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C TRU S' C O U N T Y
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Jury:-R an bilked elderly pair
McDaniel convicted on exploitation charges
Alternate jurors appreciate experience ofMcDaniel trial
Exactly three hours after they began deliber-
ating the fate of Maurice McDaniel, a six-
'women jury found him guilty of taking a cou-
,ple's entire life savings while they died virtual-
McDaniel, 58, was convicted on all five
,charges he faced, including two counts of
exploitation of the elderly for more than
$100,000, two counts of grand
theft of more than $100,000, and
one count of organized fraud of
more than $50,000. He was
accused of befriending Harry
and Mildred Edgerly of Floral
City in 1999 and taking more
than $450,000 from the couple's
savings, investments and prop-
erty sales and depositing the
Please see CONVICTED/Page 5A
Few people besides the
jurors will ever know what
went on behind closed doors
before they reached their ver-
dict in the trial of Maurice
But Teena Harrison and
Mike McDonald have a pretty
good idea. ple he befriended in 1999.
They were only some of As alternate jurors seven
those in the courtroom Friday and eight in the trial, Harrison,
when the six-member, all- of Floral City, and McDonald,
female jury found McDaniel of Homosassa, didn't get the
guilty on all five counts he final say as to whether he was
faced., found innocent But they say
He was convicted for the experience was well worth
exploitation of the elderly, it.
grand theft and. organized Harrison said the case was
fraud for taking more thaS
$450,000 from a Floral Cily cO Please see JURORS/Page 5A
Employees of WRS Infrastructure & Environment of Tampa clean up arsenic and lead Friday afternoon at Darrel Berger's property on Inglis Ave., In Levy County.
Berger's home was built on the former site of the Barker Chemical Co. and the ground Is contaminated.
Environmental Protection Agency scouring begins at contaminated Inglis property
When Darrel Berger fell gravely ill
four years ago, he had no idea he was
living on land poisoned by a chemical
manufacturing company' decades.
before he was born.
The Barker Chemical Co. made sul-
furic acid and high-potency phos-
phate fertilizer (acid phosphate) at a
big plant along the north bank of the
Withlacoochee River in Inglis until
Berger, 50, owns a home on land
where part of the sprawling industri-
al complex once stood. The soil on his
property is contaminated with high
levels of arsenic and lead left behind
by the manufacturing process.
The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency has hired WRS Infrastructure
& Environment Inc. to remove the
contaminated topsoil and haul it to a
landfill. Two other residential lots on
Berger's street (Inglis Avenue) will be
cleaned up as part of the $1.2 million
After the topsoil is removed, and
the carpet in Berger's house is steam
cleaned, the EPA will make a report
on what portions of the Berger prop-
erty were excavated and cleaned.
The Florida Department of
Environmental Protection will take
over from there. DEP's job is to clean
up the river and the contaminated
sediment at the bottom of the river, or.
on the riverbank, according to
Environmental Specialist Joe
The EPA and DEP have known
about contamination from the plant.
for a decade.
In 1995, EPA cleaned up a residen-
tial lot down the street from Berger
When the owner complained about
not being able to grow anything on his
property. Tests showed high levels of
arsenic and lead, McGarrity said.
. The neighbor's property was exca-
vated, but Berger's property was not
cleaned up. Berger alleges the EPA
Please see ARSENIC/Page 4A
in school year
A Citrus High School
teacher's aide arrested
Tuesday on charges of lewd
and lascivious battery on two
teenagers was investigated
earlier this school ybar when a
district employee reported she
was spending an unusual
amount of time with students
outside of class.. :
Hernando resident Tammy
Lee Huggins, 35, was arrested
Lions that she
two boys ages
15 and 16 on
ing to arrest
Hu g g i n s Huggqns
worked at CHS accused of
as a teacher's having sex
aide and job with students.
coach-- a posi-
tion designed to help students
with moderate or severe dis-
abilities work with local
Citrus County Sheriff's
Office spokeswoman Gail
Tierney said a report was
made to a student resource
officer at the start of the school
year that Huggins was spend-
ing an unusual amount of time
with students outside of class,
but the case was turned over to
the school district to investi-
"It wasn't reported that
something criminal was going
on," Tierney said. 'tust that it
was something unusual."
Superintendent of Schools
Please see AIDE/Page 4A
Too much caffeine? Station brawl erupts with cup o' Joe
A 26-year-old man is charged with
aggravated battery and aggravated
battery with a deadly weapon after
a Friday morning incident at a gas
station in Hernando.
: Nicholas Scott Genco, 26, of 4920
E. Parsons Point Road, Hernando,
was arrested Friday when a man
said Genco threw hot coffee, tried
to run over him and hit his van's
driver's side door.
According to the Citrus County
Sheriff's Office report, this is what
A man said after filling up his car
at 635 W. Norvell Bryant Highway
he attempted to leave the gas sta-
tion. Genco's car was blocking the
way, so the man honked his horn.
