Wakulla races settled a week after elections
A week after Election Day, Sopchoppygate is over. Longtime Wakulla County Sheriff David F. Harvey prevailed over challenger Charlie Creel in a recount that stopped and started and finally came to rest early Tuesday. Harvey won by an apparent 48 votes, though questions remain, not the least of which is a two-ballot discrepancy from a recount in a heated County Commission race. Even so, Creel conceded about 9 a.m. Lynn Artz won the County Commission District 5 race, unseating Democrat Jim Stokely by eight votes. Artz tips the balance of the board to a faction led by relative newcomers who advanced a message of change.
FORT WALTON BEACH
Funds sought for Internet voting
U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson is trying to get federal funding for states and counties that replicate Okaloosa County's overseas military and absentee Internet voting program. Nelson said Monday that he plans to introduce legislation after Okaloosa County became one of the first to count votes cast over the Internet. Ninety-three registered Okaloosa County voters stationed near three U.S. bases overseas cast their ballots online at kiosks set up in Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. The program was designed to make voting easier for U.S. soldiers and citizens abroad. Nelson says as many as half of the absentee ballots sent overseas aren't returned in time to be counted.
Thou shalt not steal wafers
A Connecticut man has been arrested, accused of trying to steal communion wafers during Mass at a Catholic church. The Martin County Sheriff's Office says 33-year-old John Samuel Ricci of Canton was cornered by fellow churchgoers after he grabbed a handful of wafers from the priest during communion Saturday. The Stuart News reported that Ricci was being held down by six or seven parishioners when deputies arrived at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church in Jensen Beach. Police say two parishioners, ages 82 and 61, received minor injuries in the scuffle. Ricci was charged with two counts of simple battery, theft and disruption of a religious assembly.
Driver shot after cruiser is rammed
A Putnam County deputy shot and wounded a man who rammed a stolen truck into a patrol car, authorities said. A sheriff's spokesman said the deputy stopped a stolen truck near Hastings on Tuesday. When the deputy got out of his patrol car, the driver rammed it twice. The deputy opened fire, and the truck struck a pole. On Monday night, as an Orange County deputy approached a reportedly stolen SUV, authorities said it drove toward them and hit their cruiser. One deputy opened fire, but the SUV got away. A suspect was later found trying to get a ride to a hospital for gunshot wounds.
Two bodies found in Miami River
Homicide detectives are investigating the deaths of two men found floating in the Miami River. The first man was discovered Monday. Passers-by helped pull the body out of the water. On Tuesday, another body was discovered, about five blocks from where the first was found. Officials had not identified the men.
Times staff, wires