Around the region


Published: Saturday, January 18, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 18, 2003 at 2:02 a.m.

POLICE BEAT

Police identify man found dead in fire

The man who was found dead in a fire last week has been identified.

Charles A. Lemons, 56, was found dead in a fire Jan. 10 in the woods off NW 23rd Boulevard and NW 13th Street, Gainesville Police Cpl. Keith Kameg said.

The death appears to have been accidental. Lemons did not have a permanent home and his family lives out of state.

- Kathy Ciotola

Police seek man who tried to rob Campus

Authorities were searching Friday night for a man who started to rob an Alachua County credit union and then changed his mind.

The man demanded money from employees at the Campus USA Credit Union at SW 34th Street and 20th Avenue about 5 p.m., Alachua County Sheriff's Lt. Jim Troiano said.

The man handed employees a black backpack and while they were filling it with money, the man fled the credit union, Troiano said.

Anyone with any information is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 367-4160.

- Kathy Ciotola

Area man charged with abusing his child

A Gainesville man has been charged with child abuse based on allegations that he shook his infant daughter.

Larry Sheppard, 18, was being held at the Alachua County jail Friday.

Sheppard shook his 3-week-old daughter last week after she began crying, Gainesville Police reported.

"The child lost consciousness and stopped breathing as a result of the shaking," a court record states.

A Shands at the University of Florida doctor who examined the child reported to police that the girl had suffered a cranial hemorrhage caused by being shaken, police said.

- Lise Fisher

Two men arrested on drug charges

LAKE CITY - Two men face drug charges after Wal-Mart security guards in Columbia County spotted them trying to buy ingredients to make methamphetamine this week, police said.

Keith Simmons, 27, of Edgewater, and Ronald Gross, 34, of Oak Hill, were charged with possession with intent to sell, manufacture of methamphetamine and possession of listed ingredients for manufacture of methamphetamine, Lake City Police Capt. Gary Laxton said.

The security guards became suspicious and contacted police when they saw the two Tuesday trying to buy three boxes apiece of pseudoephedrine, a base ingredient in methamphetamine.

Investigators found a 1985 Lincoln Town Car the men had driven to the store. More ingredients, as well as methamphetamine and equipment to make the drug, were inside, according to reports.

Both men were being held at the Columbia County jail on $52,000 bonds Friday.

- Sun staff report

COMMUNITY

Freezing temperatures will continue in area

Freezing temperatures will continue tonight and Sunday night, forecasters predict.

Low temperatures will be 25 degrees tonight and Sunday night, according to the National Weather Service in Jacksonville. Monday night is expected to stay above freezing at 35 degrees.

A slow warm-up begins next week, with high temperatures of 62 degrees Monday and 65 on Tuesday with overnight lows of about 35.

- Kathy Ciotola

Alachua commissioner will run for re-election

ALACHUA - Two-term City Commissioner Orien Hills announced Friday that he will run for re-election.

"I've got some things that I'd like to get done, and I haven't been able to finish them yet," said Hills, a lifelong Alachua resident who worked as a schoolteacher and insurance agent before entering politics.

Hills said bringing a Wal-Mart distribution center to Alachua would be one of his priorities if re-elected. He also said he hoped to see the city complete its comprehensive plan and upgrade its sewer plant.

No other candidates have yet announced an intention to run for Hills' seat. Commissioner James Lewis announced last week that he would run for re-election to his seat on the five-member commission. Elections will be held in April.

-Tim Lockette

STATE

Key West man found drifting in his boat

MIAMI - A Key West man who had been drifting on his disabled sailboat for five days was rescued Friday by the U.S. Coast Guard.

It was the second rescue involving a disabled sailboat from the same storm. A search for two men believed lost from a third boat in the storm was suspended.

Friday, a Drug Enforcement Administration helicopter spotted a 23-foot sailboat 16 miles east of Hollywood Beach and notified the Coast Guard. Rescue boats from the Coast Guard's Fort Lauderdale station found Richard Klein, 63, in the boat.

- The Associated Press

GOP congressman has growth removed

WEST PALM BEACH - U.S. Rep. E. Clay Shaw had surgery Friday to remove a small, cancerous growth in his lung, his office said.

Shaw spokesman Wendy Rosen said his doctors at a Tampa cancer center were pleased with the results of the surgery.

``He is doing well and in recovery,'' Rosen said. She said his staff learned of the illness only recently.

Shaw, a Republican from Fort Lauderdale, said he plans a return to Washington ``very soon.''

- The Associated Press

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