It’s time once again for our annual Just Wright Citrus photos of the year.
I can hear it already.
“Photos? What photos? All we saw were pictures of buildings. My 3-year-old could do that.”
Yeah, well, can your 3-year-old take photos of buildings AND parking lots AND signs AND immovable objects AND Santa Claus?
That’s what separates us.
It took several valuable minutes going through my photo collection for 2022 for ones that conveyed deep meaning.
I couldn’t find any. I picked these instead.
I took this picture and sent it to Commissioner Ruthie Davis Schlabach to complain that the pool sign in Beverly Hills is still there while the pool is an empty hole. The sign was removed. The hole still exists.
There isn’t another community in Citrus County that’s as ignored as Beverly Hills. This pool has sat empty for nearly four years. FOUR YEARS. Taxpayer-owned property that’s been abandoned by the county government.
A county commission agenda item in July to backfill the pool was tabled.
We’re long past trying to gather community ideas for the site. Seriously. Fill in the dang thing, place a picnic table or two there (or pickleball courts), and move on with our lives.
A staple of the Just Wright Citrus photo collection are selfies that I refer to as “me and” as in, “Me and Charlie Dean.” Or, “Me and Cattle Dog’s.”
This “me and” came from the Chronicle’s political forum in June at the county fairgrounds auditorium. This was the first Chronicle campaign forum I had attended while not a Chronicle employee.
An absolute highlight of my early JWC career occurred when Chronicle Publisher Trina Murphy asked if I would take the question-asking duties for the county commission races due to conflicts of interest on the editorial board (including Trina’s husband John being a commission candidate).
It was really no big deal. It’s just three or four questions asked in a controlled setting (meaning I couldn’t interrupt halfway through their non-answer answer). Still, I considered it quite an honor and was thrilled to help out.
Speaking of elections, how about this guy? Paul Grogan, the non-candidate candidate, the no-party affiliation ghost whose very presence messed with the County Commission District 2 race by blocking non-Republicans from the primary.
I doubt we’ll ever get to the bottom of who exactly was behind all that. Some names were obvious and maybe that’s all it was — local political yokels who thought it would be funny to shut out Democrats and no-party people from the actual election.
No longer do we have a faceless Goocher to represent the seedy side of politics. Paul Grogan, who seemed like a decent guy though politically clueless, has achieved poster-child status.
Another favorite “me and” — me and Terry Green hanging out on the porch of an old house in Homosassa. Not just any old house. This house sits on property the Homosassa Civic Club bought for a heritage park along the Homosassa River.
Homosassa is one of my favorite Citrus County destinations. People like Terry, president of the civic club, help foster a sense of community. Don’t misunderstand — they can fight like wild caged animals sometimes but at day’s end, Homosassaians stick together.
Can’t wait to see this park take shape.
A friend once wrote a song called “Red Level” having resided there for a few years. That and this sign are all I know about it.
The sign, though, has significance. Major roads are headed to Red Level. The parkway will eventually end at U.S. 19 in Red Level. The state had set its turnpike sights at Red Level.
The northwest section of Citrus County is some of the last of old Florida we have around here, meaning no new development to speak of. The county’s long-term plan is to change that by making water and sewer available.
Expect numerous conversations in 2023 about growth, roads, concurrency and the like. We’ll keep an eye on Red Level.
Finally, a word of thanks.
Many people this year have taken pity on me and helped with various blog projects, asking only that they remain anonymous.
A friend reads the blog each night before it’s published. She’s saved me from committing horrible grammar blunders and stopped more than a few dumb sentences from the light of day.
Another friend designed this election logo. He did another one for the primary. I was absolutely giddy and knew some would wonder how the heck I was able to do that when I can’t even design a website without the help of teenagers.
I tell people that this is a one-man operation but that’s really not accurate. Friends who wish to remain in the background have contributed their talents as well. Just Wright Citrus is the fortunate benefactor of their kindness.
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Mike Wright has written about Citrus County government and politics for 36 years.