Talk of the bay: UF honor goes to ex-Progress boss, not Bush

By Times Staff
Published March 27, 2007

St. Petersburg's Andy Hines is no Jeb Bush, and in the eyes of faculty leaders at the University of Florida, that's a good thing. While nixing an honorary degree for Bush, UF's Faculty Senate voted last week to award one to Hines, former chairman of Florida Progress Corp. Hines already has one UF degree, earned the hard way - a bachelor's in mechanical engineering awarded in 1947. The university says Hines is a model citizen, corporate leader and one of its benefactors, having endowed a professorship.

Universal fights regulators in filing

Officials from Universal Health Care Insurance Co. said they were caught off guard Friday by a press release from state regulators announcing the recommendation of delinquency proceedings against the St. Petersburg-based health insurer. Monday, they made it official by filing a motion for contempt and sanctions against the regulators. In a release, regulators said they could not allow Universal "to continue to operate in an impaired financial condition." The proceedings apply only to Universal's Any, Any, Any Medicare plan. Universal's other plans, including Medicare Masterpiece, are unaffected by the state's actions. A Leon County judge gave regulators 20 days to respond to the contempt motion. "We still intend to work with the state," Universal spokesman Bob O'Malley said Monday. "We're still meeting with investors and continue to pay and process claims."

Odyssey is first in line for ship's loot

As much as $4-billion in gold coins could lie aboard a sunken 313-year-old ship off Spanish waters. Odyssey Marine Exploration finally found out it will get first dibs to the loot. The Spanish government has given the Tampa company permission to prospect the wreck of the HMS Sussex, a British warship that sank in 1694. Historians think the sailing ship carried 9 tons of gold with which England hoped to bribe nobles to fight against French King Louis XIV. Odyssey began exploring in 2005 but stopped after Spain complained. If Odyssey strikes it rich, it will have to split the haul with the original owner, the British government.