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    Around the State

    By Times wires and staff reports
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published August 20, 2002

    Former state Sen. Grant named to ethics panel

    Former state Sen. John A. Grant of Tampa was appointed to the Florida Commission on Ethics Monday by Gov. Jeb Bush.

    The commission hears complaints of ethical misconduct on the part of public officials.

    Grant, 59, left the Senate two years ago and served as director of a state guardianship program. He now works for Liquidmetal Technologies, a Tampa company.

    Grant served in the House of Representatives from 1980 to 1986 and in the Senate from 1986 to 2000, when he was forced out by term limits.

    Grant joins three other former lawmakers on the commission: Chairman Patrick K. Neal of Bradenton, who served in the House and Senate in the 1970s and '80s; Joel K. Gustafson, a Fort Lauderdale attorney who served in the House in the '60s and '70s; and Mallory Horne, a Tallahassee lawyer who is the only person in modern times to serve as Senate president and House speaker.

    Other members of the commission are former statewide prosecutor Peter Antonacci, a Tallahassee lawyer who recently represented the governor's daughter on drug charges; John P. Linstroth, a retired builder and developer from West Palm Beach; and Richard Spears, a retired business executive from Orlando.

    Armstrong panel's choice in community colleges job

    ORLANDO -- J. David Armstrong Jr., interim director of the Florida Community College System, is a state panel's choice to get the job permanently.

    A review team from the Division of Community Colleges chose Armstrong over two other candidates after the finalists were interviewed Monday.

    Education Secretary Jim Horne will present the recommendation to the Florida Board of Education for approval at its Aug. 29 meeting in Tallahassee.

    Horne said the decision came after an extensive review of Armstrong's term as interim chancellor, as well as a review of his previous experience in the Florida's educational system.

    "Armstrong's institutional knowledge and vision for the system will take our community college programs to the next level of excellence," Horne said.

    Armstrong has served as interim chancellor in the Florida Community College System since July 2001 when the job was created. His previous positions include educational policy director, assistant executive director and executive director.

    Other finalists were Carol D'Amico, assistant secretary for vocational and adult education for the U.S. Department of Education, and Jack E. Daniels III, president of the Houston Community College System-Central College in Texas.

    DCF starts using new child-tracking machine

    MIAMI -- Florida's Department of Children and Families is using new machines to help identify and track children under its care.

    The 19 suitcase-sized machines scan and digitize fingerprints and photos and record children's personal information. They are currently in use in Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

    DCF district administrator Charles Auslander said about 2,000 children have been scanned by the machines, and all 5,400 children under DCF care in his district should be scanned by the end of August. Later they will be used in other DCF districts.

    The machines, produced by Cross Match Technologies of Palm Beach Gardens, cost $21,000 each, said Maureen Stevens, Cross Match's vice president of marketing. Cross Match is negotiating with DCF on the sale of mobile scanners, which could be used by caseworkers to check identities of children and caregivers during home visits, Stevens said.

    DCF is attempting to collect more and better identification from the 45,000 children in its care following a recommendation by a panel appointed by Gov. Jeb Bush.

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    From the Times state desk