There are days when it’s easy to look on the dark side of things.

A snake bites you in the foot and you end up in ICU fighting for your life.

A car runs a stop sign and totals your vehicle.

Your dog poops in your shoe.

Wait a minute, that all happened to me and I refuse to look on the dark side. Life’s too short to focus on the negative.

Take a minute and look at some of the really good things going on in Citrus County.

-- There are more people working in Citrus County than ever before. People are finding work. Pay could be higher, but jobs are out there.

-- The water in Crystal River is being cleaned up and grass is growing on the river bottom. The volunteer group — Save Crystal River — is seeing results from their work to clean the muck off the bottom of the river and grow new grass. The grass filters out the nutrients and feeds the manatee population at the same time.

-- The Community Food bank just held a one-night fundraiser that generated more than $200,000 in contributions to feed families in need in Citrus County. People in this community care about each other.

-- The Suncoast Parkway project is finally underway and within a few years it will be much easier for residents to travel to the Tampa Airport or other destinations to the south. On top of that, small businesses that manufacture things and create wealth will now be able to locate here and have easy access to an interstate system. That means more higher-paying jobs for the community.

-- It has not snowed in Citrus County since 1986.

-- Citrus County’s YMCA is only three years old but already has 13,000 members, more than many Y’s in big cities. And the facility is about to launch its second expansion to handle the growth. People are getting healthy.

-- Duke Energy has opened its two new gas plants and is retiring two of the old coal plants. That means less pollution and more property taxes going into the coffers of local government.

-- The Homosassa bridge is finally ready for business after years of construction and many delays. It will appropriately be named after the late Jim Bitter — a Homosassa civic activist who was a ‘pain in the butt’ to just about every politician who ever ran for office in Citrus County. Sources in heaven have confirmed that it was Jim who created all the construction delays so he could continue to force local politicians to feel the heat from angry citizens.

-- Citrus County has an excellent public library system. Don’t lose sight of this incredible asset.

-- A group of citizens and business owners — the Beverly Hills Area Council — has come together to unify the drive to improve the quality of life in the central Citrus community. If you think about it, the major improvements in Citrus County all started with citizen volunteer activism. Saving the Homosassa Springs attraction, purchasing Three Sister Springs, rehabilitating downtown Inverness, creating the county library system, Save Crystal River, Too Far water protection group, creation of the YMCA, the Boys and Girls Club all started with volunteers. The same thing will happen with Beverly Hills.

-- Our reading and math scores for school children are increasing — a true sign that the schools are getting the job done.

-- New businesses are flourishing. Not a week goes by where a new restaurant or small business does not open. Local entrepreneurs are making good things happen.

Good things are happening at all levels in Citrus County and we need to remember that. Don’t let the negative folks get you down. And don’t step on snakes.

Gerry Mulligan is the publisher of the Chronicle. Email him at gmulligan@chronicleonline.com.

(7) comments

EMorgan

I think this opinion was enlightening. As for the negative comments you missed what the article was about. Look for the good in things.

CitrusCo Citizen

Mr. Mulligan, one good thing I do agree with you is that we have a pretty good library system that I hope will become even more "digitized" so that ALL Citrus County library patrons can access information online. But even though I admire and appreciate your work, Mr. Mulligan, I don't agree with many of your "good things". It's not good that the Suncoast tollroad will decimate forests, wetlands, animal habitats and people's property all for the profit of developers, asphalt companies, and the fossil fuel industry. It's really not good that fracked methane-producing natural gas is now forced on us, when we live in the "Sunshine State" and yet have a D or even an F and are practically last in the nation for solar energy? Why is it good that there are no convenient electrical charging stations to charge electric cars and buses? What is good about not having convenient and affordable public transportation, especially for seniors? If you examine the NAEP data you will see that achievement scores for reading have dropped, alarmingly, and yet the state is forcing taxpayers to pay for private schools, 80% of which are religious--private schools that can opt-out of research-based, standards-based curriculum, instruction, and assessment so that we'll never know why reading achievement is dropping. Why are those things good? They're not good! So much improvement is needed in this county in education, energy, and the environment, rather than construction, housing developments, and low paying service jobs. When I see those improvements, I will begin to think things are getting better and maybe even good.

GERRYM

Thanks for the well-thought out feedback. One of the reasons I see the Suncoast in a positive light is that it will bring higher paying jobs to this community - something we both agree is needed. Charging stations are coming. Inverness is about to put some in and they are already available at the Hampton Inn in Crystal River.

ChrissyM

It snowed in December of 1989. Trust me.

Pegasus

I was thinking the same thing. I was wondering how it could have snowed Christmas eve in Tampa and not here. There were rolling blackouts on Christmas day that year. Great, positive article Mr. Mulligan!

CyJ

I have pictures from January 2010 with what appears to be snow on our trampoline when we lived in Citrus Springs. It was only a light dusting but the kids made snow angels. It never happened again so I'm pretty sure it wasn't frost despite the ground having nothing on it.

LEIGHD

Yep- had it on my van that year, too!!

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