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Dateline Florida

Published February 9, 2007


If your pet hugs you tightly, you may need permit

It's official: Starting next year you'll have to have a state permit to own a python in Florida. Python owners who think that's too much trouble can turn in their snakes - no questions asked - from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. March 24 at Crest Lake Park in Clearwater. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission approved the new permit and other restrictions Wednesday, and included green anaconda and Nile monitor lizards. Starting Jan. 1, 2008, anyone owning the reptiles must get a permit and microchip and answer questions about basic reptile care. Owners will also be required to house the reptiles in cages tough enough to keep them from escaping.


Worse than kicking back of the seat

The in-flight entertainment on a Tampa-bound flight Wednesday went something like this: Michael Salerno, 34, of Largo boarded United Flight 1612 from Denver with his wife. A passenger from California sitting next to him alleged that Salerno was too loud and when he asked him to be quiet, Salerno gave the man the finger and then kicked him in the leg. The man, Huzefa Hundekari, fell into the aisle. Salerno told police he was loud and had been drinking but said he never touched Hundekari. The FBI was called and the men were detained. After questioning, everyone was sent home, with no charges.


Consolation prize is not too shabby

Kim Berfield may have gotten a beat-down in her quest to become a state senator, but she's coming back to Tallahassee anyway. The former Republican state representative from Clearwater is in line to become deputy secretary of the Department of Health.

The newly created position has an emphasis on legislative affairs. "I'm very excited about it," said Berfield, 35, as she jumped into an elevator at the Capitol on Thursday.


- An unidentified staff doctor at Bay Pines VA Medical Center has been suspended from conducting research at the hospital. A story Jan. 25 said the doctor's husband had supervised research she had done at the hospital. The supervisor actually is the husband of another employee who helped coordinate the research.

- John J. Iorio, father of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio, was a teenager when he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. A story in Thursday's newspaper marking Mr. Iorio's death gave an incorrect age.



The Sunshine Skyway is 29,040 feet long and 193 feet high. An item in this space Thursday was unclear on the dimensions.


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[Last modified February 9, 2007, 01:19:29]

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