Gulfport artist paints in jazz tones

By Times Staff
Published June 14, 2007


Judith Dazzio has created jazz-themed art for 20 years. This year, three of her colorful paintings will be the image of the annual Clearwater Jazz Holiday.

The three paintings, dominated by sunset golds and reds, are combined on a single poster. Dazzio's art was picked over more than 200 pieces. The Gulfport resident is a teacher at the Arts Center in St. Petersburg.

The 28th annual free, four-day jazz holiday runs Oct. 18 through Oct. 21 at Coachman Park. This year's lineup won't be released until Aug. 1. Last year's headliner was smooth-jazz saxophonist Kenny G.

Dazzio has a degree in art education from the University of New Hampshire. She also has a master's in fine art from Boston University and a master's in art education from Massachusetts College of Art.

For more information about the jazz holiday, visit www.clearwaterjazz.com 


Hearing to decide Couey's mental fitness

After a three-month hiatus, John Couey returns to court July 17 for a hearing to determine whether he is eligible for the death penalty, court officials announced.

The convicted killer of Jessica Lunsford is scheduled to appear before Circuit Judge Ric Howard in Citrus County for a hearing about whether he is mentally retarded.

Defense expert Robert Berland, a Brandon forensic psychologist, testified at the Miami trial that Couey suffers from mild mental retardation, based on a standard intelligence exam he took in February. If found retarded, Couey could not receive the death penalty under state law.

On March 8, a jury convicted Couey of kidnapping, raping and killing the 9-year-old Homosassa girl in 2005.

A week later, the jury sentenced him to death by lethal injection.

Since then, state and defense attorneys worked behind the scenes to line up mental health experts who examined Couey in preparation for the hearing.

A formal sentencing hearing before the judge will take place afterward, though no date was set.

Howard is required to give the jury's recommended death sentence great weight.


Railroad crossing work to disrupt Fletcher Ave.

A section of E Fletcher Avenue may close for a month starting in July for repairs to the railroad tracks that cross it just east of Nebraska Avenue.

CSX will fix the tracks. The county will rebuild the road section in an estimated $500, 000 project scheduled to go before the Hillsborough County Commission next week for approval .

County officials are proposing to close the road July 19 and reopen it Aug. 19.


Mall developer can move 40 tortoises

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission issued a permit allowing the developers of the proposed Cypress Creek Town Center mall to move up to 40 gopher tortoises off the property to another preservation site.

The mall's critics say that the developer should not have silt screens or heavy equipment standing by on the site ahead of the tortoise removal, but commission officials said this is not a violation.


Dog left tied to tree has to be euthanized

Pasco County Animal Services officials said an abandoned Rottweiler mix rescued in late May was euthanized because it was not adoptable.

The Rottweiler mix was left chained her to a tree. For three weeks, neighbors fed her dog food and table scraps and filled a dish with water. The dog lived in a shelter for 10 days, giving the owners more time to pick it up. After the 10 days, sheltered animals are evaluated to determine if they suitable for adoption.