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Dateline Florida

Published April 17, 2007


Flaming garbage forces elderly evacuations

Someone at a residential building for the elderly and "mobility impaired" in St. Petersburg has set garbage on fire and dropped it in a trash chute five times in the past five weeks, annoying residents and firefighters, officials said Monday. Smoke from smoldering garbage has drifted to the upper floors of the 14-story MLF Towers, 540 Second Avenue S, frightening some of the 154 residents and leading to evacuations. So St. Petersburg Fire & Rescue called a news conference to get the word out. Lt. Rick Feinberg asked that anyone with information on the culprit call (727) 893-7709.

Steer clear of bridge tonight

You should avoid the Howard Frankland bridge between 10 o'clock tonight and 5 a.m. Wednesday. Workers will install a message sign spanning the entire highway just off the bridge on the St. Petersburg side. If the work isn't finished, expect more delays Wednesday night.

House investigation begins

The U.S. House begins an investigation into the disputed Sarasota-area congressional race this morning with the first meeting of its task force. The 10 a.m. meeting will be closed to the public but all future hearings are expected to be open. Democrat Christine Jennings will be in Washington for the meeting. Rep. Charles Gonzalez, D-Texas, chairs the task force, which is looking into factors surrounding the race's 18,000 undervotes, including issues with election procedures, administration processes, voting machines and ballots. Republican Vern Buchanan won by a few hundred votes.

Rough journey ends in Miami

They showed up in the dead of night Sunday at the toll booth along Miami's Rickenbacker Causeway: nearly two dozen Cuban migrants completing a journey through cold and choppy seas that began about 8 p.m. Friday. "The conditions were rough and the waves were huge out there, but everyone stayed calm," said one man, who identified himself only as Andre. Maria Estrada, a toll booth worker, took the Cubans bread, hot chocolate and doughnuts. Unlike the Haitian migrants who recently landed in South Florida, the Cubans likely will be allowed to stay in the United States.


[Last modified April 17, 2007, 00:27:53]

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