Politics

Landfill fire story still smoldering

No one seems to have started it, and the State Fire Marshal said there was no wrongdoing. So what did happen at the Citrus County landfill overnight Saturday that saw county firefighters battling flames for two hours?

The answer to that is still smoldering, and the theory of the origin of the fire is getting "curiouser and curiouser."

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County inks deal with hospital board for medical corridor

The Citrus County Commission and Citrus County Hospital Board today inked a five-year deal to create a medical corridor and advance the four-laning of County Road 491 in North Lecanto.

The corridor is the brainchild of County Commissioner Dennis Damato, who proposed the concept two and one-half years ago.

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Meek outlines one-year chairman plan

Citrus County Commission Chairman Joe Meek on Tuesday started a new tradition - a "Chairman's Plan."

It's a one-year plan aimed at focusing the commission toward six goals he has identified as important for the county.

Below is an outline of that plan.

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State's DCF removes child protective investigation function away from Sheriff's Office

Dawsy and DCF relationshipThe state's Department of Children and Families (DCF) has taken child protective investigations away from the Citrus County Sheriff's Office.

Election results: Winners, losers listed

The tally of Citrus County election results carried very few surprises in Tuesday voting.

The numbers are posted below, with the declared winners listed first in each race.

Sheriff (Rep)

  • Winn Webb: 6,435 (43.42%)
  • Steven Burch: 5,531 (37.32%)
  • Hank Hemrick: 2,852 (19.24%):

Superintendent of Schools (Rep.)

  • Sandy Balfour: 10,074 (68.01%)
  • Robert J. Cummins: 4,737 (31.98%)

Co. Comm Dist 1 - Rep UPC

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Early voting ends; regular balloting set for Tuesday

Early voting ended Sunday, and now political candidates are setting their eyes on those going to the polling booths on Tuesday, where the rest of the county's voters will congregate.

Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

For a complete list of candidates running in the Aug. 14 election, go to VoteCitrus.com.

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Samargya, Graves vie for 5th Judicial Circuit public defender

Two attorneys are vying for the post of Public Defender in the 5th Judicial Circuit - one from Citrus County and the other from Lake County.

The position came open when Howard "Skip" Babb Jr., the current public defender, announced his retirement, and both of the attorneys competing for his post are Republicans.

Service contract failures: Is it bad business, or is economy to blame?

Sometimes, things may not be what they appear to be.

Such was the case on Tuesday during the Citrus County Commission's meeting, when a seemingly small problem with a contractor pointed to a much larger problem in recent months - the failure of some service contracts which the county had awarded that ended up going south after contractors had already accepted the work.

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A good political year for incumbents; for others, not so much

It is a good election year for incumbents - five of them - who will continue into another term in office, unopposed at the polls.

For other races, it may not be so easy.

The five incumbents who will sale past polls and back into their public offices are:

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Hopeful 2012 political candidates qualify for upcoming races

Political candidates, both incumbents and hopefuls, officially kicked off the election process on Monday by qualifying for the positions they want to occupy.

For the record, that process of qualifying ends at noon on Friday for those countywide contests, and during the week of Aug. 6-10 for the cities of Inverness and Crystal River.

May marked the end of qualification for the posts of public defender, circuit court judge and State Attorney.

On upcoming ballots, voters will see these qualifiers:

Congress:

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Judge dismisses Port Citrus lawsuit

Fifth Judicial District Court Judge Richard "Ric" Howard today dismissed a lawsuit against the Citrus County Port Authority that alleged violations of the state's Sunshine Law and other charges.

Citrus County resident Robert A. Schweickert Jr. filed allegations of violations of that law, as well as violations of state procurement procedures, in a May 2011 lawsuit against the Port Authority and the Board of County Commissioners.

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Commissioners sending letter to Gov. Scott to protest Medicaid bill

During the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners meeting on Tuesday, commissioners approved a resolution to send a letter to Gov. Rick Scott expressing their objections to the recent Medicaid Cost Shift Bill (House Bill 5301).

The Medicaid Cost Shift Bill is disputed bills for Medicaid billing.

Two Homosassa groups at odds over old fire house

Two Homosassa-based groups are at odds over who will get to lease an old, unused fire house in that city.

The Homosassa Civic Club and the "We Care Food Pantry" were at the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday to lodge their complaints.

Old Homosassa resident and civic club president Jim Bitter told commissioners that he had been called by someone with the "We Care" group saying that investigators said he had incited neighbors near the old fire house to oppose the use of the facility to feed homeless people.

Citrus County welcomes Florida’s top business leaders

More than 50 of Florida’s top CEO’s and business leaders gathered on Thursday morning at the Plantation Inn in Crystal River for a quarterly Tampa Bay Partnership board meeting.

The Tampa Bay Partnership is a non-profit organization supported by the financial commitments of more than 175 private and public organizations.

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County pulls wraps off online port site

Citrus County's port authority has announced it has taken the wraps off a new Internet site to promote Port Citrus.

The announcement was made by the county's new public relations officer, Lindsay Ubinas.

The stated purpose of the site is to inform county residents are well informed about the port, and you can find the site at www.portcitrus.com.

Argenziano opts to run for state House, not Congress

Former State Senator Nancy Argenziano said she will abandon her campaign for Congress and instead move back to Citrus County and challenge incumbent Jimmie Smith for his seat on the Florida House.

Argenziano, who currently lives in Tallahassee, said she will move back into a home she owns in unincorporated Citrus County near Crystal River. She will campaign under her current Independent Party affiliation.

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County picks Meadowcrest to solve Westside space needs

The Citrus County Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to begin negotiating a lease option contract with the owner of a Meadowcrest building that has enough space to suit the needs of a number of constitutional officers for the west side of the county.

Beverly Hills wins in latest battle over low-income rental housing

Beverly Hills residents and civic groups on Tuesday won the latest round in an effort by a developer to build low- and middle-income rental homes in that city.

The plan by Diamond Housing Partners LLC, which had been before the Citrus County commission on May 27 and June 9 seeking county approval to build 80 single-family units, was eventually rebuffed.

On Monday, by a 5-0 vote, the county again turned the $10 million project down, but for different reasons.

Citrus County provides $500,000 toward immediate fire needs

The Citrus County Commission today unanimously voted to approve an additional $500,000 toward addressing fire service improvement by staffing an unnamed fire station to fill a hole in the current level of fire service.

The funding, effective immediately, will be drawn from the county's dwindling reserves and with funding previously returned to the county by the county property appraiser's office.

Neighborhood stabilization working in Citrus County

The federal government's Neighborhood Stabilization Program (NSP) is working in Citrus County.

The program provides emergency assistance to state and local governments to acquire and redevelop foreclosed properties that might otherwise become sources of abandonment and blight within their communities.

In Citrus County, 25 of 27 foreclosed properties have so far been rehabilitated so homes could be either sold or rented to low- and middle-income families.

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