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Published September 16, 2006

Two injured in boating accident while trying to avoid leaping fish

Two Plant City residents were injured Thursday after swerving their boat to avoid a leaping fish and hitting a bridge on the Suwannee River near Old Town.

Jesse Lee Carr, 51, and his passenger, Brenda Carr, 51, were taken to Shands Hospital in Gainesville for treatment.

According to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission investigators, the boat was traveling south at about 40 mph when Jesse Lee Carr spotted the fish, which was possibly a sturgeon.

He tried to steer clear and struck the round center concrete piling of a railroad trestle bridge that spans the Suwannee. The impact threw Brenda Carr off the boat and pushed Jesse Carr forward.

The Carrs were then flown to the Gainesville hospital, commission investigators said.

The commission recently placed signs all along the Suwannee River warning that boaters have been seriously hurt by sturgeon and to use caution.

Tampa City Council votes to roll back property tax rate

Tensions ran high at a Tampa City Council meeting Thursday night, where the council voted 4-2 to roll back the city's property tax rate.

Council member Mary Alvarez alternately scolded, begged and ignored colleagues who supported the cut, ultimately accusing them of simply trying to win votes in an election year.

After a two-hour public hearing early in the evening the council approved the rollback.

Mayor Pam Iorio's staff returned at 11 p.m. with a revised ordinance for a vote.

In June, a majority of council members didn't even want to discuss the issue, voting down a proposal by council member Shawn Harrison to consider a cut. Only council member Rose Ferlita supported him at the time. Ferlita repeatedly chastised fellow members Thursday for waiting until the last minute to even talk about a tax cut.

The public appeals prompted John Dingfelder and Kevin White to switch their positions. They voted with Harrison and Ferlita in favor of the reduction.

The cut amounts to a $49 savings to someone with a $400,000 house with a homestead exemption.

[Last modified September 16, 2006, 01:30:36]

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