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Gym tiff turns tuff for retirees

Published November 2, 2006


He's the "Jack La Lanne" of Summertree.

Every day starts with 200 situps in the workout room of the clubhouse. Then Donald Taggart lifts weights and does his cardio. Residents liken him to La Lanne, the aging fitness icon whose photo hangs in the room. Taggart, 78 and still buff, likes to get physical.

It got really physical Tuesday.

It was about 7:30 a.m. when Taggart arrived at the workout room in sweats. A Pasco Sheriff's Office report describes the reception he got:

"How come you're so cold?" asked Benjamin Nodar, 64. "I thought you were in the Army!"

Taggart was, for 26 years. "I was in Korea in 1950," he told Nodar. "I was up on the Yalu River when the Chinese came across, probably when you were in grade school, and I got frostbite on my hands and feet.

"A little bit of cold bothers me."

Nodar, according to Taggart, wasn't impressed: "You military people, always crying the blues."

More words were exchanged. The report said Taggart called Nodar a wimp for not serving his country. Nodar, according to a witness, told Taggart he should have died in the Army.

Nodar got in his face, Taggart said. Then, witnesses say, the 215-pound Nodar lunged at a man 14 years older and about 45 pounds lighter than him.

It was on.

Nodar grabbed Taggart. Taggart kneed Nodar.

The retirees fell through the doorway of the men's bathroom and tumbled onto the floor, still fighting.

"I said 'You big sucker, I ain't gonna let you get on top of me,' " Taggart said. "So I got on top, and I stayed there."

Taggart said he rolled Nodar onto his back and pinned his wrists to his sides. "I just overpowered him," Taggart said.

Deputies were called. They arrived 10 minutes later.

Nodar told deputies Taggart gave him a hard time about not being in the military, kicked him, tripped him and sat on him. Both were bleeding.

Nodar was arrested on a charge of battery on a person over the age of 65 - but not accused of getting the better of one.

[Last modified November 2, 2006, 01:12:31]

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