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Digest

News and notes

By TIMES WIRES
Published September 14, 2006


How many clowns does it take to fill jail?

Acrobats, jugglers and contortionists they weren't. The feds say an Orlando man offered bogus circus contracts in Florida to 872 impostors from Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, Russia and elsewhere who paid up to $4,000 each to be illegally smuggled into the country during the past 10 years, the Orlando Sentinel reports. Constantin Ciprian Durbalau, 30, a Romanian citizen who has lived in Orlando and Davenport recently, was arrested last week at Orlando International Airport on charges of smuggling aliens for financial gain. "This is a new type of case we've had in Orlando with alleged circus workers," said Mark Garrand, head of the Orlando office of the federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Billionaire couple gives $2-million to college

New College, the state's smallest public university with about 750 students, just received the largest donation in its 46-year history. Libra Foundation, a Chicago charity run by members of the billionaire Pritzker family, gave the university $2-million. Libra says it "funds social and economic justice organizations that integrate human rights" into areas such as peace and justice, environmental sustainability and reproductive rights. New College will name a new residence hall for Rhoda Pritzker, a longtime supporter. She and her husband, Jack, donated $900,000 in 1995 through the Pritzker Foundation, for a marine biology research building that bears their name.

Judge going with a cone now, not Caddy

On second thought, Judge Stanley Mills wishes he'd used a cone. The Pinellas-Pasco circuit judge became front page news this week when he used his Cadillac to block a woman's car parked in his reserved spot at the parking-deprived West Pasco Judicial Center. To drive home his point, he refused to move for hours, preventing her from leaving. Mills says he can take the heat and even the advice of a newspaper columnist. He says he plans to follow St. Petersburg Times columnist Sue Carlton's suggestion that he simply put a traffic cone in his spot to ward off scofflaws (since a reserved sign doesn't seem to work).

OVERHEARD

"Clint Curtis is the craziest man in America. Serious times demand serious leaders, and Curtis is not even in the same solar system as the rest of us. With tinfoil hats in hand, black helicopters swarming, and purple Martians landing, this election promises to be more entertaining than Saturday morning cartoons."

- Republican U.S. Rep. Tom Feeney of Oviedo in a statement released last week about his Democratic opponent, who has accused him of seeking to manipulate voting software to favor Republicans.

[Last modified September 14, 2006, 01:14:26]


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