Around the Region

Published: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 1:11 a.m.

Conference for growers in South kicks off today

  • An agriculture conference to help growers in Southern states develop techniques for a sustainable approach to agriculture kicks off in Gainesville today.

    The 13th annual "Practical Tools and Solutions for Sustaining Family Farms" begins at 8 a.m. with field trips to area farms and research centers, followed by afternoon workshops on production, marketing, food systems and farm policy.

    The program is being hosted by the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group.

    The conference, which is being held at the Paramount Resort and Conference Center on SW 13th Street, continues Saturday with more programs for growers, and concludes Sunday.

    More than 500 farmers from the Southeast are expected to attend.

    For program information, or to register online, visit

    - Greg Bruno

    UF professor named to national epilepsy board

  • Dr. Basim Uthman, associate professor of neurology at the University of Florida, has been named to the national advisory board of the Epilepsy Foundation.

    As a board member, Uthman will review applications for research grants and fellowship support in the field of epilepsy research, and will advise on educational programs.

    At Shands at UF and the Gainesville Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Uthman is directing anti-epileptic drug and electrical stimulation therapy trials.

    - Diane Chun

    Toddler who shot self with father's gun dies

  • MIAMI - A toddler who shot himself in the head with his father's gun has died, officials said.

    Travis Jenkins Jr., 3, was removed from life support Wednesday after doctors at Jackson Memorial Hospital determined the boy was brain-dead and had no chance of survival. The toddler apparently found the gun in the center console of his father's rental car on Monday. The father, Travis Jenkins Sr., 26, has a valid weapons permit and has not yet been charged with a crime, although investigations are continuing.

    - The Associated Press

    Teacher accused of flashing student

  • OCALA - A Lake Weir High School teacher remained jailed Thursday following his arrest for allegedly flashing a student he was tutoring.

    Vidya Thakur, 53, was arrested Wednesday after Marion County sheriff's officials learned that Thakur allegedly opened his pants and exposed himself to the 17-year-old. The alleged incident took place at his home, where she went to pick up some books.

    Sheriff's officials said the girl, also a student at the school, reported that Thakur exposed himself once, and that the two had kissed before.

    - The Associated Press

    Court: Man entrapped by attractive detective

  • FORT LAUDERDALE - A ruling that a detective was too good looking for a gay suspect to be charged in an undercover drug sting has been upheld by an appeals court.

    The Fourth District Court of Appeal agreed with Broward Circuit Judge Susan Lebow's decision that Julio Blanco thought the undercover officer might have been looking for a sexual relationship - not drugs - when he asked whether the defendant liked to "party."

    Blanco, 37, who described himself as a lonely gay man, said that he understood ''party'' to mean having a good time or being sexually involved.

    According to court records, Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Mike Nahum, working with a Drug Enforcement Administration team, followed up with several requests for cocaine. Blanco refused three times and even tried to leave, but was ultimately convinced to stay. Eventually he went to the restroom and bought some methamphetamines for the officer.

    - The Associated Press

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