Dateline Florida

By Times Staff Writer
Published November 6, 2007

Diamond sold; still no love for digital cameras

An auction of almost 11,000 lost-and-found items at Tampa International Airport on Saturday drew 1,337 bidders and raised about $56,000, according to Sharon C. Weaver, a senior director at the airport. The most expensive item: a 1.1-carat diamond ring that fetched $1,350. Another big one was a group of several pieces of unopened luggage that went for $1,075. The least expensive: several pieces of furniture grouped as a lot sold for $20. About a dozen items were not sold, most of them digital cameras.

Texas university lassos USF provost

Goodbye, provost. As expected, the governing board for the University of Houston system on Monday confirmed USF provost Renu Khator to lead the university and the UH system. Khator, 52, is expected to assume the president/chancellor role by January. She leaves behind the growing research university where she began her career two decades ago as a visiting professor. Khator has been USF provost since 2003, and was frequently courted for the presidencies of other colleges. USF has not named an interim replacement for Khator or decided on a search process, but an announcement is expected this week.

A president stops at Tampa airport

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf landed at the Tampa International Jet Center on Monday evening, not long after receiving a Presidential Medal of Freedom at the White House. The first woman elected president of an African nation was honored along with seven others, including author Harper Lee and civil rights leader Benjamin L. Hooks. So why the Tampa stopover? Sirleaf flew in with Tampa banker David Straz, the honorary consul to Liberia. She visited with the Straz family while his jet was refueled.

Robbery 101: Don't shoot yourself

Police searching for a man who they say robbed three victims in the parking lot of a Tallahassee Olive Garden restaurant found him - badly wounded and hiding in a nearby portable toilet. The Tallahassee Democrat reports that Jerome Nealy, 20, is accused of robbing his victims at gunpoint before shooting himself in the thigh while trying to get away. Nealy was seriously hurt and was to undergo surgery today at a Tallahassee hospital. He was arrested on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, robbery with a firearm, attempted robbery, discharge of a firearm in public and grand theft of a firearm.

Hair's the deal

Pop music critic Sean Daly has a newfound super power: to make hair appear in his food. To complement this, he's honoring the hairiest people in music history. See his list and add your own in the Pop Music blog at blogs.tampabay.com/popmusic.