Tuesday, January 30, 2007

FLORIDA DIGEST January 30, 2007

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The Sun-Sentinel


Records put gun statistics in doubt

By Megan O'Matz and John Maines
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 30, 2007

Since 1987, the state says, 158 people have committed crimes with firearmsafter being licensed to carry concealed weapons.

Gun enthusiasts point to the number when arguing that licensed gun carriersare responsible people who rarely break the law while armed.

But the number is suspect. State officials can't back it up, and, when askedto identify the shooters, gave the South Florida Sun-Sentinel a list of 48names. The other names, according to the Division of Licensing, were deletedunder a requirement that information on inactive permit holders is to bepurged after two years.

Mary Kennedy, a Licensing Division bureau chief, said she could not identifyall of the culprits. "I don't even know who they are," she said. Of thenumber 158, she said, "I can't tell you that it's right."


The Sun-Sentinel


Former Scout leader from Boynton acquitted on charges of fondling12-year-old boy

By Nancy L. Othón
South Florida Sun-Sentinel
January 30, 2007

Jurors weighing the case against a former assistant scoutmaster needed lessthan an hour to return their verdict: not guilty.

James Hare, 41, had been accused of fondling a 12-year-old boy during anovernight gathering of Boy Scouts at the Gulf Stream home of anotherscoutmaster in November 2003.

Hare, of Boynton Beach, could have faced a maximum of 30 years in prison ifconvicted on both counts of lewd and lascivious molestation. But jurorsswiftly acquitted him Friday.


The Sun-Sentinel


Concealed weapons program often a revolving door as licenses lost thenregained

By Megan O'Matz and John Maines
South Florida Sun-Sentinel

January 30, 2007

Florida suspended Victor S. Carrera's license to carry a gun in November2000 after his wife obtained a restraining order against him, telling aBroward judge that he punched her in the arm and face and broke one of herribs.

The woman failed to appear at a subsequent hearing and the court dismissedthe restraining order Nov. 28, 2000. A month later, the state reinstatedCarrera's gun license.

Then, early last year, the state suspended his license again after he wasarrested for threatening "to blow up a bus full of people." The SouthFlorida Sun-Sentinel, in a review of Florida's concealed weapon program,found that the system often acts like a revolving door.


The Sun-Sentinel



South Florida Sun-Sentinel Editorial Board

January 30, 2007

ISSUE: Tri-Rail gains in reliability, ridership.

Tri-Rail is making significant strides toward becoming a fully reliablecommuter railroad. There are two groups of people who should take notice:the commuting public and those elected officials who have the power toestablish a dedicated funding source for mass transit in South Florida.

Last week, Tri-Rail hired Amtrak to handle scheduling of all trains alongthe 72-mile corridor shared by Tri-Rail, Amtrak and CSX freight trains. Themove was in anticipation of CSX's planned transfer of dispatching duties toTri-Rail, which should occur within the next year once details are ironedout.

Gaining control of dispatching will be a huge step for Tri-Rail. WithTri-Rail in control of dispatching, commuter trains would have priorityduring rush hours. That should help the trains run on time and boostridership.


The Miami Herald


Posted on Tue, Jan. 30, 2007

Broward to discuss same-sex classes today


A new approach to high school and the possibility of separating students bysex at school will be topics of discussion for the Broward School Boardtoday.

Board members will consider a list of majors this fall's freshmen mustchoose from. They will also ponder whether they want to experiment withseparate classes for boys and girls.

Last fall, the district won a $40,000 grant to plan such a test at ArthurAshe Jr. Middle in Fort Lauderdale, but board members wanted to talk aboutthe idea before district administrators go further.

The School Board begins its day of discussion at 10 a.m. today at the K.C.Wright Administration Building, 600 SE Third Ave. in Fort Lauderdale.


The New York Times


January 30, 2007

A Day Without Guns ...

Twenty years ago, the Florida Legislature cravenly decided to allow "lawabiding" citizens to carry concealed weapons merely by declaring theirpreference for self-defense. Then last July, at the prodding of the gunlobby, the current crop of state lawmakers proved they could be even morecorrupt and cowardly than their predecessors by deciding to make the list ofgun-toting Floridians a secret.

