News and Announcements

UK Visitors Search for Elvis in Citrus County

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

A group of 30 visitors from the United Kingdom will follow their dream and search for the legacy of Elvis in Crystal River, Inverness and other nearby locations of the 1962 Elvis Presley film Follow That Dream beginning August 17th. “People in Britain still absolutely love Elvis,” says David Wade of the Elvis Travel Service and StrictlyElvis.net. Wade and Carol Pugh bring large groups across the Atlantic regularly to see the sights of Elvis Presley’s life. This year, after the must see visits to Memphis and Tupelo, one group is heading to the Plantation on Crystal River Resort, home base for tracing the steps of Follow that Dream. 

In all, 32 people are making the trip. But don’t expect to see anyone in Elvis costume. “You’ll find our clients see Elvis differently than many Americans,” says Wade. “They are not interested in Elvis impersonators and Elvis kitsch at all,” he explains, “in fact, it’s offensive. To us, Elvis is a serious musician and actor, one of the landmark artists of the twentieth century.” He points out that a recent pairing of Elvis’ vocal tracks with orchestration by the London Philharmonic went straight to number one in the UK immediately upon debut. 

The film Follow that Dream was shot on the Central Florida Gulf Coast in the summer of 1961. It was unique among Elvis Presley’s films in a number of ways. It was the only Elvis film actually based on a book, Richard Powell’s 1959 novel, Pioneer, go Home! “It’s also unique because very few of Elvis’ films were intensively shot on location like this one was,” says David Wade. “A lot of the work for the other films was done on sound stages in Los Angeles, with only cameos and cutaway shots made on location.” 

Many locals still remember Elvis staying at the Port Paradise Hotel (today’s Port Hotel & Marina in Crystal River), or tossing a football with the local kids on Courthouse Square in Inverness between takes. The historic Courthouse in Inverness served in a dramatic court battle scene. “The court room still looks just as it looked in the film,” say Katherine Turner Thompson of the Old Courthouse Heritage Museum. The beach in the film was a man-made beach especially created for the movie at the end of a road in nearby Yankeetown, Florida. The road is now called Follow that Dream Parkway. “They couldn’t keep the palm trees they brought in alive,” comments Wade, “so they just painted them green to make them look right.” 

Elvis Travel Services Follow that Dream tour will visit almost all the locations used in the movie including the Valerie Theatre, right across from the Courthouse in Inverness, where the film crew and Elvis reviewed daily takes. The tour itinerary includes plenty of time to relax and, of course, the opportunity to do something many travelers come here to do: Swim with the manatees Crystal River is famous for. “We’re really looking forward to it,” says Wade, who scouted all the locations over a year ago, “these are such stunning surroundings.” 


Ground Broken for the CR491 Phase 1 Widening Project

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

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Commissioner Scott Carnahan, Chairman of the Citrus County Board of County Commissioners welcomed guests to the County Road 491 Phase I Roadway and Regional Storm Water and Utility Improvements Project Groundbreaking which was held on August 2 at the corner of CR491 and SR44. Over 30 people attended the morning event including Commissioners; Brian Coleman, Jeff Kinnard, Ron Kitchen and Jimmie T. Smith. Also attending were County Administrator Randy Oliver, County staff, community members and representatives from project partners, Pegasus Engineering and Commercial Industrial Corporation.

Phase I of the project includes a section of CR491 that is less than a mile from the future Suncoast 2 ramp on SR44 and is the third area to be widened by the County; the first section was from Grover Cleveland to SR44 and the second was from CR486 to Pine Ridge. This specific phase of 491 is from Laurel St to south of Audubon Park Path, approximately one mile in length. The roadway will be constructed with four travel lanes (convertible to six in the future) with a grass center median and (2)-two lane support roads (Line and Southern).  The project also includes water and waste water improvements, a 12 foot wide Multi-Use Path along the west side of the road and a 5 foot wide sidewalk along the east.   

The cost for road improvements and storm water will be $14.5M – 50% of the project construction cost paid by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) through a Transportation of Regional Impact Grant and a County Incentive Grant.  The remainder of the project is funded through County Impact Fees and Gas Tax. Water and waste water improvements will have a cost of $3.3M and will be paid through Utility revenue.


