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Published Aug. 28, 2005

Editor's Note: In the Wednesday edition of Hometown Citrus a photo from Playhouse 19 ran which was submitted by Shelby Weingarten, but was taken by Heather Foster, 14.



Hurricanes _ from a cat's-eye view

My name is Ed Norton. I am a cat. I was born outside in the ice and snow in Ohio but was rescued by my care takers, Chris and Georgi Davis. They supplied me with a warm, comfortable home with plenty of food and lots of toys.

Three years ago we moved to Florida. When I heard them talking about Hurricane Charley, I was not alarmed until I saw them scurrying around putting things away in the shed and securing the home. I heard them say something about a mandatory evacuation. I wasn't sure what that meant, but they forced me into my cage and put me in the back seat of their car. Our disabled neighbor, Elizabeth Vaughn, came along. I don't like riding in cars, but Elizabeth kept comforting me as I meowed softly.

We went to Ocala looking for a room, but there were no rooms to be had. Then we made reservations at the Hampton Inn in Ormond Beach, where the storm was not supposed to hit. They wanted no part of a cat in a cage. Fortunately, we found a place at the Seaside Resort in Ormond Beach. They left me in a little room while they went for something to eat. I stayed under the bed because I felt safer there.

When they returned, I heard them talking about having a difficult time finding a place to eat. It was at a Holiday Inn they found a skeleton crew of three trying to serve all the hungry people in that part of Florida.

Eventually we all snuggled down for a peaceful nights sleep. Then the rains started and gusts of wind over 100 mph began to batter our motel. Charley had found us.

I stayed under the bed while Chris and Georgi went to the bathroom to ride out the storm. In the morning, we discovered that the roof had blown off the motel, windows were blown in, air conditioners ended up in the rooms and car windows were demolished. In spite of all the damage, the Seaside still managed to serve breakfast to the weary travelers. I had my lams and water, as usual.

I was put into my cage and we went home. Our comfy place was in one piece and my toys were safe.

It wasn't long after that that I heard the word "hurricane" again. This time they called it Frances. I didn't like the name, and I knew what was coming. Back in the cage again. This time we traveled only two miles from Forest View Estates to the Plantation Inn.

Here we had a larger room, and the management didn't mind having me as a guest. They must have let dogs stay, too, because I could hear them barking in other rooms. My family fed me and went to have dinner that they said was absolutely delicious.

The sunset that night was beautiful. I could see it while perched on my window ledge. Then the rains came again and the wind. I watched as the trees outside my window blew and the rain pelted against the pane. I was scared, but Chris and Georgi seemed to be more relaxed this time, so I settled down on the bed.

My caretakers spent the next day in the room playing cards and watching The Weather Channel. I prefer Animal Planet.

That night, only the maintenance crew was left to serve a buffet dinner to weary evacuees. But Georgi said the food was good and the personnel bent over backward to make guests comfortable.

The next morning the phone rang. We had to evacuate. Back into my cage and back home. No sooner had we arrived than a sheriff's deputy came to tell us we had to leave because of storm surge. I didn't know what storm surge was, but it didn't sound good.

I knew the drill. I got into my cage all by myself. Now we traveled farther inland. This time I was left in the car outside Lecanto Middle School. Georgi kept coming to the car to check on me, but I was so tired of evacuating that I just slept in my cage. The wind was loud, but at least I was dry.

When the worst was over, I heard Georgi and Chris get back into the car and we went home. The power was out, trees were down, but my home was intact. For the next four days, I was very hot, but at least I was home. I had food, water, and my toys. What more could a cat ask for?

I heard the pump going at the pond behind our house. The maintenance crew was making sure the pond did not overflow and my feet did not get wet. Thank you for that.

The power has been restored and I am now a real cool cat. I've heard about Hurricane Ivan, but Chris and Georgi tell me this time I do not have to get in my cage and travel. That's good.

I am so grateful for all the people who have kept me and my caretakers and friends safe and secure during these hurricanes. To tell you the truth, Ohio and its snow and ice is not looking so bad.

But I think I'll stay here where I can safely watch all the creatures from my screened-in porch. There is an alligator in my pond that I am keeping my eye on. I would really miss the armadillo that creeps by while everyone else is sleeping. When the going gets tough, the cool cats tough it out right here in the Sunshine State.


