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South Florida's Tri-Rail sets passenger records

By TIMES WIRES
Published January 6, 2007


While Tampa Bay keeps pondering the wisdom of building rail, South Florida is quietly setting records. Tri-Rail - which links Palm Beach, Broward and Miami Dade counties - carried more than 3-million passengers last year, more than ever and 21 percent over last year, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reports. The previous record of 2.9-million riders was set in 1993, after Hurricane Andrew scrambled commuter patterns.

State purchases home of noted Florida author

The state has bought the longtime home of Florida writer Stetson Kennedy near Palatka where he wrote books and his friend Woody Guthrie composed 80 songs. Though the state Department of Community Affairs now owns Beleuthahatchee, the 89-year-old Kennedy will continue to live there and work on his autobiography, Dissident at Large. When he dies, the house will be preserved as a museum and archive. Among Kennedy's best-known books are Palmetto Country and The Klan Unmasked.

Magazine lists All Children's Hospital in nation's top 25

For the third time since 2001, St. Petersburg's All Children's Hospital was named one of the top 25 children's hospitals in America by Child magazine. The national parenting magazine ranked All Children's 21st of 144 nationally accredited pediatric hospitals. It is the only hospital in Florida to get the nod. The distinction is based on extensive evaluations from the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions.

Sen. Mike Bennett sponsors 'none of the above' option on ballots

State Sen. Mike Bennett, R-Bradenton, is sponsoring legislation to prevent a repeat of the race between Republican Vern Buchanan and Democrat Christine Jennings, in which Buchanan won by 369 votes but more than 18,000 ballots didn't include votes in the race. Elections officials don't know if voters left the race blank deliberately, accidentally or if a technical glitch was behind it. "What we want to do is give people an option to write on there, 'I don't want to vote in this race. I don't really like any of these people,' " Bennett said. A couple of things the bill doesn't say: What happens if none of the above wins? And what if you still don't like your options?