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    Week in review

    Compiled by SHARON KENNEDY WYNNE

    © St. Petersburg Times, published December 3, 2000


    Recount plea is too late, board rules

    BROOKSVILLE -- All this talk of hanging chads and recounts had one former Hernando County School Board candidate wondering if his 1990 race might have turned out differently if he had challenged the count.

    But the key evidence -- the ballots -- lay shredded and buried somewhere in a landfill.

    That was just one of the reasons Hernando County's Canvassing Board rejected former School Board candidate Mike Frazier's request last week to recount the votes.

    Another reason was simple math.

    There were 11,138 ballots cast in the 1990 Democratic primary. Nancy Gordon, who won the primary and who served until 1994 on the School Board, received 6,945 votes. Frazier received 3,318 votes. There were another 875 votes that were not marked, marked for both candidates or not read by the machine.

    Even if all 875 disallowed votes had been given to Frazier, County Judge Peyton Hyslop reasoned, it would not have affected the outcome.

    City manager joins long line of ousted officials

    CRYSTAL RIVER -- When David Sallee won the job as Crystal River city manager, he had the mistaken impression from the city's own ad that it had employed two managers since 1985.

    After getting the job and learning the truth -- that Sallee, 60, is the seventh manager in the past decade in addition to the five interim managers during that period -- Sallee said he knew better than to purchase a house.

    That turned out to have been prescient.

    With little explanation and against considerable public sentiment, the City Council voted Monday not to renew Sallee's two-year contract, which expires in June.

    Ray Wallace, one the three council members who voted against Sallee, held his real estate decision against him, noting that Sallee rents and questioned his dedication.

    "I haven't seen him show that effort that he wants to be part of this city."

    Tampa Bay quest for Olympics finally detailed

    TAMPA -- Representatives of Florida 2012 pulled back the curtain on Olympic plans last week, revealing a vision that would cost more than $700-million.

    As expected, the local group trying to bring the Olympics to Florida proposed a 110,000-seat Olympic stadium to replace Central Park Village, a deteriorating housing complex.

    The group also proposed building an Olympic Village on the site of what is now North Boulevard Homes and Mary Bethune Hi-Rise, two other old public housing complexes. Florida 2012 officials also announced hopes of buying Tampa Park, a housing development between downtown and Ybor City, and converting it to park space.

    The stadium would cost $270-million and would be turned over to the University of South Florida's football team.

    The massive renewal plan that would include the Olympic Village could cost $500-million, Florida 2012 president Ed Turanchik said.

    Seven other cities are joining Tampa in the bidding to become the U.S. candidate in the international competition to host the games.

    Manatee count reaches a record in Citrus waters

    CRYSTAL RIVER -- A federal biologist on Tuesday found a record number of manatees in Citrus County waterways, a favored winter home of the endangered sea cows.

    Joyce Kleen, who counts manatees for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, found 383 manatees in an aerial review. The previous record, from December 1997, was 369.

    As Gulf temperatures cool below 70 degrees, manatees head inland to enjoy the warmer waters found in Citrus rivers and canals.

    While the numbers and the food supply look good, last year was also record-setting for manatee deaths, with 82 killed by watercraft.

    Water regulators may consider outdoor water ban

    BROOKSVILLE -- Faced with an ongoing two-year drought, regional water regulators are preparing a recommendation that would ban most outdoor uses of water -- probably lawn watering, car washing and swimming pool filling.

    They also are considering fines on businesses, ranches, farms, homeowners associations and public utilities that systematically violate permits for pumping ground water.

    The dual steps, disclosed Tuesday, signal just how serious the rain deficit has become. Since June, the deficit has grown from 12 to 16 inches. The National Weather Service forecasts drier than normal weather for the next three months. And winter visitors are returning to put an even greater strain on the region's resources.

    It would take the threat of almost certain disaster for elected public officials to agree to take the unpopular step of banning all outdoor watering. But if Swiftmud decides it is necessary, and local governments won't take the necessary steps, the agency would impose its will, said Linda McBride, Swiftmud's communications director.

    Ceremony on Feb. 3 will give parkway the green light

    LAND O'LAKES -- With the presidential inauguration and the Super Bowl dominating the last two weekends in January, the grand opening of the Suncoast Parkway must bide its time until February.

    After 2 1/2 years of construction, the Florida Department of Transportation will host a ceremonial ribbon cutting for the $500-million, three-county toll road on Feb. 3.

    The next day, the first 32 miles of the parkway, through northern Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando counties, will officially open to traffic.

    The last 10 miles, from State Road 50 in Hernando to U.S. 98 near the Citrus County line, won't open until summer.

    The Turnpike Commission had to ditch its long-touted January opening in the face of calendar conflicts at the start of the new year.

    Coming up this week

    Two death row inmates are scheduled to die this week. Edward Castro is scheduled to die Thursday at 6 p.m. Castro, 50, is on death row for a murder he committed in Ocala days after killing 50-year-old George Larry Hill in his St. Petersburg home in January 1987. Hill was a St. Petersburg interior designer. And Robert Dewey Glock II, who kidnapped a woman in Bradenton and killed her in Dade City, is scheduled to die Friday at 6 p.m.

    Florida legislators likely are to be summoned to Tallahassee this week -- three months earlier than expected -- to name the state's delegates to the Electoral College, despite howls of protest from Democrats. Florida's 25 electoral votes will decide whether George W. Bush or Al Gore ultimately wins Florida and the White House.

    Just as manatees are swarming into the warm waters of Crystal River and Kings Bay, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will hold a meeting from 7 to 9 p.m. Monday to seek community input concerning possible strengthening of manatee protection rules. The meeting will be at the Plantation Inn on U.S. 19 in Crystal River.

    A task force working on details of the demise of the state Board of Regents will hash over that and a lot of other changes in mind for Florida's 10 public universities. The task force meets Tuesday and Wednesday in Miami, but may not take a vote as planned if there is a special session of the Legislature because several members of the task force are state lawmakers and would be in Tallahassee.

    - Compiled by Times staff writer Sharon Kennedy Wynne

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