Around the stateCompiled from Times wires
© St. Petersburg Times
published October 4, 2002
Daytona Beach to bar bare Biketoberfest
DAYTONA BEACH -- Biketoberfest partyers: Cover your flesh or face a fine.
City commissioners voted 6-1 Wednesday for an antinudity law requiring people to cover one-third of their buttocks and women to cover one-quarter of their breasts.
The ordinance goes into effect before Biketoberfest, a sometimes rowdy and raunchy party of motorcyclists, scheduled to begin Oct. 17. Nudity, particularly women baring breasts, has been an issue at that and other events in this city.
Violators face fines up to $500.
The ordinance does not apply to the beach, which is controlled by Volusia County. But beachgoers opting for thongs or similar skimpiness would have to cover up on the beachside business strip, which is within city limits.
Another enforcement target is nightclubs that feature nude dancers. Gary Edinger, an attorney representing one such club, threatened Wednesday to challenge the ordinance as a violation of free expression protected by the federal Constitution.
EMT who took dead man's credit cards gets prison
BARTOW -- A former Polk County emergency medical technician was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday for stealing credit cards from a man who died and charging an estimated $1,500 to his accounts.
Circuit Judge Michael McCarthy also ordered five years' probation for LaRhonda Renita Cooper.
A Polk County jury in July convicted Cooper, 32, on 13 criminal counts of grand theft, forgery, uttering a forged instrument and petty theft.
Authorities said Cooper, who worked for Polk County Emergency Medical Services, responded to an emergency call at Walter Ladley's home on Feb. 8, 2001, after he died of natural causes. While her partner spoke with the family, Cooper took Ladley's credit cards from the bedroom where his body lay.
She used them to buy clothing and fragrance items from Burdines, where she was a part-time sales associate.
During sentencing, Ladley's cousin, Jerry Knapp of Lakeland, called Cooper's actions despicable.
"When you call 911, the last thing you expect is that you have just opened yourself up and your home to a thief. In a job that requires extreme trust, she has failed miserably," Knapp said.
Methadone prescription trend shows deadly results
GAINESVILLE -- Doctors who prescribe methadone as a substitute painkiller to combat widespread abuse of oxycodone may be putting their patients in more danger, University of Florida medical experts said Thursday.
Methadone is an opiate commonly used to help recovering heroin addicts avoid withdrawal symptoms. But in the past two years, physicians have increasingly prescribed it for chronic pain sufferers, in response to increasing illegal abuse of oxycodone, hydrocodone and other opiate painkillers, Bruce Goldberger at UF's College of Medicine said in a news release.
But because there is no direct supervision when methadone is used as a painkiller -- unlike clinical methadone use for heroin withdrawal -- there is a greater chance the dangerous drug will be misused or abused, researchers said.
"We had a 71 percent increase in methadone-related deaths from 2000 to 2001," Goldberger said. "Now methadone is associated with more deaths than heroin."
Methadone was detected during 357 autopsies statewide in 2001, compared with 328 autopsies involving heroin, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said in a June report.
At least 152 wrong ballots likely cast in Jacksonville
JACKSONVILLE -- At least 152 Jacksonville voters received or cast the wrong ballot in the September primary election, according to a newspaper's review of voting records.
In eight precincts, dozens of voters were eligible to receive ballots for primary races, but no votes were counted. Three precincts had votes counted in races where there were no eligible voters, including a precinct where 59 voters received the wrong ballot, the Florida Times-Union reported Thursday.
The problems were small enough that no election result was affected.
County Supervisor of Elections John Stafford said he will review the findings. Some of the low vote totals, he said, may be chalked up to voters not voting for anyone. But he also acknowledged that the wrong ballots were given out at some locations.
Stafford expects to replace around 40 precinct clerks before the Nov. 5 election and plans intense training of poll workers.
-- From wire and Ledger reports
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From the Times state desk
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