0807 Chronicle of the Week in Review: Cockfight Ring Burst, Rural King Staying Put, Proposed Tollway Corridors Abandoned, and Pudgee’s Says Goodbye | Local News


Some of the most popular stories of the week

The scene of the arrest.

Sheriff’s office arrests seven people in alleged cockfighting ring

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Seven men were arrested on Saturday July 30 in connection with a cockfighting ring in Floral City, an illegal felony in all 50 states and a felony in Florida.

What began as a noise complaint quickly became apparent to deputies stopping by as the site of a cockfighting venue.

“The property has been set up with an arena, as well as numerous cages, pens, scales, timers and a scoreboard for placing gamecock bets,” according to a press release received Monday evening from the Citrus County Sheriff’s Office. . “Behind the area were several freshly dug holes containing deceased roosters with artificial fighting spurs still affixed to their legs.”

The Citrus County Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Unit confiscated 144 animals from the property and seized fighting gear and $5,200, the agency said, for placing bets.

The animals were taken to the county animal services department where they are being evaluated and treated, if necessary.

How a “community treats its animals is a reflection of who they are as a society and we here in Citrus County … take that very seriously,” said county spokeswoman Veronica Kampschroer.

Rural King will remain open at the mall

rural king

The Rural King at Crystal River Mall will remain open, according to a chain spokesperson.

The Crystal River Mall may be closing, but Rural King, which took over the former Sears store in 2014, isn’t going anywhere.

“Rural King has no plans to close our store in Crystal River,” said Doug Overmyer, Marketing Manager at Rural King Farm & Home Store. “We own our building in this location and although we are attached to the mall, we are not part of the mall or their ownership group.”

Separately, Rural King will open a warehouse-distribution center at the Inverness Regional Shopping Center, said Jill Strumpf, president of Bruce Strumpf Inc.

It will take up half the space of the vacant former Kmart building. Planet Fitness has the other half.

Massullo: State abandons four proposed toll highway corridors

Ralph Massullo


The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has dropped the four corridors it was considering for a northern turnpike expansion and is considering different options, state Rep. Ralph Massullo told The Chronicle Wednesday, August 3.

Instead, FDOT will seek to make improvements along Interstate 75 and possibly other corridors to relieve traffic congestion.

Massullo said he had spoken with the FDOT district secretary about the issue and the agency could make it public as soon as Friday.

“I shared with him my idea of ​​improving a small section of I-75 connecting to US 27 and using already developed roads to get to the Suncoast (parkway),” Massullo said.

County Commissioner Jeff Kinnard called it “big news.”

“I’m glad they made the decision,” Kinnard said. “The local boards have all come out against (the hallways).”

Franks for memories – Floral City’s beloved hot dog restaurant closes


In this photo from Nov. 15, 2019, John Sterling, left, sits with his son, Chris, inside their Floral City restaurant, Pudgee’s American Eatery. After 23 years, starting as a roadside hot dog stand, Pudgee’s closed on July 24, 2022.

After 23 years, Pudgee’s American Eatery has served its last Pudgee burger and its last Coney dog. The beloved Floral City restaurant, which started out as a simple roadside hot dog stand and faced its share of setbacks over the years, closed on July 23.

“It was about time,” Pudgee owner John Sterling said Monday, Aug. 1, in a phone interview. “My house and my vehicles are all paid off, and I have a motorhome that we’ve never used and a granddaughter who’s never been camping or fishing.

“So it’s time for some fun, grandpa stuff,” he said.

That doesn’t mean it’s been easy to say goodbye to its loyal customers for the past 23 years.

“We’ve had some incredibly great clients who have stuck with us through everything,” Sterling said.

Looking back on his 23 years at Pudgee’s, Sterling said he and his son, Chris, who worked side-by-side with him as a cook, really enjoyed providing Pudgee’s customers with the best product they could. could manufacture.

“What happened, the cost of everything went up. When I started Pudgee’s, the burger was 83 cents a pound,” he said. “We just weren’t making enough to pay the bills and we couldn’t find employees to cook for a second shift so we could stay open at night. You can raise your prices, but how much are you going to pay for a hot dog?

“I didn’t go into the business to see how much money I could get from people; it was always about giving families an affordable meal.

Meadowcrest Affordable Housing Project Struggles Financially

Meadowcrest Affordable Housing Plans

A rendering of the proposed affordable housing complex across from Meadowcrest.

Even though county commissioners have given the go-ahead to a Fort Lauderdale developer planning to build an affordable apartment complex in the Meadowcrest subdivision, the project still faces hurdles.

Green Mills Group has weathered strong resistance from many Meadowcrest residents, saying the development is unsuitable for their community, will attract crime and create too much traffic, but must now secure the money for the project through federal tax credits.

“I wouldn’t say (the process) was complex,” project manager Shaun Mosheim told The Chronicle on Friday, July 29. “The probability of being rewarded is just difficult. It has become very competitive in recent years.

Green Mills has also built an affordable housing complex in Inverness.

Mosheim said the Meadowcrest apartment complex will have the same amenities as the 106-unit project in Inverness, which included a swimming pool, indoor common area, gym and meeting room for residents. This project cost $11 million.

And if the Green Mills project doesn’t get federal money next year, “we’ll try again,” Mosheim said.

“That’s some of the many challenges in our business,” he said. “It’s just part of the process.”

Hot topic of the week: Road construction is always a hot topic, and the three separate road projects along US 19, stretching from the Hernando County line at US 98 in Homosassa to Fort Island Trail in Crystal River are no exception.

Amid the summer heatwaves, here’s what some people had to say on Chronicle’s Facebook page:

FrankDatank Griswold: “(The new company is) much better than the last company that worked on 19. The current company seems to be working non-stop with much more visible progress.”

Lori Duo: “Where they made a mistake was not to put service roads where there are shops! There should have been one near the post office and the shopping centre!

Steph’s Family Barber: “Keep up the good work. They work really hard in the heat that most of us can’t tolerate! I watch them in front of my business and it makes moving/closing our entrances/exits worse, but the end result will be worth it! Patience and understanding go further than aggravation!

Pat Lehman: “And they’re polite too. When we come out of the barbershop they let us know when it’s clear.

Mc Rib: “The best team I’ve seen work on 19. These guys have gone further in 7 months than the others in a year. If anyone complains, they should sign up. They will sign you up and will put a tool in your hand. And you can help make it faster. Thank you to everyone in this heat working on our road.

Nelson Hathaway: “Bob’s Barricades still loves you!”

Quote of the week: “It all started with the donkey.” – Eases Rough Riders 4-H member Noa Williams on her first county fair animal. The 13-year-old now breeds and shows a variety of animals including a pony, horse, ox and chickens.


Faith Fellowship Pastor John Ryman works with a group of young men Monday morning, Aug. 1, at a garage in Citrus Springs. The group participates in an eight-week auto repair course taught by Faith Fellowship Church in Citrus Springs. Above, the class learns to replace a motor for a power window in a small van.

Good news of the week: John Ryman, Faith Fellowship pastor in Citrus Springs and former auto repair business owner, spent eight weeks this summer teaching a group of teens about auto repair and maintenance.

In addition to hands-on experience, those who demonstrated special knowledge or skills earned rewards, including full toolkits.


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