For $25 charge, UF 'Tow & Go' to offer safe ride, optional pizza
Published: Tuesday, January 31, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 30, 2006 at 11:53 p.m.
Looking for a sober ride home? Forget the cab - how about a tow truck?
The University of Florida's Student Government Association is working on a new program called "Tow & Go," which will allow drunken students to ride home in tow trucks with their cars hitched to the back.
Joe Goldberg, UF student body president, is working with local towing companies to offer the service to UF students for $25.
Student Government will bear the cost of a marketing campaign for the program, which aims to convince students that paying for the service will cost a lot less than getting charged with driving under the influence.
The program will be advertised on small cards with the phone numbers of participating towing companies. The cards will also feature the phone numbers of late-night food delivery services.
Apparently, "Tow & Go" customers often find themselves in need of a pizza.
Officials at Lincoln Middle and Williams Elementary schools acted fast at 10 a.m. Monday when they heard what sounded like a gunshot.
The schools went into full lockdown mode, which meant "all the kids stayed put, exterior doors were locked, even classroom doors were locked," said Jackie Johnson, the Alachua County School District's Public Information Officer.
Luckily, the racket was a false alarm.
Gainesville Police investigated and determined the culprit: a blown electrical transformer.
Sgt. Robert Bartley said residents who lost power called Gainesville Regional Utilities at the same time police received calls about possible shots fired.
"GRU confirmed that that's what it was," he said, adding the loud popping sound "happens a lot" when transformers blow.
Lincoln Assistant Principal Mike Gamble said the "upside" of the incident was that "everyone did what they were supposed to do. There were absolutely no kids walking about, which is pretty amazing."
The lockdown lasted about 30 minutes.
With about 73 percent of its incoming freshmen posting grade-point averages of 3.75 or above, University of Florida students are known as a bright bunch. So bright, in fact, that insufficiently challenging classes may give them too much free time to drink, according to Kim Tanzer, chair of UF's Faculty Senate.
At a meeting of the Community Alcohol Coalition Friday, Tanzer said she's been told that only about two out of 10 UF students are serious about academics - while eight in 10 are most serious about partying.
Tanzer suggests that UF consider requiring tougher classes and heavier course loads to help cut down on "unnecessary playfulness."
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