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School evacuated for restroom fire

Freedom High School was evacuated Friday morning after a fire was started in a boys' restroom.

The New Tampa school's 2,100 students were sent to the football field before heading back into the school early in the afternoon.

The 11 a.m. fire appeared to have started in a restroom trash can, said Capt. Bill Wade, a Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman.

No one was injured, and damage was mostly confined to the bathroom.

The fire was put out in about 15 minutes.

The Fire Marshal's Office has concluded that the fire was set intentionally, and it is being investigated as an arson. Damage is estimated at about $25,000.


Vandals blanket school with graffiti

Vandals sprayed swastikas, obscenities, depictions of genitalia and other graffiti on the walls, widows, sidewalks, light posts and signs at Hudson Middle School sometime Thursday night.

"It's literally every wall on the outside of the school," principal Steve Van Gorden said as school district work crews painted over the words and symbols. "This is kind of like a family member getting slapped in the face."

While Pasco sheriff's deputies gathered clues and took pictures, Van Gorden went onto the school's morning newscast to tell the student body just how upset he was with what happened. He offered a $100 reward to anyone who could bring information leading to the capture of the culprits.

Beauty, even the canine kind, is in the eye of the beholder, and Charlie the mutt has a home.

Charlie is the Pasco County pooch who was stabbed in September after two roommates got into a fight. He recovered at the Pasco County Animal Services shelter, but weeks passed and Charlie wasn't adopted. Despite his sweet disposition, his size and his less-than-perfect looks may have been a factor, shelter officials said.

His days numbered, Charlie was scooped up by the Humane Society of Tampa Bay, a Tampa shelter that does not euthanize dogs. A sign on his cage described his plight and lovable personality.

A Tampa woman with a husband, three dogs, a big fenced yard and no children took Charlie home Thursday.

"She said, 'I don't think he's bad at all, I think he's cute,' so obviously she needs glasses," joked Humane Society executive director Sherry Silk. "I think she just loved his spirit."

Silk said a Times column on Charlie has generated lots of calls to the shelter.

TAMPAINNER BEAUTY WINS DOG A NEW HOME 12/05/08 [Last modified: Monday, December 8, 2008 11:30am]
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