Sunday, January 14, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST January 14, 2007

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The Sun-Sentinel,0,7313997.story?coll=sfla-home-headlines

One year later, a family mourns while accused teens grapple with prison

By Tonya Alanez and Elizabeth Baier
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 14, 2007

From his dirty eighth-floor window at the Broward County Main Jail, ThomasDaugherty looks out, hoping one day he might see his best friend.

He spends his days reading the Bible, doing push-ups and sit-ups inside his70-square-foot cell. He writes letters to family and friends on notebookpaper he buys from the jail commissary.

It has been one year since Daugherty, Brian Hooks and William Ammons areaccused of going on a violent pre-dawn spree against homeless men in FortLauderdale.

It's been a year of renewing their sense of family for the siblings andparents of Norris Gaynor, who was clubbed to death with a baseball bat thatJan. 12, 2006, morning. It's been a year of endurance for the two men whosurvived separate attacks. A year of reflection for the accused teens. Oneof coping for the people who know them best.

"The hardest part of this year has been not having him around. Not gettingto see him, not getting to hold him, not getting to give him a high five orgiving him a bear hug," friend Cecilia Leonard, 16, said of Daugherty.


White House snub? It cuts both ways
By ADAM C. SMITH, Times Political Editor
Published January 14, 2007

Gov. Charlie Crist confirmed last week that it's still pretty icy betweenhimself and the White House following his snub of the president at anelection eve rally in Pensacola.

Asked whether he had been briefed by the Defense Department on PresidentBush's planned troop surge in Iraq -- since it will affect National Guardtroops in Florida - Crist spoke very slowly for emphasis: "Not sincePensacola. No."

Sen. Mel Martinez, the new chairman of the Republican National Committee,has publicly acknowledged a deep rift, and has said that "healing" will benecessary over time, but that the wound will heal.


Crist selects five to study lethal injection
Published January 13, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Gov. Charlie Crist named former Florida Corrections SecretaryHarry Singletary and four other members Friday to a commission that willstudy the state's lethal injection procedure after a botched execution.

Singletary, of Tallahassee, headed the Corrections Department for eightyears in the 1990s. The electric chair was used for executions during histenure.

Crist's other appointments include two from Tampa: Bill Jennings, a capitalcollateral regional counsel representing death row inmates in court; and Dr.David Varlotta, an anesthesiologist. He also named Rodney Doss ofTallahassee, director of victim services for the Attorney General's Office,and Dr. Peter Springer of Ormond Beach, Volusia County Emergency MedicalServices medical director.


Crist shifts the debate on insurance
By Randy Schultz

Palm Beach Post Page Editor

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Over and over, Charlie Crist has called Jeb Bush America's greatestgovernor. But it took less than two weeks for Gov. Crist to show howdifferent he is from Jeb Bush, and he did so on the biggest issue facing thestate.

As property insurance premiums shot up following the 2004 and 2005 hurricaneseasons, Jeb Bush said Florida had a "hurricane problem, not an insuranceproblem." Last year, he paid little attention to the insurance crisis. Hewanted one final year of tax cuts. He wanted lawsuit reform that took rightsfrom innocently injured people. He signed a weak insurance bill andpronounced it a good start. When rates kept going up, Mr. Bush formed acommittee to study the problem, but he ordered the members to recommend onlychanges that would help the private market.

Then Mr. Bush's party lost seats in the House. Then the Senate president,who didn't take up insurance until the next-to-last day of the session, losthis race for chief financial officer; all other Republicans running forstatewide offices won. Now, barely six months after Republican leaders inthe Legislature said that they couldn't do much to lower rates, the Houseand Senate are competing to see which chamber can lower rates more, andfaster. After doing nothing, they may try to do too much.


The Sun-Sentinel,0,7846274,print.story?coll=sfl-news-browardcomm

Consultant's bill may be $60 million

Lauderdale OKs water project's management costs
By Brittany Wallman
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 14, 2007

Fort Lauderdale ? The outside consultant who oversees the city's largestpublic works program, WaterWorks 2011, will receive another $5.6 million forsix months of work managing the water-sewer projects.

The $5.6 million deal brings the total payment to Denver-based CH2M Hill to$37.5 million, and the company is expected to earn even more -- about $60million total -- for managing the program. The company is not doingconstruction but is overseeing the many companies doing the actual work.

City officials said CH2M Hill is not to blame for large increases in theWaterWorks 2011 costs. The commission at its Dec. 19 meeting voted 4-1 onthe deal, with Commissioner Charlotte Rodstrom dissenting. Rodstrom has beencritical of CH2M Hill's oversight and has questioned the consistently risingcost of construction projects. She said the company hasn't proven it iseffectively managing the program, considering WaterWorks 2011 was originallyannounced in 2001 as a $555 million project but has ballooned to $768million.



Dillard High School looks at triumphs as it celebrates 100 years

The Fort Lauderdale school that gave birth to black education in BrowardCounty marks 100 years
By Akilah Johnson
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 14, 2007

Fort Lauderdale -- This is the story of a school, of a century really. Of aplace that represents moments through time.

This is a tale of segregation, integration, the depth of love, the startingpoint of Broward's black education.

The buildings are still there. Stand in the Old Dillard School -- now amuseum -- and listen to the music of Julian "Cannonball" Adderly. Walk twomiles and hear divas sing in the new Dillard High School's $2 millionrecording studio.

Then and now. Old and new. The beginning, but not the end.


Auditor's aggressive style shakes up Palm Beach County

By Josh Hafenbrack
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 14, 2007

Three years into her career as a countywide political figure, Palm BeachCounty Clerk Sharon Bock finds herself increasingly in a limelight role sherelishes: the aggressive auditor.

Bock is asserting a broader authority for her office as a watchdog fortaxpayers, a move that has irked some county leaders and won praise fromothers. Her style rankled Elections Supervisor Arthur Anderson so much thathe broke away from the county financial system this month to form his own.

The lawyer and political novice turned county clerk has beefed up her staffof professional auditors, aiming for a prominent role in remaking how countygovernment manages its ever-growing share of tax dollars.

"When you have a county with $4.3 billion budgeted, we're larger than somecountries in the world," Bock, 54, said. "The control, the systems of theentire county need to be reviewed and updated.


Former Broward Superintendent Till to lead Boys & Girls Clubs

By Douane D. James
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 14, 2007

Former Broward Schools Superintendent Frank Till will remain a chiefexecutive of an organization responsible for children, after all.

Till will be the next CEO of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County,officials announced Saturday.

"I've had lots of different offers," Till said. "[But] none of the otherswere working with children. I'm at a place in my life where that's what Iwanted to do."

Till's seven-year term as head of Broward County's public schools endedabruptly in November after School Board members voted to fire him with sevenmonths left on his contract.

"At end of the superintendency, people were afraid I would leave to go backto California," said Till, who was hired to run Broward County schools in1999 after leading the San Diego school system. "What I told them was Iwould try to find a way to stay."

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