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Published: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 16, 2003 at 1:22 a.m.

Low of 22 degrees in the area's forecast

The coldest weather of the season is forecast to drop into Gainesville on Friday night and Saturday morning with a temperature of 22 degrees.

After a high temperature today of 65 with scattered showers possible, residents of North Central Florida will wake up Friday to a low of 42 and wind. It won't get much warmer than that, with a high temperature of 50 predicted by the National Weather Service.

Temperatures will drop Friday night and keep dropping through early Saturday morning into a hard freeze, with a low of around 22. Friday's low could drop near the record lows of 23 for Jan. 17 and 20 degrees on Jan. 18.

Saturday's high should be about 55, and temperatures will drop to about 25 Saturday night.

- Kathy Ciotola

Fight in front of school ends in assault charge

HAWTHORNE - A Putnam County man faces an aggravated assault charge following a fight in front of an elementary school Tuesday.

Mickey McCord, 35, and John Wells, 50, began arguing in the parent drop-off area at Ochwilla Elementary School, 299 N. State Road 21, the Putnam County Sheriff's Office reported. One had blocked the other's vehicle as the two were dropping off children at the school shortly before 9 a.m.

The men decided to "settle the issue" and pulled onto a roadway in front of the school, deputies reported.

McCord armed himself with a hammer and threatened Wells, who then grabbed a revolver from his vehicle, reports said. McCord backed off and Wells called 911. Deputies arrested McCord, determining he was the aggressor in the fight, according to reports.

The school was placed on "lock down" during the incident, meaning teachers kept students inside locked classrooms for about one hour and 20 minutes, until they received word to open the rooms from the school administrator and deputies.

McCord was later released from the Putnam County jail on a $2,504 bond.

Ochwilla Principal Werner Hollaway said Wednesday that, after the fight, both men received trespass warnings barring them from school grounds.

- Lise Fisher

Alleged phone threats land area man in jail

Police are accusing a Gainesville man of breaking into his girlfriend's apartment and using her phone to make threatening calls to her.

Derrian Brockington, 24, was at the Alachua County jail Wednesday, records show. He was being held on a $52,000 bond on charges including burglary and aggravated stalking.

A Gainesville woman told police she received several phone calls at a friend's house on Jan. 7 and recognized her own phone number on the caller ID, court records report. The caller, who the woman identified as her boyfriend, said he would kill her, according to reports.

Investigators allege Brockington forced a window open at the woman's northeast Gainesville apartment and broke inside, where he made the calls.

Brockington also faces domestic battery charges in connection with two other recent cases involving the same woman, according to police.

- Lise Fisher

Officials want answers in black bear mystery

Wildlife officials are willing to pay to find out how and why a radio-collar tag was cut from the neck of a 450-pound black bear, what happened to the bear, and who was responsible.

The bear was living around Chassahowitzka, a remote coastal area in Hernando County. But biologists said the bear may have wandered away in search of food. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission got a signal from the bear's collar indicating the bear was no longer moving on Jan. 10 and tracked the signal to the northeast corner of the Starkey Wilderness Park. They found the collar in 18 inches of water near a deer stand. The collar had been cut in two, and there was no sign of the bear.

The Wildlife Alert Reward Program will pay up to $1,000 for information leading to the conviction of those responsible. Anyone with information should call the Wildlife Alert hot line at (888) 404-FWCC (3922). Callers may remain anonymous.

- Karen Voyles

School bus driver faces charges after accident

An Alachua County school bus driver faces a charge of making a right turn from the wrong lane after an accident Wednesday morning.

James Nathan McWilliams, 26, of Gainesville was headed east on NW 23rd Avenue when he tried to make a right turn onto Fort Clarke Boulevard but not from the turn lane, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

The side of the bus collided with a car driven by Carla Lani Hotvedt, 46, of Gainesville. Hotvedt's car was in the right turn lane of NW 23rd Avenue when the accident occurred.

Hotvedt had minor injuries but refused treatment, troopers said.

No children were on the bus at the time, the Alachua County School Board reported.

- Lise Fisher

Jonesville Park design focus of public meeting

Parents and sports enthusiasts who want a say in the design of Jonesville Park are invited to a public meeting tonight at the park.

Conceptual plans for the 98-acre site include soccer fields, playgrounds, nature walks and trails. The meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the park on County Road 241 at NW 32nd Avenue.

A copy of the conceptual site plan is now available online at www.publicworks.alachua.fl. us/Operations/parks/ParkJonesville.html.

For more information, call Parks Superintendent Rob Avery at 374-5245, Ext. 247.

- Janine Young Sikes

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