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Tampa Bay briefs

By Compiled from Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published September 30, 2000


Cabbie says more than one person attacked him

ST. PETERSBURG -- A cab driver who was shot and beaten Tuesday night is on the road to recovery and has told investigators that more than one person robbed him, police said Friday.

Police still have no suspects in the case but are combing the Childs Park neighborhood for information.

Gary Taviere, 28, was attacked about 10:45 p.m. Tuesday by two or more passengers in his Blue Star cab at Sixth Avenue S and 44th Street. Taviere got out of the cab, but the robbers chased him down and shot him at least twice. Taviere is in serious condition at Bayfront Medical Center.

Anyone with information was asked to call St. Petersburg police Detective Ron Noodwang at (727) 892-5545.

Worker riding atop truck killed as he hits bridge

A 32-year-old Greek man who came to Tarpon Springs to work was killed while riding atop a truck in South Carolina on Wednesday morning.

Grigorios Houllis, who was engaged to be married to a woman in Greece, died when his head struck a concrete overpass.

Houllis was an employee of Global Construction in Tarpon Springs, which paints and services bridges and overpasses.

Houllis was riding on the back of a flatbed trailer, sitting atop several pallets with a co-worker, while the truck was going 55 mph on Interstate 26 in Orangeburg, S.C. He was facing backward and never saw the overpass, the highway patrol said.

Man who set himself on fire in critical condition

ST. PETERSBURG -- A 27-year-old man set himself on fire early Friday morning by dousing his body in kerosene and then lighting a match. Police found Slavisa Didovic outside his home, 812 44th Ave. N, about 6 a.m., said Officer Chip Wells. Didovic was lying on the ground. Two family members sprayed him with a garden hose to extinguish the flames. Didovic was taken to Tampa General Hospital, where he remained in critical condition in the burn unit Friday night. Police have not been able to speak with Didovic.

Community officers get a good review

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Police Department's third goal-setting retreat ended as a love fest Friday:

Citizen complaints against officers are down.

Community police officers are here to stay. In fact, Disston Heights will get an extra one.

Once a vocal critic, the president of the Council of Neighborhood Associations is happy with the department's work.

"These neighborhoods out there think you guys are great," Jimmy Biggerstaff, the council president, told the gathering of about 80 officers, residents and community group representatives in the downtown Bayfront Center.

They met Thursday and Friday to plot the Police Department's course. Chief Goliath Davis III invited them to this third retreat for input on what, if any, changes should be made to staffing and policies.

Cancer survivor Ellerbee to speak at fundraiser

TAMPA -- Journalist, author, television producer and cancer survivor Linda Ellerbee comes to town next week to speak about breast cancer. Ellerbee will be the featured speaker Monday at a fundraising luncheon for the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation. Money raised by the event will be used to develop a new breast center at St. Joseph's Women's Hospital.

Diagnosed in February 1992, Ellerbee will talk about her life since then and about what women can do if they get breast cancer. Ellerbee underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy, but not before researching doctors and treatments. She recommends every woman take the same careful approach and says women don't need to panic if breast cancer is discovered. "You have time to visit more than one doctor, get more than one opinion, read, talk about options for treatment," she said.

Ellerbee will speak at a luncheon at the Hyatt Regency Westshore. For information, call the St. Joseph's Hospital Foundation at (813) 872-5645.

Woman attacked by raccoons gets rabies shots

ST. PETERSBURG -- A woman is getting rabies shots after being bitten by one or more raccoons while walking her dog late at night earlier this week.

The woman was bitten about 2 a.m. Tuesday after running into three raccoons at the West Port Colony Apartments, 190 112th Ave. N in St. Petersburg. Authorities don't know whether the raccoons were rabid or why they attacked.

"We don't know if they were going after the dog, or if it was a mother and her babies, or if it was a conflict over food," said Dr. Welch Agnew, assistant director of veterinary services for Pinellas County Animal Services. "Maybe she was in the way of their food, or they were mad because they weren't getting fed."

"They'll usually run from you. If they don't, just leave them be."

Animal Services set out four traps to try to catch the raccoons.

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