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Callup of reserves goes deep into county

The number eligible for duty is still being tallied, but five Crystal River police officers are in the reserves, and one already has left.

By JIM ROSS

© St. Petersburg Times,
published September 15, 2001


President Bush declared a national emergency and gave the military authority to call 50,000 reservists to active duty.

Brian Coleman beat him to the punch.

Coleman, a Crystal River police detective, was called to active duty with the Coast Guard Tuesday and left for the Northeast that night.

Four other officers are in the military reserves but had not been activated as of Friday. They are Kat and Mike Klyap, Dan Slingerland and Corey Sharpe.

"They are all waiting by the phones," said department spokesman Martha Langston. "They are anxious to serve."

Many other Citrus residents also might be eligible to be called up.

Concerned about the impact of a callup of military reserve units might have on the school district, Citrus schools personnel director Steve Richardson asked for a count of employees who might face such a call.

He said Friday that there were only two instructional personnel who sought leave during the Persian Gulf War; current information showed about a half dozen teachers in the ranks of reserve or National Guard.

The district has not yet been able to check if there are others who are new to the district or if there are significant numbers of support personnel who might also be in the reserves.

In other news:

VIGIL PLANNED: A candlelight and prayer gathering will be at 7 p.m. Thursday at Rock Crusher Canyon Amphitheater, 275 S Rock Crusher Road.

The gathering will be nondenominational and will include candle lightings, prayers and singing, said Rock Crusher Canyon spokeswoman Sheree Monroe. Rock Crusher Canyon will have some candles to give out, but people are encouraged to bring their own, as well as lawn chairs.

Monroe said invitations went out Friday to local clergy and the plan is to have about four pastors to lead the prayers. The event, expected to last about an hour, will also feature music, group hymns and guest singers, she said.

"We want to provide a place where people can come, pray as a community and offer comfort to each other," Monroe said. "We have to press on."

AIR TRAVEL: Federal investigators have closely scrutinized Florida flight schools, particularly those in Venice and Daytona Beach, for clues about suspects in the terrorist attacks.

Crystal River Airport is used by about 20 foreign students each year but does not cater to the Middle East, operator Tom Davis said.

"We generally don't respond to e-mail from people over there," Davis said.

Meanwhile, general aviation remained off-limits under strict security measures by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Said Davis: "We're anxious to get it over with and get back to normal -- if we ever do."

EDUCATION: Central Florida Community College will hold a free public forum, "America Faces Tragedy: Keeping a Proper Perspective," from noon to 1 p.m. Monday in Building 4, Fine Arts Auditorium, of the school's Ocala campus on State Road 200 near the Paddock Mall.

The event will provide an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and the community to express their views on the recent terrorist attacks. Panel members will include Dr. Scott Olsen, associate professor of philosophy and humanities; Dr. Ron Cooper, humanities and social sciences Instructor; John Mathews, humanities instructor; and Carolyn West, professor of psychology and program facilitator.

"The tragic events of Sept. 11 should give us an opportunity to reflect on the roots of ethnic and religious hatred and intolerance," Dr. Olsen said. "We all want justice served, but this should also give us an opportunity to do some inner reflection or soul-searching.

The panel will discuss topics such as Middle East and U.S. relations; Eastern and Western religions, cultures and values; ethical and moral issues or concerns; understanding why the events occurred; and how we can begin the healing process.

The public is encouraged to attend. For information, call (352) 873-5800. -- This story includes information from staff writers Alex Leary, Barbara Behrendt, Jorge Sanchez and Mary Ann Koslasky.

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