Motorists are advised to use caution in the area and to look for alternate routes. Anticipated date of project completion is December 2019.


County Attorney Denise Dymond Lyn Receives Florida Bar Certification

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

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Citrus County Attorney Denise Dymond Lyn received notification from The Florida Bar Board that she has been certified in City, County & Local Government Law. Board certification is The Florida Bar’s “Legal Expert” status and is a voluntary program for lawyers, approved by The Florida Supreme Court. Board certified lawyers have met The Florida Bar’s highest standards for special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in the practice of law.

Board Certification recognizes attorneys’ special knowledge, skills and proficiency in various areas of law and professionalism and ethics in practice. Established in 1982 by the Florida Supreme Court, board certification helps consumers identify specialists in 26 areas of law. Board certified lawyers are evaluated on professionalism and tested for expertise through rigorous course of study.

Only seven percent of eligible Florida Bar members have taken the extra steps to have their competence and experience evaluated to qualify for a board certification. Board certified lawyers must have a minimum of five years in law practice, show substantial involvement in the field of law for which certification is sought, satisfy a peer review assessment of their competence in the specialty field and receive a passing grade on the examination. Certification is valid for five years.

Lyn has been a practicing attorney since 1997 and County Attorney since 2015.

The BOCC proclaims July as Smart Irrigation Month in Citrus County

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

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The Board of County Commissioners; Chairman Scott Carnahan, First Vice-Chairman Ron Kitchen, Second Vice-Chairman Jeff Kinnard, Brian Coleman and Jimmie T. Smith, are pictured with Ken Cheek, director of Citrus County Water Resources and Debra Burden, Citrus County Water Conservation Manager

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners presented a Proclamation at their regular meeting on July 25, 2017 proclaiming July 2017 as Smart Irrigation Month in Citrus County.

Water is a finite resource that is vital to human life and well maintained green spaces are important to the health and well-being of communities and individuals. Appropriate irrigation technology, combined with best practices, can significantly reduce water usage and runoff while creating healthy lawns, landscaping, and sports turf. The adoption of smart irrigation practices further improves water use efficiency. The Citrus County Department of Water Resources encourages citizens to install Water Sense labeled smart irrigation controllers for substantial water savings through its rebate program.

The Board of County Commissioners proclaims July 2017 as “Smart Irrigation Month” and calls the observance to the attention of all citizens.

The BOCC proclaims August 7 as Purple Heart Day in Citrus County

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

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The Board of County Commissioners; Chairman Scott Carnahan, First Vice-Chairman Ron Kitchen, Second Vice-Chairman Jeff Kinnard, Brian Coleman and Jimmie T. Smith, are pictured with Left to right, Ralph McClure, "Bud" Allen CMDR, not visible in photo Chuck Kanehl Sr. vice CMDR, Curt Ebitz Adjutant, Mike Schlaudraff, Ray Michael past CMDR, Richard Hunt Dept FL CMDR, Rick Allen Sgt @ Arms, Joe McClister Finance Officer

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners presented a Proclamation at their regular meeting on July 25, 2017 proclaiming August 7, 2017 as Purple Heart Day in Citrus County.

The Purple Heart, originally known as the Military Badge of Merit, was established by the General Orders of General George Washington 235 years ago on August 7, 1782 and is the oldest military decoration in the world in present use. The War Department first adopted the Purple Heart as a combat award on February 22, 1932 exclusively for those members of the Armed Forces who are killed, died of wounds or wounded by an enemy instrument of war. Over 1.7 million members of the Armed Forces of the United States have been awarded the Purple Heart and merit the reverence of their fellow countrymen for selflessly sacrificing their lives or shedding their blood on the field of battle in defense of our Republic and its cherished freedoms.

The Governor of Florida enacted legislation passed by the Florida Legislature in 2012 designating August 7 of each year as Purple Heart Day. Citrus County is a Purple Heart County and home to two Purple Heart Cities, the first designated Purple Heart school district and law enforcement agency in the nation, two Purple Heart veteran service organizations, and Florida’s first state forest Purple Heart Trail.

The Board of County Commissioners proclaims August 7, 2017 as “Purple Heart Day” and recognizes the 235th anniversary of the Purple Heart and the 85th anniversary of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and encourages all citizens to honor and pay tribute to all Purple Heart recipients for their extraordinary sacrifice and bravery on the field of battle.

