Crist designates day in honor of crossing guards


Published: Thursday, February 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 31, 2007 at 12:00 a.m.

Rain or shine, they are there to offer a friendly wave and a smile, as well as a safe path to school for school children.

Gov. Charlie Crist has designated Friday as "Crossing Guard Appreciation Day" to honor the men and women who devote their time to such a selfless act.

"It's really nice when you see a recommendation like this from the governor's office, because they are people families rely on every day to keep their children safe and it's nice get to see them get recognition," said Sgt. Keith Kameg with the Gainesville Police Department.

Friendly driving advice

The state of Florida has joined a national campaign that hopes to persuade young people to watch out for each other on the roads.

The UR the Spokesperson campaign is based on research that shows young drivers may be more likely to listen to their friends than adults when it comes to driving advice.

The campaign encourages young passengers between the ages of 15 and 21 to speak up when they don't feel safe in a vehicle.

Florida Attorney General Bill McCollum said in a news release that 300,000 teenagers are involved in car accidents each year.

"If teens would speak up more often and encourage their friends to be more cautious and attentive when driving, we believe we could bring that number down significantly," McCollum said.

Stopping strays

Live Oak's interim police chief hopes new procedures and more accountability will help deal with complaints about stray animals and how the city is handling those reports.

Earlier this month, a city councilman complained that Live Oak's animal control officer wasn't "fulfilling obligations."

Interim Police Chief Buddy Williams said to improve response, animal control calls now will be dispatched through the Suwannee County Sheriff's Office. A redesigned daily activity sheet also will document the animal control officer's duties. And police officers have been instructed to contact the animal control officer if they see stray animals and assist when needed.

"We want her to take a community policing attitude to her job," Williams said about what he's expecting from the city's animal control officer.

Escape plan?

A Keystone Heights man, accused of trying to pass forged checks and grand theft, appeared ready to slip away from Starke police last week.

When officers arrested Louis Lainer, they discovered he had two handcuff keys police said he could have used on the cuffs they were using. Lainer also had a fictitious police ID badge, Starke Police Lt. Barry Warren said.

If the man could have used the keys on his handcuffs without police noticing, Warren said he could have freed himself.

Lainer told officers he got the keys and the ID through the Internet, Warren said.

Warrants for Lainer's arrest on similar charges were pending from Duval, Clay and Putnam counties, Warren said.

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