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    Tampa Bay briefs

    By Times staff reports

    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published October 13, 2001

    Pinellas chooses new administrator

    After a year without a county administrator, months of searching and hours interviewing four finalists, Pinellas County commissioners took less than five minutes Friday to choose a Miami-Dade County official to run the county.

    Steve Spratt, an assistant county manager in Miami-Dade County, agreed to take the Pinellas job for his current salary, $171,826. Although the final contract is still to be worked out, commissioners are expected to approve the agreement Tuesday. Spratt would start work Dec. 3.

    "When it all started, he wasn't at the top of my list, but he worked his way to the top," said Commissioner Bob Stewart. "Spratt seemed to have the broadest base of experience for the job and for the challenges we face."

    Spratt, 46, has spent his entire career working in Miami-Dade. He now supervises transportation agencies, including Miami International Airport and the seaport, as one of eight assistant managers. He spent four years as director of the county's $5-billion budget and has overseen several other county departments.

    Spratt returned to Miami on Thursday but spoke to commissioners, Lancaster and some other top staff members Friday.

    "This is an exciting opportunity, and I'm thrilled," he said.

    Rooster Parade to return Sunday

    Five years later, Tommy Stephens, 57, still mourns for his beloved pet rooster.

    James E. Rooster met his maker in the mouth of a vagabond dog. Not a good way to go, even for a rooster.

    Gone, yes, but hardly forgotten.

    On Sunday, Stephens has organized another tongue-in-cheek memorial service honoring his beloved bird.

    The fifth annual Rooster Parade started off as a small New Orleans-style funeral procession involving 50 of Stephens' closest friends. It has now spread by word of mouth to involve many others -- anyone who wants to join them, actually.

    A few marchers will don rooster hats and feathers, but most will dress in funeral garb. Instead of walking chickens on leashes, some will walk dogs.

    Because of some permitting conflicts, past and present, the parade's theme is twofold: memorial service for a late rooster and a Say No to Drugs neighborhood march.

    The parade kicks off at 3 p.m. along Seventh Avenue at 19th Street.

    Time Warner Cable adds channels for women

    TAMPA -- Time Warner Cable has made a few changes to its lineup, including the introduction of two new channels geared toward women.

    Oxygen, which can be found on 44, and WE, located at 69, made debuts on Sept. 30.

    Also, the cable company quietly made changes to its adult programming. SPICE and SPICE2 are now on channels 398 and 399. And analog customers can no longer order the Playboy channel through pay-per-view. They must upgrade their cable to digital service to order Playboy.

    Tests find Red Tide not making way north

    ST. PETERSBURG -- Samples from the waters off northern Pinellas County show that the organism that causes Red Tide has not made it any farther north than Redington Beach, authorities said Friday.

    Samples from Tarpon Springs, Dunedin Causeway, Honeymoon Island, Clearwater Pass Bridge and Pier 60 in Clearwater all tested negative for the algae bloom, said Earnest Truby, a research scientist for Florida Marine Research Institute in St. Petersburg.

    The sample from Redington Pier showed a low concentration, he said.

    Red Tide is an algae bloom that kills fish and can cause respiratory irritation in people. The bloom that has lingered off south Pinellas County is believed to have gotten its start off Charlotte County more than a month ago.

    Judge's misconduct trial will proceed

    TAMPA -- The Florida Supreme Court refused Friday to grant a request by Hillsborough Circuit Judge Cynthia Holloway to delay her trial on misconduct charges and force a settlement.

    The decision means Holloway will be expected to appear for trial Monday before the Judicial Qualifications Commission on charges she interfered in court proceedings for friends and family, and in one case lied during a deposition.

    In court papers filed Friday, Holloway claimed JQC chairman Judge James Wolf had agreed to a settlement, but that a JQC investigative panel acted without the proper authority and rejected it.

    In court papers, JQC special counsel Lauri Ross called Holloway's argument "a last-ditch effort to thwart this trial from going forward."

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