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Fire douses torching plan

An arsonist beat the Floral City Fire Department to the punch late Thursday night by torching a structure that was to have been used as a practice burn for firefighters. A single-family, wood-frame house at 7490 South Myers in Floral City owned by Queen Esther Thomas was destroyed by a fire that was reported just before 11 p.m. Thursday. Fire officials were completing the paperwork to accept the empty structure, according to fire prevention investigator John Reeves. The fire department was going to burn the building to give the volunteers some training in firefighting. Reeves said that the value of the property was listed as $7,000. The fire has been ruled an arson and is under investigation.Herbicide to be tested

CRYSTAL RIVER _ University of Florida researchers plan to test the herbicide SONAR on hydrilla in Kings Bay, Phil Price, the head of a local aquatic weed task force, said Friday. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is concerned that SONAR may kill too much hydrilla, depriving the endangered manatee of a food source in Kings Bay.

"Doc' Ferris celebration today

FLORAL CITY _ The Floral City Volunteer Fire Department is sponsoring the 21st Annual Doc Ferris Day Celebration today from noon to 5 p.m. at the Community Building on County Road 48. The celebration is in honor of "Doc" Ferris, who purchased the first Floral City Volunteer Fire Department's fire truck _ The Ferris Pumper. The 1961 Peterpirsch Pumper will be on display today. There will be a barbecue chicken dinner with all the trimmings for $4 and entertainment including The Inverness Stompers from 1 to 2 p.m. For information, call 726-2260 or 726-1589.