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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff writers

    © St. Petersburg Times, published May 1, 2001

    Man shot during dispute over card game

    ST. PETERSBURG -- A man who was shot over a dispute in a card game was in fair condition Monday at Bayfront Medical Center.

    Devonsha J. Hunt, 26, was shot at least three times outside 414 26th St. S about 8:20 p.m. Saturday, said St. Petersburg police spokesman George Kajtsa.

    Hunt, of 2944 Emerson Ave. S, was accused of cheating by the suspected shooter, Kajtsa said. Police are unsure what card game Hunt and the suspect were playing or whether money was involved.

    The suspect, who fled the scene on foot, was still at large late Monday, Kajtsa said. His identity was not revealed.

    DJ enters not guilty plea in animal cruelty case

    TAMPA -- Radio shock jock Bubba the Love Sponge Clem sent his lawyer to court Monday to formally plead not guilty to animal cruelty charges.

    Prosecutors charged Clem, a radio personality for WXTB-97.9 FM, with a third-degree felony in connection with the castration and slaughter of a wild boar in the station's parking lot in February.

    Attorney Norman Cannella Sr. entered the plea for Clem, 35. If convicted, Clem could face five years in prison.

    Blaze destroys home; mother, sons unharmed

    June McGinley stood across the dirt road, watching in disbelief as firefighters extinguished the last of the flames that destroyed her white concrete block home Monday morning.

    In the back seat of her Dodge Shadow sat her two sons, Christopher, 2, and Richard, 3. They wore plastic firefighter's hats given to them by fire investigators.

    Investigators said the blaze at 19846 Alabama Road in Darby started when one of the boys lit a set of curtains on fire while playing in the living room.

    Pasco County Fire Rescue Chief Cynthia O'Neal said, "They were playing with an igniter, like what you would use for a gas grill, except much larger. It's a total loss for the whole house."

    Neither McGinley nor her two sons were injured. The father, Richard McGinley, was at work when the fire started just before 9:30 a.m.

    Firefighters had it under control by 10:03 a.m., O'Neal said.

    McGinley said the house was insured. She said her family would stay with her mother.

    Local education programs could be national models

    LARGO -- If the Pinellas County School Board approves, the educational concepts of Enterprise Village and Finance Park would be taken nationwide.

    Since last June, talks have been going on between the Gus A. Stavros Institute, which houses Enterprise Village and Finance Park in Largo, and the national Junior Achievement organization based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

    "We've been working with Junior Achievement to put together a national curriculum based on Enterprise Village and Finance Park," said Keith M. Gall, Stavros Institute director. "We would be looking at some type of a licensing agreement."

    Under the concept, Junior Achievement would create programs patterned after the local projects, which teach students real-life skills such as shopping and budgeting, across the country.

    Although talks continue and the project has the approval of the national Junior Achievement board, Gall emphasized that the joint project has not been approved yet by the School Board.

    Woman declared mentally fit for trial

    TAMPA -- A Carrollwood woman accused of committing several acts of vandalism against her neighbors in the past several years was declared mentally fit to stand trial on felony charges she is facing.

    Xochitl Lourdes Frank, 36, is charged with burglarizing the office where her husband, Dr. Pier Frank, once worked, and commiting a robbery while allegedly trying to steal $369 worth of cosmetics from Albertsons.

    Her trial is set for July 23.

    Mrs. Frank, jailed since she was arrested in March, was released Monday by Judge William Fuente.

    In March, Mrs. Frank was arrested for throwing a rock through one of her neighbor's windows in the Carrollwood Village subdivision. After that incident, Fuente revoked her bail and ordered her to undergo a competency evaluation while in jail.

    SIDS, not mom, cited in infant's death

    Heather Malicoate lived with the guilt since the morning she awoke in December to find her 2 1/2-month-old son, Brandon, dead in her arms. Investigators said it was likely she had accidentally smothered the infant in her sleep while they cuddled one night on the couch in their Hernando County home.

    "I knew in my heart that Brandon would not blame me for whatever happened, but I still felt it was my fault," Malicoate said Monday.

    According to medical examiner reports, the child did not die of suffocation. He died of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS.

    The police investigation into the boy's death has been closed. No signs of injury were found nor did toxicology reports show any drugs in his system, medical examiner officials said.

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