On Sept. 13, 17 members weighed in at the TOPS Chapter FL387, Beverly Hills meeting. The best loser was Arlene Josefson and Cindy Pozzi was the runnerup. The $1.25 jackpot was donated to the State Recognition Day Fund. Ann Jaffer won the fruit basket and $2.75.

The Pink team defeated the Green team, with a score of 75-31 in the Topsie Derby game.

Best loser for the month was a tie between Millie Meyer and Sandy Resch, who each lost 8 pounds. Arlene Delisle was in second with a 3-pound loss and Darlene Drafts won third place.

KOPS (Keep Off Pounds Sensibly) members who attended all meetings were Jackie Dean, Blanche Trachtman and Helen Wright.

The chapter meets each Monday with weigh-ins at 3 p.m. and a business meeting and program from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Beverly Hills Community Building on the Civic Circle. Persons interested in visiting this weight loss support group may do so one time before joining.

For more information regarding TOPS, call Jackie Dean at 527-8405.


On Sept. 15, 8 members of TOPS FL607, Floral City met at the Floral City community building. There were no gains for the week!

Elaine Moberly received two red strawberries as best loser of the week and Nancy Richards and Norma Wright each received one.

Donna Gray and Carline Pratt maintained the previous week's weight. Donna received a gold strawberry for being a KOPS in good standing.

TIKI-TIKI was won by Norma Wright.

Charlotte Mohr read a letter from Bertie Bell, and Caroline Pratt gave the group a personality test as part of the program.

For information, call Donna at 726-8666 or Cloe at 637-1277.


Experienced and novice birdwatchers are invited to participate in the next monthly bird walk scheduled for Saturday on the Pepper Creek Trail at Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park. An experienced birder will be leading the walk on this trail, one of 19 new birding trails in Citrus County that are part of the newly opened West Section of the Great Florida Birding Trail. Participants will meet at 7:45 a.m. at the entrance to the park's Visitor Center and the bird walk will begin at 8:00 a.m. If you have binoculars and a field guide, plan to bring these with you.

Pepper Creek Trail is approximately 3/4 mile in length and follows along the park's tram road connecting the Visitor Center on U.S. 19 and the West Entrance on Fish Bowl Drive. You can either walk back or wait and take the boat back after the park opens. There is no charge to use the Pepper Creek Trail or for the return boat trip. Monthly bird walks are scheduled from September through November and January through May.

For information, call Susan Dougherty at 628-5343, ext. 102.


The First Annual Oktoberfest "Amateur Only" Golf Tournament takes place Oct. 16 at Citrus Springs Golf & Country Club with an 8:30 a.m. shotgun start. This event is limited to 100 players. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m.. Coffee and donuts will be served.

This event is sponsored by Save The Water Tower, Inc., a non-profit organization run by volunteers committed to revitalization and preservation of this Dunnellon historic landmark.

The entry fee of $60 per person includes green fees, cart, prize money and lunch.

The format is 4 Person Team Scramble. Form your own team or you can be assigned to a team.

Four fabulous Hole-In-One prizes have been donated:

+ $20,000 Cash Prize, from Gary Stevenson's Dunnellon Motors on hole number 4.

+ 2005 PRO-LINE Model 17 Sport Boat, complete with 90 horse power Mercury Motor, manufactured by Pro-Line Boats and displayed by Sunray Marine of Homossassa, worth $16,000, on hole number 8.

+ 2005 Harley Davidson XL Sportster 883, from Harley Davidson Shop of Crystal River worth $7,000, on hole number 11.

+ 2004 John Deere "Gator CX" 4-Wheel Utility Vehicle, from Barehuggers' Inc., worth $4,999, on hole number 16.

Other prizes include: Team Cash Prizes _ Gross and Net first through fourth places; Special Prizes for men and women; Closest to the Pin on Par 3's and Drive Closest to the Line.

There will also be several raffles and door prizes sponsored by area Businesses.

Deadline for entries is Oct. 2. Verifiable Handicap (not to exceed 40) required or the maximum assigned handicap will be 10 strokes. Rain date will be Oct. 17.

For information or entry form, call Sue Strobl at 352-465-7503.


