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News & Notes

Briefs from around the area and state.

By Times Staff
Published June 3, 2006

That's no mermaid - that's a 9-foot reptile

Another gator tried to swim with the mermaids at Weeki Wachee. Visitors at the packed attraction were evacuated from the water Friday afternoon after a gator was spotted near the mermaid theater. But the 9-footer - the same size gator as one captured at the park last Saturday - got away before divers and a trapper could find it. The water was closed for an hour.

Scooter gets a bite, but not his man

Scooter, an English bulldog, took a bite out of crime at 4 a.m. Friday. Owner Chris Inman, sleeping in a chair in his Tampa apartment, heard a screen pop open and alerted Scooter. Bulldog and burglar tumbled out the window in tandem. "I just saw my dog all up on him," Inman said. "I said, 'Don't run.' He was screaming, 'Oooh! Oooh!' " The burglar then "hauled tail," said a police spokesman. The burglar may be chastened, his arms chewed up, but he is not yet caught.

Judge may import Couey trial jurors

John Couey's trial might be held in Inverness, after all. Couey, 47, is accused of killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford. A judge already has agreed that, because of publicity, jurors shouldn't come from Citrus County. But instead of moving the trial, the judge might import jurors from another county. A decision on that issue could come as soon as Monday. Court officials are discussing logistics.

Revolution-era papers go to Florida Atlantic

A major collection of 13,000 early historical documents has been donated to Florida Atlantic University and will go on display at its library. Some items include the first newspaper printing of the Declaration of Independence in the Pennsylvania Evening Post dated July 6, 1776, an early printing of The Federalist, and a copy of Thomas Paine's 1776 book The American Crisis, which begins "These are the times that try men's souls." The collection, donated by Boca Raton resident Marvin Weiner, 88, is worth $3.8-million.

[Last modified June 3, 2006, 06:06:38]

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