News and Announcements

Class Offered for Starting a Home-Based Food Business

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

Thinking about opening a Home-based Food Business? Are you interested in selling food products that you make in your own home? Do you want to sell your homemade baked goods, candies, preserves, and more to the general public? If so, you do not want to miss this workshop! This workshop will be held on Wednesdays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm, October 11 and 18 at the UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County office, 3650 W. Sovereign Path, Suite 1, Lecanto, FL 34461.The cottage food bill allows individuals to manufacture, sell and store certain types of “cottage food” products in an unlicensed home kitchen. Cottage food operations are NOT required to obtain a license or permit from the Florida Department of Agriculture and   Consumer Services (FDACS) or subject to inspection by any state government entity.

This workshop will provide you with the opportunity to connect with experts in the community, get answers to business questions and challenges, and obtain information on starting or building your business. Learn about new ideas and get proven advice to start or grow your business. Topics will include: Florida Cottage Food Law, Social Media and advertising your business, is your kitchen safe for cottage food operation, Cottage Food at farmers’ markets, and growing your vegetables for profit.

Pre-registration is required and the fee of $25 is due by October 9. Registration fee includes materials and light refreshments and is payable by check, cash, or online.  To register and pay on-line: https://citruscottagefood.eventbrite.com. Make checks payable to “Citrus County BOCC” and mail or pay in person at: UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County office, 3650 W. Sovereign Path, Suite 1, Lecanto, FL 34461.  For more information contact Stephanie Clamer at sclamer@ufl.edu or call 352-527-5700.     

Two Free Florida-friendly Gardening Workshops in September 2017

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

  • Irrigation efficiency

Citrus County Utilities Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program is offering a free gardening workshop on September 5, 2017 from 2:00-3:30 pm.  Landscape irrigation is supplemental, but often uses 50-70 % of total residential water consumption. Irrigation practices such as seasonal scheduling, catch can calibration and selection of drought tolerant plants are essential to creating a sustainable and water conserving landscape.  Classes are held at the Citrus County Extension Service building located at 3650 W Sovereign Path in Lecanto.  Please contact Steven Davis at (352) 527-5708 to confirm your participation.

  • Responsible pest management IPM

Citrus County Utilities Florida-Friendly Landscaping™ Program is offering a free gardening workshop on September 19, 2017 from 2:00-3:30 pm.  Correctly identifying the cause of plant damage is always the first step to controlling an infestation.  Inspection, scouting, identification, selecting the least harmful control and accurate application are all important IPM practices. Classes are held at the Citrus County Extension Service building located at 3650 W Sovereign Path in Lecanto.  Please contact Steven Davis at (352) 527-5708 to confirm your participation.

Accepting Applications for a Vacancy on the Water & Wastewater Authority

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

The Citrus County Board of County Commissioners is seeking applications for one Lay member (four-year term) to serve on the Citrus County Water & Wastewater Authority. This board provides for regulation of private, for-profit water, bulk water and wastewater utilities within the unincorporated areas of Citrus County. Current position expires January 31, 2018. Applicants are required to be Citrus County residents and registered to vote in Citrus County.

The authority consists of five members; three members are technical members and two members are lay members.  The lay member positions are appointed based on individual civic pride and integrity. Although experience in any area of relevant utility service and management, rate making, utility regulation or other endeavors is not required, applicants for the lay member position may be appointed from the same area of expertise as technical members. The Water & Wastewater Authority meets quarterly at 1:00 pm. on the first Monday of February, May, August and November at the Lecanto Government Building in Lecanto. 

Applications will be accepted until October 2, 2017.   Applications which meet the eligibility requirements will be forwarded to the Board of County Commissioners for evaluation, nomination and selection.  Applications can be found at http://www.citrusbocc.com/commissioners/advboards/advisory-board-application.pdf and completed applications should be sent to Citrus County Administration, 3600 W. Sovereign Path Suite 267, Lecanto FL 34461.

Do You Have Questions about Social Security?

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

Do you have questions about Social Security?

Do you have questions about Social Security? Join UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County & Kurt Davis for Women and Social Security

WHO:    Woman approaching 65 or applying for Social Security   

WHAT: Women and Social Security:

                Learn about maximizing your social security and your benefits.  Get answers to your Social Security questions, concerns, and options from a knowledgeable unbiased source.  

