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Reform groups latch onto Schwarzenegger visit

By wire services
Published May 26, 2005

TALLAHASSEE - Groups wanting an independent panel to draw Florida's political boundaries are using Gov. Jeb Bush's support of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to make their case.

The groups, including one founded by Betty Castor, are letting supporters know that Gov. Jeb Bush helped Schwarzenegger raise money last week for the California governor's proposed ballot initiatives. One of those measures would create an independent redistricting panel, which could help the Republican governor whittle down the Democrats' power in the California Legislature.

Castor is involved with two groups - Campaign For Florida's Future and the Committee for Fair Elections - that support a proposed Florida ballot measure that would create an independent panel to draw legislative and congressional districts.

Democrats argue that Republicans manipulate the redistricting process to keep a tight grip on power. The Republican-led Legislature has done nothing to help create an independent panel.

Audit uncovers election trouble in Miami-Dade

MIAMI - A voter's rights group said Wednesday that its audit of November's presidential election ballots in Miami-Dade County showed counting problems during the voting and an unintentional but worrisome instance of ballot stuffing.

A report released by the Miami-Dade Election Reform Coalition said that in many precincts, the number of people who signed in to cast votes was not tracked carefully, or in some cases was not compared to the actual number of ballots cast at those precincts.

The group also said there was a touch screen machine malfunction at Precinct 816, in a church in the southwestern suburbs of Miami. When the votes were tallied, the results from one machine had been counted three times, creating a discrepancy of 171 votes that became part of the certified canvass, the group said.

Regulars buy, reopen landmark Panhandle bar

PENSACOLA BEACH - The Sandshaker Lounge & Package Store, a colorful landmark in this laid-back barrier island community, is set to reopen Thursday after surviving a drug bust and Hurricane Ivan.

The bar became notorious in 2003 as the namesake of Operation Sandshaker, a drug investigation that resulted in 53 arrests of mostly middle-aged, middle-class people on cocaine charges, including owner Linda Taylor Murphy.

She voluntarily forfeited the business and her home to the federal government as part of a plea deal last year. She is serving a two-year prison sentence.

Hurricane Ivan inundated the Sandshaker and most other buildings at Pensacola Beach on Sept. 16. The bar was damaged but survived.

Three Sandshaker regulars bought it from the federal government in March for $605,000.

Nurse accused of killing her diabetic husband

GREEN COVE SPRINGS - A 51-year-old Middleburg nurse killed her diabetic husband by injecting him with an overdose of insulin, police said.

Kim Bowman was arrested on a murder warrant Tuesday at her daughter's house in Palm Coast where she had gone to live while police awaited word on the autopsy of Thomas Bowman, 59, a former police officer.

Bowman died Jan. 17 of an insulin overdose, the test showed.

Clay County homicide detective Mike Calhoun said Kim Bowman told detectives she had also tried to inject herself, but he said there was no evidence of such an attempt.

She was being held without bond in the Clay County Jail.

Florida man tumbles 1,000 feet during climb

MOOSE, Wyo. - A Florida man was in intensive care Wednesday, a day after he tumbled 1,000 feet in a high-altitude climbing accident in Grand Teton National Park.

Justin Sobel, 22, of Overland Park was climbing Tuesday when spikes attached to his boots failed, a spokeswoman for the park said. Sobel began a controlled slide to try to retrieve the spikes, but lost control and was unable to stop himself with his ice ax.

Sobel, who was not wearing a helmet, slid some 1,000 feet over snow, ice and rocks before coming to a stop. His climbing partner, Nick Carter, 23, of Gainesville, found a private guide who called for rescuers.

Sobel was in critical condition Wednesday at Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, Wyo., hospital spokeswoman Ann Cole said. [Last modified May 26, 2005, 01:14:04]


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  • Around the state
  • Reform groups latch onto Schwarzenegger visit

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