Around the region for Jan. 24, 2012


Published: Monday, January 23, 2012 at 10:27 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 23, 2012 at 10:41 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Man on motorcycle seriously injured

A Hampton man was seriously injured Saturday night when he lost control of his 2002 Honda motorcycle and was ejected.

Michael E. Sutton, 32, was taken to Shands at the University of Florida after the 9 p.m. crash on Southwest 21st Avenue north of Hampton, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

In a news release about the crash, Trooper M.D. Childress wrote that Sutton was not wearing a helmet when the accident happened.

Childress cited Sutton for careless driving, not having a motorcycle tag and not having a motorcycle endorsement on his license.

— Karen Voyles

Pedestrian dies after struck on U.S. 441

A man died Sunday night in northern Columbia County after he was struck by a vehicle as he walked along a highway, the Florida Highway Patrol reported.

William Anthony Price, 44, of Lake City, died at the scene of the 7:55 p.m. crash on U.S. 441 north of Interstate 10, according to FHP Trooper Derek L. MacLaren.

Price “was walking south on the east shoulder (toward traffic) on or around the white painted line,” MacLaren wrote in his report, adding that the driver of the 1999 Chevrolet Tracker that hit the man, Brittany Elizabeth Law, 21, of Lake City, did not see Price.

— Karen Voyles

STATE

Disney workers now allowed to have beards

ORLANDO — Workers at Disney's theme parks will be allowed to grow beards and goatees for the first time ever.

A Disney spokeswoman said Monday that the new policy will apply to workers in Florida and California starting next month.

Disney had prohibited all facial hair on its theme park workers since Disneyland opened in California in the mid-1950s. The company revised its policy in 2000 to allow mustaches, provided they were grown on vacation not at work.

Starting Feb. 3, beards and mustaches will be allowed.

— The Associated Press

Injured firefighter back to work after neck injury

HOLLYWOOD — A South Florida firefighter returned to work Monday morning more than 15 months after breaking his neck while skimboarding at the beach.

While 33-year-old Derek Avilez isn't yet ready for the rigors of firefighting, he'll do light duty for Hollywood Fire Chief Virgil Fernandez.

Avilez considers his recovery a miracle. He broke his neck at the C-vertebra in September 2010.

Doctors at Memorial Regional Hospital in Hollywood fused his neck and stabilized his spinal column. Dr. Greg Zorman, the hospital's chief of neurosurgery, says most people would not have made the recovery Avilez has made.

While Avilez is thrilled to return to work, he says his goal is to get back on the fire truck.

— The Associated Press

Three inducted into Fla. Civil Rights Hall of Fame

TALLAHASSEE — A pioneering teacher, a Baptist preacher and a U.S. congressman have been named inaugural inductees of Florida's new Civil Rights Hall of Fame. Gov. Rick Scott named Mary McLeod Bethune, the Rev. C.K. Steele and Claude Pepper to the hall Monday. They will be honored with plaques to hang on a wall of honor in the Capitol rotunda.

Bethune established the school now known as Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach. Steele organized a boycott that ended segregation on Tallahassee city buses. Pepper was best known as the nation's foremost champion of the elderly.

— The Associated Press

Clean energy activists appeal nuclear plant fees

TALLAHASSEE — A clean energy group is appealing $282 million in nuclear plant costs being passed on to customers of Florida's two largest electric utilities.

The Southern Alliance for Clean Energy called the fee a nuclear power “tax” in a news release. The Florida Supreme Court appeal challenges decisions by the Public Service Commission to set 2012 nuclear cost recovery rates for Florida Power Co. and Progress Energy Florida.

The charges cover construction and preliminary expenses.

— The Associated Press

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