WHEN: September 7, 2017

                Thursday Night from 6:00 to 8:00 pm

WHERE: UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County

3650 W. Sovereign Path, Ste. 1, Lecanto, FL 34461

WHY:     What to do about Social Security can be one of the most complex questions you will face when you reach 65. Understanding the basics can provide you with the           ability to take the proper steps when required and helps you to deal with problems when you need to. 

To register online: https://womensocialsecurity.eventbrite.com

For more information or to register, contact Sarah at the UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County office at 352-527-5700.

Road Construction Debris Gets Recycled and Repurposed

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

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Nothing is going to waste during the CR491 road widening project, officially named; County Road 491 Phase I Roadway and Regional Storm Water and Utility Improvements Project.  Thanks to project contractor Commercial Industrial Corporation (CIC) the project has become a “best practices” for construction debris repurposing.

During demolition of the vacant Circle K at the corner of CR491 and SR44 all copper, aluminum and steel went to Inter-County Recycling (ICR) located at 1801 W. Gulf to Lakes Hwy, Lecanto for recycling.  Concrete will be crushed at CIC's material processing site, located in Reddick, Fla (Northwest of Ocala) and used for construction entrance pads to help eliminate soil from construction sites from eroding and tracking onto roadways during construction.

CIC is harvesting timber for logs going to make lumber, pulp wood for paper products, and mulch.  Anything that does not meet the requirements for those products will be chipped onsite and used as fuel wood at a facility in Brooksville. Asphalt millings from the existing roadway will be used as temporary driveways during the road construction project and will also be utilized by County crews for erosion control and road stabilization.

“This project reflects the County’s commitment to the environment and cost saving through recycling and repurposing project materials.” said Walt Eastmond, Citrus County Transportation Project Manager. County Road 491 Phase I Roadway and Regional Storm Water and Utility Improvements Project costs 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.

Homosassa Trail Closed Temporarily on East Side of US 19

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

Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has reported that Homosassa Trail is now closed on the east side of US 19 due to a small hole (approximately two feet in diameter) that has opened in the eastbound lanes of Homosassa Trail.

The portion of the Homosassa Trail between US 19 and the RaceTrac driveway will be closed at least into Friday, August 11 as testing is conducted to determine the size and cause of the void under the roadway, as well as the repair procedure.

Motorists can detour around the closed portion of Homosassa Trail using Grover Cleveland Boulevard and Pittsburgh Avenue and are asked to use caution when in the area.

Commissioner Carnahan to Hold Fire Services Town Hall at Central Ridge Library

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

Citrus County is currently conducting a nationwide search for a new Fire Chief. We would like to thank Jim Goodworth for his service and we recognize that choosing the next Chief is an important decision and the next step in building fire services in our community. 

Commissioner and Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Scott Carnahan, who also served as Chairman of the Fire Service Committee, will be holding a Town Hall meeting at the Central Ridge Library to discuss fire services and receive your input regarding the provision of those services, discuss options and alternatives for service and funding.  The meeting information is as follows: 

Thursday, August 17 – Central Ridge Library, 425 W. Roosevelt Blvd., Beverly Hills, FL 34465, from 5:30pm to 7:00pm and the event is open to the public.

For more information, please call Public Information Officer Cynthia Oswald at (352) 527-5484.

Two Citrus County Projects Receive Funding from the Fighting for Florida's Future Budget

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

Under the leadership of Governor Rick Scott, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection announced a suite of 40 projects that will receive $50 million from the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget to improve water quality, reduce nutrient loading, recharge water supply and protect habitat in Florida’s iconic spring systems. This includes a state investment of more than $9 million to protect springs in Southwest Florida, including Aripeka, Weeki Wachee, Kings Bay, Crystal and Rainbow springsheds. Combined with match funding from Florida’s water management districts and local partners, the investment in springs projects statewide will total more than $94 million during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“Thanks to the continued commitment of Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature in securing a dedicated funding source for springs restoration and protection, we can continue to focus on completing strategic acquisitions and projects that will produce real benefits for our spring systems,” said DEP Secretary Noah Valenstein. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and Legislature, the water management districts and partners in the environmental, agricultural and local communities to conserve and protect Florida’s iconic springs.”

“This funding allows our district scientists to continue the important work of protecting our water resources,” said Brian Armstrong, P.G., executive director of the Southwest Florida Water Management District. “We are thankful to Governor Scott and the Florida Legislature for their financial commitment to ensure these environmental treasures are protected for future generations of Floridians.” The project development process is a collaborative effort among the department, water management districts, community leaders and local stakeholders. Projects are selected based on pollutant reduction, water conservation, cost effectiveness and available matching dollars.

