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Week in review

By Times staff
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 19, 2002

CHANGE IN GUARD AT MOFFITT: After 10 years at the helm of the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Dr. John Ruckdeschel said he will step down as chief executive when his contract expires June 30.

Ruckdeschel, 56, will remain part of Moffitt's research team and will return to his practice. He also will continue teaching duties at the University of South Florida's College of Medicine, where he is an internationally known expert on lung cancer.

The center has achieved Ruckdeschel's goal of becoming a "comprehensive cancer center" as designated by the National Cancer Institute. "Over the years, we have attracted national and international attention while we have grown our faculty and expanded our scope of services," Ruckdeschel said in a news release. In recent weeks Florida lawmakers approved a budget that guarantees the cancer center $66-million over the next 12 years. The money will go toward construction of a 330,000-square-foot research tower at its on-campus facility.

Ruckdeschel, who is president of the Florida Division of the American Cancer Society, lives in Odessa and plans to marry Moffitt nurse Angie Stone on June 15.

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BUSH VISITS PIZZO SCHOOL: Hundreds gathered at the University of South Florida on Thursday morning to watch Gov. Jeb Bush sign a law rewriting the way schools are governed. But first, he had to convince a little girl that she knew how to read. "I know you can read," Bush told Madison Ridout, a prekindergarten student at Pizzo Elementary School. "You get me a book and I'll show you you can."

While the big news was to come later in the day, Bush was the big news at Pizzo. Ambling into the school's TV studio, WPZO, Bush greeted his pint-sized interrogators, who interviewed him on their morning show.

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CITRUS PARK ANIMAL TRAINER RECOVERING: Amanda Bourassa, 21, the Busch Gardens zoologist whose arm was severed by a lion last weekend, remained at Tampa General Hospital in good condition last week as Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission authorities continued to investigate the attack.

Bourassa, known in her Citrus Park neighborhood as a chipper beauty with aspirations of becoming a veterinarian, had just finished a routine training exercise with Max, the 12-year-old lion, when the attack occurred.

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I-4 ACCIDENT KILLS TWO FROM TOWN 'N COUNTRY: The Florida Highway Patrol is blaming a blown tire for a crash on Interstate 4 on Sunday that killed two people. Nicholas and Darline Camacho, both 23, of 10802 W Hillsborough Avenue in Tampa, were killed when they smashed into an eastbound car that crossed the median.

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