Around the region

Published: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, January 11, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

Charges dropped for circus protester

Charges have been dropped against a University of Florida student arrested while protesting a circus.

Matthew Hunt, 18, had been arrested for trespassing Oct. 25 as he protested animal rights outside the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars. The circus was held in the parking lot of The Oaks Mall in Gainesville.

State Attorney William Cervone, in a letter sent to Hunt, wrote that the charges were being dismissed.

"Under the law, an individual has freedom of speech rights on quasi public property such as where this offense occurred and may engage in legitimate public speech such as you were doing so long as no disruption is caused," he wrote.

Cervone had issued a similar opinion in 2004 in a case involving fliers being distributed at a Gainesville movie theater showing "Fahrenheit 9/11."

- Nathan Crabbe

School superintendent arrested on DUI charge

CLEARWATER - A Panhandle schools superintendent was arrested on a driving under the influence charge Thursday.

Pinellas County deputies say they stopped 60-year-old James Roy Paul at around 3:30 a.m. when they noticed him speeding and weaving. The Escambia County schools chief was taken to the Pinellas County Jail and given a breath test. It registered above the legal limit.

A schools spokesman says Paul will make a public statement today. He was released from jail on his own recognizance Thursday afternoon.

- The Associated Press

Handicapped resident allowed electric doors

BOCA RATON - A Boca Raton condominium association is finally allowing a handicapped resident to have electronic doors installed.

Josefina Fontanez was born without limbs. The 46-year-old uses her mouth to unlock doors at the one-bedroom condo she rents at Casa Del Rio.

She sued the association and the group which manages the complex after she was told she could not have the automatic doors installed. The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation had agreed to pay for it last year.

Her attorney was set to argue in court Friday for an injunction preventing the interference, but the association decided to drop its objections.

The attorney for the association could not be reached.

Miami's Carnival Center getting a new name

MIAMI - The Carnival Center for the Performing Arts in Miami is getting a new name.

With a $30 million donation from TotalBank chairman Adrienne Arsht, it will now be called the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County.

Arsht helped fund the salary for the center's interim president and CEO Larry Wilker.

Carnival Corporation made the announcement Thursday.

The center will receive the donation over the next three years.

The money will be used to fund programming and pay off a bank loan.

Carnival Corporation will be refunded $2 million with the termination of their ten-year, $10 million commitment.

- The Associated Press

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