Dateline Florida

Published April 20, 2007

Two of the worst

Hillsborough County scored two spots on a "top 100" list no one wants to make: the Humane Society's worst animal cruelty cases of 2006. Case 1: Benjamin M. Boatwright, 25, is serving 2 1/2 years in prison for killing four puppies in October. He beat one, suffocated and shot a second, choked a third and fatally kicked a fourth. Case 2: In November, Tampa police accused Richard A. Wyatt, 30, of killing cats by setting them on fire with a blowtorch.

Is it Caladesi's year?

Could Caladesi Island State Park, right, grab the title of America's No. 1 Beach next month? Only Stephen Leatherman, a.k.a. Dr. Beach, knows. But Pinellas tourism officials like their chances. He hasn't tipped off the county's tourism chief, Carole Ketterhagen, but she says he's been asking about Caladesi. Pinellas reaped a free advertising bonanza in 2005 when Fort De Soto Park's North Beach topped the list. Leatherman announces his choice live on NBC's Today show, then gives interviews to local TV stations across the country via satellite link. We'll all know before Memorial Day weekend.