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On Dec. 27, Elyse Matson and Katie Emerick of the "Whispering Wind" Central Coast Council Camp Fire USA club visited the Homosassa Wildlife State Park in Homosassa Springs. They traveled from Arroyo Grande, Cal., to donate $500 to the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park.

The girls adopted Betsy the manatee through the Save the Manatee Club when they were in first grade and made a pledge to go to Florida and see Betsy in person. This was the final service project that the girls, now sophomores in high school, needed to complete to receive Camp Fire USA's highest youth recognition, the Wohelo Award.

The Wohelo Award is presented for successful completion of a self-planned, individualized program of personal development and advocacy. The girls raised the money needed for this trip and the donation during the past 10 years by selling T-shirts, hosting raffles, selling candy and enchiladas.


The musical revue, Rodgers and Hart _ A Celebration opens Thursday at Playhouse 19 the Community Theater of Citrus County, Inc.

This play is presented in a 1930s radio format featuring a radio announcer played by Jim Farley and his precocious sidekick, played by . The announcers unravel the story behind the songs marking the long collaboration of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart.

The show runs from Jan. 13 through Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 2 p.m. Sundays.

For more information or tickets, 563-1333 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. The theatre is at 865 N. Suncoast Highway (U.S. 19), Crystal River, just north of the airport.


Citrus Memorial Hospital Auxiliary President-Elect Iva Puckett, recently welcomed Edwin Wilder Linhart, the first baby of the year, born at 3:31 a.m. Jan. 1 to Danny and Cybil Linhart of Floral City.

Every year the Auxiliary provides a handmade gift for the first baby of the year. This year, little Edwin was the recipient of a layette set created by Judith Brinnitzer, wife of Auxiliary Volunteer, Claus Brinnitzer.

During 2004 there were 559 babies born at Citrus Memorial Hospital's Baby Block, according to head nurse Margie Laturno.

"It is always a special thrill "It is always a special thrill to welcome our first baby and know that we will welcome many more throughout the year," Laturno said.

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Blind Americans Inc. received a $700 grant from Progress Energy's Volunteer Council at the Crystal River Energy Complex. Blind Americans, Inc. is a non-profit corporation for the blind and visually impaired.

These funds have been earmarked for the building fund for the new facility being constructed to house programs to provide education and training for the blind and visually impaired who want to learn skills to enhance their economic and personal growth and to increase their independence.

"Progress Energy has been a true friend to the blind community," said Robert Krokker, president of Blind Americans. He added that through the donation of many hours of volunteer labor as well monetary contributions, Progress Energy has demonstrated its desire to promote educational opportunities for all.

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The Inverness Elks Lodge 2522 made several holiday donations: Boy Scouts, $300; Citrus United Basket, $1,000; Hospice, $500; Citrus County Fair Association, $50 and Withlacoochee Technical Institute, $500.

The Elks National Hoop Shoot local competition will begin at 9 a.m. Jan. 22 at Inverness Middle School. This event is open to boys and girls ages 8 through 13 by April 1. They will compete in their respective age groups.

For information, call Steve Epple or the Elks Lodge at 726-2027.


+ Johnson, Belinda Raichel and Darroll Wayne, Floral City, Abigail Arjene Johnson, 7 pounds 8 ounces, 3:13 a.m. Jan. 1, 2005, Spring Hill Regional Hospital.

+ Clemons-McCabe, Rebecca Leigh, and James Edward, Crystal River, Hunter Lance McCabe, 8 pounds 9 ounces, 11:01 a.m. Dec. 24, 2004, Spring Hill Regional Hospital.

+ Correa, Melissa, and Hollis, Edward Michael, Lecanto, Aidyn Parker Hollis, 9 pounds 10{ ounces, 7:23 p.m. Dec. 23, 2004, Spring Hill Regional Hospital.

_For a list of regional births, see

From left, Leo Faneuf, president of the Friends of Homosassa Springs Wildlife Park, is shown with Elyse Matson and Katie Emerick of Camp Fire USA from Arroyo Grande, Cal., and park manager Art Yerian. The girls made a $500 donation made to the Friends organization. They had adopted Betsy, one of the manatees at the park, as part of a class project when they were 6 years old. They continued raising money to help manatees throughout elementary, middle and high school and traveled to the park to turn it over and to finally meet Betsy.

Set designer Jim Davis and student and cast member Heather Foster work together on the skyscraper set of "Rodgers and Hart _ A Celebration" which opens Thursday at Playhouse 19 in Crystal River.

RECENT COMMISSION: Kari Nicole Matthews, daughter of Kevin and Karen Matthews of Warrenville, Ill., and granddaughter of Drew and Vivian Matthews of Pine Ridge in Beverly Hills, was commissioned on Dec. 20 as 2nd lieutenant in the U.S. United States Marine Corps Reserve. Her grandfather, Lt. Col. Drew I. Matthews, USMC, Ret'd., administered the oath of office and then presented her with his sword. Her father and grandfather pinned the gold bars to her shoulders. Matthews graduated in December 2004, cum laude from the University of Florida, with a bachelor of arts degree in criminology. Prior to her attendance at UF, she attended North Central College in Naperville, Ill. for two years. She reports for active duty at Marine Corps Schools, Quantico, Va., this month.

SUPPORTING WATER RESOURCE EDUCATION: From left, Debbe Hooper and Rivard Reding, Citrus County's Florida Yards & Neighborhoods Coordinators, are honored with an award from the Southwest Florida Water Management District for making a difference in Water Resource Education. They are shown with the administrative assistant Janet Gramann at a day of reflection, connection and celebration at the Brooker Creek Preserve Education Center in Tarpon Springs.

ART EXHIBIT OPENS TODAY: Barbara Kerr, who has been teaching intermediate watercolor classes in Citrus County for five years, is having a one-person show of her paintings at the East Wall Gallery, Citrus County Art League, 2644 Annapolis Ave. in Hernando. The show opens today and runs through Feb. 9. Mrs. Kerr will be hosting a reception from 5 to 7 p.m. on Jan. 21 at CCAL.

COMMENDED FOR WATER CONSERVATION EFFORTS: The King's Bay Association was recently presented with two awards from the Southwest Water Management District and its governing board. The group received the "Outstanding Leadership in Water Resources Education 2004" and the "2004 Crystal Award" for its single topic publication. Pictured from left with the awards are Philip Jannarone, board of directors; Gail Jannarone, president of the King's Bay Association; Sylvia Durell, senior communications coordinator of Swiftmud; and Bonnie Taylor and Sam Lyons, board of directors of the Kings Bay Association.

ANNUAL MISTLETOE BALL: The Citrus Hills Women's Club held its ninth annual Mistletoe Ball at St. Michael the Archangel Greek Orthodox Church. Over 200 members and guests enjoyed dinner and dancing. Music was provided by E-ZEE from Gainesville. The Mistletoe Ball committee, from left, were co-chairs Kay Stegemann and Sue Rowan, Kathy Hoey, Joyce Simek, Betty Colbourn, Theresa Stimpfl, Marian McKinnon and Barbara Fosse.