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Digest

Justice Department upholds election result

By TIMES WIRES
Published April 19, 2007


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TAMPA

The U.S. Department of Justice says it will not dispute the results of the March 6 District 5 City Council race.

Candidate Frank Reddick had asked the department to look at irregularities in the election, which he said may have cost him a chance to win the seat.

He speculated that more people would have voted for him, propelling him to a runoff against winner Thomas Scott, if they had been told that a polling place was relocated.

Reddick finished second in the District 5 race to former Hillsborough County Commissioner Scott, who won 51 percent of votes. Reddick needed just 37 votes to force a runoff. He alleges that he might have gotten them had voters in East Tampa's Precinct 215 received letters from Supervisor of Elections Buddy Johnson telling them their polling place had moved.

TARPON SPRINGS

Prosecutor gets the Wal-Mart tortoise case

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has finished investigating the removal of gopher tortoises from Wal-Mart's property in late March and turned its findings and its recommendation over Tuesday to the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office for review.

The office will determine whether to file criminal charges, but an official said Wednesday she could not comment on the investigation's findings.

DADE CITY

Jury selection continues for Steele

Attorneys in the murder trial of Alfredie Steele Jr. on Wednesday asked potential jurors pointed questions about race, law enforcement and the death penalty.

Steele is accused in the 2003 shooting of Pasco sheriff's Lt. Charles "Bo" Harrison. He could be executed if convicted.

Pinellas-Pasco prosecutor Bernie McCabe asked 16 potential jurors if any of them would have reservations about recommending a death sentence .

LARGO

City pays $94,000 for its mistake

The city of Largo has agreed to pay nearly $94,000 for a mistake it made a year ago.

That's when Largo officials gave Rose and Michael Brown a permit to build a 2,000-square-foot garage in the back yard of their home at 2860 Vernon Ter.

But the size of the garage exceeded what city rules would normally allow.

Tuesday night city commissioners voted to pay to take down the garage and restore the Browns' property.

DADE CITY

It's a good year, so far, for tourism in Pasco

Pasco County is off to a great start this year for tourism.

Based on a month-to-month comparison of bed tax collected, the county saw the most tourism business in January since 1999, collecting $62,381.

In February, the county took in $85,716.

Tourism revenue is measured by comparing the same month in different years. Eric Keaton, the county's tourism policy coordinator, credited good weather and lower gas prices early this year.

[Last modified April 19, 2007, 01:54:58]


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