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New dean named for arts and sciences

Published March 14, 2007


ST. PETERSBURG - A professor and associate dean with ties to two Florida universities will be the new dean of the college of arts and sciences at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg.

Frank Biafora, 42, associate dean of the college of liberal arts and sciences at St. John's University, will replace interim USF dean James Gore on July 1.

He received a Fulbright Scholars award and was principal investigator for the Ronald McNair Scholars Program.

Biafora earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Florida and completed a doctorate at the University of Miami.


Commission sets hearing on Stanton

LARGO - City Manager Steve Stanton will make his case to keep his job on March 23.

On Feb. 27, city commissioners voted 5-2 to place Stanton, 48, who makes $140,234 annually, on paid leave and to begin the process to fire him.

The vote came less than a week after Stanton disclosed that he was undergoing hormone therapy in preparation for gender-reassignment surgery.


Pinellas-Pasco circuit gets new chief judge

CLEARWATER - Veteran Circuit Judge Robert J. Morris will take over as the chief judge of the Pinellas-Pasco Circuit.

In July, Morris will replace Chief Judge David A. Demers, 61, who has served as chief for six years. Demers did not seek re-election to the post this year.

Morris, 53, was elected at a judges' meeting in February.

The 6th Judicial Circuit consists of courts in Pasco and Pinellas counties and serves about 1.5-million residents.

With an ever-growing caseload, Morris said the challenges ahead include improving court technology, contending with overcrowded jails and courts operating at capacity, and responding to rapid growth in Pasco County, which creates a need for more courtroom space.


Sentencing phase begins in Couey trial

MIAMI - John Couey is a cold, calculated killer who took Jessica Lunsford's young life and shattered a community's sense of innocence and isolation, prosecutors told jurors on Tuesday.

But defense attorneys contend that Couey suffers from mental illness and mild retardation. He is the product of a tumultuous, abusive upbringing compounded by years of untreated demons and drug abuse.

Jurors saw the competing portraits as they began to consider an appropriate punishment for the man they found guilty of kidnapping, raping and killing the 9-year-old Homosassa girl.

The jury could start deliberations as early as today. It can recommend death by lethal injection or life in prison.


Ex-Pasco lawmaker to lead advocacy council

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist appointed former state Rep. Ken Littlefield as executive director of the Florida Statewide Advocacy Council, an independent group that protects the constitutional and human rights of people receiving services from state agencies.

Littlefield, 62, represented House District 61, which includes much of east and central Pasco, from 1999 through 2006.

[Last modified March 14, 2007, 00:50:49]

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