Around the region

Published: Friday, September 1, 2006 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, September 1, 2006 at 12:00 a.m.

Firefighters to collect money to help MDA

Gainesville firefighters are once again giving neuromuscular diseases the boot.
This Labor Day weekend, from Saturday until Monday, members of the Gainesville Professional Firefighters union will be standing at intersections throughout Gainesville filling their boots with donations for the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
The money will provide direct services to North Florida children and adults suffering from one of the 43 neuromuscular diseases covered by the association.
Last year, the Gainesville firefighters union brought in more than $17,000, but this year, they're striving for a goal of $20,000.
"It's an ambitious goal this year," firefighter and Gainesville MDA coordinator Brad Paquette said. "We just wanted to try and bump it up a little from last year to keep everyone motivated."
- Sarah Wood

Hampton is hosting political rally Saturday

The city of Hampton will host a political rally at the Hampton City Park on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Rally organizers are inviting all state, county and city candidates to come speak, and the event will include live entertainment by Doug Williamson of Waldo. The rally will also include a cake auction and chicken and rice dinners for sale to benefit the Hampton Youth Baseball League.
Hampton City Park is located on the corner of County Road 18 and Plum Street. The rally is being sponsored by the Hampton Parents Athletic Association.
- Alice Wallace

City of Alachua to help voters get to the polls

The city of Alachua will provide shuttle buses to and from the Hal Brady Recreation Center for voting Tuesday.
The first pickup will be at 8:30 a.m. and they will continue throughout the day.
Shuttles will pick up and return voters to the following locations: Criswell Park, 15490 Hipp Way; Welch Park, 13801 NW 142nd Ave.; Maude Lewis Park, 15731 NW 141st St.; and the Cleather Hathcock Sr. Community Center, 15818 NW 140th St.
For more information or for registered voters who require special accommodations, call City Hall at (386) 462-1231.
- Alice Wallace

Gator takes a trip to a middle school

BROOKSVILLE - A gym teacher taking roll Thursday counted a large, toothy and very unwelcome visitor - an 8-foot, 2-inch alligator.
"This is not a little gator," teacher Kristen Williams said of her call for help. "This is a big gator."
The gator was sunning itself on the basketball courts at Parrott Middle School. Students were put in lockdown while a trapper responded to catch the gator.
The trapper wrestled the gator, taped its mouth and hauled it away to be destroyed.
"My only fear is snakes, not gators," Principal Marvin Gordon told the St. Petersburg Times after the gator was gone.
- The Associated Press

Blown tires force plane to land in Miami

MIAMI - Oxygen masks came down, overhead bins opened and more than 100 passengers and crew evacuated using inflatable slides when a plane blew two tires out on landing at a Miami airport Thursday, sparking a small fire.
No one was hurt and the flames were quickly extinguished after the incident, fire officials said. Passengers said the evacuation went quickly and smoothly but the experience left some shaken.
"I'm glad to be here in one piece," said Max Gutierrez, 77, of Savannah, Ga., after getting off the flight.
The U.S. Airways flight from Charlotte, N.C., landed at Miami International Airport around 1:35 p.m. carrying 113 passengers and five crew members, airline spokesman Morgan Durrant said. Durrant said a small fire ignited on one of the blown-out tires.
Miami-Dade Fire Lt. Elkin Sierra called the fire "quite dangerous," because the plane was still carrying a large fuel load.
Passenger Jenna Kettenburg, 25, of Trenton, N.J., said that the landing was normal at first but suddenly became rough.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel assisted adults and small children slide down the escape chutes from the 737's exits.
Passengers left carryon luggage aboard and stood on grass along the runway, watching the flames.
- The Associated Press

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