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Al fresco court proceedings
MATTHEW BECK Chronicle
Circuit Judge RIc Howard, holding map, questions Chester Bradshaw Friday morning about the lay of the land in an area where an earthen berm was removed
about three years ago in Potts Preserve. The pretrial site visit gave the judge first-hand visual reference to the complex Issue.
Judge takes clse look at site ofberm removal in Potts Preserve WVdlfe Management Area
Circuit Judge Ric Howard called court to order ".
Friday morning on a wind-swept island bluff over-
looking what the state alleges is a 3-year-old crime k
scene in the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes.
Seated at a picnic table under a tent with a court
reporter at his side, Howard, dressed in a heavy -
jacket because of the cold weather, presided over a ., ,
pre-trial site visit involving the Chester Bradshaw a
On Memorial Day Weekend in 2001, Bradshaw -.
used a bulldozer to remove a manmade earthen .
berm from the Potts Preserve Wildlife ,. ..
Management Area in the lake chain. About a year n --"
later, after a criminal investigation, the state
charged him with felony criminal mischief and
removing fill dirt without a permit
The charges were dismissed in July of 2003, but
Volunteers pilot airboats carrying Judge Ric Howard, front, right, and other court personnel on a blustery
Please see iEM/Page 4A Friday morning to the Otter Slide area of the Hernando Pool on the Tsala Apopka Chain of lakes.
Chassahowitzka water agreement gets preliminary OK
Bulk H2 to be sold from Sugarmill system
The county's efforts to find a clean
drinking water source for the southwest
Citrus County community of Chas-
sahowitzka have borne fruit
A tentative agreement was reached
on Jan. 18 calling for the Florida
Governmental Utility Authority to sell
'bulk water to Chassahowitzka.
The water would be supplied by the
Sugarmill Woods water system, which is
operated by FGUA. Sugarmill is a
Representatives of Citrus County,
FGUA and the Sugarmill Woods Civic
Association verbally agreed to the
A study by the University of South
Florida four years ago found that fecal
coliform bacteria from septic tanks has
polluted the Chassahowitkza River. The
bacteria can cause illnesses in people.
While no septic tank-related bacteria
were found in residential wells, the
study found indicators of the bacteria
in 3 of 10 wells tested.
. Citrus County is preparing to build a
grant-funded central sewer system in
Chassahowitzka. County Commissioner
Gary Bartell said the county wants to
build a central water system at the
The county has received $3.5 million
in government grants to connect
Chassahowitzka to the Homosassa sys-
tem, which is still under construction.
He said those grants should pay for
nearly all the costs associated with
building the sewer lines.
A $750,000 grant has been awarded to
the county to offset the cost of extend-
ing central water to Chassahowitzka,
and Bartell said the county has applied
for additional grants. The estimated
cost of building the Chassahowitzka
water system is $2 million.
Whatever the grants don't fund,
Bartell said, residents will pay through
"I've been clear from the start when I
talked to residents that there's no such
thing as a free ride," Bartell said.
"We've been getting grants to buy down
as much of the cost as we can, but the
Please see ,"Y".i;/Page 4A
A berm next to the S-353
flood control structure at the
north end of the Hernando
pool near Arrowhead has a
small leak in it.
That small leak has raised
big concerns with some
Arrowhead residents who just
weathered another round of
flooding last hurricane season
in their low-lying community
along the Withlacoochee
Sonny Groves, who has often
assumed the role of
spokesman for the community,
is one of those concerned resi-
dents. Groves said it may not
be a case of a berm ready to
give way any second releas-
ing a few feet of the Hernando
pool of the Tsala Apopka
Lakes with it but it's a leak,
and little leaks can lead to big-
ger leaks. It needs to be
addressed and sooner than
later would give Arrowhead
residents more peace of mind,
he said. He and Charles
Strange have been trying for
the last four years to convince
officials somebody needs to do
The leak is presently coming
from under a big cypress tree
on the berm. The water is a
constant trickle and has some
clay-colored sand from the
interior of the berm.
It might be just a case of fig-
uring how to repair the leak,
but this is where the situation
The berm is topped by a dirt
road that has been used for
many years, maybe more than
100, according to Ron
Provancher, an area resident
who has taken an interest in
the situation and has done
some research. Provancher is
a retired engineer with some
background on the subject.
The owner of the property
Strange, says the Southwest
Florida Water Management
District ran a bulldozer over
the berm during a controlled
burn in adjacent Potts
Preserve and caused the pres-
ent leak, though there have
been other leaks in the past.
He banned the water district
from the property after that.
Provincher said one of the
problems is that though the
berm acts as a levee to hold
back the lake, it really is not
what engineers call a tie-back
Please see /Page 5A
Annie's Mailbox ..
Crossword .. .
Editorial ...... .
Horoscope . . .
Obituaries ..... .
Stocks ....... .
Cyber fun in Crystal River
Two places in Crystal River offer computer
games to please the masses./Sunday
Boeing to sell jets to China
Chinese airlines have agreed to order 60
of Boeing Co.'s 7E7 jetliners./12A
World Economic Forum
America's first black
female secretary of
World leaders ask rich nations to help save
millions starving in Africa./11A
1 - 7 ^ Im *70 ik Y- 71,
HIGH FORECAST: Mostly
69 cloudy with scattered
LOW showers throughout
50 the day and evening.
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