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Florida in brief

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 15, 2001


Finalists selected for U.S. marshal positions

Finalists selected for U.S. marshal positions

A committee reviewing applications of more than 200 people who want to serve as U.S. marshals in Florida has narrowed the list to finalists who will be interviewed in Orlando on Jan. 7 and 8.

Finalists for the Middle District, which includes the Tampa Bay area, Orlando and Jacksonville, are former Citrus County Sheriff Charles Dean; David Adkins, Seffner; Wyllie Hodges, Jacksonville; Thomas Hurlburt, Mount Dora; Robert Pastula, Fort Myers; Laurence Spates, Jacksonville; and Charles Hudson, an investigator for Hillsborough State Attorney Mark Ober. Hudson is married to U.S. Magistrate Elizabeth Jenkins.

Finalists for the Northern District, which includes Gainesville, Tallahassee and Pensacola, include Dennis Williamson, deputy commissioner at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement; incumbent U.S. Marshal James Lockley; Leslie Moe; and Gerald Bailey, all of Tallahassee.

Finalists in the Southern District include Doyle Jourdan, director of the FDLE's Miami office; Shawn Conboy, Cooper City; James Goldman, Weston; and Gwen Boyd and Miguel Lopez, Miami Lakes.

Three candidates will be considered for all three districts. They are Richard Adams, Carmel, Ind.; Erik Richmond, Smyrna, Ga.; and Michael Roy, Miramar.

The committee, headed by FDLE Director James T. "Tim" Moore, will recommend names for selection by President Bush.

House fire kills two men; mother, son badly burned

BRADENTON -- A fire apparently sparked by food left cooking on a stove killed two men and severely burned a woman and her teenage son early Friday.

The four apparently were asleep in the east Bradenton home when the fire erupted about 3 a.m., fire officials said.

Only Faye Tetrick, 46, and her son Daniel, 18, got out alive. She was listed in fair condition and her son was in critical condition at Tampa General Hospital.

Authorities had not identified the badly burned bodies of the men late Friday, but one was Terry Keckler, 46, said his brother, Tim Keckler. He said Terry Keckler and Tetrick had been together for more than 10 years.

Keckler was as a supervisor with a concrete company in Apollo Beach.

A neighbor, Bill Ratliff, 52, said his barking dog awoke him and he saw flames shooting out of the back of the house. He said he ran to it as the woman and son ran out screaming for help. Ratcliff said he also heard someone inside yelling and tried to enter the house, but got only about 4 feet inside before heat and smoke forced him back.

There was no smoke detector in the house, Southern Manatee Fire Chief Tom Hennessy said.

Students protesting cut in class periods arrested

DELTONA -- Authorities arrested 20 high school students Friday during a noisy protest over budget cutbacks in their school district.

Pine Ridge High School principal Kevin Tucker said he offered the students alternatives to protest if they wanted their voices heard. But when some students began shouting obscenities and running through the halls, authorities had to act, he said.

"The first priority is for the administration to establish a safe and orderly atmosphere," Tucker said.

It was the third protest in Volusia County this week since the district decided to move to a six-period class schedule in August instead of seven. Two other high schools were hit with walkouts, but those ended without incident.

Volusia, on the central Atlantic coast, expects to save $1.5-million to $2-million by going to a six-period day, because fewer teachers will be needed.

The protest at Pine Ridge began when about 300 students refused to go back to class when the bell rang for second period, Sheriff's Office spokesman Gary Davidson said. After the disruptive response to Tucker's appeal, authorities arrested "a small core group that was being willfully disobedient," Davidson said.

$29.7-million buys land for Everglades restoration

WEST PALM BEACH -- Water managers agreed to pay $29.7-million for land to make into a pollution-capturing reservoir as part of the multibillion-dollar Everglades restoration plan.

The South Florida Water Management District board voted Thursday to purchase 13,186 acres in north Martin County.

They plan to make the land part of a 48,000-acre chain of reservoirs and natural marshes that would capture rain runoff and clean water flowing into the St. Lucie River and the Indian River Lagoon, as well as store up to 114-billion gallons of water to protect against shortages.

The state and federal government are sharing the $7.8-billion cost of the Everglades restoration.

Airline pilot to command state's Air National Guard

JACKSONVILLE -- Emmett Titshaw, a Delta Air Lines pilot, was appointed commander of the Florida Air National Guard.

Titshaw, a brigadier general, will command 26 units comprising about 2,000 people. The Florida Air National Guard is based at Jacksonville.

Titshaw had served as chief of staff of the Florida Air National Guard for more than four years.

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