JUDGE ALLOWS INTERPRETER AT SENTENCING
A federal judge will allow a Spanish interpreter at Monday's sentencing of former Hillsborough County Commissioner Kevin White on corruption charges, but it won't be on the taxpayers' dime. Earlier this week, White's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr., requested a Spanish translator at White's sentencing because White's in-laws do not speak English. As a backup plan, the attorney offered the services of White's sister-in-law. U.S. District Judge James D. Whittemore approved the use of the sister-in-law, but is silent so far on White's request that the hearing be lengthened by 90 minutes. Irvin said the 30 minutes now scheduled may not be sufficient to allow everyone to speak on White's behalf. He said up to 15 people may want to do so.
Health Department clears beach water
It's safe to return to the water at Picnic Island Beach. The Hillsborough County Health Department lifted an advisory Wednesday that warned bathers about the possible presence of bacteria in the beach's waters. Department officials raised concerns Feb. 29 after tests uncovered unsafe levels of enterococci bacteria in the water. If ingested, the bacteria may cause numerous health issues, including meningitis and urinary tract infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Floating resort opening up
Fisherman's Paradise, a five-story floating resort, will open for the season March 30. Anchored 15 miles due west of Clearwater since its construction in 2009, the former natural gas pipeline barge has been tricked out with every conceivable luxury: health spa, sports bar, 900-bottle wine cellar and restaurant, two-floor gym and helipad. According to operating partner Christopher Longrie, the $25 million deep-sea anglers' dream works like this: Open to members only, accommodations are ordinarily $250 per night, per person, double occupancy. For the month of April, though, rates will shift to $350 per person, for a weekend of three days and two nights. For more information, visit fishermansparadise.com.
Before he live-tweeted about the raid on the compound where Osama Bin Laden was hiding, Sohaib Athar had between 700 and 800 Twitter followers. A story Wednesday reported an incorrect number.