Around the Region
Published: Saturday, January 24, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 23, 2004 at 11:32 p.m.
POLICE BEAT: Three man charged with building bonfire
A Gainesville Police officer was on patrol when he saw a fire next to a vacant wooden house at 1511 NE 2nd St., according to the arrest report.
The fire was about four feet from the side of the house and was partially under an overhang, the report states.
Gainesville Fire Rescue put the fire out.
Mark Giddens, 48, told police he was living in the yard and he and his two friends decided to build the fire because they were cold, the report states.
Giddens, along with William Lehmann, 48, and Greg Faretta, 40, were all charged with building a bonfire. They were booked in to the Alachua County jail.
Court records list Lehman's home address as the St. Francis House, a homeless shelter. Faretta's address is listed as a post office box.
Having a bonfire is illegal within the city limits unless Gainesville Fire Rescue issues a permit for it, GFR spokesman Michael Heeder said.
Heeder discouraged people from outdoor burning right now because conditions have been dry and breezy.
- Kathy Ciotola
STATE: National Guard soldiers are returning from Iraq
Two of their soldiers, however, were killed in the war.
Cpl. Travis Rivero, 23, of Gainesville and Tampa, was killed on April 17 when his Humvee overturned while on a mission in western Iraq. Spec. Jeffrey Wershow, 22, of Gainesville, was shot and killed July 6 while on a security detail in Baghdad.
The soldiers will arrive at Hunter Army Air Field and then take a bus ride to Fort Stewart. After about five days of processing, they will be allowed to return home to Florida, said Senior Airman Thomas Kielbasa, a spokesman for the Florida National Guard.
- The Associated Press
STATE: State changing payouts for Mega Money game
The first drawing under the new format will be Friday.
Jackpots will start at a minimum of $500,000 and if there is no winner, roll over to a top prize of $2 million.
When the jackpot reaches the limit, the prize money paid to runners-up will also increase and are estimated to be double the normal prize amount.
If there is only one winner, that ticket-holder could claim a one-time cash option or receive the full jackpot by taking 20 annual payments. Players must pick four numbers from 1-to-44 and one Megaball number from 1-to-22, and the odds of winning the jackpot is about 3 million to one.
Tickets will still cost $1 and drawings will still be held Tuesdays and Fridays. There will now be seven consolation prize levels for picking some of the numbers instead of six, including a chance to win a free ticket for matching just the Mega Ball.
"We asked the players how we could make the Mega Money game better. They said that the game needed a bigger jackpot and more ways to win," lottery spokeswoman Leslie D. Steele said.
- The Associated Press
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