For 20 minutes, Hammondville Road was renamed for slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. But the cheers of black residents who worked since February for the name change turned to jeers when the City Commission abruptly changed its mind Tuesday night. Mayor Nate Braverman, who cast the deciding vote, said he made a mistake on the first vote and led the commission in reversing itself on a 3-2 vote. But members of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Committee said the reversal may heighten racial tension in the already-divided city. "It's getting more explosive every day," said E. Pat Larkins, the city's lone black commissioner. "Some day people will stop laughing, and then it will become very highly emotional."Injured airline passenger dies
WEST PALM BEACH _ An elderly man died in a hospital where he was being treated for injuries suffered three weeks ago on an Eastern Airlines flight that encountered turbulence, officials said Wednesday. Philip Romerstein, who was in his late 70s or early 80s, died late Tuesday night, said Sue Crance, a nursing supervisor with Good Samaritan Hospital in West Palm Beach. Crance refused to release information on the cause of death. Romerstein was on a flight from Washington, D.C., on Oct. 3 that hit clear-weather turbulence at 31,000 feet as the jet approached Palm Beach International Airport. Thirteen people requested medical assistance, most complaining of bumps and bruises, said Eastern spokeswoman Karen Ceremsak.
Man rings up $1,603 bill on city phone
DELRAY BEACH _ A homeless man looking for someone to talk to ran up $1,603 in telephone bills on an emergency line at a municipal water pump station, city official said. Fredrick Peter Hollis, 19, told police after his arrest in July that he had lived in the small building for six months. City records show the bulk of the calls were made to 1-900 numbers, such as Date Line, Talklive, People, Real People and Gab Line. Hollis is awaiting trial on burglary and grand theft charges. City officials have removed the phone from the pump station.
Freighter that damaged reef is seized
U.S. marshals seized a 155-foot freighter Wednesday that ran aground last year in a marine sanctuary in the Florida Keys. The Alec Owen Maitland was seized in a shipyard in Pascagoula, Miss., on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The ship caused a substantial amount of damage to a reef when it grounded on Oct. 25, 1989, and NOAA has assessed $104,000 in damages against the owners and operator of the vessel.
Encephalitis spreads to Dade County
MIAMI _ The number of St. Louis encephalitis cases in Florida is now at 60, with a 62-year-old victim making Dade County the 21st and southernmost county in Florida to be hit with the disease since mid-August. The south Dade woman was in critical but stable condition Wednesday at Coral Reef Hospital. Hospital officials would not release her name. The state Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services has confirmed three deaths in the outbreak and is investigating the death of a 91-year-old Martin County man last week as a possible fourth.
_ Compiled from staff and wire reports