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Dateline Florida

Published February 14, 2007



Florida maintained its status as the world's shark capital last year, with 23 recorded attacks, the University of Florida reports. That's slightly more than the 19 cases reported in 2005 but far fewer than the annual average of 33 between 2000 and 2003. "This was a nice dull year, and we love dull years because it means there are fewer serious attacks and fewer victims," said George Burgess, director of UF's International Shark Attack File. Credit overfishing and more cautious swimmers. The number of fatalities worldwide remained stable at four.

Valentines for raccoons: rabies bait Raccoons in Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Lake, Hernando, Polk and Sumter counties have smelly Valentines to look forward to today. For the fifth year, animal services agencies will start dropping about 540,000 oral rabies vaccine baits from helicopters, planes and trucks, said Hillsborough Animal Services spokeswoman Marti Ryan. Most baits are 1-inch blocks of fish meal with a creamy vaccine center. While harmless to people and pets, the baits carry a nasty fish odor, so pet owners should keep their animals leashed or indoors for the next 12 days or so, Ryan said.

For a few grand, you can be Hillary's pal You can hang with Hillary in Tampa next week, if you've got the inclination and enough cash. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will be in Tampa to raise money Feb. 20. The trip includes a VIP reception ($4,600), followed by a breakfast reception ($1,000 per couple) at the Wyndham Westshore. Clinton is well ahead of her Democratic rivals in Florida and leads all Republicans in the state but former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, a recent Quinnipiac University poll found.

Show and tell? $1,830 of funny money

It's amazing what you'll find at a bus stop. A 15-year-old showed up at a Charlotte County middle school with a big wad of cash: $1,830 to be exact. A teacher called a school resource officer, who determined it was all fake. The unidentified teen had 13 $100 bills, 20 $20 bills and 13 $10 bills. He said he got the bills "from a kid at the bus stop." He was charged with felony possession of counterfeit money and released to his parents.

[Last modified February 14, 2007, 00:25:50]

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