Links from the Times for Dec. 17
$1.34-billion sugar deal approved
Water managers on Tuesday narrowly approved the deal to buy a sprawling swath of sugar fields, a landmark purchase with promise to dramatically reshape Everglades restoration and surrounding farming communities. One of the primary targets for restoration will be Lake Okeechobee, which is far from healthy after generations of environmental alterations. The water going into the lake will need a real scrubbing through filtering cells, state officials say. | Here's how one of many cells will work.
Judge criticizes lawyer's work; orders a new trial
Hillsborough Circuit Judge William Fuente was so unimpressed by a lawyer's defense of a man on a murder charge this month that the judge, at his own instigation, ordered a new trial. Fuente observed that attorney Byron Christopher seemed unprepared as he defended David Rolon on a charge that Rolon killed a neighbor in a fight over a parking space. | Read the judge's order for a new trial (PDF)
Buddy Johnson's $2.3M overrun
Add cost overruns to the troubles that plagued Hillsborough County's election last month, a vote already marred by counting delays, equipment failures and misplaced ballots. It was only the latest in a long line of difficulties Johnson has faced recently. | Special report: Buddy Johnson's troubles