Around the Region


Published: Friday, April 1, 2005 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, March 31, 2005 at 11:33 p.m.

Students blamed for racist graffiti on sign

  • Racist graffiti on a sign near Fort White is being blamed on students with too much time on their hands over Spring Break.
    Columbia County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Laurie Windham said the privately owned roadside sign near Fort White High School that reads "Welcome to Fort White" was defaced late Wednesday night or early Thursday morning. Someone painted the words "We hate blacks" on the sign.
    A deputy who saw the words at about 7:30 a.m. Thursday painted over them to temporarily resolve the situation until the sign's owner could be notified and make a more permanent repair.
    "We don't think this is a trend," Windham said. "It appears to be an isolated incident. Our students have been on Spring Break this week and that is the direction we are looking in."
    - Karen Voyles

    Area man charged with drug trafficking

  • A Gainesville man was charged with trafficking in cocaine and Ecstasy Thursday after a routine traffic stop turned into an on-foot chase.
    Romon M. Thomas, 20, was pulled over by Gainesville Police Officer Charlie Ward at about 1:30 p.m. after he ran a stop sign coming out of Phoenix Apartments, GPD's Sgt. Jaret Weiland said. Thomas stopped his car at the 4000 block of SW 23rd Street inside the Countryside Apartments complex, then got out and ran.
    Thomas ran through a broken fence into neighboring apartment complex Colonial Village, where police caught up with him. A resident helped police hold Thomas down so he could be handcuffed, Weiland said.
    Police later found 135 grams of powder cocaine worth about $8,000 and 10 grams of crack cocaine worth $1,000 where a witness told them Thomas had tossed the items.
    Thomas has pending federal indictments on various narcotics charges, Weiland said. Thomas is being held at the Alachua County jail without bond.
    - Deborah Ball

    Agency to issue produce vouchers for seniors

  • ElderCare of Alachua County Inc. will issue coupons to Alachua County seniors to buy fresh, locally grown produce at Alachua County farmers markets today and next week as part of the Elder Farmers Market Nutrition Program.
    Applicants must be at least 60 years old and have a household income of $1,436 a month or less for one or $1,926 a month for two. Income requirements increase with the number in the household.
    Applicants must show proof of age with a picture ID. Seniors meeting eligibility requirements will receive three books of coupons valued at $20 each.
    Eligibility screening and coupon distribution will take place at these dates and times:
  • 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. today, Archer Community Center, 202 Weimer St., Archer.
  • 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday, First United Methodist Church, 103 NW 1st Ave., Hawthorne.
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Alachua County Farmers Market, U.S. 441 and NW 34th St.
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Newberry Municipal Building, 25420 Newberry Road, Newberry.
  • 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, High Springs Civic Center, 325 NW Santa Fe Blvd., High Springs.
  • 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 8, Micanopy Town Hall, 706 NE Cholokka Blvd., Micanopy.
    For more information, call ElderCare at 352-265-9040.
    - Carolyn Palmer

    UF professor honored for wetlands efforts

  • Martin Main, an extension specialist and professor of wildlife ecology and conservation at the University of Florida, has received the 2005 National Wetlands Award for Education and Outreach.
    Main has conducted research on Florida coyotes, fire ecology and conservation strategies for private lands, and is the founder and coordinator of the Florida Master Naturalist Program.
    The award, which recognizes excellence in wetlands conservation, is co-sponsored by the Environmental Law Institute, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the Federal Highway Administration.
    Main and six other award recipients will be honored in Washington, D.C., on May 18.
    - Greg Bruno
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