Around the Region for Oct. 2

Published: Wednesday, October 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, October 2, 2008 at 1:21 a.m.

I-75 crash shuts down northbound traffic

A crash on Interstate 75 in Columbia County shut down traffic in the highway's northbound lanes Tuesday afternoon, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

A car, heading north on the interstate, passed a northbound semi and then moved into the right lane and the path of the truck, according to troopers. The front of the semi hit the rear of the car, causing the vehicle to rotate before stopping on the U.S. 90 exit ramp.

The truck traveled toward the center of the I-75 northbound lanes and jackknifed, blocking all lanes.

Troopers did not report any injuries in the accident, which occurred at about 4 p.m.

The car's driver, Sarah McCall, 88, of Dunnellon, was cited for improper lane change, according to troopers.

— Lise Fisher

Lake City man dies in early-morning crash

A 27-year-old Lake City man was killed in a one-car crash early Wednesday morning.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Dustin Robert Harden was pronounced dead at the scene of the 2 a.m. crash on County Road 131 about a half-mile south of U.S. 441.

In a report on the crash, Trooper S. Walker wrote that Harden had been westbound in a 1998 Nissan Altima. Harden apparently drifted across the eastbound lane and onto the south shoulder of the highway before the front of the Nissan hit a large pine tree. FHP investigators said there was no indication that Harden used the brakes before his car hit the tree.

Also in the crash report, troopers noted that Harden was not wearing his seatbelt and that a blood-alcohol level was being requested to determine whether he had been drinking before the crash.

—Karen Voyles

SFC to hold water symposium Friday

Santa Fe College will hold a daylong symposium on water conservation, and art inspired by water and the environment, on Friday.

The event will begin in the E Auditorium Building at 9 a.m. It is free and open to the public.

Presenters include Cynthia Barnett, author of "Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S.," Neil Armingeon from the environmental group St. Johns Riverkeeper, Carol Lippincott, an environmental consultant and chair of the Blue Springs Working Group and Bill Belleville, author of "River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida's St. Johns River."

There will be a tour and reception at the Santa Fe Gallery, Building M, Room 147, from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

— Chris Curry

PETA lobbies Hawthorne not to chase its pigs

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, commonly known as PETA, has written to the Hawthorne City Commission asking it not to allow the chasing of pigs by children at this year's Hogfest.

The pig chase was a feature of the event until the Alachua County Commission banned the practice last year. The Hawthorne City Commission has now passed an ordinance allowing the pig chase. This year's Hogfest is set for Oct. 11.

PETA said the chases are terrifying and dangerous for the young pigs and create an impression among youngsters that it is OK to torment animals.

Recently, fairs in West Virginia and Tennessee canceled their planned pig chases after receiving complaints, PETA noted.

"Rewarding kids for tormenting a frightened, fleeing pig teaches them that the lives of others don't count," said PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "It's unforgivable that the very city leaders who were elected to uphold the law are instead creating new laws to permit animal abuse."

Hogfest is an annual event staged by volunteers to raise money for the city's recreation program.

It includes a barbecue, games and arts and crafts.

Hawthorne officials said the pig chase reflects the city's agricultural history.

— Cindy Swirko

Clinton aide to speak at UF's Fall Convocation

An adviser to former President Bill Clinton will speak today at the University of Florida.

Douglas Band will present the keynote address at the 2008 Fall Convocation held at 5:30 p.m. in the University Auditorium. The convocation honors outstanding students and faculty.

Band is a graduate of UF with a degree in English. He has worked for President Clinton since 1995, first as a special assistant and later as an aide.

His current duties include advising Clinton, overseeing the operation of the Clinton Foundation and office, and handling his business transactions.

— Nathan Crabbe

Shipping executives to plead guilty in court

JACKSONVILLE — Four U.S. shipping company executives have agreed to plead guilty and serve jail time for their roles in a conspiracy to eliminate competition and raise prices for companies moving goods by ship between the United States and Puerto Rico, the Justice Department said.

A one-count felony antitrust charge was filed Wednesday in federal court against each of the executives.

They are Peter Baci of Jacksonville; Kevin Gill and Gregory Glova of Charlotte, N.C., and Gabriel Serra of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A fifth man, Alexander Chisholm of Jacksonville, was charged with obstruction of justice. He also has agreed to plead guilty.

Under a plea agreement, the four will serve jail time determined by a judge and pay a $20,000 fine. Chisholm's plea agreement calls for him to receive a prison sentence.

The Justice Department said the guilty pleas were negotiated with the executives before charges were filed. No attorneys were listed for the men in court documents.

— The Associated Press

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