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Digest

Judge hopes to finish jury for Couey today

By TIMES WIRES
Published February 28, 2007


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MIAMI

The judge in the John Couey trial hopes to finish jury selection today, putting opening statements on schedule for Thursday morning.

Eleven jury candidates advanced Tuesday, meaning at least five more are needed to fill the 12-member panel and four alternate positions.

Couey faces the death penalty. He is accused of kidnapping, raping and killing 9-year-old Jessica Lunsford in 2005.

LAND O'LAKES

Pasco superintendent won't seek state post

Heather Fiorentino's name was among the first to pop up last month when word came that Florida would need a new education commissioner. But the superintendent said Tuesday that she isn't interested in the job.

"I am very happy where I am," Fiorentino told the St. Petersburg Times on Tuesday.

The Pasco County school superintendent was in a small group of rumored candidates. Others included Manatee County superintendent Roger Dearing, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Baker and state Rep. Joe Pickens of Palatka.

Fiorentino, 49, is among the first to withdraw her name from consideration for the high-profile post, which will pay anywhere from $195,416 to $275,058.

TARPON SPRINGS

Land buy approved for water treatment plant

City commissioners have voted unanimously to approve the purchase of a 10-acre tract of land for $2.25-million for a drinking water treatment plant.

The deal will be financed by the $45-million bond referenda approved by voters last year for the drinking water supply project that would end reliance on external water providers.

[Last modified February 28, 2007, 00:59:44]


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