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CLUBS AND ORGANIZATIONS

The Blind Americans Wishing Well Center in Citrus County has an ongoing need for funds to allow them to expand services to the blind. The center is selling bricks to floor the lobby and will put the name of the donor on them.

Some members of the Touch of Class Corvette Club recently presented a check on behalf of the club to purchase a brick. Member Sam McMechan also presented a check to purchase a brick in memory of his mother.

The president and director of Blind Americans, Robert Krokker, is a former contractor who lost his sight and had a vision of helping others. He founded the Blind American center 1990. In 1995, they purchased their own property: a 4-acre tract which included two buildings. The buildings were unusable for blind programs, and their members immediately began to renovate them.

In these buildings, known as the Wishing Well Center, the blind are offered various rehabilitative programs, assistance with low-vision aids, and counseling.

The magnitude of the programs, while very successful, has been limited by the size of the buildings. Blind Americans Inc. is the only agency that provides services for the visually impaired in Citrus County. There are more than 4,500 visually impaired residents in Citrus County.

Blind Americans are seeking adequate funds to have instructional programs that incorporate, on a larger scale, those already available. These programs include computer, office skills, mobility, independent living, braided rugs, wicker repair, and woodcrafts.

The new building will accommodate the expanded woodworking, cabinetry and furniture manufacture course of study. The expansion has had all the interior framing done by the blind. They are trained to run all types of power equipment in the woodworking field. There has not been a cut, or a nick in 16 years.

The facility is at 6055 N Carl G Rose Highway (State Road 200) in Hernando. Call 637-1739.

NOTES OF THANKS

Editor:

During this year's 11th Annual Save Our Waters Week, sponsored by Citrus 20/20, hundreds of volunteers joined together on Sept. 16 to participate in the Adopt-a-Shore/Coastal Cleanup.

Thanks to their caring efforts, approximately 6,000 to 8,000 pounds of man-made waste were removed from Citrus County waterways and shores, some of which presented a hazard to wildlife and people. Items removed included cigar and cigarette filters, bottles, cans, plastic articles and even an abandoned rowboat.

The success of the cleanup would not have been possible without the participation of the following businesses and civic organizations: American Pro Diving Center; Crystal River Manatee Tour and Dive; Dr. Shoe; Crystal Lodge Dive Center; Birds Under Water Dive Center; Cub Scout Pack 452; Crystal River Power Squadron; Friends of Chassahowitzka Wildlife Refuge; Schrade's Taekwon do and Kumdo; Seatow Crystal River; Scout Troop 415; Scout Troop 370; Scout Troop 462 (Route 39 ramp); MacRae's of Homosassa; King's Bay Rotary; Kings Bay Association; Lecanto Middle School Environmental Club; Greg's Car Center; Adam's Marine Seminars; Crew of Corpse Return; Parrot Heads of Citrus County; Pritchard Island Association (Inverness Pool); Arbor Lakes Association; Citrus County Air Boat Alliance (Hernando Pool); and Withlapopka Civic Association (Floral City Pool).

The Citrus 20/20 Save Our Waters Week extends its sincere thanks to the hundreds of caring volunteers for making the Adopt-a-Shore/Coastal Cleanup a success.

Their volunteer efforts have made a difference in the environment - to the people who enjoy it and the wildlife that live in it.

Special thanks also are given to the Ocean Conservancy for supplying advertising and collection materials; American Pro Diving Center and Tom Chancey, Link Properties for organizing and hosting the west-side and east-side cookouts, respectively; Progress Energy for donating funds for the T-shirts provided the volunteers; and to the Citrus County Aquatic Services Division for its personnel and materials support.

Mark your calendar for 2007 - the third Saturday in September - to participate in the next Adopt-a-Shore/Coastal Cleanup.

Pat Casselberry

SOWW County Coordinator

* * *

Editor:

As part of a national initiative to remember and respond, a one-day only "Citrus County Cares" shoes and socks drive was held Sept. 11. A whopping 743 pairs of shoes and socks were collected and donated to District Student Services as a result of the annual "Two Good Soles" drive.

Citrus County government employees, businesses, community groups, including Catholic Charities and the Lions Club, as well as individuals donated in remembrance of 9/11/2001.

This nationally recognized day of service was coordinated by the Nature Coast Volunteer Center's Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). To learn more about RSVP and becoming a volunteer, please call 527-5950.

Thanks for your support!

Heidi Blanchette

RSVP Project Director/Supervisor

MOPH HELPS VETERANS CLINIC: Members of Aaron A. Weaver Chapter 776 Military Order of the Purple Heart presented a grant of $336 to the Lecanto VA Community Based Outpatient Clinic for comfort and welfare items for patients enrolled in the clinic's diabetes management class. The grant represented a portion of $10,000 donated by the MOPH U.S.A. to the Department of Florida MOPH to help veterans receiving treatment at VA medical facilities in Florida. Dr. Venkata C. Chittuluru, chief medical officer, center, accepted the grant on behalf of the clinic.

VESSEL SAFETY EXAMINER HONORED: Executive Officer, Lt/C Doug Jordan, left, Crystal River Power Squadron, presents a Certificate of Appreciation to Lt. Ernie Orban, 84, for his voluntary contributions to Vessel Safety Checks during National Safe Boating Week (NSBW). To qualify as a Vessel Safety Examiner, Ernie successfully passed a computerized self-study course on-line and then completed 16 vessel safety inspections during NSBW. Ernie, a native of Hanover, Germany, now a U.S. citizen, and Citrus County resident for 20 years, has an extensive background in the petroleum and nuclear power industries. He and his wife, Louise, live in Crystal River.

A LAUGH BEFORE FALL FUN FEST: Sharing a laugh as they plan for St. Paul's annual Fall Fun Fest are, from left back row: Gene and Michelle King, Tricia Vanderhetden and Carol Hambel. Front row: Sharon Welfuel and Angie Gabb. The Fun Fest takes place from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday at St. Paul's Wells Lutheran Church, 6150 N Lecanto Highway (CR 491), Beverly Hills.

GOOD WORK SHORE/COASTAL CLEANUP VOLUNTEERS: Two of the many groups which participated in the annual Save Our Waters Week Adopt-a-Shore/Coastal Cleanup from the Chassahowitzka River to the barge canal and from the Withlacoochee River to the Tsala Apopka Chain of Lakes. were, from left: the Crystal River Middle School Snorkeling Scuba Environmental Advocates led by Teachers Sherri Alban and Kelly Garner and the Nature Coast Young Marines led by Commanding Officer Jimmie Smith. The groups were sponsored by American Pro Diving Center.

SHOES AND SOCKS DRIVE VOLUNTEERS: RSVP volunteers Chuck and Judy Cronen volunteered at the Lecanto Government building drop off site during the Citrus County Cares shoes and socks drive in remembrance of Sept. 11, 2001. Not shown are Jim Davis, Karen Johnson, Alice Oxner, Diane Smith, and Dorothy Pesci, who also volunteered for the event.

CORVETTE CLUB HELPS BLIND AMERICAN CENTER: From left, Touch of Class Corvette Club Paul Herr, vice president and Debra Fredrick, treasurer recently presented a check to Bob Krokker, president of Blind Americans to purchase brick on behalf of the TOC club during the fundraiser by the Blind Americans. Sam McMechan, TOC member, also presented a check to purchase a brick in memory of his mother.

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