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Outgoing college president will give up 2001 salary

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 29, 2000


ST. PETERSBURG -- Peter Armacost, who is leaving after 23 years as president of Eckerd College, has agreed not to take his scheduled $189,000 salary as president emeritus next year, said the chairman of Eckerd's board of trustees, Arthur J. Ranson III.

Armacost will receive payment, however, beginning in 2002, Ranson said Wednesday. He said the decision was Armacost's, and he assumed it was made to grant the college more flexibility as it tries to shore up its finances. Armacost's sudden retirement came after trustees learned that more than $21-million of the college's small endowment was spent without their knowledge on college projects and operating expenses. They are now trying to replenish the endowment.

Armacost did not return calls for comment Wednesday.

An executive committee of the trustees met on campus Wednesday, but Ranson would not discuss what occurred.

Released sex offender arrested for groping women

ST. PETE BEACH -- Anthony E. Townsend is a registered sexual predator who got out of prison early. On Wednesday, six weeks after he was released, St. Pete Beach police arrested him on charges of groping young women on the beach.

Townsend, of 443 Fourth Ave. N, No. 333, St. Petersburg, was charged with lewd and lascivious behavior in the presence of a child, resisting a police officer without violence, and two counts of felony battery.

Police said Townsend had been approaching women on the beach Wednesday, grabbing at them and trying to kiss them. Police said he grabbed the breast of a girl under 16.

Townsend had previously been convicted of lewd and lascivious behavior with a child after he was charged with four counts of fondling a child, according to Pinellas court records.

In January 1997, he was sentenced to 41/2 years in prison. He was released from prison May 19.

Authorities identify man killed in four-car crash

ST. PETERSBURG -- Authorities have identified the man killed Tuesday in a four-car crash on Interstate 275 as 78-year-old John Cleveland Presley of 2056 68th Ter. S in St. Petersburg.

Five other people were seriously injured in the 4:20 p.m. accident on I-275 between Roosevelt and Gandy boulevards.

The Florida Highway Patrol says a 1999 Ford Mustang driven by Regina Serrago, 41, of Patchogue, N.Y., was headed south on the interstate when it veered across the median into the northbound lanes.

There, it ran head on into a 2000 Buick driven by Ruth Huldtquist, 75, of 9200 Park Blvd. in Seminole. Presley, who died later at Bayfront Medical Center, was a passenger in the Buick.

Those two cars then collided with two more cars: a 1996 Ford driven by Heather Dawn Coe, 21, of 6629 Orchard Drive N, St. Petersburg; and a 1984 Buick driven by Jozef Solowczuk, 45, of 3404 Truman Drive, Holiday. The Buick also was carrying a passenger, 31-year-old Tony Young of 411 30th St. S in St. Petersburg.

Serrago, Huldtquist, Coe, Solowczuk and Young all sustained serious injuries. They were airlifted to Bayfront and to Tampa General Hospital.

No charges have been filed. The FHP is investigating the accident.

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