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  • From the state wire

  • Hurricane Jeanne appears on track to hit Florida's east coast
  • Rumor mill working overtime after Florida hurricanes
  • Developments associated with Hurricanes Ivan and Jeanne
  • Four killed in Panhandle plane crash were on Ivan charity mission
  • Hurricane Frances caused estimated $4.4 billion in insured damage
  • Disabled want more handicapped-accessible voting machines
  • USF forces administrators to resign over test score changes
  • Man's death at Universal Studios ruled accidental
  • State child welfare workers in Miami fail to do background checks
  • Hurricane Jeanne heads toward southeast U.S. coast
  • Hurricane Jeanne spurs more anxiety for storm-weary Floridians
  • Mistrial declared in case where teen was target of racial "joke"
  • Panhandle utility wants sewer plant moved to higher ground
  • State employee arrested on theft, bribery charges
  • Homestead house fire kills four children, one adult
  • Pierson leader tries to cut off relief to local fern cutters
  • Florida's high court rules Terri's law unconstitutional
  • Jacksonville students punished for putting stripper pole in dorm
  • FEMA handling nearly 600,000 applications for help
  • Man who killed wife, niece, self also killed mother in 1971
  • Producer sues city over lead ball fired by Miami police
  • Tourism suffers across Florida after pummeling by hurricanes
  • Key dates in the life of Terri Schiavo
  • An excerpt from the unanimous ruling in the Schiavo case
  • Four confirmed dead after small plane crash in Panhandle
  • Correction: Disney-Cruise Line story
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    State briefs

    By Compiled from Times wires

    © St. Petersburg Times, published August 19, 2000


    Volunteer coach convicted of molesting student

    VIERA -- A volunteer high school baseball coach was convicted of sexually molesting one of his male students.

    Dana Peacock, 45, was convicted Thursday of five counts of lewd and lascivious acts on a child and two counts of committing a sex act on a minor. He could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 2.

    Peacock was a volunteer assistant baseball coach at Merritt Island High School in Brevard County when he sought out the friendship of his 15-year-old victim, prosecutors said.

    He originally was charged in 1997 with 35 counts of sexual abuse on five boys whom he knew through the coaching job and as owner of a local skating rink. Two cases have been dismissed, and he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor interfering with a witness in two other cases.

    Big jackpot means more money, more temptation

    TALLAHASSEE -- Florida's $50-million Lotto jackpot today is creating more activity at retailers statewide and more temptation for gambling addicts.

    "This is a significant problem in our state," said Pat Fowler, executive director of the Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling Inc. She estimates up to 4 percent of Florida's adults are addicted to gambling.

    While the state advertises a toll-free telephone number for gambling addicts who need counseling, it also provides more machines across the state to help take their money whenever the Lotto jackpot grows as high as it is now.

    "Any time a jackpot goes over $50-million, they roll out these second terminals," lottery spokesman Leo DiBenigno said Friday. "We'll probably sell about 20,000 tickets a minute statewide between 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday."

    The Florida Lotto jackpot has reached $50-million for the fifth time since February.

    House of worship to open in Disney community

    CELEBRATION -- The first church in this planned community built by the Walt Disney Co. opens Sunday for services.

    The 21,000-square-foot Community Presbyterian Church is a high-tech house of worship with 32 channels of sound and 73 channels of lighting, plus a high-speed Internet connection with eight workstations.

    Until this week, the congregation had been meeting at a movie theater. The congregation has about 300 adult members, a third of whom come from outside Celebration to worship.

    The $3-million structure on Celebration Avenue was built with a $300,000 gift from Dorothy Puder, a niece of Walt and Roy Disney, and her husband, Glenn, a retired Presbyterian minister, who live in Bakersfield, Calif.

    The structure includes a steeple with a 126-year-old bell salvaged from a rural church in Iowa.

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    From the Times state desk