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    State gives okay to reopen roach-infested apartment

    ©Associated Press
    August 19, 2002

    PANAMA CITY -- An apartment complex that lost its business license because it was overrun by cockroaches has received permission from the state to resume charging rent.

    The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation suspended the Macedonia Garden Apartments' business license May 14 after the agency observed that the complex was teeming with cockroaches.

    According to the agency, the infestation was so severe that the insects were said to run over people's feet even in the middle of the day, becoming more of a problem at night.

    In one case, a roach crawled into a 10-year-old's ear. The girl's mother killed the insect with alcohol but the dead roach remained in the child's ear for several days until a specialist extracted it.

    The girl's ear wasn't damaged.

    The agency has declared the apartment now has "little or no vermin infestation," said Lee Cornman, technical coordinator for the department.

    Cornman said inspectors will continue to make unannounced visits to the complex for several months to come.

    "I'm relieved," said apartment manager Lenette Kemp.

    Kemp said it was hard for the complex to get a handle on the problem because of the sanitation habits of some residents, most of whom were evicted.

    Almost 30 apartments were left vacant after many guests moved or were ordered to leave.

    Tenant Tyviria Roulhac said the roach situation had improved, but she said she doesn't think the complex will ever be roach-free.

    "I have lived here most of my life and we've always had roaches, just not as bad," she said. "I don't think they will ever kill them all, because they run from one building to the other."

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