On Sept. 15, the Little Pines Ladies League 22 members played "Throw Out Four (4) Holes After Play" format on a par 27.

Winners were:

+ PATTY BERG FLIGHT: First, Bernadette Capps, 17; Second, Betty Klinger, 17.

+ JULI INKSTER FLIGHT: First, Sandy Roth, 17; Second, Rosemary Spencer, 18.

+ NANCY LOPEZ FLIGHT: First, Kay Fitzsimmons, 22; Second, Claire Harvey, 24.

+ ANNIKA SORENSTAM FLIGHT: First, Brenda Hebert, 19; Second, Bert Bitz, 22.

Winners of Closest to the Pin were: hole 2, Lori Hoover; hole 3, Lynn Schoenberger; hole 4, Margaret Roberts; hole 7, Kay Krieger, hole 9, Marcia Cunningham. Closest to the line, hole 6, Claire Harvey.

+ BIRDIES: hole 2, Terry Demate; hole 4, Margaret Roberts; hole 7, Betty Klinger; hole 8, Sandy Roth.



This is a letter of appreciation to Virginia "Ginni" Crandall and her staff from the Citrus County Health Department for all their hard work at the Forest Ridge shelter during both Hurricane Charlie and Frances.

Ginni, Dr. Castillo and all of their staff were more than just medical caregivers, they gave of their hearts.

At times when our community was nervous and scared for their homes and families, her staff was patient and kind.

Apart from their regular duties, they were a great help, managing "cot wars", helping people load and unload their belongings, setting up and taking down cots and helping to re-locate people when a problem (literally) started to rain down on us.

It was wonderful knowing that our "special needs" people were being taken care of by "special people"!!!!

Scott and Tessa Wagner

Forest Ridge Elementary School



This is a letter of appreciation to the Citrus County Sheriff's Office for all of their hard work at the Forest Ridge Elementary shelter during both Hurricane Charlie and Frances. We would like to personally thank all of the deputies that came to our shelter site to watch over us and help to keep us safe.

Deputy Todd Farnham was especially helpful. Apart from his regular duties of Safety and Security, he was a great help keeping people calm and answering questions (even though they would have been better answered by a meteorologist) helping people load and unload their belongings, setting up and taking down cots and helping to re-locate people when a problem (literally) started to rain down on us. Protecting our safety and the safety of our shelter guests was his job, he added to that by caring and giving of himself to help us all.

These deputies are a shining example of the Citrus County Sheriff's Office' commitment to protect and serve our citizens.

Thank you for ALL that you do!

Scott and Tessa Wagner

Forest Ridge Elementary School

PITCHING IN: After Hurricane Francis, members of the Rotary Club of Inverness, National Guard and the Young Marines were on hand to assist with the distribution of water, ice and meals ready to eat for local victims. Standing from left are Rotarian Mary-Ann Virgilio; Rotary supporter Bob Groff; Rotarian Doug Lobel; supporter Nancy Groff; and Rotarian Arnold Virgilio. Kneeling from left are Young Marine Samantha Kanawall; and Jermyn Davidson, National Guard. Hot food, snacks and beverages were also available to victims of the storm. stopped by to pick up supplies for 50 of his neighbors who were without power.

POODLE SKIRTS OF TIMES PAST: Jessica Hamilton, Lizzie Austin, and Keeley Shields show off their 1950s spirit during the Aug. 27 Welcome Back Sock Hop at Pope John Paul II Catholic School.

SOCK HOP SCHOOL SPIRIT: The Parent Teacher Organization for Pope John Paul II Catholic School hosted a Welcome Back Sock Hop on Aug. 27. Students were invited to dress in 1950s outfits. Getting into the spirit of the day, from left rear are first graders John Mazza, Gregory Whitley, Ashton Johnanesson and Taylor Schanel. Front, Shannon Castagna.

PLAYHOUSE TO OPEN NEW SEASON: Excel Printing owner Mike Buchanan gives the first copy of Playhouse 19's 2004-2005 Season program cover to Heather Foster, the 14-year-old artist. Playhouse 19 past president Shelby Weingarten looks on. For information on the theater, call the box office at 563-1333. Playhouse 19 is on U.S. 19 in Crystal River just north of the airport.