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For now, Tampa International has plenty of fuel for flights

By Times staff writers
Published September 2, 2005

Contrary to published reports, Tampa International Airport is in no danger of closing due to a fuel shortage. Louis Miller, executive director of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority, says the airport is fine, for now.

Miller said TIA has seven days worth of fuel on hand and new supplies en route via tanker from the New Orleans area.

"We've got guaranteed fuel at least through Sept. 12," he said. "There are no flight cancellations because of fuel supplies."

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Transit workers left jobless by Katrina are being offered jobs in Tampa with the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority, officials with the bus agency said Thursday. The agency has about 17 jobs, mostly for bus operators, said spokeswoman Jill Cappodoro. HARTline officials are trying to reach transit agencies in areas hit by the storm to let them know about the jobs. With gas prices increasing, HARTline says it is seeing more riders and needs more employees.

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Hurricane Katrina refugees have begun to enroll in area schools and colleges, and officials are waiving most requirements to welcome them.

Hillsborough County schools counted about 25 students from storm-ravaged areas, and Manatee County schools admitted about a dozen. "This is a responsibility we have, to take in these children," Hillsborough superintendent MaryEllen Elia said in a news release.

Florida has counted 295 evacuees enrolled in public schools, most of them in the western Panhandle near the hard-hit Gulf Coast.

Education Commissioner John Winn said he anticipated "hundreds and perhaps thousands" more will enroll in coming weeks. "But we're committed to helping them," he said.

Today, the department will launch a toll-free hotline (1-877-FLCARE1, or 1-877-352-2731) for evacuees to call to find out more about attending a Florida school, community college or university.

The private University of Miami has enrolled two dozen students. The University of South Florida has enrolled at least eight, all from Tulane and Loyola universities in New Orleans.

Florida's public colleges will only charge the students in-state tuition, even if they are not Florida residents.

"The basic sentiment is, let's get them into classes and we'll worry about the paperwork later," said Alyson Seligman, a spokeswoman for USF St. Pete.

Times staff writers Steve Bousquet, Lisa Greene, Jean Heller, Joni James, Leonora LaPeter, Ron Matus and Waveney Ann Moore contributed to this report.

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