The two began to argue.
When the man tried to leave, he
told deputies Genco threw a hot cup
of coffee at him, splattering hot cof-
fee on the man's face and clothes.
The man then punched Genco's
windshield, shattering the passen-
ger's side of the glass. The man said
Genco then tried to run over him,
but he avoided Genco's car.
Genco circled the parking lot,;
speeding toward the man's parked
van. The man had just climbed into
the driver's seat when Genco struck
the driver's side door.
In retaliation, the man quickly got
out of his van, ran to Genco's car
and punched the driver's door win-
dow, shattering the glass.
Several people witnessed the
incident and gave reports to
Genco was transported to Citrus
Memorial Hospital for cuts on his
,forehead from the broken glass, but
refused treatment.at the hospital.
He told deputies he didn't see
coffee splash the man, didn't
attempt to run over the victim with
,his car and didn't intend to hit the
' Genco's bond was set at $8,000.
Annie's Mailbox . 8C
Movies ......... 9C
Comics ......... 9C
Crossword . . . 8C
Editorial ..... 10A
Horoscope ...... 9C
Obituaries ....... 6A
Stocks ..... . 8A
Quest for spirituality
It's a wild,
wild life ,
wildlife to the
his carvings of
Yoga is a four-part attempt at reaching a
are kidnapped _
and insur- -
gents rocket a
bus west of
the capital as
lates ahead of
the Jan. 30
* Many Californians
who have homes
built along the
hillsides refuse to
live elsewhere, .
IS Sheriff's actions
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2A SATURDAY, ,JANUAY 1), 2005
Here are the
selected Friday in
31 33 37 40
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13
Fantasy 5:1 5 8 -17 21
5-of-5 4 winners $53,719.97
4-of-5 545 $63.50
3-of-5. 13,538 $7
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 12
Fantasy 5:1 12 15 27 30
5-of-5 1 winner $225,488.11
4-of-5 316. $115
3-of-5 8,961 $11
Lotto: 1 -2-6-13-15-42
6-of-6 No winner
5-of-6 79 $4,026.50
4-6f-6 4,326 $59.50
3-of-6 88,605 $4
, TUESDAY, JANUARY 11
Fantasy 5:2 -10 21 -24 31
5-of-5 4 winners $52,684.81
4-of-5 301 $112.50
3-9f-5 9,402 $10
Mega Money: 8 17-21 -31
Mega Ball: 8
4-of-4 MB 4 winners
4-of-4 20 $540,
3-of-4 MB 121 $195.50
3-of-4 2,011 $35
2 of-4 MB 2,785 $17.50
2-of-4 49,345 $2
1-6f-4 MB 19,696 $2.50
MONDAY, JANUARY 10
Cash 3:3-1 -2
Fantasy 5:5 9 18- 21 27
5-of-5 5 winners $42,212.94
4-of-5 413 $82
3-of-5 11,773 $8
SUNDAY, JANUARY 9
Fantasy 5:10 20 23 35 36
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winning lottery numbers,
players should double-check
the numbers printed above
'lh-u numbers officially posted
S the Florida, Lottery. On the
W'b, go to www.flalbttery
:. ffibyftelephone,' call (850)
CITRUS COUN7Y (FL) CHRONICLE
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JANUARY 16, 2005-
Time to hum
with melodic events
Whether you're hankering to hum a
love song, whistle a Dixieland tune or
belt out old-school country in the priva-
cy of the shower, a trio of performances
this weekend should provide plenty of
inspiration to make music of your own.
The ups and downs of relationships
set to the unforgettable music of com-
poser Richard Rodgers and lyricist
Lorenz Hart will continue on stage this
weekend at Playhouse 19.
Show times for "Rodgers and Hart: A
Celebration" are 8 p.m. today and 2 p.m.
Sunday. Tickets are $15 per person. The
theater is at 865 N. Suncoast Blvd.,
Crystal River. Call 563-1333.
Join local country music enthusi-
asts Buddy Max, Leo Vargason,
Freeland Sneden and others when they
deliver a free show that starts at 2 p.m.
today at the Cowboy Junction Opry at
the intersection of State Road 44 and
County Road 490 in Lecanto.
Donations will be collected for
ion tunes in to seniors
Senior Club television show host Brad Thorpe interviews a member of a live studio audience Friday morning at the W
gram aims to entertain and inform senior citizens in the area. Friday was the first airing of the show.
New WYKE programming airing Fridays focuses on needs, inte
Citrus County's large
senior citizen population
has never had a television
program devoted only to
them until now.
The Citrus County Senior
Club, a live information
and entertainment show
produced by county go'-
ernment, aired for the first
time at 9 a.m. Friday
Hosted by Cathy
Pearson, director of com-
munity support services
CITRUS COUNTY SENIOR CLUB
* The Citrus County Senior Club airs at 9 a.m. Friday on WYKE (Channel 49 or
Bright House Channel 16)
and by Brad Thorpe, direc-
tor of community services,
the 1-hour live show will be
aired Fridays on WYKE
television (Channel 49).
