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News & Notes

Briefs and news of note

By Times Staff
Published August 25, 2006


Rhinos are strangers in a strange land

Moving 5.5 tons of rhino takes a while - four days from Orlando to Africa, to be exact. But there they were Thursday, two white rhinos from Walt Disney World's Animal Kingdom taking their first steps at a sanctuary in Uganda where officials hope they will breed and increase the dwindling population of the endangered species. The two, including 7-year-old Nande, above, bring the number of white rhinos in Uganda to eight. "I suspect they'll acclimatize quickly - Florida is very hot and sunny too," said Uganda Wildlife Authority spokesman Lilian Nsubuga. "I think the four rhino already living in Ziwa can't wait to teach the new arrivals a thing or two about living in the wild."

Forget about Debby; think about Ernesto

While Tropical Storm Debby is predicted to become a hurricane in the next few days, Floridians are better off keeping an eye on the season's newest tropical depression. Debby, forecasters say, should move north and then east in the Atlantic, staying far away from the United States. Tropical Depression 5, on the other hand, is expected to strengthen into a tropical storm as it moves west through the Caribbean. The National Hurricane Center predicted the storm would be near the western tip of Cuba early next week. The depression formed Thursday north of Venezuela. It was moving at 18 mph late Thursday and packed 35 mph sustained winds. If the winds increase to 39 mph or higher, the depression will become Tropical Storm Ernesto.

Motorist's fit is a hit on the Web

A Largo police officer is getting his 15 minutes of fame, thanks to a cruiser video camera, the Internet and one angry Bill O'Reilly fan. In a video getting thousands of hits on the Web - see links.tampabay.com - Officer Kurt Iskra tickets 42-year-old Michael Conrad Forester of Indian Rocks Beach, for speeding and playing his radio too loudly on July 26. Forester responds by calling Iskra a liar, swine and "doughnut-eater." Forester further contends that loud radio violations are "for kids who listen to rock and roll or listen to rap music ... I was listening to Bill O'Reilly, okay?" Not okay, Iskra deadpans, repeatedly telling Forester to sign the citation. The digital spectacle earned Iskra a guest appearance on MSNBC Thursday night. Records show Forester's speeding ticket is still open, but he paid a $73.50 fine for the loud radio.

It's strawberry fields, for the season at least

The sunflowers are no more. On Wednesday, a man on a tractor mowed seven special acres of sunflowers off State Road 60 in Dover. Strawberry farmer Eddie Jones planted the flowers in June as a cover crop between seasons. When they bloomed about two weeks ago, the flowers became the talk of the town, luring dozens of commuters, artists, photographers and grandchildren. Next up for the field? Strawberries.

[Last modified August 25, 2006, 05:56:24]


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