tampabay.com

Tampa Bay briefs

News of note.

By TIMES WIRES
Published March 7, 2007


WESLEY CHAPEL

SR 56 extension to grow by two lanes

Part of a proposed $1.6-billion package of road improvements spawned by Wiregrass Ranch just got bigger.

The eastward extension of State Road 56 is due to get six lanes as it runs along the southern flank of the Wiregrass mall, Pasco County administrator John Gallagher said Tuesday.

TAMPA

Justice Alito to speak at Federal Bar dinner

The U.S. Supreme Court's newest justice will be in Tampa Thursday for the Tampa Bay Chapter of the Federal Bar Association's gala dinner.

Justice Samuel Alito will be the featured speaker at the event, which starts with a cocktail hour at 6:30 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt, 2900 Bayport Drive. Tickets are $75.

For more information, contact Beverly Long at (813) 227-6403.

DUNEDIN

City doubles spending for new skate park

Dunedin city commissioners have approved a contract to build a state-of-the art skate park.

The park will cost the city $542,000, more than double the city's original budget of $270,000.

City Manager Rob Dispirito said the city could benefit from a skate park, but he recommended rejecting the proposal because it was over the original budget.

TAMPA

Man gets 30 years for death of bodyguard

Jose Luis Espinoza drew a 30-year prison sentence on Tuesday for driving drunk and killing a man who was the beloved bodyguard of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio.

Juan Serrano had dropped off the mayor after a Gasparilla event and was driving home Feb. 25, 2006, when Espinoza ran a red light at the Gibsonton Drive intersection off Interstate 75. Espinoza's 1996 Pontiac Grand Prix hit the 17-year Tampa police veteran's car in the driver's side door.

Serrano, 49, died at Tampa General Hospital.