tampabay.com

Roof no longer includes a red-letter sales gimmick

By Times staff and wires
Published October 19, 2006


The bright-red 12-foot "4-Sale" sign is gone from Bruce Sparks' Belleair Beach roof. Also gone: the threat of a $250 daily fine for violating the city's sign ordinance. Sparks repainted his roof white Tuesday, just before the city's Code Enforcement Board met to decide what to do about his sign, which was intended as an "attention getter" for people willing to pay $1.6-million for the waterfront property. Sparks hopes the back of the house will attract the interest of passing boaters. It's still painted bright red.

Generosity springs from frugal life

Eugenia "Gene" Dodson of Miami was so frugal she lived below her means in a small condo and refused in-home care until she was nearly 100. So it came as a shock to many when she died and left $35.6-million to the University of Miami. "She denied herself the trappings of wealth. She was dead set on doing good for humankind," said Donald Kubit, co-trustee of her trust. Two-thirds of the money goes to the University of Miami's Diabetes Research Institute, the largest gift in its 35-year history. The rest goes to UM's Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Dodson died Dec. 2, less than a month shy of her 101st birthday.

Boat vs. manatee consequences loosened State and federal wildlife officials announced Wednesday that from now on, any law-abiding boater who hurts or kills a manatee and reports the incident will not face charges. Only those violating boating rules, such as zooming through a no-wake zone, will be charged. They urge anyone who hits a manatee to call 1-888-404-3922. If the manatee is merely injured, state officials say they will try to rescue and rehabilitate the animal. "People who disregard the law must be held accountable, but we understand that people operating their boats responsibly and legally may accidentally hit manatees," said U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regional director Sam Hamilton. "We will treat accidents as what they are - accidents."