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Tampa Bay briefs

By Times staff writers

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 23, 2000


Tampa lawyer named to FAA commission

TAMPA -- It took six months, but Tampa lawyer Arthenia Joyner finally has her seat on the Federal Aviation Administration's Management Advisory Commission, which provides the FAA administrator with suggestions on management, policy, spending and regulatory matters affecting the aviation industry.

Joyner, a member of the board of the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority from 1991 to 1999, was nominated to the federal post by President Clinton on July 1. She went through Senate confirmation, but with Congress' race to adjourn, Joyner's was one of many nominations never put to a vote.

So Clinton made a recess appointment, which does not require Senate approval but limits Joyner's tenure on the commission to one year unless she is reappointed.

Woman's remains found in vacant motel

ST. PETERSBURG -- Detectives are checking missing person reports to try to identify a woman found dead Friday in a vacant motel on Fourth Street N. Sgt. Mike Puetz said there are signs of violence in the room where the woman was found, leading detectives to believe she was murdered in the Monticello Motel. Her body had been there more than two months and was in an advanced stage of decomposition, Puetz said. Puetz could not estimate the age of the woman, whose race also is unknown. The medical examiner will perform an autopsy. The motel at 1700 Fourth St. N has been vacant for a year. The building was recently purchased. The new owners were with a cleanup crew at 9:28 a.m. Friday when they found the body, Puetz said. Anyone with information is asked to call Puetz at (727) 892-5441.

4 burned when aerosol can is thrown into fire

TAMPA -- Four people were burned, including two sheriff's deputies, by a small explosion Friday after a homeless man threw an aerosol can into a campfire, authorities said.

Deputy William Pettit, 31, was taken to University Community Hospital, where he was treated for burns to the head and face and released.

Alan Tillman, a 38-year-old homeless man, was taken to Tampa General Hospital with similar burns. He was listed in good condition Friday.

Deputy Chris White and Tina McBride, a 36-year-old homeless woman, suffered minor burns, but neither required medical attention.

James Sprague, 39, was charged with four counts of attempted murder.

Pettit and White were responding to a battery call near woods by Fletcher Avenue and Interstate 275 that often are populated by homeless people. During the investigation, deputies said Sprague threw the can into the campfire, causing the explosion.

Motorcyclist killed in collision with van

TAMPA -- A Fort Myers man was killed Friday after his motorcycle struck the rear of another vehicle going the same direction, officials from Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office said.

Ronald Markwood, 36, was thrown from his bike and died at the scene.

Authorities said he was traveling east on Bearss Avenue at 5:20 a.m. when he struck the rear of a 1999 Ford van near the intersection of Lake Emerald Boulevard.

The van driver was not injured.

Fire in vacant building causes little damage

TAMPA -- Fire broke out in the V. Guerrieri Cigar Co. building Friday night, but firefighters doused it before it did major damage.

The three-story brick building at 26th Street and Clark Street in the Palmetto Beach area was boarded and unoccupied. Firefighters used the building's sprinkler system to help put out the fire. All they had to do was supply the water.

The cause of the fire was under investigation. No one was injured, said Acting Chief Mike Schweitzer.

Spotlight prompts complaints from pilots

LUTZ -- Pilots landing planes at Tampa International Airport saw a bright light coming from the Leonard Road area about 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Too bright.

The Pasco County Sheriff's Office was called to investigate.

What deputies found was Emmett Thompson, 41, 19935 Leonard Road, and two friends standing around a trailer with a generator and spotlight mounted to it, the beam of light shining into the sky.

Deputies told Thompson to turn it off, which he did, and told him that pilots had complained. Deputies made no arrests, but referred the report to the Federal Aviation Administration.

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