Fortunately, a local newspaper has given residents of the state a final lookat their representatives' gruesome handiwork.

When the law was first enacted, there were fewer than 25,000 licensed gunholders. Since then, the state roll has boomed to 410,000 and counting. Asthe veil descends on this dangerously macho part of the public record,enterprising articles in The Florida Sun-Sentinel are laying bare the factthat more than 1,400 people easily got gun licenses despite pleading guiltyor no contest to felonies that included manslaughter, burglary and childmolestation. In Broward County alone, gun licenses grew in 20 years to morethan 35,000 from 25.


Orlando Sentinel



It's time to do the right thing on gay adoption
Mike Thomas

January 30, 2007

You are supposed to take a step back to put things into perspective.

But on matters of discrimination, it is best to take a step closer. That ishow you see individuals rather than preconceived notions.

Consider Mary Cheney, the gay daughter of Vice President Dick Cheney. Herpregnancy caused quite a flap with social conservatives.

The Christian conservative group Focus on the Family said: "Just becauseit's possible to conceive a child outside of the relationship of a marriedmother and father doesn't mean it's the best for the child."




Article published Jan 30, 2007
New urinals save water
City expects to save 500,000 gallons per year

By Bruce Ritchie
Step right up, gentlemen, and learn about water conservation.

City Hall now features new waterless urinals that are designed to reducewater use, pollution and maintenance costs. A sign above the devicesexplains that each one saves 40,000 gallons of water a year.

Instead of using water to flush, the new plumbing fixtures drain themselves.A cartridge at the base allows urine to pass through a pleasant-smellingsealant liquid that prevents odor from escaping the drain, according toFalcon Waterfree Technologies, maker of the device.

"From a personal standpoint, that is tough to get used to," said BillBehenna, senior public information officer for the city. "You are doing yourbusiness but don't have the familiar sound and appearance of water flushingafterwards."




Free HIV testing highlights AIDS awareness day
Published January 30, 2007

In recognition of National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Pinellas CountyHealth Department will offer free HIV testing Feb. 7. In North Pinellas,testing will take place at Mount Olive AME Church, 600 Jones St.,Clearwater. For information, call 541-6638. Those who get tested willreceive a $20 gift certificate as well as their results. AIDS is the leadingcause of death in Florida among black residents 25 to 44. In 2005, one in439 whites and one in 98 blacks was living with HIV/AIDS, according to"Silence is Death: The Crisis of HIV/AIDS in Florida's Black Communities," a2006 report from the Florida Department of Health. Nationwide,African-Americans constitute 13 percent of the population, yet account foralmost half of AIDS cases. For information online about HIV/AIDS or NationalBlack HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, visit:

- www.blackaidsday.org.




Stem-cell funding proposed
Published January 30, 2007

TALLAHASSEE - Setting up a legislative debate over whether stem cellresearch can be realized without the destruction of human embryos, a statelawmaker said Monday she will file a bill to call for increased spending onother, less controversial types of stem cell research.

Rep. Anitere Flores, R-Miami, proposed spending $20-million on biomedicalresearch projects that don't require the destruction of embryos.

Researchers hoping to treat or cure a wide array of diseases and injuriesare working in several types of stem cell research. Use of stem cells culledfrom adults, from umbilical cord blood and amniotic fluid isn't verycontroversial. But many researchers say the most promising type of stem cellresearch involves the use of cells harvested from embryos, because they havethe ability to become any tissue in the body.

Opponents say it is wrong to destroy embryos, which they consider humanbeings.




Super Bowl Sweep Nets Nearly 200 Arrests

POSTED: 8:01 am EST January 30, 2007

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, Fla. -- With the Super Bowl just days away, localauthorities are cracking down on crime along the streets of South Florida.

Residents at one apartment complex in Opa-locka were taken by surpriseMonday night when members of Miami-Dade police's narcotics task force made aSuper Bowl sweep of the area in advance of one of South Florida's biggestevents of the year.

In all, 185 arrests were made, six guns were confiscated and tons ofnarcotics were seized in a three-day sweep.

'These efforts have been going on for quite sometime, especially with theSuper Bowl here . and long after the Super Bowl's gone, we'll be continuingthis," Miami-Dade police Lt. Steve Czyzewski said.

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