POTUS is or what you think of him.”

Robin Maro wrote: “I feel it’s pretty immature and petty to turn down the president of your country, no matter how you feel about him.”

Danette Haddox wrote: No one should be forced to support a ‘leader’ they don’t agree with. This is a free country still and (this) has nothing to do with respect. We are not communist and cannot be forced to go where we don’t want to go.”

Quote of the week: “I’m certainly not going to second it.” — County Commission Chairman Jeff Kinnard, refusing to second Commissioner Jimmie T. Smith’s motion to attend the 46th American Legislative Exchange Council’s annual meeting in Austin, Texas, at taxpayer expense of $1,235.

Good news item of the week: The late Ray Darling, who died May 9 at age 98, founded the Upward Bound program, a reward program for students who show marked, determined improvement. Just prior to his death, Ray Darling was able to present the first Ray Darling Upward Bound Scholarship to Mutsawashe Manyenga, a 2019 Lecanto High School graduate, who had received an Upward Bound award when she was in third grade at Pleasant Grove Elementary School.    

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Contact Chronicle reporter Nancy Kennedy at 352-564-2927 or nkennedy@chronicleonline.com.

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