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The week in review

By Times staff writer

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 24, 2001

PRINCIPALS SWAP JOBS: Hillsborough School Board members Tuesday approved several administrative transfers and appointments to replace retiring principals.

Among them: Carrollwood Principal Joan Bookman was named Citrus Park Elementary principal replacing Carol Conda; Mitchell Elementary Principal Jan King was named Carrollwood Elementary principal; Mort Elementary Principal Darlene Choe was named Bay Crest Elementary principal, replacing retiring Mary Lasris; Lamar Hammer, who retired in 1999, will return as Mort principal; Benito Principal Lewis Brinson was named principal at Blake High School; Hunter's Green Principal Barbara Hancock was named principal of Benito. The board also named director of administration Joe Trumbaugh to a new position to help the district with impending school boundary changes as busing ends.

COUPLE BEATEN AT BUSCH-AREA MOTEL: Ardath Moore stepped out of her motel room Wednesday morning, ready to enjoy a day at Busch Gardens, and said a pleasant "good morning" to the man standing near her door. But he was no fellow tourist. In seconds, the man punched the 77-year-old woman in the eye and shoved her back inside the room. It was the start of a five-minute ordeal in which the robber hit Mrs. Moore and her 79-year-old husband, Kenneth, at least 40 times. He blackened both of Mrs. Moore's eyes and left Kenneth Moore unconscious with fractures to his face and a broken collarbone.

Police said the attack occurred at 7:20 a.m. in room 112 at the Red Roof Inn at 2301 E Busch Blvd. When the beating was over, the robber ran off with $610 in cash and the couple's checkbook. The Moores were taken to Tampa General Hospital. Mrs. Moore received stitches in her upper lip and was released; Mr. Moore was kept at the hospital Wednesday night for observation. Mrs. Moore thinks the robbery was random, and the hotel's general manager said he has never seen a robbery there.

Mr. Moore, 79, was beaten badly enough to require a wheelchair Thursday. Executives of Busch Gardens promised the couple free VIP tours of the park and the Tampa Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau offered free hotel stays and tickets to every tourist attraction in town, although the bruised Mrs. Moore insisted, "We don't want any special treatment."

TEEN SHOT IN ATTEMPTED CAR THEFT: Three Tampa teens had ditched one stolen car Sunday and taken another near the University of South Florida when a deputy saw them and followed, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. In minutes, Deputy Jason Joyner had stopped the 1998 Dodge Stratus and shot the 14-year-old driver. Joyner said he had ordered Orlando Jones to put up his hands. Instead, the youth went for a gun, investigators said. Joyner fired once, striking Jones in the left arm, reports said.

Jones faces charges of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer with a firearm, grand theft auto and aggravated fleeing and eluding. His passengers -- Derrick Isaac, 16, and Demario Jackson, 15 -- also face grand theft auto and trespassing charges.

Just before 11 p.m. Sunday, Joyner responded to a call of suspicious activity in the University Community Hospital parking lot on Fletcher Avenue, near the University of South Florida. Joyner said he followed the teens to Fowler Avenue and Spectrum Boulevard, where he stopped them.

Investigators said that's where Joyner shot Jones. Injured, Jones fled down McKinley Drive at speeds up to 80 mph, deputies said. He crashed into a fence at 40th and Fern streets. The teens were apprehended after a brief chase on foot. Sheriff's Lt. Rod Reder said .38- and .45-caliber pistols were found near the crash scene. The guns had been thrown out by the teens as they fled, he said. Isaac and Jackson were taken to the Juvenile Assessment Center.

The car was reported stolen from AmeriSuites on 30th Street. Police said Isaac and Jackson were charged with an additional count of grand theft auto after they admitted stealing another vehicle they had abandoned in the hospital's parking lot.

Joyner is on administrative leave, pending a review of the incident by the State Attorney's Office.

RUSTY HYDRANTS FAULTED IN TOWN 'N COUNTRY BLAZE: Firefighters tried twice to draw water from privately owned hydrants as flames tore through the Chase Crossing Apartments on W Hillsborough Avenue on June 4. But rust sealed caps on the two hydrants, forcing firefighters to seek water elsewhere and slowing their efforts to douse the blaze that destroyed four apartments and damaged two others. Now Hillsborough County commissioners are seeking an ordinance that would enable the county to fine the owners of private hydrants who fail to maintain them. Commissioners also are asking their attorney to craft language that would subject owners of faulty hydrants to other legal action.

Currently, there are no fines in place to punish owners of private hydrants who don't keep them in working order, said fire Chief Bill Nesmith. Commissioners did not specify yet the amount of the fines or what other penalties could be imposed. But they said they want staff to create a true punishment for the owners who fail to ensure that caps on hydrants are regularly greased and water pressure is maintained.

The June 4 morning fire caused an estimated $400,000 in damage at Chase Crossing. Firefighters ultimately were forced to run 4,000 feet of hose to hydrants outside the complex when they couldn't unscrew the caps inside. No one was injured and the property owner, Camden Property Trust, pledged to check all privately owned hydrants at its other complexes.

Water officials inspect and test the county's 7,500 publicly owned hydrants annually, checking them for water pressure and lubricating the caps when necessary. Fire inspectors also visit the county's many commercial developments and apartment and condominium complexes that own hydrants. But fire officials rely on the owners to perform yearly tests on hydrants.

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