The following are the two selected projects for Citrus County, Kings Bay:

Citrus County Advanced Wastewater Treatment Upgrades: A total of $1.5 million in collaborative funding will be used for construction upgrades to the existing Brentwood Wastewater Treatment Facility to produce advanced wastewater treatment level reclaimed water. This project will result in an estimated total nutrient reduction of 13,698 pounds of nitrogen per year.

Citrus County Northwest Quadrant Sewer Extension: A total of $6 million in collaborative funding will be used for sewer main expansion construction within the Northwest quadrant of Citrus County primarily serviced by septic systems. This sewer main extension will route up to 2 million gallons per day of wastewater flows to the Meadowcrest Wastewater Treatment Facility to produce additional high-quality reclaimed water flows to be sent to the Duke Energy Crystal River Power Complex. This project will result in an estimated total nutrient reduction of 87,791 pounds of nitrogen per year.

A complete list of the springs protection projects funded by the Fighting for Florida’s Future budget can be found at:

http://www.flgov.com/2017/08/07/gov-scott-announces-50-million-for-springs-restoration-projects-across-florida/ These projects will be considered by the water management district Governing Boards as part of their upcoming budget hearings.

Child Advocate Volunteers Sought for Guardian ad Litem Program

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

The Guardian ad Litem (GAL) program is currently in desperate need of volunteers to be advocates for abused, neglected or abandoned children whose cases are in the court system. A GAL is a trained volunteer appointed by the court to advocate on behalf of a child. The GAL becomes familiar with the child’s case and makes recommendations to help ensure a safe, stable and permanent environment for the child.

“Over 2000 children in Marion, Lake, Sumter, Hernando and Citrus Counties have been removed from their homes due to abuse, abandonment or neglect. GAL volunteers make a profound difference in the life of these children by helping judges decide whether a child should be reunited with his or her family, remain in foster care or in the worst of circumstances, placed for adoption,” said Marcia Hilty, Circuit Director of GAL Program for 5th Judicial Circuit. “They make sure important services are provided. Simply put, a GAL volunteer makes sure everyone does what is best for the child.” Research has shown that when a child whose case is being heard in dependency court is assigned to a GAL volunteer, they spend less time in foster care and do better in school. However, there are more children in the system than volunteers to serve them at this time.

Eligible volunteers must be 21 years of age and older (adults between 19 and 21 years are also eligible to work alongside a certified volunteer GAL), successfully complete the pre-service training program and be cleared of any serious criminal history via a level II criminal background check. A GAL must complete 30 hours of pre-service training. On average, volunteers should expect to spend 10-15 hours a month on a case, and most cases last 10-12 months. The volunteer works as part of a team, including a volunteer supervisor and program attorney. 

The next GAL training will be on September 7th, 8th and 9th, 2017 in Ocala.  All participants must complete an application process prior to training. To become a volunteer in Marion or Lake Counties, please contact Amarilys Ortega at 352-343-2736 or email amarilys.ortega@gal.fl.gov   To become a volunteer in Hernando, Citrus or Sumter Counties, contact Diana Hollwedel at 352-812-6971 or email diana.hollwedel@gal.fl.gov  For more information, visit www.guardianadlitem5.org

Learn How to Build Healthy Relationships

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

UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County is pleased to offer a different educational series to help you improve your relationships.  SMART Couples Florida classes are designed to teach you how to communicate needs, listen to the needs of others, successfully resolve conflict, and maintain happy and healthy relationships with everyone in your life.

“Elevate,” is a fun and powerful relationship-enhancement workshop to help couples improve their communication skills and strengthen their relationships.  This program runs Thursdays from 6 pm-8:30 p.m. from September 14 - October 12 at the UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County 3650 W. Sovereign Path, Ste. 1, Lecanto. To register by September 11th, or for more information, visit the SMARTcouples.org Classes and Events page or contact UF/IFAS Extension Citrus County at 352-527-5700.

Funding for this project is provided by the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Grant: #90FM 0079-01-00.  These services are available to all eligible persons, regardless of race, gender, age, disability or religion.  In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Section 286.26, F.S., persons needing accommodations or an interpreter to participate in programs should contact their UF/IFAS Extension office no later than 5 days prior to the scheduled meeting time or call 1-800-955-8771 (TDD).

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