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Fire damages Stamas Yacht

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 24, 2000


TARPON SPRINGS -- A two-alarm fire Tuesday night caused about $100,000 worth of damage at Stamas Yacht Inc., a 50-year-old business that builds pleasure boats.

The fire broke out shortly before 10:30 at the business at 300 Pampas Ave., about a half-mile south of the Sponge Docks. The business has several buildings, but the fire was confined to the woodworking building, said Kevin Bowman, a deputy chief with the Tarpon Springs Fire Department.

The cause of the fire was under investigation, Bowman said. Firefighters from both Tarpon Springs fire stations were called to extinguish the blaze, and they had it under control before midnight.

General manager Jim Williams said, "We're very fortunate. We'll be in here working tomorrow."

Stamas Yacht was established in 1950 by brothers Peter G. and Nicholas G. Stamas. It is still owned by the family. The company designs and builds recreational power boats.

Fake bomb triggers evacuation

BRANDON -- About 40 homes were evacuated Tuesday morning after a county worker found a 2-foot-long PVC pipe with wires attached to a battery.

Nearly six hours later, a Hillsborough Sheriff's Office bomb squad concluded the pipe was not a bomb -- just something made to look like one.

Robert Helms, a 12-year employee of the county's water department, discovered the device while working in the dried-up retention pond behind the 800 block of Windsor Circle.

He called 911 at 9:44 a.m.

Homes were evacuated and nearby Limona Elementary School moved about 150 students into the media center and cafeteria as a precaution.

Limona students who normally walk or ride their bicycles had to take a bus or wait for their parents to pick them up.

Investigators don't know who built the fake bomb or why. Neither did neighbors such as 50-year-old Jean Hiller.

"All the kids in the neighborhood, we know them, we've never had a problem from them," Hiller said. "Who would think of making something like that?"

USF wins grant in sex disease fight

TAMPA -- The University of South Florida has been designated as the federal government's Southeastern education center for sexually transmitted diseases, and it has received a $1.5-million grant to go with it.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named USF the new Southeastern STD/HIV Prevention Training Center, replacing the University of Alabama at Birmingham. It is one of 10 regional centers in the nation.

The corresponding grant will allow USF to extend its training program for doctors, nurses, case workers and other public health officials in seven Southeastern states over the next five years.

Florida's STD Prevention Training Center was established in 1988 by USF's Division of Infectious Diseases, the Florida Department of Health and the Hillsborough County Public Health Unit.

At the time, Florida had the nation's highest rate of syphilis, which since has dropped from 64 cases per 100,000 people to two. The state now has the lowest rate in the South.

The center also has trained nearly 6,000 health practitioners across the state on how to diagnose and treat syphilis, gonorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease, genital herpes, AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Police: Stockbroker death a suicide

PINELLAS PARK -- A man whose body was discovered in a trash bin on U.S. 19 shot himself in the head, police said Tuesday.

Kenneth B. Mooney, a 28-year-old stockbroker, was found Monday by lawn workers at Scott Buick on U.S. 19. The revolver was still in his hand, said Sgt. Sandy Forseth, Pinellas Park police spokesman.

"It's a suicide," Forseth said.

Mooney, who worked for Sterling Enterprises, had been reported missing by his sister after not showing up for work Monday, police said.

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