Dateline Florida

Published May 15, 2007

Gainesville named nicest place to live; Bay area is just, eh

Gator Nation has more to brag about: Gainesville is the best city in the United States. That's according to Cities Ranked & Rated: More Than 400 Metropolitan Areas Evaluated in the U.S. and Canada (Wiley Publishing, $24.99). Gainesville has gained popularity among "northern migrants seeking a Florida climate and intellectual stimulation without the high prices, tourist bustle and stigma most commonly associated with the state, " say authors Bert Sperling and Peter Sander. It was the only Florida city in the Top 10. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater came in 220th on a list of 373 cities. Read the complete ratings at bestplaces.net. Oh, and the worst place to live in America? Modesto, Calif., thanks to a lack of things to do, high cost of living and unemployment, and the highest auto-theft rate in the nation.

Symbol of storm's power to become underwater reef

An Interstate 10 bridge that stretched across Escambia Bay is being transformed into a massive underwater reef. Rubble from the span is heading about 15 miles offshore from Pensacola. The bridge was destroyed by Hurricane Ivan in September 2004 and featured in a prominent picture showing a semitrailer truck hanging off the storm-damaged roadway, above. "You're talking about what will probably be mile-long stretches of reef only 12 miles from Pensacola Pass, " Buddy Rogers, owner and skipper of the Pensacola Beach charter fishing boat Reel Eazy, told the Pensacola News Journal.