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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff writers

    © St. Petersburg Times, published April 19, 2001


    Judge says no to Web broadcast of execution

    A federal judge in Indiana on Wednesday denied a Tampa company's request to show on the Web live video of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh's execution.

    U.S. District Court Judge John Tinder said the First Amendment did not entitle Entertainment Network Inc., based in Tampa, to broadcast the execution on the Internet. Federal law allows the media to be present at an execution, but does not allow sound- or video-recording devices.

    ENI chief executive David Marshlack said an appeal was planned.

    Manatee protection rules are called excessive

    ST. PETERSBURG -- More than 50 people told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday that more restrictions on boaters and marina developers are unnecessary and go too far in efforts to protect the endangered manatee.

    The agency is recommending new rules, including increased speed zone scrutiny and enforcement where manatees gather. It also suggests that developers give money to manatee conservation groups to get a permit to build marinas and boat slips.

    The final draft of the new rules, which affect the permit process for waterfront developments, must be completed by May 14. Wednesday's public hearing at the Mahaffey Theater is the third the agency has held in three days. It will hold five more hearings.

    Speakers told the committee that manatees in Florida were not on the edge of extinction but rather on the rise.

    "You'll bring this industry to its knees," said Doug Speeler, director of the Florida State Marine Contractors Association.

    New marina restrictions unnecessary, agency told

    ST. PETERSBURG -- More than 50 people told the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wednesday that more restrictions on boaters and marina developers are unnecessary and go too far in efforts to protect the endangered manatee.

    The agency is recommending new rules, including increased speed zone scrutiny and enforcement where manatees gather. It also suggests that developers give money to manatee conservation groups to get a permit to build marinas and boat slips.

    The final draft of the new rules, which affect the permitting process for waterfront developments, must be completed by May 14. Wednesday's public hearing at the Mahaffey Theater is the third the agency has held in three days. It will hold five more hearings in the next five days.

    Speakers told the committee that manatees in Florida were not on the edge of extinction but rather on the rise. More restrictions were not needed, they said.

    More than 30 commercial boaters stood up in support of Doug Speeler, director of the Florida State Marine Contractors Association, who said the federal agency's recommendation "amounts to extortion."

    "You'll bring this industry to its knees," Speeler said. "We're already starting to flounder."

    Jay Slack, project leader of the Fish and Wildlife Service's South Florida field office said the draft will try to forge a "coexistence" between the increasing numbers of manatees and boats. "We want everyone to do as much boating as they want," he said.

    Man shot during home-invasion robbery

    ST. PETERSBURG -- A man was shot during a home-invasion robbery Wednesday afternoon at 49111/2 Fifth Ave. S and was in critical condition at Bayfront Medical Center, police said.

    Police were having trouble identifying the man, and his name wasn't available Wednesday.

    The man was shot once in the upper body shortly before 1:30 p.m. as he was sitting on a bed in the home. Police said two robbers went in the home's front door and demanded money from about six people who were inside.

    Times Publishing fined for violations at plant

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Times Publishing Co. was fined $3,000 by the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for two safety violations at its 34th Street N printing plant, authorities said.

    The citations, issued March 29, center on the shut-down procedures and safety guards on a piece of machinery called a punch press, according to OSHA records. A punch press is used to perforate sheets of metal.

    A third violation, for an instance of inadequate audible and visual fire alarm signals in a noisy area, was noted at the same time, but no fine was levied.

    No one was injured in connection with the cited conditions, which have been corrected, said Jane Peppard, director of organizational development and human resources for the Times.

    The OSHA inspection was the result of a complaint, said Lawrence Falck, OSHA area director. Falck confirmed that the violations had been corrected and that no one had been injured.

    It was cold Wednesday, but was it a record?

    Depending on whose records you believe, the Tampa Bay area broke a cold weather record Wednesday, or it didn't.

    The temperature dropped to 49 degrees early Wednesday morning at Tampa International Airport.

    The National Weather Service says the Tampa Bay area's record low temperature for April 18 is 47 degrees. But that record was set in 1905, long before the area's official temperature was recorded at TIA. Back then, the temperature was recorded at another location in Tampa.

    The Weather Channel only uses the temperature records from TIA, so it listed the local cold-weather record as 50 degrees for April 18. Wednesday broke that record.

    The National Weather Service and the Weather Channel also list different cold weather records for today. The government says the local record for April 19 is 49 degrees, while the Weather Channel says it's 50 degrees.

    It probably won't matter. The forecast for this morning called for temperatures to drop to about 45.

    Largo, Pinellas Park haggle over costs

    LARGO -- City Commissioners are taking the unusual step of seeking a meeting with their counterparts in Pinellas Park to resolve a dispute about the price of three lift stations Largo wants to buy from Pinellas Park.

    Largo commissioners approved the purchase of the lift stations in January for $225,000. But an firm hired by Largo said the stations, which pump wastewater, need $168,000 worth of repairs. Bill LeVan, Pinellas Park's sewer director, disputed the costs.

    "He did not disagree with the findings of the report," said Steve Ross, Largo's assistant to the city manager, who had handled much of the discussions with Pinellas Park. "He had concerns with the cost."

    Largo plans to offer an alternative: The city will buy the lift stations for $57,000 and pay for the repairs.

    Pinellas Park City Manager Jerry Mudd said he will discuss the offer with council members there.

    Concerned that Pinellas Park officials may not accept Largo's offer, Largo commissioners agreed to meet with the Pinellas Park City Council on May 31.

    Hand recount fails to resolve election tie

    DADE CITY -- The winner of the remaining open seat on the Port Richey City Council will certainly have one thing going for him: luck.

    The ballots were counted again Wednesday morning, more than a week after voters went to the polls, and Bill Bennett and Dale Massad again are tied. The vote was certified by the Pasco County Canvassing Board after the hand recount, setting up a situation no one can remember happening in Pasco recently: drawing lots to resolve an election. A coin flip, drawn straws or a name from a hat will decide who the fifth council member will be.

    City Clerk Shirley Dresch said the random winner will be decided on Tuesday.

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