A little luck finally has come the way of Mike Coffey and Susan Williams. Life has been difficult since April, when Susan's daughter, Jody Williams, died in a fire that broke out in the couple's mobile home. Then they were involved in an extended legal battle with Jody's father, Norman Williams, about how the girl should be buried.
But last week the couple won a $1,500 settlement from two Floral City workers who were hired to clean the fire-damaged lot but wound up ruining utility lines.
The workers never showed up for court, so County Judge Gary Graham ruled in the couple's favor in the small-claims lawsuit.
Now the couple plans to clean the lot on N East Avenue west of Inverness. But they also plan to sell the spot and eventually buy a home somewhere else.
The memories are just too vivid, Williams said. "I wouldn't be able to sleep there," she said.
Golf course plans seen as below par
CITRUS HILLS _ Citrus Hills II, the 27-hole golf course and residential community being designed by Arnold Palmer, is running into some regulatory obstacles.
The Withlacoochee Regional Water Supply Authority says the plans would allow herbicides and pesticides to be stored too close to wellheads that eventually could supply the county with up to 12-million gallons of water a day.
Clark Stillwell, the attorney representing the developer, said his client had given the well sites to the authority as part of a development agreement. As a condition of the land transfer, Stillwell said the county agreed that certain land uses would be allowed in the surrounding area.
"Now the regional water supply authority has questioned some of those uses," Stillwell said. "They seem to want to be sued."
However, it hasn't come to that, and officials at the water supply authority are confident Citrus Hills II soon will see things their way.
Debate over wildlife office revived
CRYSTAL RIVER _ The recent placement of U.S. Fish and Wildlife patrol boats at the federal agency's Kings Bay Drive office site has revived the debate over the office's location.
City officials have opposed the agency's plans to move the office headquarters of the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge, arguing that the area is zoned for residential use only.
Office functions have not yet begun, but officers have moved their patrol boats to the site.
City Manager Merv Waldrop does not see that move as violating the city's zoning ordinance, and he hopes to discuss the site with Cameron Shaw, the refuge's new manager.
But Waldrop said last week that the agency will be cited if it moves its offices there.
Federal officials have maintained that they are not bound by local zoning restrictions.
The offices will be moved as soon as new furniture arrives in the next several months, Shaw said.
Steps taken on boat-mooring issue
CRYSTAL RIVER _ To discourage the mooring of boats along NW Third Street, the city is putting up a 6-foot-tall chain-link fence that cuts off land access to the boats.
Wooden fence posts were erected Friday and city workers plan to install the chain link Monday, said John Lettow, director of municipal services.
The City Council has ordered the boats untied from city land because of concern about city liability if someone were injured getting on or off the boats. Boat owners have responded by anchoring just offshore or tying up to state-owned land, which is anything below the mean high water line.
Teen center's opening rescheduled
CRYSTAL RIVER _ The opening of the long-awaited Crystal River Teen Center, pushed back several times, is scheduled for mid-November, said John Lettow, director of municipal services.
A major hurdle will be cleared when the center receives an expected donation of more than $5,000 from the Crystal River Women's Club preview last week of the Belk Lindsey department store. The money should more than cover the cost of paving a parking lot needed for the center, Lettow said.
A City Council workshop on the center is scheduled for Oct. 29.
_ Compiled from reports by staff writers Jim Ross, Ken Moritsugu, Barbara Behrendt and Victoria White.