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Week in review

A look back at the week's top stories

By Times staff writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 6, 2002

RESTAURANT OWNER ARRESTED: Inverness Police Chief Joseph Elizarde became involved in an argument with the owner of the Happy Dayz Diner on New Year's Day and the owner was arrested on charges of battery. Owner Butch Ramsey said he told Elizarde to leave the restaurant after he became verbally abusive. He said he put his left hand on the chief's shoulder and pointed to the door with his right hand. The incident, which has generated national attention and heated debate locally, is being investigated by the State Attorney's Office.

BODY FOUND NEAR HIGHWAY: Nancy D. Florin apparently was walking to a restaurant in Homosassa on New Year's Eve but she never made it there. The body of the 33-year-old Homosassa woman was found in a ditch alongside U.S. 19 early Tuesday morning and her death is a mystery for investigators, who said there was no evidence of trauma. Authorities are awaiting the results of toxicology tests, which are expected within several weeks.

TEEN REPORTEDLY KIDNAPPED: An 18-year-old Homosassa Springs man was arrested on charges that he forced a 14-year-old girl into a vehicle and threatened her with a knife before releasing her. Authorities said Johnny Lee White accosted the teen, who is a former girlfriend, as she was walking along a street on Dec. 29. White was arrested on Tuesday.

COLD WEATHER ARRIVES: The winter's first major cold snap blew through Citrus County this week as temperatures dipped into the 20s Thursday night and Friday morning. The cold weather drew hundreds of manatees into local waters, led the county to open emergency shelters and posed a problem for the handlers of a flock of whooping cranes that are wintering in the Chassahowitzka National Wildlife Refuge. The handlers are providing extra food for the birds, which are learning how to adapt to the climate by watching the native herons and egrets at the refuge.

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