Citrus County Awarded State Safe Routes to School Grants

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

Crystal River High School will be the recipient of new sidewalks due to the Florida State Safe Routes to School (SRTS) Grant Program.

The grant program funding is offered in an effort to improve the health and well-being of students by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school.  The Citrus County BOCC approved the Work Authorization to apply for the grant on October 11, 2016.

The Crystal River High School sidewalk construction project will include a five-foot wide sidewalk along both sides of Turkey Oak from SR44 to 170 feet north of Woodbury Court, along with installation of high emphasis crosswalk markings at side streets along Turkey Oak from SR44 to US19. There will also be reconstruction of curb ramps and upgrades to the pedestrian signals at the SR44/Turkey Oak intersection, drainage modifications and curb ramp improvements at the southeast corner of CR495/Turkey Oak. 

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) will fund the design and construction which is estimated at a cost of $722,049.  Construction of the new sidewalk is scheduled to begin in 2021.  One hundred eleven of the school’s one thousand three hundred forty-six students reside within two miles of the school.

Citrus County Department of Public Works, Engineering Division applied for the grant as the “maintaining” agency, partnering with Citrus County School District as required by the SRTS program guidelines.  Eligible SRTS projects are required to directly support increased safety and convenience for students in grades K-high school to walk and/or bicycle to/from school. 


Citrus County celebrates Smart Irrigation Month and Helps Customers Save Water & Money

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

Citrus County is celebrating Smart Irrigation Month by helping customers save water, save money and see better results. Smart Irrigation Month is a public awareness campaign to promote efficient water use. Focused on July, traditionally the month of peak demand for outdoor water use, the campaign highlights simple practices and innovative technologies to:

•           Make maintaining green spaces easy and convenient.
•           Minimize overwatering while keeping lawns, gardens and landscapes beautiful and healthy.
•           Save money on utility bills.
•           Help protect community water supplies for today and the future.

Property owners and managers typically overwater, unintentionally wasting money every time they take out the hose or turn on the sprinklers. Citrus County Department of Water Resources, a leader in smart water-saving practices, is delivering real results by:

 •           Helping customers plant and maintain low-water landscapes that will thrive in their climate and site conditions via its Florida-friendly Landscaping™ program.
 •           Incentivizing installation of new irrigation controllers systems that use real-time weather data to automatically adjust watering to meet plant needs.
 •           Educating homeowners on the benefits, as well as providing rebates, for rain sensors that prevent watering in rainy weather.
 •           Helping customers program automatic controllers to comply with community watering restrictions while extracting maximum benefit from every drop of water.
 •           Auditing irrigation systems to make sure water is being using effectively and making necessary adjustments.

Among many irrigation efficiency programs in recent years, the Department of Water Resources partnered with the Southwest Florida Water Management District and the Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority to evaluate 200 home irrigation systems plagued with excessive water use.  Results indicate an average of twelve to twenty percent water reductions.  

For more information about how Department of Water Resources can help homeowners, businesses and property managers reduce water use, visit the water conservation page at www.citrusbocc.com.

Smart Irrigation Month is an initiative of the Irrigation Association, a non-profit industry organization dedicated to promoting efficient irrigation. Visit www.smartirrigationmonth.org to learn more.

The Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization to hold Public Meeting

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

The Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will hold a public meeting on Tuesday, August 15, 2017, beginning at 1:00 p.m., at the Lecanto Government Building, 3600 W. Sovereign Path, Room 166, Lecanto, Florida.


Items scheduled on the agenda include, but are not limited to:

 • Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) Administrative Amendment Authority and Roll Forward Amendment (FY 2018 – FY 2022)

 • Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP) FY 2016/17 – FY 2017/18 Carry Forward Modification

 • Joint Participation Agreement (JPA) Approval for Section 5305(d) Funding for FY 2018

 • Hernando/Citrus Counties Transit Development Plan (TDP) 2017 Annual Progress Reports

 • Amendment to the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) Agreement associated with the FY 2016/17 – FY 2017/18 UPWP amendment.


