Dateline Florida

Published March 13, 2007


Sometimes, pawnbroker Frank Cafaro stumbles on a gem amid the junk. But a find last week, the Orlando Sentinel reports, drew a swarm to Gold Mine Pawn in Belleview, including a hazardous-materials team. They focused on a lead container labeled as radioactive. Inside was a glass vial with about an ounce of yellowcake uranium. In larger quantities yellowcake can be used to make fuel for nuclear reactors or enriched for weapons. Cafaro, 40, said he paid a Miami estate about $10,000 for a lot of natural crystals in which the uranium vial was found. "There's boxes in my warehouse from this particular sale that still haven't been opened," he said. That's reassuring.

Stop-and-start search is typical, USF provost says

The search for a new dean for the University of South Florida College of Marine Science could not be described as smooth sailing. The school has flown in three candidates, but could not agree on the terms with two and did not offer the job to the third. Provost Renu Khator said that's common in a search and that "the university is eventually going to land the person who is just right."

Bribery convictions stand, appellate court rules

Former Tampa housing chief Steve LaBrake and his wife, Lynne, are still guilty of accepting bribes, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday. The court also affirmed the conviction of Tampa-Hillsborough Action Plan executive director Chester M. Luney, who was convicted of offering the LaBrakes a bribe. Steve LaBrake was sentenced in 2005 to five years; his wife received 41 months and Luney, 33 months.

Someone should alert the Department of Duh

Sometimes the obvious solution is the best one. Case in point: After Pinellas County merged its Building Department and its Development Review Services Department, the bigwigs held a contest for employees to pick its new name. The winner won $100. The name? All together now: Building and Development Review Services.


Trina Watkins is a former Seminole City Council member running for mayor. Her husband is president of the Seminole Chamber of Commerce. Watkins never has abstained from a council vote because of her husband's position, city records show. A story Sunday in some editions of Neighborhood Times was incorrect on this point.