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Five sets of twins delivered in 20 hours

By Wire services
Published February 1, 2004

WEST PALM BEACH - Giving birth to twins left five mothers both exhausted and exhilarated.

Going through the process five times in about 20 hours left staffers at a Palm Beach County hospital feeling about the same way.

Five sets of twins were born at St. Mary's Medical Center on Tuesday. All 10 babies - six girls and four boys - are healthy and doing well, said Don Chester, hospital associate administrator.

"We're toying with the idea of submitting it to Guinness to see what they will do," Chester said. "This hospital's been delivering babies since 1938 and I've been here 30 years and haven't heard of this before."

Typically, 11 babies are born in an average day at St. Mary's. The five sets of twins, born between 1:50 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., helped push Tuesday's total to 24.

"By nighttime it was standing room only in that nursery," said Kevin Grimes of Jensen Beach, whose wife, Shannon, gave birth to two boys, Casey and Brandon.

Another father, John Cleary of Palm Beach Gardens, agreed that things got a bit crowded. "They needed to hang a "no vacancy' sign on that nursery," said Cleary, whose wife Heather delivered a girl, Kate, and a boy, Max.

Nurses were able to handle the rush, although some described the scene as controlled chaos. Heather Cleary said the newborns were already getting their "15 minutes of fame."

22 emaciated pit bulls found in small crates

PALMETTO - Animal control officers seized 22 emaciated pit bulls and pit bull mix dogs, saying they were kept in small crates and had not been given food or water for several days.

No charges have been filed against the dogs' owner, Charles Ellerson, 61, but the investigation is continuing.

Ellerson told officers he had not fed the dogs for three days because they were being treated for worms, said Manatee County animal services chief Kris Weiskopf. "He didn't feel they were being abused," Weiskopf said.

Records show several visits by officers to Ellerson's home in the past year because of claims of loose dogs, dog fights and neglect.

House speaker among candidate money leaders

TALLAHASSEE - Republican House Speaker Johnnie Byrd and Democratic U.S. Rep. Peter Deutsch were the money leaders among candidates for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida over the last three months of 2003, figures filed Friday with the Federal Elections Commission show.

Deutsch, of Lauderhill, raised $751,285 from Oct. 1 through Dec. 31 and has nearly $4-million on hand, making him the candidate with the most overall money. He raised $1.3-million total last year.

Another Democrat, Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas, raised $366,000 in the last three months of 2003 and $2.2-million for the year. Penelas has about $1.6-million in the bank.

The top Republican money raisers so far are Byrd, of Plant City, and former U.S. Rep. Bill McCollum, of Longwood.

Byrd raised $775,972 in the last quarter of 2003 and $1.6-million in all. He has about $1.2-million still in the bank.

McCollum raised $525,604 in the final three months of last year to bring his total to just under $2-million and has $815,408 on hand.

Former Florida Education Commissioner Betty Castor, a Tampa Democrat, raised $431,000 in the last quarter of 2003 and $1-million for the year. Castor has $652,000 in the bank.

State Sen. Daniel Webster, a Republican from the Orlando area, raised $324,085 for the period, bringing his total to $505,145. Webster has $317,513 in the bank.

Former U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Mel Martinez, a Republican, has just begun his campaign and didn't raise any money in 2003.

Former New Hampshire Sen. Bob Smith, a Republican who now lives in Sarasota, also didn't start his campaign until this year and didn't have to file.

A spokesman for Republican Larry Klayman, a former Justice Department attorney, said Friday he hadn't filed the paperwork with the FEC yet. The deadline was Friday.

[Last modified February 1, 2004, 01:45:59]

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