Around the Region - Jan. 6

Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2010 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, January 5, 2010 at 11:02 p.m.

71-year-old man injured in Dixie County crash

A Dixie County man escaped injuries in a Monday morning accident that critically injured a Leon County man who reportedly ran a red light.

The crash occurred at 7:45 a.m. on State Road 55 at Southwest 10th Street in Dixie County, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Ronald Thomas, 43, of Old Town, was driving a 2004 Freightliner east on Southwest 10th Street and making a left turn onto S.R. 55 when the crash took place.

FHP Trooper S.G. Martin determined that William J. Hettinger, 71, of Tallahassee, was heading south on S.R. 55 in the right lane in a 1998 Chrysler sedan.

In his report, Martin said Hettinger did not stop for the red light while Thomas was proceeding through the intersection on a green light.

The front of the Chrysler hit the left side of the semi.

Hettinger was taken to Shands at the University of Florida with critical injuries.

Martin said both drivers had been wearing their seat belts, alcohol was not a factor in the crash and charges are pending further investigation.

Hippodrome to host festival planning meeting

The Hippodrome Theatre will host a planning meeting on Tuesday for the Gainesville Environmental Film and Arts Festival.

The meeting, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Hippodrome Theatre, is open to the public.

The Gainesville Environmental Film and Arts Festival is a collaboration of the Florida Defenders of the Environment, the Hippodrome Theatre and to raise awareness of environmental issues in North Florida and to inspire the community to address environmental issues through lifestyle adjustments, business and the arts.

The festival is designed to engage the community through school-related programs, community conservation projects, green business education, film, music, dance, poetry, photography and visual art exhibitions, and community nonprofit organization involvement.

A social hour begins at 5 p.m. at the Hipp Bar, followed by the meeting.

For more information, send an e-mail to or call Trish Riley at 954-384-9466.

Free spay/neuter surgery for stray cats on Sunday

Spay and neuter surgery for stray cats will be free with the purchase of a $10 rabies vaccine at Sunday's Operation Catnip clinic.

The nonprofit organization holds monthly clinics to help stem the tide of cat overpopulation and to decrease the number of unwanted cats that are euthanized at the Alachua County Animal Services shelter.

All stray and feral cats in Alachua County are eligible for the free clinic, which is held at the College of Veterinary Medicine.

After the clinic, each cat is returned to its caregiver. Rabies vaccines are required because fatal rabies virus is frequently carried by wildlife and can be transmitted to cats and dogs.

Appointments are required for Sunday's clinic, which is limited to 250 cats. Residents who see or feed homeless cats are encouraged to call 380-0940 or e-mail for an appointment and information about how to bring cats to the clinic. Humane traps are available.

Kelly to run against Grayson for 8th District

State Rep. Kurt Kelly ended speculation on Tuesday about whether the Republicans could find a name challenger in their attempt to unseat controversial Congressman Alan Grayson.

The Ocala Republican officially announced that he would join an already crowded GOP field in the 2010 congressional primary for Florida's 8th District, which is based in Orlando but encompasses much of eastern Marion County including parts of Ocala, Silver Springs Shores and Fort McCoy.

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