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Homosassa hippo turns 51 years young

Homosassa hippo turns 51 years young

Homosassa, FL - The Florida Department of Environmental Protection's Ellie Schiller Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park will celebrate Lu the hippopotamus' 51st birthday at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26 with a special birthday party open to the public. The park is located at 4150 South Suncoast Boulevard in Homosassa Springs.

The birthday boy will be presented with his own birthday cake specially prepared by the park's Wildlife Care Department. Park visitors, staff and students will sing "Happy Birthday" to the state of Florida's only honorary citizen hippo. Students can enjoy cupcakes and refreshments courtesy of park volunteers.

2011 Taste of Inverness

2011 Taste of Inverness

Inverness, FL -- You know your city, you see your city, and you can even hear your city. Now, you have the option of tasting your city too.

It's the 2011 'Taste' of Inverness, being held at the Government Center in downtown.

Restaurants like Angelotti's Pizza, Elebant Catering, Ice Cream Dr., Mama's Kuntry Café, and so many more will be featured at the event.

There will also be adult beverages, live music, a classic car exhibit, and a hint of Valentine romance.

So, mark your calendar now for Saturday February 12. 'Taste' begins at 6pm and will wrap up at 9. Admission is $30 and all proceeds will be donated to the Boys & Girls Club of Citrus County.

You can pick your tickets up at B & W Rexall, the Ice Cream Doctor, Mama's Kuntry Café, Skoors Neighborhood Market and in the Finance Dept at the Inverness Government Center.

Freeze Warning for tonight

The National Weather Service has issued a Freeze Warning for Citrus, Levy, Sumter, and Hernando counties for late tonight through early Monday morning.

A cold dry air mass associated with the high pressure system making its way down from the north will bring additional freezing temperatures to the nature coast from midnight until 8 a.m. Monday.

Temperatures are expected to drop to between 28 and 32 degrees lasting 3 to 5 hours in the normally colder locations. <--break->

Some patchy frost is also possible.

Residents should bring in or cover cold sensitive plants and bring pets indoors tonight.

Beach closed to swimmers

Beach closed to swimmers

Crystal River, Florida -- The Citrus County Parks and Recreation Division closed Ft. Island Gulf Beach Park to swimming Friday, Jan. 21, after the Citrus County Environmental Health Department issued an advisory for the beach, warning of high bacterial counts in water samples.

The samples showed bacteria counts were over the state standards. This indicates that water contact may pose an increased risk of infectious disease, particularly for susceptible individuals. The beach is sampled weekly, and it will be retested on Wednesday, Jan. 26, with results normally available by Friday.

The beach had been reopened for swimming last week after being closed a number of weeks. It is not uncommon for high bacterial levels to occur due to runoff after significant rainfall. Friday's prohibition on swimming at the beach will continue until samplings show reduced bacterial levels, at which time health department officials will decide whether to continue or lift the advisory.

The Florida Manatee Festival comes to Crystal River

The Florida Manatee Festival comes to Crystal River

The 24th annual Florida Manatee Festival is back in Crystal River. The two day celebration takes place January 22 and 23 in downtown Crystal River. Visitors will find everything from fine art and boat tours to children's activities like games, crafts, pony rides, and bounces houses, even education about manatees. The food alone is well worth the small price of admission with booth after booth of seafood and BBQ, kettle corn, pastries and more. You will also be able to browse dozens of vendors from AAA to boats, glass jewelry, pottery, photographers and even puppets.

Boaters advised of low water levels

Boaters advised of low water levels

Crystal River, Florida -- Boaters using Citrus County fresh water ramps are being cautioned by county officials because of dropping water levels.

This is the dry season in this part of Florida, and the seasonal lack of rain normally continues until May or June, bringing the lakes and Withlacoochee River levels down so low some years that launching and retrieving boats can be difficult or even dangerous for equipment and boaters.

The county's Grounds Maintenance Section, which maintains the county ramps, said this week it has completed site inspections of all county owned freshwater boat ramps and has found the water levels extremely low within the Tsala Apopka Lake Chain.

It urged all boaters to use caution in putting boats in and removing them and noted that some ramps could require closure if conditions get bad enough to create safety problems.

New names are coming to Inverness

New names are coming to Inverness

Inverness, FL -- New names are coming to Inverness.

The city is beginning to document the history of each neighborhood. They will be studying historical archives, photos, and newspaper articles. If an area is identified as never having a name, it will be given one, thus starting it's own unique history.

Looking ahead, the city intends add signs and landscape to each new location, in order to individualize the area.