The variety program will
feature guest speakers talk-
ing about legal, medical
and social issues of interest
to senior citizens, as well as
according to Pearson.
"We want to become the
resource for our seniors."
Pearson said. "We want to
be the place where they
can go to get answers, and
if we don't have the
answers., we will know
where to get them."
The show will have a live
audience of senior citizens.
During the first show, tihe
audience was selected
from community centers
and Nature Coast Lodge
t Cprg 0htied M1aei
_ Sy-ndo1ed Conteni +-
ail e from Commer ewsP01e os
Assisted Living Facility
Weekly the show will fea
ture the "County Bounty.,"
game where listeners use
clues given to them on the
air to find a code word tha
leads to prizes at a loca
Larry Mitchell, commu
nity centers supervisor, an
Pat Coles. who directs the
Hospice of Citrus County. Call 746-4754.
Bill Barnes and the Dixieland
Ramblers, an Orlando band, will be the
guest performers for the jam session on
Sunday hosted by the Citrus Jazz
Society. Music starts at 1:30 p.m. in the
Hampton Room of the Citrus Hills Golf
and Country Club, 505 E. Hartford St,
Hernando. Admission donation is $10
for non-members; $5 for members. Call
YKE studios. The interactive pro-
- meals and congregational
meals site programs, have
been selected to host the
Pearson said she came
up with the idea for a sen-
ior club during a seminar
- in Miami
? She said the program
? allows county government 0
t to interact with senior citi-
I zens and provide them with
information in a way that i
%\\as neyer possible before.
i Eventually, she said she
e hopes to establish anactual
d Citrus County Senior Club.
Pearon sid se cae !
up \ith he dea br sen i
nor lub urin a smina
An investigator from the
state Department of
Environmental Protection said
Friday that the substance
dumped into the Homosassa
canal off Mason Creek Drive
was what's called "drilling
mud," a white milky substance
used in drilling.
Residents had complained
that something was turning
their canal off West View
Street a cloudy yellow. The
substance, dumped a number
of times since Thanksgiving,
left a white residue on plants
at the end of the canal off
Mason Creek Drive.
The DEP investigator said
the substance was not haz-
ardous, and it appeared that
the dumping had taken place
more than once, which jived
with what residents have wit-
nessed in the normally healthy
canal. It will be up to the coun-
ty to pursue the dumper, DEP
County Commissioner Gary
Bartell, who has Homosassa in
his district, said Friday that fit
with what he had seen at the
site. He said the information
narrowed the field of possible
suspects, and he felt county
staff could begin to look for
who is responsible.
Anyone with information is
urged to call county officials or
the sheriffs office.
Banks, post offices,
The following businesses and
offices will be closed Monday in
observance of Martin Luther
King Jr. Day.
All local post office branch-
0 All local banks.
0 Crystal River City Hall.
0 Inverness City Hall.
0 Citrus County Schools.
0 Citrus County landfill
N Central Florida Community.
College. The college will reopeh
The Chronicle business
offices will be closed. A reporter
and photographer will staff the
newsroom during the day. .,
check leaking berm
A group of county officials on-,
Friday responded to reports of a
potentially dangerous situation
at an earthen berm north of -
County Commissioner Joyce
Valentino and officials from the
Public Works Department went-'"
to check out a reported leak in'I&
berm adjacent to the U.S. Arm,'-'
Corps flood control structure
known as Structure 353 near "
Valentino said that while there:
was some leakage under the '
berm, county staff felt the situa-.
tion did not appear to pose any
threat to public safety.
Arrowhead resident Sonny
Groves said he feels the leak
does, however, need to be
addressed at some point
because the berm is holding
back a number of feet of water
from the Hernando pool, and iflit
ever were to give way, it could-
The berm is actually on pri-
vate property owned by Charles
Strange, he said. The
Southwest Florida Water
Management District operates '
the structure but said it could
not db anything on the private
property. Grpves said the'Corps
is scheduled to inspect the berm
and structure in the near future.
planned for Jan. 25
The Pride Annual Get-togeth-.
er will be from 5 to 9 p.m.
Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Pine
Ridge Community Center.
There will be a covered-dish.,
dinner for Pride of Pine Ridge.,:
Those attending are asked to
bring a covered dish for eight
people. Meat and beverages are
There will be door prizes and
a 50-50 drawing.
Spouses are welcome.
Call Gerry Kline at 527-1804
by Monday, Jan. 10, to make
From staff reports
SIn Friday's edition of the-
clarifying. Impact fees are not
wrapped into a home or busi-
ness mortgage. Impact fees for
residences are paid at the time
the building permit is picked up:
With businesses, the applicant
has the ability to file a promis-
sory note and pay at the time
the certificate of occupancy is
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