Dateline Florida

By Times Wires
Published February 20, 2008

Grandma charged in French fry drama

Jean Merola, the 75-year-old woman arrested at a Clearwater McDonald's last month, has been charged with obstructing a public place. It was the latest in the saga that began Jan. 17, when Merola ordered coffee and fries at the drive-through. Workers asked her to pull her car forward because her food wasn't ready. Clearwater police Officer Matthew Parco, who was behind Merola, said he couldn't get by and asked her to move. Parco said Merola cursed at him and called him names. Merola said the officer harassed her. She was arrested. Merola is due in court March 6, though Bruce Bartlett, chief assistant state attorney, said no one is looking for her to serve jail time.

UCF has a recipe for Chicken Soup series

There seem to be Chicken Soup for the Soul books for just about everyone - from moms and dads to dog lovers and dieters. Add another one with a Florida twist: Chicken Soup for the UCF Knights Soul. Yep, that's UCF as in University of Central Florida. The company has asked alumni, students and faculty members to submit their stories for publication in the book as a fundraiser for the school's alumni association. Go to www.ucfalumni.com/chickensoup for more information. Submission deadline is March 31.


Developer Stephen Dibbs' proposal to amend Hillsborough County's long-range plans theoretically would allow him to build up to 216 townhouses or a shopping center next to Lutz-Lake Fern Road. Articles Thursday and on Feb. 1 listed a larger number of houses based on incorrect information from the Hillsborough County City-County Planning Commission.