Around the Region - Oct. 1, 2009


Published: Thursday, October 1, 2009 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 at 9:42 p.m.

UF to host 2 former U.S. Senate majority leaders

The University of Florida will be hearing from two former U.S. Senate majority leaders with first-hand experience in the health-care debate.

Former senators Tom Daschle, D-S.D, and Bill Frist, R-Tenn, are speaking Jan. 19 on "Bipartisanship in the Health Care Debate." The Graham Center for Public Service is sponsoring the event, which is being held at 7 p.m. in Pugh Hall.

Daschle had been in line to be President Obama's health and human services secretary, until unpaid taxes led him to withdraw. Frist is a physician whose family founded the Hospital Corporation of America, a chain of private hospitals.

Bo Diddley headed for Florida Hall of Fame

TALLAHASSEE - Rock 'n' roll pioneer Bo Diddley and painter Christopher Still have been selected for induction into the Florida Artists Hall of Fame.

The ceremony will be held in March 2010 during Florida Heritage Month.

Diddley, who died last year at the age of 79, lived in Archer.

He originated the rhythmic beat of early pop music and influenced major performers.

Still has a studio in Tarpon Springs.

He has received many awards and commissions for images of Florida's culture and natural history. They include large paintings in the House chamber in the Florida Capitol.

Secretary of State Kurt Browning announced the selections Tuesday.

U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, wife Cissy separate

PANAMA CITY - U.S. Rep. Allen Boyd, a Panhandle Democrat, and his wife, Cissy are separating after a 40-year marriage.

Boyd's chief of staff confirmed the couple's separation Tuesday.

According to Jefferson County Courthouse records, they were married in 1970. Cissy Boyd filed for divorce in 1997, but they reconciled.

Boyd, a Monticello farmer, has served in Congress since 1997.

Attorney disputes evidence in Caylee case

ORLANDO - Attorneys for Casey Anthony, the mother charged with killing her 2-year-old daughter, have filed motions asking a judge to stop prosecutors from seeking the death penalty and dismiss first-degree murder and child abuse charges against her.

The motions were filed Wednesday, a day after the State Attorney's Office released hundreds of pages of documents related to the case.

Anthony's attorneys say that, given the evidence, prosecutors can't prove first-degree murder was committed or that Anthony ever abused her daughter.

The 23-year-old woman has pleaded not guilty and claimed that a baby sitter kidnapped Caylee.

Sick teen found dead at Walt Disney World

ORLANDO - A teenager with a history of medical problems has died at Walt Disney World.

A spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff's Office said the teen was found dead Wednesday morning at the Port Orleans resort.

Spokesman Jim Solomons said the 16-year-old boy had a history of medical problems and the case is being handled as a routine unattended death investigation.

He said no foul play is suspected.

Monorail service disrupted at Disney

ORLANDO - The monorail system at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom theme park has been disrupted due to an electrical short.

The short caused a train pulling into a station to stop Wednesday morning. No one was injured, and the 25 passengers on the train got off without any problem after a tractor finished towing the train to the station.

Monorail loops between the resorts and the Magic Kingdom were closed for part of the day, although the line to the Epcot park continued to run.

In July, monorail pilot Austin Wuennenberg died when two trains collided at the main station for visitors boarding trains for the Magic Kingdom.

The accident is being investigated by two federal agencies.

NSC adviser: Honduras must restore rights

CORAL GABLES - President Obama's point man on Latin America to the National Security Council is calling on the de facto Honduran government to immediately restore all civil and constitutional rights to the Honduran people.

Dan Restrepo spoke Wednesday at a luncheon at the annual Americas Conference, sponsored by The Miami Herald in Coral Gables.

Earlier Wednesday, Honduran soldiers raided a government building that had been occupied since June by supporters of ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya.

The move followed a decree by the country's interim president banning unauthorized gatherings, allowing police to arrest people without warrants and permitting the shutdown of some media.

The interim president had promised Monday to reconsider the decree.

Antigua upset after Carnival cancels stops

MIAMI - Antigua and Barbuda officials are upset Carnival Corp. is taking the island off a ship's itinerary.

Beginning Jan. 3, Carnival will substitute St. Maarten for Antigua on the Carnival Victory's weekly six-stop, seven-day trips out of Puerto Rico.

Tourism minister John Maginley says the island nation will lose $40 million in revenue.

He says local officials weren't consulted, and the change comes just after six American tourists from the ship were arrested. The passengers were charged with assault and malicious damage after refusing to pay a cab fare they thought was excessive and later scuffling with police.

Carnival said the change had nothing to do with the incident. A spokeswoman said the itinerary was 4 years old and simply needed an update.

FSU partnering with new Fla. digital studio

TALLAHASSEE - Florida State University is partnering with a new digital production studio planned for St. Lucie County.

The university's College of Motion Picture, Television and Recording Arts on Wednesday announced it has signed a letter of intent with John Textor, chairman of Wyndcrest Holdings LLC.

A Wyndcrest affiliate has been awarded a state economic development grant to build the digital studio that's expected to create hundreds of jobs.

The film school's dean, Frank Patterson, said the studio's innovative technologies and story-telling techniques are in line with Florida State's educational goals.

Sheriff seeks video of cops playing game

BARTOW - A central Florida sheriff is trying to obtain a full copy of a video that shows investigators caught on camera playing a video game while executing a search warrant.

Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Tuesday his office wants to get the full video before starting an internal investigation of the incident.

The video was obtained by WFLA-TV in Tampa and shows various officers enthusiastically playing a Nintendo Wii bowling game after storming the house near Lakeland armed with a search warrant in March.

Unbeknownst to the officers of the anti-drug task force, video surveillance had been set up in the home of convicted drug dealer Michael Difalco, who was already in custody.

The sheriff said he has only seen about 15 minutes of the video that is about an hour long.

Man charged for taking weapons into station

FORT PIERCE - A Florida man is facing charges after authorities say he walked into a police station with a gun and two knives to ask about concealed weapons laws.

Keith Dale Parrish has been charged with carrying a concealed weapon.

Police said the 49-year-old was arrested after he brought the weapons in a backpack into a Fort Pierce police station Monday.

The arrest affidavit shows Parrish asked to talk to a detective about a robbery. He spoke to an officer and at least one other person for about 10 minutes before police said he told them that he had a handgun in his bag.

The revolver wasn't loaded, but authorities said nine rounds of ammunition were found inside the backpack.

A telephone listing for Parrish could not be found.

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