Fresh carcass may provide clues to increasing dieoff of Humpback whales

Published January 16, 2007

A dead female humpback whale found on a beach may help explain why so many of the endangered species - nearly 30 - have died in the Atlantic Ocean in 12 months. Researchers recovered the skull, reproductive organs, blubber and other tissue from the 1-year-old, 4,000-pound calf to examine them and possibly figure out the cause of death. The carcass, discovered Saturday morning by beachgoers near the Cocoa Beach Pier, is a huge find for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, which has monitored a sharp increase in humpback deaths since last summer. Observers have seen rotting carcasses in the ocean, but this is the first one from which they can get fresh biological samples, said NOAA Fisheries spokeswoman Terri Friday.

Foreign-trained doctors can study nursing online

Students in the Tampa Bay area can now take advantage of a unique Florida International University program that trains foreign-educated physicians for the nursing field, thanks to the Internet. The 5-year-old program is the first in the country to turn foreign-trained doctors into U.S. nurses. HCA in Palm Harbor is paying for local faculty, 15 full student scholarships and the equipment to provide classes via teleconferencing between here and FIU in Miami. Tampa Bay students will do their clinical rotations at four St. Petersburg hospitals: Edward White Hospital, Northside Hospital & Heart Institute, St. Petersburg General Hospital and Largo Medical Center.

Lions missing, business hurting

Edward Pagano wants his feng shui back. Whoever stole two bronze lion statues at the entrance to Pagano's Amicis Italian Cafe in Winter Haven also stole the energy and luck of the place, the Ledger in Lakeland reports. "Business hasn't been the same," said Pagano, who opened the restaurant in September. The 250-pound statues cost Pagano $250 each. They disappeared over the New Year's weekend.

Ex-mayor to try again? We'll find out soon

Will he or won't he? Former Mayor Dick Greco said he'll announce Wednesday whether he'll make another run for Tampa's top office. Speculation started in October when word spread that polls were being taken to gauge his chances. Greco won't discuss the results, but some people close to him say he won't run. One is George Levy, who coordinated previous Greco campaigns. He said he told his old friend to count him out anyway. "I'm retired," Levy said. "I like being able to go to a movie in the middle of the afternoon."