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After long absence, St. Petersburg council member Leslie Curran returns

ST. PETERSBURG — More than four months after a bike accident left her with a severe concussion, Council Member Leslie Curran returned to City Hall to attend a public meeting.

"It's good to be back," Curran said.

"It looks like I didn't miss much since I've been gone," she said with a laugh.

Dresssed in a black suit, Curran looked like herself, with no visible signs of the head injuries she suffered when she fell off her bike in late August. Her injuries were so serious that she was in an induced coma for nearly a week and needed a ventilator to help her breathe. Her daughter was appointed guardian of her estate, and it was unclear if she would return.

In December, however, Curran confirmed her return, though was uncertain of a date. The staff didn't know either.

Curran said she decided to return Thursday at a meeting of the public services and infrastructure committee, which is held in a smaller room where fewer residents usually attend. She didn't know if she would attend the regular City Council meeting in the larger chamber at 3 p.m.

"It takes a while," Curran said of her recovery. "The biggest challenge is my energy level."

Her voice is still raspy, the result, months later, of the ventilator. She was smiling and alert.

She walked in during the end of another workshop about 9:30. Jeff Danner, her closest friend on the council, walked in with her and helped her to a seat at the far end of a conference table.

When the meeting ended, she got up to speak with Go Davis, a top city administrator, and then spoke briefly with the Times. She said she had been coming in every now and then to catch up on paperwork, which she said wasn't too bad.

"Thank God I'm an organization freak," Curran said. She missed the grand opening of the Salvador Dalí Museum, much to her chagrin. Her return was complicated by a bout of the flu last weekend.

"On top of everything else, I had that," she said.

Council members, one by one, approached and hugged her when she returned to her seat. As the second workshop began, council member Herb Polson acknowledged her arrival.

"I'd like to welcome council member Curran back to the fold," Polson said to applause. "It's nice to have her back. It's great to have the eighth member back."

Curran smiled broadly.

After long absence, St. Petersburg council member Leslie Curran returns 01/13/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 14, 2011 12:23pm]
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