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Al-Arian appeals order to testify

Published November 14, 2006


Sami Al-Arian is appealing a federal judge's ruling requiring him to testify before a grand jury in Virginia.

In April, Al-Arian pleaded guilty to one count of aiding the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad with nonviolent activities. He was sentenced to 57 months in prison.

Al-Arian and his attorneys say that during plea negotiations, it was clear that "Dr. Al-Arian will not cooperate with the government." But U.S. District Judge James S. Moody sided with prosecutors, who argued that oral statements made during plea negotiations weren't binding.

Al-Arian's attorneys have asked the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn that ruling.

When called before the grand jury in Alexandria, Va., on Oct. 19, Al-Arian refused to answer questions. In response, a prosecutor asked a federal judge in Virginia to issue a contempt order that could extend Al-Arian's sentence by 18 months.

Strip mall to house up to 11 businesses

A new strip mall under construction at State Road 56 and Arrowgrass Drive will eventually be home to as many as 11 businesses.

The 21,000-square-foot Cypress View Square, built by Itasca Construction & Associates, is just west of the Seven Oaks development.

So far, a veterinarian, a Monstah Lobstah seafood restaurant, a Remax Realty outlet, a dry cleaner and a kids' furniture store have signed up, said Dale Bizzell, Itasca's superintendent.

Hillsborough to study new development

After several delays, the County Commission will again consider a zoning request Wednesday for one of the county's largest new developments.

The Lake Hutto community would put villas, condominiums and duplexes on 1,127 acres north of FishHawk Boulevard and east of Boyette Road in Lithia.

Pulte Homes is seeking a zoning change from agricultural and residential to a planned development. Plans call for up to 4,508 housing units.

The commission meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the County Center, 601 E Kennedy Blvd., Tampa.

Kresge house to light the holidays again

The Christmas lights are returning to Ted Kresge's house.

The return of the enormous Christmas display at the Kresge house has been a symbolic start of the holiday season in the Tampa Bay area for 30 years.

In April, three members of Kresge's Gospel of Truth Ministry, which puts on the display, were arrested on charges related to sexually abusing children in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Kresge is not accused of any crime. He said he decided several months ago to go ahead with a display this year, despite the accusations.

Family escapes from vicious pet

Best friends from the start, Froto was just a pit bullterrier puppy when Donnie Williams first laid eyes on him in Ohio. When he brought him back to Florida, the dog was family.

Early Monday, Froto turned on the family.

The 4-year-old pit bullterrier killed the family's other pet pit bull, a 4-month-old female puppy named Diamond, and kept Williams, his girlfriend and 3-year-old son trapped in the master bedroom.

They called 911 and escaped out the bedroom window.

Froto was euthanized by Pasco County Animal Services.

[Last modified November 14, 2006, 01:58:01]

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