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Homestead Extension on Florida's Turnpike to go cashless

The Homestead Extension of Florida's Turnpike is going cashless.

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Starting Feb. 19, drivers who don't have a SunPass will receive a monthly bill with a service charge tacked on. Turnpike officials say the new system will help speed traffic and improve road safety.

There are 37 toll plazas on the 47-mile roadway, which stretches from Miramar to Florida City.

Officials say motorists may encounter a mixture of cash booths and electronic toll booths as the roadway is converted to the cashless system.

Billing for non-SunPass users is done through a Toll-by-Plate system in which cameras snap pictures of license plates as vehicles pass by.

ST. AUGUSTINE

Whale helped by scientists has died

A North Atlantic right whale has died off Florida after scientists sedated it last month in a novel method of untangling it.

Initial results from a necropsy Thursday in St. Augustine show that the 2-year-old female had rope deeply embedded in its mouth, which probably kept the whale from feeding.

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration spokeswoman Karrie Carnes said initial observations suggest that sharks then killed the malnourished whale because it was in a weakened state. Scientists are still conducting tests to confirm the cause of death.

Scientists sedated the whale Jan. 15 so boat teams could get close and cut some of the fishing line tangling it. It was the second time the technique was used on a free-swimming whale.

PANAMA CITY BEACH

Deaths of dozens of starfish blamed on cold

Researchers say a lengthy cold snap is to blame for the dozens of starfish that have washed up dead near Panama City Beach.

The starfish were found in late January in St. Andrews State Park. University of West Florida biology professor Christopher Pomory told the Panama City News Herald that weeks of unusually cold weather is likely to blame for the starfish deaths.

Associated Press

Homestead Extension on Florida's Turnpike to go cashless 02/04/11 [Last modified: Friday, February 4, 2011 10:58pm]

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