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The week in review

By Compiled by Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 28, 2000


A look back at the week's top stories.

BODY FOUND IN CRYSTAL RIVER: A couple of teenagers exploring unmarked dirt roads in a pickup truck Tuesday discovered a crumpled white car in a palmetto thicket about 130 feet off W Venable Street. Inside was the partly decomposed body of a man. Authorities said the man might be Steven Michael Day, 45, of Ozello, who was reported missing a month ago. Law officers had not identified the dead man as of late Friday.

BRUSH FIRE THREATENS CENTRAL CITRUS: A blaze on Friday burned 30 acres and came close to homes and businesses near County Road 491 and Hampshire Boulevard. There were no injuries.

JUDGE SENTENCES MEN IN FATAL DUI CASES: Circuit Judge Patricia Thomas sentenced Vernon Hembree to serve 12 years in prison for the April 18, 1999, drunken driving death of Carl Weber, 74. Hembree also will serve five years of probation when he is released, write a 100-word apology to the victim's widow and spend part of his probation time volunteering in an emergency room.

Separately, the judge sentenced Howard Bonine to serve a 12-year prison term for killing motorcyclist James "Shamus" Quinn while driving drunk one night two years ago.

ACCURACY OF EDC PROMOTION QUESTIONED: During a commission meeting, County Commissioner Vicki Phillips expressed the trouble she had with the CD-ROM that the Economic Development Council created to market Citrus County. Several key parts of the seven-minute production do not accurately reflect Citrus County.

The movie shows a shot of the Hernando County Courthouse in Brooksville, with a statue of a Confederate soldier standing in the foreground, as if it was Citrus County's historical courthouse. The film also shows the Suncoast Parkway coming through Citrus County, even though that stretch of the roadway is not a done deal.

The council's executive director, Rick Jensen, said the mixup in county courthouse shots was "news to me" and that he would look into correcting it. The Suncoast Parkway mention was warranted, he said, because the CD-ROM should be a valid marketing tool five years from now, not a dated picture of the county in the year 2000.

GROUP QUESTIONS ROAD PROJECT: A citizens group accused the state Department of Transportation of misleading the federal government about the environmental sensitivity of Florida's plan to improve State Road 200 in Citrus and Marion counties. The group, known as Taxpayers for Economic Responsibility, wants the federal government to withhold its financial support of the project until it can comprehensively review the plans.

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