Next time, Rockfest fans will have water

Published May 30, 2007


Fans who flocked to a concert outside Raymond James Stadium April 29 went there hoping to rock out. Instead, many were knocked out by the sun and left panting when they had to wait hours to get water.

But the Tampa Sports Authority, which owns the property, met with promoters and laid down new rules for next year's event:

- Patrons will be allowed to bring in sealed water containers.

- There will be more locations for buying water.

- Vendors will accept cash for nonalcoholic beverages instead requiring patrons to buy tickets to redeem.

- First-aid tents will have an adequate supply of water, and a large tent will be added for shelter from the sun.

"This is specifically for the 98 Rockfest, " said Mickey Farrell, director of stadium operations. "We're making these adjustments because they plan on coming back again next year."


Drug court graduates 100 in rehab program

About 100 recovering drug users graduated from drug court Tuesday in Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Court.

Drug court diverts drug users who meet certain criteria into rehabilitation programs. Officials estimate that drug court saved Pinellas taxpayers almost $10-million last year.

Lt. Gov. Jeff Kotkamp and Tampa Bay Buccaneers player Mike Alstott addressed the graduates.


Mall developer delays removal of tortoises

The developer of the Cypress Creek Town Center agreed Tuesday to delay today's planned relocation of up to 10 tortoises after critics complained not enough of the protected animals were accounted for.

Instead, a new assessment of their numbers at the 500-acre site at State Road 56 and Interstate 75 will be done today by a consultant for the developer, and possibly critics, too.

Construction is due to begin next week.


Schools look to blend FCAT remediation

Hillsborough high school students who failed the FCAT could get to take remedial reading in a music class next year.

School Board members on Tuesday night brainstormed ways to meet a state requirement to give remediation to struggling students, without forcing them to give up elective classes.

Principals already are starting to look into which classes could be infused with FCAT reading and math review, said Michael Grego, assistant superintendent.


Hillsborough County sets hiring freeze

Hillsborough County Administrator Pat Bean has imposed a hiring freeze at County Center to brace for potentially deep spending cuts that may be imposed by the state.

County officials are acknowledging for the first time that the property tax reform proposals the state is considering are likely to require layoffs. The question is how many.

"We have come to a point where I believe it is in the best interest of the County and our employees to place a freeze on hiring, " Bean said in a memo to department directors last week.

With the decision, Hillsborough joins several governments that have instituted some form of hiring freeze in the Tampa Bay region, including Pinellas, Hernando and Citrus counties, and the cities of Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and New Port Richey.


Court again orders treatment for boy

The mother of a 10-year-old boy who is fighting court-ordered cancer treatment lost even more control over her son's health Tuesday.

Judge Linda H. Babb ruled that doctors can treat 10-year-old Daniel Gomez without talking to his mom, Natasha Esteras, expanding an April 13 ruling that forced Daniel to have radiation and chemotherapy.

Daniel is currently at All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg recovering from sinusitis.