Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on May 16, 1981 · 41
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 41

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 16, 1981
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Bt. Petersburg aimps "l f r-i r r rl t Anr' JTEMO ifiDGDD EDITION BROOKSVILLE - ST. PETERSBURG, FLA. SATURDAY, MAY 16, 1981 Sunny V Brooks irooksvitle A fiTi High in mid 80s. Low in mid 60s. N-NE winds 10-15 mph. Hernando Beach O Y Weeki uWachee RidgeManor" Spring Hill f" u MasarvKiownr rST i 6 Coo nty department faces probe By DERALD EVERHART Hernando Timet Staff Wr ttef BROOKSVILLE Because of allegations from unnamed county employees, the Hernando County Commission Friday requested a criminal investigation of the County Public Works Department by the state attorney's office. Commission Chairman Murray Grubbs made the announcement of the investigation during a hastily called meeting. He declined to comment on the nature of the allegations, or which division may be investigated. However, The Timet has learned that the allegations involve a former member of the road division of the public works department, a county commissioner and several truck loads of dirt and asphalt. The commission has already taken signed statements from several county employees regarding the allegations. In addition, The Times has learned that Building Department Director Billy Orr went to the home of a county employee Friday to take photographs of a house as part of the investigation. PUBLIC WORKS Director Charles Ruzycki con firmed that the investigation involves his department. He refused any other comment on the investigation. Included under the Public Works Department are the road division, the county landfill and the utility division. The only comment Grubbs would give on the investigation was a half-page statement he read to the handful of persons gathered in the commission meeting room. "Several allegations and information has been presented to the county administrator regarding some improper and perhaps illegal actions on the part of some county employees," the statement noted. "This meeting has been called to authorize the chairman to request an investigation of the allegations by the state attorney's office to determine if there is any criminal acts involved which warrant prosecution." GRUBBS SAID HE would not release any information about the allegations until after the state attorney's investigation to protect the people implicated, in case the allegations turn out to be inaccurate. Assistant State Attorney Jimmy Brown said late Friday that he will have to check with State Attorney G. Gordon Oldham for direction. See PROBE, Page 3 t- aW" eT V A' " rr"v. ip TV. ; . .... J ,rr V . : . . n , The Anderson family strolls with prize-winning horse Sambo Bar. Hernendo Times BOB MOHELAND Dream house born during Vietnam War By BILL STEVENS Hernendo Timet Iditof BROOKSVILLE Like most other Marines at the shell-shocked outpost 60 miles from the demilitarized zone in Vietnam in 1967, Wally Anderson was uncertain of his future. Still, he had to believe he would make it home someday. So with all optimism, Anderson wrote a realtor friend in St. Petersburg to find him some rural acreage in west-central Florida. He wanted to be in the "middle of nowhere," a place he could unwind after the war. The realtor wrote back, describing a 20-acre tract off Coon Wallow Road, 10 miles northeast of Brooksville. Boondocks City in the mid-608. The price was $250 an acre and payments would be $49 a month at 6 percent interest. So Anderson bought it Sight unseen. TODAY, Anderson, his wife Dee Dee and 14-year-old son Tommy live in relative luxury in a house atop a hill on those 20 acres that would make Ben Cartwright proud. It's a dream house for the Andersons, as well it might be for anyone. But like most good things, it came with an almost incredible amount of hard work. When Anderson returned from Vietnam and left the Marines, he went to see his land for the first time. Even at that price, people in the area said he could have gotten a better deal, considering the price of other land available in wide-open Hernando County. Most of the soil was sandy, but it was those hideous creatures with their tentacles buried deep into that sand that led people to believe Anderson could have done better with his money. Dead orange trees they were everywhere; about 900 of them in a gTaveyard orchard. "COMPARED TO Seminole (near St. Petersburg) where I grew up, and where you Sa HOME, Pag 16 Suit filed charging conflict of interest by county engineer By DERALD EVERHART Hernendo Timet Staff Writer BROOKSVILLE Four Hernando County residents filed a class action suit Friday against the Brooksville City Council, the Hernando County Commission and engineer Gene Manuel, charging that there is a conflict of interest in allowing Manuel to represent public and private clients at the same time. The suit, filed by lawyer Frank McClung in Hernando County Circuit Court for Owen B. Lovejoy, Edward W. Martin, Carol M. Doughery and Elin A. Stanger, alleges that Manuel and his company, Coastal Engineering Associates Inc., have been paid with public funds in violation of Florida ethics statutes. Manuel, who serves as county and city engineer, is president and majority owner of Coastal Engineering. Two attempts to contact him for comment Friday were unsuccessful. COMMISSION Chairman Murray Grubbs said late Friday he had not seen the suit and would not comment until he had a chance to talk to County Attorney Bruce Snow. City Manager Margaret Willard also declined