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By Times Wires
Published December 13, 2007
Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday dedicated the reopening of the westbound Interstate 10 bridge that replaces the spans destroyed by Hurricane Ivan three years ago, when a 20-foot storm surge tossed enormous concrete slabs into the water. The eastbound bridge over Escambia Bay reopened last year and has carried traffic in both directions. Photographs of the bridge with a truck dangling over one of the missing sections symbolized Ivan's destruction. The new bridges are 25 feet above the water as it begins to cross the bay, compared to the old bridges' minimum of 13 feet above water.
Lawyer's case is sent to Florida
The criminal contempt case of Mississippi trial lawyer Richard Scruggs was reassigned to a Florida judge Wednesday because 16 federal judges in north Alabama recused themselves. C. Roger Vinson of the Northern District of Florida will preside in the case in which Scruggs is accused of disobeying an order by failing to turn over Katrina-related insurance documents to a court. Scruggs' lawyers contended that none of the 16 judges should hear the case since they are colleagues of U.S. District Judge William Acker, who initiated the criminal contempt prosecution. The records were sought by lawyers for Birmingham's E.A. Renfroe and Co. Scruggs gave the documents to Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood instead of the judge and maintains Acker's order provided that documents taken from State Farm could be disclosed to law enforcement officials.
Cash register foils armed robber
An armed man entered a 7-Eleven early Wednesday, demanded money, fired a shot but ultimately got away with nothing because he couldn't figure out how to open the cash register. The robber went into the store on Biscayne Boulevard and stood behind a customer at the counter. Two other people were in the store, a clerk working the cash register and a clerk stocking the freezer. When the robber pulled a handgun and demanded money, the register clerk and the customer ran toward the back of the store. The getaway vehicle matched the description of a car stolen in a carjacking an hour earlier.
BATON ROUGE, La.
Crist meets with La. governor-elect
Gov. Charlie Crist and Louisiana Gov.-elect Bobby Jindal met Wednesday as new allies on issues like insurance, ethics, the environment and alternative energy. Crist, who has made insurance and environmental issues priorities since taking office in January, wanted to encourage Jindal to work with Florida on the push to create a national insurance backup fund. "We speak more effectively and loudly with one voice. The reality is 2004 was y'all's turn, 2005 was our turn and nobody can predict who's going to be hit next," Jindal said, referring to the four hurricanes that hit Florida the year before Hurricane Katrina slammed New Orleans. "If we go talk to Congress together about the need for a federal backstop for catastrophic coverage, it's not just one governor of one state. It's on regional lines, saying, 'It happened to us, it could easily happen to your state as well,' " Jindal said.
[Last modified December 12, 2007, 23:48:25]