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Around the state

By Times staff reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 13, 2000

Two new regents may serve shortened terms

Gov. Jeb Bush has appointed two new members to the state Board of Regents, a panel slated to go out of existence no later than 2003.

One is Richard A. "Dick" Beard III, a prominent Tampa developer. His consulting company, R.A. Beard Co., reviews projects from all over the world.

Beard, 56, will replace Gwen McLin, a writer and teacher from Okahumpka, near Leesburg.

The other appointee is Carolyn Roberts, an Ocala real estate agent who is a regents veteran, having served on the board from 1989 through 1995. She will replace C.B. Daniel, a Gainesville banker.

Both appointments are subject to approval by the state Cabinet and the Florida Senate.

The new members are not likely to serve very long. A state-mandated overhaul of Florida's education system is expected to eliminate the regents, perhaps as early as next year. The board's duties would then be split between a seven-member state board of education and boards of trustees at each of Florida's 10 state universities.

Plane in trouble lands in field; pilot walks away

PLANT CITY -- A St. Pete Beach man escaped injury Tuesday when he landed a single-engine plane in a field off Midway Road.

Donald S. Thomasson, 54, walked away from the slightly damaged, 43-year-old Cessna 182. The plane's landing gear was damaged when Thomasson struck a fence in the field.

Hillsborough sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Rod Reder said Thomasson first attempted a landing at Lakeland Linder Regional Airport, but his engine stalled. Thomasson managed to guide the plane a few miles west into Hillsborough, where he landed about 1:45 p.m.

Reder said the Cessna was owned by the Tampa Bay Soaring Society in Zephyrhills, where Thomasson took off.

The Federal Aviation Authority will investigate.

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