Around the state
Compiled from Times wires
Legislator charged with prescription drug fraud
TALLAHASSEE -- An arrest warrant was issued Wednesday for state Sen. Mandy Dawson on a prescription drug fraud charge, police said.
Details of the charge were not immediately available. Tallahassee police Chief Walter McNeil said a statement would be issued today. Attempts to reach Dawson by phone late Wednesday were unsuccessful.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel, citing "three top political and law enforcement sources," reported that detectives questioned Dawson in the past month about a prescription obtained at a Tallahassee pharmacy. The prescription was allegedly altered by adding the figure "1" in front of the quantity of pills prescribed.
Dawson, D-Fort Lauderdale, was elected to the state Senate in 1998 and served in the House for six years before that. She defeated two challengers in the Sept. 10 Democratic primary and faces Independent Fred Segal in the Nov. 5 general election.
Post-Isidore mosquito swarms raise disease fears
PENSACOLA -- Swarms of mosquitoes in the Florida Panhandle are being blamed on Tropical Storm Isidore, which had suspended spraying and left standing water that is ideal for breeding the bloodsucking insects.
The storm soaked the Panhandle two weeks ago and raised worries about mosquitoes and the West Nile virus, which is spread by the insects. Three Escambia residents have tested positive for the virus and the county remains under a West Nile medical alert.
"The populations really are spiking," said Keith Wilkins, director of neighborhood and environmental services for Escambia County. "We're seeing some of the biggest numbers we've ever seen."
Wilkins said spraying, larvicide treatments of standing water and trapping have increased.
The situation is similar in neighboring Santa Rosa County, said Tony Gomillion, county environmental control director.
The campaign . . .
BUSH CRIME PROPOSAL: Republican Gov. Jeb Bush announced a proposal to increase penalties for sex offenders and make it easier for victims to get restraining orders. Repeat offenders and dangerous first-time offenders would be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years to life. And sex crime victims could obtain restraining orders after a first assault. Currently, victims have to be attacked twice by the same person before they can seek a restraining order, said Bush, who tossed in a criticism of Democrat rival Bill McBride for not offering specific proposals on crime.
McBRIDE ENDORSEMENT: The national Teamsters union endorsed Bill McBride for governor. "He has said he would have an open-door policy to our issues," said Ken Wood, Teamsters executive board president and president of Local 79 in Tampa. "He's willing to work to make it a better climate for unions to organize."
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From the Times state desk
From the state wire