comment on the suit. The suit states that Manuel and Coastal Engineering Associates have in the past done private engineering work, which requires the review and approval of the city and county engineer. In addition, Manuel and Coastal Engineering "own interests in other companies that have required engineering services which have been performed" by Manuel and Coastal Engineering "to be reviewed and approved by . . . Manuel andor Coastal Engineering Associates Inc. in his offical capacity as city engineer and county engineer," the suit states. See SUIT, Pag 3 Hernando sheriff in taped rebuttal denies threatening county commissioner By BILL STEVENS Hernando Timet Editor BROOKSVILLE Hernando County Commissioner John Magner apparently misinterpreted a "frank as hell" telephone conversation when he thought he was threatened by Sheriff Melvin Kelly. That was the sheriffs assessment Friday of the allegations that Magner made about him Tuesday during a commission meeting. Kelly was not at that meeting because he was undergoing surgery for repair of a hernia at Lykes Memorial Hospital. From his hospital room about noon Friday, Kelly made a tape-recording explaining his side of the story for the first time. The tape was played at his office for reporters. KELLY DENIED threatening Magner during the May 7 conversation, saying, "Evidently, Mr. Magner doesn't know what a threat is. "I was frank as hell, asking what he meant (by comments allegedly made by Magner that were published in a local newspaper), but I wasn't ranting and raving. I talked to (Commissioner Marvin) Hunt in the same tone, but he evidently didn't think it was threatening." Kelly said he was reacting to comments he read in the newspaper concerning the county's decision to prohibit alcohol at Pine Island Park. The reference was made that the sheriffs department was not patrolling the area adequately. "As I told Marvin Hunt, I should have 1.9 men per thousand people." Kelly said. "With a low population estimate of 48,000, I'm short 53 men. My department has had to fight growing pains and inflation 38 men just won't stretch into 90." AiL MELVIN KELLY . . . denies threats. L See KELLY, Page 3 JOHN MAGNER . . . a misinterpretation? Identities confirmed of 2 found in burning car By BILL STEVENS Hernendo Timet Idrtor BROOKSVILLE Authorities concluded Friday that the two persons who burned to death in a car fire in Brooksville last Saturday are indeed Dori Colyer and Ricky Merrill. "The damage to the bodies was so extensive that positive identification was impossible," Assistant State Attorney Jimmy Brown told The Timet. "But three people have identified jewelry that Dori Colyer was wearing the night she disappeared and evidence leads to the fact that the other body is that of Rick MerrilL" Miss Colyer, 20, of High Point, and Merrill, 24, of Weeki Wachee, were last seen alive at 1 a.m. May 9 at the Hilltop Lounge. They left the lounge together, telling friends they would be back in a half-hour. But at 2:30 a.m. Merrill's black, 1979 Chevrolet El Cam i no was found burning near a deserted shack on Stafford Avenue about a half-mile from the center of town. Investigators discovered two syringes outside the car and have speculated that the deaths may have been drug-related. BROWN SAID the fire appeared to have been set with a petroleum agent Detectives I lv4 T service Sunday. J were investigating the incident as a double murder and vehicle arson, he said. "(Detective) Bob Johnson is following up on some leads but at this point there are no suspects," Brown said Friday. Since Monday, friends and relatives of the victims have assumed that the identification that came Friday was inevitable. A memorial service for Merrill has been scheduled for 1 p.m. today at Florida Hills Memorial Gardens on Spring Hill Drive and a separate service has ' - S' i K L RICKY MERRILL J : j... , M i . uuay. r been scheduled for Miss Colyer for 6 p.m. Sunday at the Mariner United Methodist Church in Spring Hill. EARLY FRIDAY, Police Chief Ron Novy was apologetic that the bodies could not be positively identified rapidly. "I know how the family must feel," he said. "I'm frustrated, too. But the bodies were badly burned. You can assume a lot, but we deal with facta. We want to be positive." Times DIGEST Swanson's still fails, health official says Swanson's Guest House west of Brooksville has failed to remedy health violations cited by health officals last month. Environment Health Department Director Ron Butler said Friday. "I am not going to recommend it for licensure (to the State Department of Health and Rehabilatative Services)," Butler said, rf the violations are not corrected, owner John Reheiser could lose his license from the Hernando County Commission to operate the adult congregate living facility. Violations cited during Butler's visit Thursday include a dishwashing machine not operating properly, roach infestation in the kitchen, plumbing problems in a bathroom, laundry waste being dumped on the ground and a resident who requires more medical attention than is offered at the facility, Butler said. Since a 30-day extention of the facility's license that was granted last month ran out Friday, the facility on Hillcrest Avenue is "operating without a license at this time," Butler said. Cabbage on the menu for Holy Trinity dinner The Hofy Trinity Eastern Orthodox Church wiH sponsor cabbage dinner starting at 2 p.m. Sunday. The event will be at St. Andrew's Episcopal Church had on Deltona Boulevard in Spring Hill. The cost for the meal is S3 per person.

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