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Dropouts helped by generous widow

About 25 high school dropouts will get the opportunity to go to college for free under a scholarship established by the widow of the late owner of the National Enquirer. The students will receive room and board as well as spending money. The catch is that they must teach at inner-city schools for four years after graduation. Philanthropist Lois Pope, widow of Generoso Pope, donated $380,000 to Florida Atlantic University as an initial gift and pledged a multiyear commitment to the program.Palm Beach not so high on the list

GAINESVILLE _ Florida's most elite area, Palm Beach County, ranks fourth in average buying power, behind residents of Sarasota, Martin and Collier counties, a University of Florida study shows. Palm Beach County is still the highest in per capita income among the state's 67 counties, but when adjusted for cost of living, it drops to fourth, according to the latest report on income and buying power by the Bureau of Economic and Business Research at the University of Florida.

Chiles names son to state commission

TALLAHASSEE _ Gov. Lawton Chiles said Thursday he picked son Ed as a member of the state's tourism commission because of his familiarity with the restaurant business. "I think he knows a lot about the restaurant business," Chiles said when asked by reporters why he named his son to the advisory panel. "I think he'll do a good job." The younger Chiles, a Bradenton restaurateur and unsuccessful candidate for the state Senate last fall, was among seven appointees announced by the governor.

April feeling much better, thank you

FORT WALTON BEACH _ April, a baby bottle-nosed dolphin named for the month she was found washed up on a Florida Panhandle beach, appears on the way to recovery two months later, a rarity in such circumstances. "Out of all the ones I've worked on, over literally hundreds of hours, she'll make up for every one of them," said George Gray, senior trainer at the Gulfarium, a marine attraction just outside this Panhandle city. April was brought to the Gulfarium, a member of the National Marine Stranding Network, after she was found April 5 near Apalachicola. At that time she weighed only 56 pounds but by Monday she was up to 88.5 after being bottle fed around the clock, Gulfarium curator Greg Siebenaler said Tuesday.

Monroe County clamps on freeze

KEY WEST _ The Monroe County Commission voted to impose a construction freeze in the Florida Keys, sparking an avalanche of construction applications from panicked builders and landowners. The building moratorium for unincorporated areas of Monroe County adopted Wednesday went into effect at the close of business Wednesday, and will remain in force until the county adopts or votes down an interim development ordinance in about 30 days. The moratorium was passed by a 3-2 vote, with Commissioner Doug Jones and County Mayor Wilhelmina Harvey opposed. Curtailing development is part of the board's plan to lower hurricane evacuation time, minimize the cost of road construction and protect the environment.

Crack sale near school draws life

GREEN COVE SPRINGS _ A 22-year-old has been sentenced to life in prison, without chance of parole, for selling crack cocaine near a school. Circuit Judge Peter D. Webster ruled Tuesday that Kenneth D. Hodges was a habitual offender. He will be ineligible for early release and will not be eligible for parole. Hodges' criminal record includes convictions for sale of cocaine, dealing in stolen property and unarmed robbery of an undercover officer, said Assistant State Attorney Howard Maltz.

_ Compiled from wire reports