The public is encouraged to attend.  Any questions concerning this public meeting should be directed to Mr. Dennis Dix, AICP, MPO Executive Director, Hernando/Citrus Metropolitan Planning Organization, 20 North Main Street, Room 262, Brooksville, FL, 34601, telephone (352) 754-4057, extension 28014 or email mpo@hernandocitrusmpo.us.


County Administrator and BOCC Recognize Employees at Service Award Breakfast

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

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County Administrator Randy Oliver and Commissioners Brian Coleman, and Ron Kitchen, are joined by Citrus County employees who recently received recognition for their years of service

County Administrator Randy Oliver and Commissioners; Brian Coleman, and Ron Kitchen recognized years of employee service at a recent breakfast held at the Historic Old Courthouse in Inverness on Thursday, July 27, 2017. The following employees were honored for their service and dedication to Citrus County:

5 Year

Benjamin Kampschroer, Hired on May 21, 2012 as a Part-time Library Aide in Community Services, Library Services. He is currently a Library Communications Facilitator.

Johanna Wheeler, Hired on June 28, 2012 as a Lifeguard in Community Services, Parks and Recreations.

Debbie Reilly, Hired on July 30, 2017 as a Librarian II in Community Services, Library Services. She is currently a Library Manager.

10 Year

Barbara Young, Hired on June 2, 2007 as Grounds Maintenance Worker in Community Services, Parks and Recreations. She is currently a Community Center Aide.

Susan Mutschler, Hired on June 30, 2007 as a Librarian II in Community Services, Library Services. She is currently a Library Manager.

15 Year

Robert Becktel, Hired on May 6, 2002 as a Maintenance Worker in Public Works, Road Maintenance. He is currently a Medium Equipment Operator.

Deborah Grosskopf, Hired on May 1, 2002 as a Deputy Clerk I for the Clerk of Courts. She is currently a Senior Customer Service Representative, Management and Budget.

Matthew Malek, Hired on May 6, 2002 as a Maintenance Worker in Public Works, Road Maintenance. He is currently a Maintenance Technician.

Kimberly Slater, Hired on July 8, 2002 as a Receptionist in Growth Management, Building Division. She is currently a Development Review Permitting Specialist.

20 Year

Lori Howerton, Hired on May 5, 1997 as a Secretary in Public Works, Utilities Division. She is currently a Utility Accounts Analyst.

Martin Story, Hired on May, 1 1997 as an Equipment Services Worker in Public Works, Fleet Management. He is currently a Heavy Equipment Mechanic.

James Baird, Hired on June 30, 1997 as Plans Examiner in Growth Management, Building Division. He is currently the Assistant Building Division Director.

Paul Yetton, Hired on July 30, 1997 as a Building Maintenance Work in Public Works, Facilities Management. He is currently a Facilities Management Unit Supervisor.

30 Year

Michael Bagley, Hired on June 29, 1987 as a Maintenance Tech I in Public Works, Road Maintenance. He is currently a Heavy Equipment Operator.

Robert Young, Hired on June 1, 1987 as an Engineering Technician I in Public Works, Engineering. He retired on May 31, 2017 as a Traffic Control Coordinator in Public Works, Road Maintenance.

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) Updates

Category: Press Releases       Posted By: Denise Gallagher       Year: 2017

  • Periodic night lane closures on US 19 in Homosassa Springs

Periodic lane closures may take place in both directions of US 19 from W. Green Acres Street to S. Jump Court between 8:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. Sunday through Thursday (July 30 – August 3) nights. At least one lane will remain open in each direction during the nighttime lane closures.

  • US 19 and Homosassa Trail intersection update

Due to drainage construction work, traffic was shifted July 19 on US 19 (Suncoast Boulevard) near W. Homosassa Trail. As a result, the southbound US 19 left turn onto eastbound Homosassa Trail is temporarily closed.  Homosassa Trail on the west side of US 19 is also temporarily closed to all traffic. Drivers going to the shopping plaza on the west side of US 19 need to use one of the entrances to the parking lot that is north of Homosassa Trail.

The temporary closures and detour will be in place until approximately Monday, August 7, 2017, weather permitting.

Detour for southbound US 19 to eastbound Homosassa Trail: Continue south on US 19 and turn left onto W. Grover Cleveland Boulevard. Turn left onto Ohio Street and go north to Homosassa Trail.

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