Around the region


Published: Thursday, January 26, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 25, 2006 at 11:56 p.m.
Snakes recovered for Eastside High
Two snakes taken from an Eastside High School classroom over the weekend have been recovered, the Alachua County Sheriff's Office reported.
And deputies are looking into the possibility an Eastside High School student may be the culprit, said Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Keith Faulk.
The snakes, a 6-foot Argentine boa constrictor and a 4-foot African ball python, disappeared late Saturday or early Sunday, deputies reported.
A pet store contacted a teacher at the school to report that someone had tried to sell the python Tuesday and the school's principal also received a tip about the boa, finding it at an area home Monday, Faulk said.
-Lise FisherScience museum outreach expands
The Florida Museum of Natural History has received a nearly $400,000 grant to expand a children's outreach program into Marion County.
The program, dubbed MESS for Marvelous Explorations through Science and Stories, aims to expand the school-readiness skills and science understanding of children. The grant will enable integration of the program into Head Start classes and expand programs for family members, especially boys and men.
MESS is a science-based literacy curriculum initially developed by the Florida Museum in partnership with the Alachua County Public Schools and the Alachua County Library District.
- Janine Young Sikes HEALTH CAREHealth care recruiters come to SFCC today
Health care recruiters from Florida, Georgia and North Carolina will be on the hunt at Santa Fe Community College today.
SFCC's Career Placement Day for health science students is from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Building R, room 01, at the college's Northwest Campus, 3000 NW 83rd St., Gainesville.
Health care workers are in major demand as baby boomers in the profession begin to retire, and health needs of the same age group increase.
Each year, more than 400 health care professionals graduate from SFCC in fields including nursing, dental assisting, cardiovascular technology, nuclear medicine, surgical technology and several others. SFCC's Health Sciences graduates have a 98 percent job placement rate.
-Tiffany Pakkala STATEMan imprisoned falsely urges DNA testing
TALLAHASSEE - Wilton Dedge, who was freed after spending 22 years in prison for a rape he did not commit, urged Florida lawmakers to give other wrongly imprisoned inmates a chance to prove their innocence through DNA testing just as he had done.
Dedge spoke before two legislative committees Wednesday. One panel then approved a bill that would lift a deadline for inmates with old cases and extend testing to those who pleaded guilty or no contest, in addition to those convicted by judges or juries.
"An innocent man shouldn't spend another day in prison for something he didn't do," Dedge told the Senate Criminal Justice before it unanimously voted for a bill (SB 186) introduced by Sen. Alex Villalobos, R-Miami.
Villalobos said it shouldn't matter how an innocent person got behind bars. Some plead guilty or no contest because of bad advice, are just dumb or want to avoid getting a harsher sentence if they go to trial and lose, he said.
"This is just plain old truth and it leads you to wherever it leads you," Villalobos said. "Feelings will be hurt, but too bad."
Jennifer Greenberg, executive director of the Florida Innocence Initiative that helped free Dedge, said of 174 inmates exonerated across the nation by DNA, seven had entered guilty pleas including a mentally retarded man in Florida.
The latest Florida inmate to be freed through DNA testing is Alan Crotzer. He was released Monday in Tampa after serving more than 24 years in prison for rapes and armed robbery.
-The Associated Press

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