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  • Bill may put a stop to inmate drivers
  • Panther death offers hope
  • Man pounds 10-foot gator with rock to free child
  • 3 from Tampa are on panel to protect bases
  • Around the state: Big boom set in bomb test
  • Legislature: Bill alters law on autopsy photos
  • Bill puts limits on suits against some polluters
  • How many classrooms? 2,602, new data say
  • Nursing home showdown begins
  • Hurricane forecast gains 2 days
  • Cops to chat with Heimlich hoaxer
  • Family fights over boys who killed dad

  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
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    Around the state

    Big boom set in bomb test

    Compiled from Times wires
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published March 11, 2003

    EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE -- A 21,000-pound conventional bomb is set to be tested for the first time at this Florida Panhandle base today.

    Air Force officials Monday warned residents of communities surrounding the western half Eglin's 724-square-mile military reservation to be prepared to hear an explosion that sounds like thunder or a slamming door between noon and 5 p.m. CST although the blast will be miles away.

    The test of the "massive ordnance air burst," or MOAB, will be conducted in a buffer zone and only under weather conditions best for minimizing the sound. The backup date is Thursday during the same time frame.

    MOAB is similar to, but 40 percent heavier than, the 15,000-pound BLU-82, billed as the world's most powerful nonnuclear bomb

    The BLU-82, nicknamed "daisy cutter," was developed during the Vietnam War and recently was dropped in Afghanistan on caves where al-Qaida leaders were suspected of hiding.

    A deal to benefit nature

    MILTON -- A private conservation group is negotiating with International Paper Co. to buy 16,652 acres that would connect state and federally owned woodlands in Alabama and the Panhandle to create a wildlife corridor.

    The acreage would be paid for through the Florida Forever program. The land would be added to the 190,000-acre Blackwater River State Forest, linking it with the Conecuh National Forest in Alabama and Eglin Air Force Base's 464,000-acre military reservation.

    The Nature Conservancy is seeking two tracts, both owned mainly by International Paper. One totals about 12,000 acres 9 miles east of Milton and stretching north from the Yellow River -- Eglin's northwest boundary -- to the state forest. The second covers some 4,600 acres within the state forest's present boundaries extending north to the state line.

    The purpose of the acquisition, known as the "Yellow River Ravines," is to protect native plants and animals. But it also may provide more public land for picnics, camping, hiking and horseback riding, forest officials said.

    Nature Conservancy officials said no price has been agreed upon, and they are unsure how long negotiations will take. The purchase would have to be approved by Gov. Jeb. Bush and the Florida Cabinet.

    Rain tames Bike Week

    This year's Bike Week had fewer violent crimes, fewer serious crashes and fewer problems, a silver lining brought by the torrential rains that reduced turnout for much of the 10-day Daytona Beach festival.

    Six inches of rain fell over eight days during the festival, compared with 1 inch for the period last year.

    About 500,000 bikers normally attend the festival and its economic impact typically is $350-million to $400-million, but it will be months before figures for this year's event are determined.

    The rain even postponed the Daytona 200, the motorcycle race held during Bike Week, until Monday. But the final parade of bikers down Main Street Sunday was held before the skies opened.

    Two people were killed during this year; last year, 13 died.

    A 53-year-old man died, and his female passenger was critically injured after the man lost control of his motorcycle Saturday night.

    Carl Buehn, 53, of Orange City was pronounced dead at the scene. His passenger was not identified. Neither wore a helmet.

    Thomas Stiffey, 55, of Kittanning, Pa., died March 1 after losing control of his bike.

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    From the Times state desk