State and local briefs

Published: Tuesday, January 7, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 7, 2003 at 12:00 a.m.

Cars, motorcycle set on fire along SR 26

  • Someone set fire to two cars and a motorcycle early Monday morning along State Road 26 in Alachua and Putnam counties, authorities said.
    Putnam County deputies responded in Melrose near the county line at about 3 a.m. after getting a call that a Harley-Davidson motorcycle was on fire. The motorcycle was a total loss.
    About an hour later, Alachua County deputies responded to car fires at 22100 NE SR 26 and 23000 NE SR 26, Sgt. Keith Faulk said. Both cars were complete losses.
    One of the cars appeared to be broken down and had been left on the side of the road, and the other was parked along the road with a "for sale" sign on it.
    Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 367-4170 or remain anonymous by calling Crime Stoppers at 372-7867.
    - Kathy Ciotola

    Elderly woman robbed in her Hawthorne home

  • HAWTHORNE - Deputies are searching for a woman who forced her way into an elderly woman's home on Sunday and robbed her.
    The 74-year-old woman told investigators she saw a blue vehicle parked in her driveway off Morris Lake Drive at about 9:30 a.m., the Putnam County Sheriff's Office reported.
    When she went to the front door, a woman asked to use the phone, saying she needed to talk to police because she had been raped. When the homeowner refused to let her in, the woman pushed her way inside and stole a wallet from the older woman's purse.
    Anyone with information about the robbery is asked to call Detective Ricky Lyle at (386) 329-0800.
    - Lise Fisher

    Man injured in dog attack on Rail Trail

  • A man was injured on the Gainesville-Hawthorne Rail Trail Sunday when two dogs chased him and he fell, authorities said Monday.
    George Watson, 57, was bicycling in the 5900 block of SE 152nd Street at 12:30 p.m. Sunday when two dogs chased him, said Alachua County Fire Rescue spokesman Justin Lagotic.
    The man fell and thought he broke his collarbone, said Alachua County Sheriff's Sgt. Keith Faulk, and he complained of numbness in his lower body.
    He was airlifted to Shands at the University of Florida. Officials at Shands said Monday night he was in serious condition.
    - Kathy Ciotola COUNTY

    County hit with wind chill advisory today

  • Another shot of cold weather has spilled into North Central Florida, bringing a wind chill advisory for Alachua County this morning.
    A wind chill advisory was in effect for Alachua, Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Marion, Putnam and Union this morning, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville.
    Temperatures were expected to drop into the low 30s but feel like the mid-20s with winds of 10-15 mph.
    A freeze warning was in effect this morning for Gilchrist, Hamilton and Suwannee counties.
    High temperatures in Alachua County are expected to reach the mid-50s today with north winds of 10 mph. Low temperatures tonight will drop to about 28 degrees with northwest winds of five to 10 mph.
    - Kathy Ciotola STATE

    Despite economy, House pledges no new taxes

  • TALLAHASSEE - Republican leaders in the House sent a message Monday that they're unwilling to consider raising taxes as a way of dealing with a budget shortfall, regardless of how sluggish the economy is.
    House Speaker Johnnie Byrd told a meeting of the House Policy Committee that Republicans, with a commanding 81-39 majority in the House, need to remain true to the principles that got them elected no matter what the economy does. The number one priority on his list: less taxation.
    Byrd, R-Plant City, said Florida residents had overwhelmingly approved of Republican principles and that even in tough times they shouldn't abandon them.
    "They sent you here to live within your means," Byrd said.
    - The Associated Press

    Informant's friend may have been bomb target

  • ORLANDO - Police are investigating who detonated three acid bombs outside the home of a man whose friend is an informant in a federal immigration case against a Palestinian-American businessman. The bombs exploded outside John Reedy's Orlando apartment early Sunday.
    Reedy, 18, is a friend of an informant involved in an investigation of Jesse Maali, an International Drive gift-shop magnate awaiting trial on immigration and money-laundering charges.
    - The Associated Press

    First desalination plant in nation set to open

  • TAMPA - The nation's first sea water desalination plant built to serve as a primary source of drinking water is expected to begin providing water for residents here by the end of the month. It is expected to reach full capacity by March, generating 25 million gallons a day of drinking water. The plant, located on Tampa Bay, will draw the 44 million gallons of water it will use each day from the cooling water used for Tampa Electric Co.'s generators.
    - The Associated Press
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