tampabay.com

Dateline Florida

By Times Wires
Published March 6, 2007


Truant housing members on the road again

Walt Smyth and Harry Harvey, the two St. Petersburg Housing Authority board members whom the St. Petersburg Times caught skipping sessions during a housing conference in January and denying it, are traveling again. Without discussion, the Housing Authority board unanimously approved their trip later this month to Washington. On their last trip, Smyth skipped six of the 11 conference sessions; Harvey skipped four. They first said they attended sessions they did not attend. The two have spent $60,000 on a combined 44 taxpayer-funded trips since May 2003.

Builder's generosity expands to victim's children A Florida builder who designed and constructed a swanky home for a Davis Islands family whose modest house was destroyed by a plane crash has donated scholarship money to the pilot's four children. WCI Communities of Bonita Springs will give $1,000 to a fund set up by Grace Community Church for each of Steve Huisman's children. The Bradenton pilot died when his plane crashed into the Tate family's home in June. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition rebuilt the Tate home and featured them Sunday night on ABC. Contributions to the scholarship fund can be made at participating AmSouth or Regions banks. More information is at www.WCIExtremeHome.com.

Want to watch some surgery?

If you want to learn more about weight-loss surgery, you can watch one on the Internet on Tuesday, live from Tampa General Hospital. Dr. Michel Murr, the hospital's director of bariatric surgery, will perform the lap band surgery at 4 p.m. today. The procedure uses an adjustable band around the upper part of the stomach to restrict food intake. Go to www.or-live.com and click "A Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding for Obesity." The surgery will remain on the site after the Webcast.

Sarasota may drive beach smokers inside

The indoor smoking ban could soon move outdoors at Sarasota beaches, the Bradenton Herald reports. It's not the smoke that prompted the proposal. It's the butts. Cigarette litter accounts for 20 percent of the trash collected in community cleanup initiatives, according to the county's parks and recreation department. A public hearing on the proposal is tonight.