Dateline Florida

Published June 12, 2007


Today is the last day of the year to get a sales tax break on hurricane supplies such as flashlights, batteries, portable radios, portable generators, coolers and other items that will help you after the power goes out in a storm. After today, you'll pay the usual sales tax rates. The silver lining is that most food items are tax-exempt all the time. The best bet: buy what you need today, and hope you don't have to use it.

For a complete list of items that are exempt from the state sales tax, go to dor.myflorida.com/dor.

Unpleasant surprises in Sarasota recruiting

Sarasota is having a run of bad luck with its top city manager picks. The city's first choice, former Jupiter Town Manager Robert Bartolotta, 59, was once investigated after a hospital staff member said he hit his sick wife. Prosecutors declined to file charges. Then the city found out its second choice, Marsha Segal-George, 54, deputy chief administrative officer of Orlando, once filed for a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. Monday is D-day on Bartolotta. If the commission decides to go in a different direction, it's unclear whether it would turn to the former Largo city manager and third runnerup, Susan Stanton, 48.

Dancing dad needs fingers to trot online

The buck-wild impromptu dance routine of a Temple Terrace father of three could win him $5, 000 in a national contest. Craig Bythewood, 40, is one of eight dancing dads who are finalists in Hallmark's Daddy of All Dance-Off contest. He won the spot with his moves Saturday at Citrus Park mall. People have until noon Thursday to vote at www.hallmark.com. Hallmark will announce the winner on Friday. If he wins, Bythewood, a professor of business and economics at Florida Southern College in Lakeland, plans to "pay bills" with the award money. His three children - all girls - are ages 5, 3 and 2.


Tom Goldsworthy, an Odessa man looking for a pickup truck driver who may have also seen a Florida panther crossing Lutz-Lake Fern Road on June 6, can be reached at tr@tgoldsworthy.com An incorrect e-mail was listed Saturday.