1. Archive


A look back at the week's top stories.

BRRRRRRR: Cold temperatures were the norm in Citrus County, with readings in the 30s and even lower at night.

FALSE STORY WHIPS UP CHAOS: A Citrus High School student falsely reported that he had been stabbed while on campus Wednesday, prompting authorities to begin a full-scale search for the attacker. The student eventually admitted the story was a hoax. He was arrested and accused of filing a false police report, among other charges; the boy and a friend who helped him were suspended.

FORMER FUGITIVE FOUND GUILTY: Milton O'Neal, 73, fled the country to avoid trial on sexual molestation charges. But authorities eventually caught up with him, and last week a jury found him guilty of molesting two Crystal River boys during the early 1980s. Both victims, now grown men with families, testified. So did four other men whom O'Neal is accused of molesting. O'Neal faces at least a 20-year prison term.

CRYSTAL RIVER OFFICER FIRED: Charles "Spig" Veal, a longtime Crystal River police officer, was fired because he was caught with child pornography, according to a document in his personnel file. The State Attorney's Office is reviewing the case for possible prosecution.

FRAUD TRIAL BEGINS: A trial began for Jack Sewall, who is accused of organized fraud and grand theft. Prosecutors have accused Sewall of defrauding investors through his JMS Insurance Corp.

TEACHER CONTRACT NEGOTIATIONS CONTINUE: Superintendent Pete Kelly met with Citrus teachers last week to try to move a contract settlement forward. He brought some additional money to the table to sweeten the raise funds available by about $250,000. At issue was whether more money should be placed at the beginning teacher level to attract teachers to the district or if veteran teachers who had not received automatic raises should get more.

SCHOOL BOARD HEARS ABOUT TECHNICAL SCHOOL: During a meeting, School Board members heard plenty of support for Kelly's proposed charter technical career center. They also heard opposition from Steve Kinard, the director of Withlacoochee Technical Institute, which is set to be transformed into the career center. Kinard told the board that all the benefits the charter school would deliver could be accomplished in the school's current format.