Around the Region

Published: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, January 15, 2004 at 12:33 a.m.

UNIVERSITY: Machen to cultivate town-gown relations

  • University of Florida President Bernie Machen said he wants to help foster healthy town-gown relations.

  • "It's in our best interest to have a community that works," said Machen, the guest speaker at the Community Campus Council Breakfast Series on Wednesday, which drew about 100 UF administrators, professors and local elected leaders.

    The former president of the University of Utah and provost at the University of Michigan talked about his experiences working with city and county leaders. In Salt Lake City, Machen said he created a "service learning" program so students could provide legal services, health care and other services to an economically disadvantaged area of town.

    He noted that a similar program could be started at UF.

    To streamline communications between the university and the public and local governments, Machen said he plans to create a position for community relations.

    "Who do we have here to connect us to the city and county?" Machen asked. "It can't just be me. It has to be someone focused on community relations."

    - Janine Young Sikes

    STATE: Eight charged in large marijuana case

  • FORT LAUDERDALE - An unsealed indictment Wednesday charged eight people with illegally importing large shipments of marijuana from Mexico for sale in the United States.

    The indictment alleges kidnapping, witness intimidation and attempted murder along with the drug charges. Most of the defendants could face life terms if convicted of the most serious counts. The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $80 million.

    Named in the indictment were: Joseph Russo, Jr., Jeffrey Tobin, David Tobin, John Mamone, Grace Mamone, Peter Rossi, Cecil Rowell and Robert Lewandowski.

    Prosecutors allege the defendants were involved in a racket that smuggled marijuana from Mexico into Arizona and California, where the drugs were stored in warehouses.

    The drugs were then moved to ``stash houses'' in New York, New Jersey, Ohio, Kansas and South Florida, where they were later distributed.

    The drugs were transported by cars, airplanes, interstate trucking companies and Federal Express.

    John Mamone, of Coral Springs, was previously sentenced to 115 months in federal prison on unrelated charges. His wife, Grace, turned herself into police voluntarily Wednesday.

    - The Associated Press

    STATE: Key West hatching plans for ChickenFest

  • KEY WEST - As opponents of Key West's free-roaming chickens push officials to relocate some of the birds, pro-fowl forces hatched plans on Wednesday for a citywide celebration called ChickenFest.

    The festival, being staged by the same people who organize the island's annual Fantasy Fest, is planned for June 17-20.

    ``Visitors who come to Key West love to see the quirkiness of the island, and the chickens exemplify some of that eccentricity,'' director Linda O'Brien said.

    While ChickenFest organizers are still working on the final schedule of events, plans include a Funky Chicken dance contest, a gala Fowl Ball to be held at an island restaurant, a ``chicken-of-the-sea'' children's fishing tournament, a Chick Flicks' film festival and a Foghorn T. Leghorn look-alike contest saluting television's widely renowned Southern-accented cartoon rooster.

    There's even a ``Poultry in Motion'' parade on the planning board.

    ``We're definitely not inviting Colonel Sanders to be the grand marshal," Mayor Jimmy Weekley said.

    - The Associated Press

    STATE: Billboard from neo-Nazi group coming down

  • ORLANDO - A billboard owner has agreed to remove an advertisement rented by a white supremacist group after a Jewish group organized a telephone campaign and threatened a national boycott.

    The Jewish Defense Organization launched the campaign against Sunshine Outdoor of Florida and its owner, Jerry Sullivan of Micanopy, to remove the advertisement from a billboard standing on Florida's Turnpike about 35 miles from Orlando.

    Sullivan had defended the sign on free speech grounds - as long as the client paid.

    In big block letters on a black backdrop the sign reads ``WHO RULE$ AMERIKA?'' and gives the Internet address of the National Alliance, a neo-Nazi group based in West Virginia.

    The New York-based Jewish Defense Organization put Sullivan's name and phone number on its Web site and urged anyone who hates Nazis to call and complain.

    An agreement to remove the sign had been made with Sullivan on Tuesday, said A.J. Weberman of the Jewish Defense Organization.

    - The Associated Press

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