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Around the state

By Times staff and wire reports

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 16, 2000


Fast-train backer posts a schedule

Lakeland businessman C.C. Dockery, who led the successful effort for an amendment to the state Constitution requiring construction of a high-speed rail line, isn't waiting for the Legislature to step up and take the initiative.

Dockery submitted his own draft bill Friday to the governor, Cabinet and members of the Legislature. Among other things, the bill directs that the first segment of the line, to be started no later than Nov. 1, 2003, connect the Tampa Bay area with Lakeland/Winter Haven and greater Orlando.

Future segments would connect the cities of Port Canaveral/Cocoa Beach, Fort Pierce, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Daytona Beach, St. Augustine, Jacksonville, Fort Myers/Naples, Sarasota/Bradenton, Gainesville/Ocala, Tallahassee and Pensacola.

The bill would create a Florida High Speed Rail Authority to develop the system, which would be paid for by revenue bonds and would eventually connect the state's five largest urban areas.

Voters approved the amendment Nov. 7.

Pensacola will get fluoridated water

PENSACOLA -- This city will become the last Florida metropolitan area to fluoridate its drinking water after the Escambia County Utilities Authority reversed itself and voted to add the cavity-fighting chemical.

The board, responding to some residents' health concerns, voted last week to scuttle the $1.5-million fluoridation program, but on Thursday revived it. Fluoride will be added to the water within nine months. The state will provide a third of the funding.

The proposal passed 3-2 after newly elected board member Logan Fink changed his vote, saying he had researched the issue since last week and decided, "We have to support it."

About 70 percent of the country drinks fluoridated water, which helps prevent cavities, primarily in children.

Plane victims were experienced fliers

FORT LAUDERDALE -- One of two men killed in the crash of a small stunt plane in the Florida Everglades on Thursday was an American Airlines pilot who flew a Boeing 777 jumbo jet.

Alan Byrd of Weston, who was a first officer for American, also was a seasoned aerobatic flier. The other victim, James L. Murphy of Fort Lauderdale, who owned the red and white biplane, was licensed as a private plane and glider pilot.

The two were unable to control the stunt plane through an apparent spin that ended in the nose-first crash, north of Interstate 75 near U.S. 27.

It wasn't known which man was at the controls of the biplane. Broward County rescue workers who reached the scene by airboat found both men dead outside the aircraft.

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