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Beached pilot whale dies after transfer

A pilot whale transferred from a Sarasota facility to Marineland died shortly after arriving at the theme park aboard a truck, officials said Saturday. The 12-foot whale had been moved Friday from Mote Marine Laboratory because the facility did not have a large enough pool for long-term rehabilitation, Mote officials said. The whale died 90 minutes after reaching Marineland, where it had been placed in a pool, according to a Mote statement. Mote officials had cared for the young whale since Monday, when it was rescued from a sand bar off Marco Island. Two adult whales that also had beached died before rescuers arrived.

Slayings suspect sent home as runaway

SARASOTA _ A North Dakota teen-ager suspected in the slayings of his parents and two siblings was ordered returned to his home state, not as a fugitive, but as a runaway juvenile. Michael David Neugebauer, 15, was expected to be put on a plane Saturday and turned over to the custody of authorities in Burleigh County, N.D., said Assistant State Attorney Don Hartery. Prosecutors sidestepped extradition proceedings and won Neugebauer's removal under the Juvenile Interstate Compact, an agreement among states to return runaway juveniles. Public Defender Elliot Metcalfe said that upon Neugebauer's arrival in North Dakota, he will be placed in a mental health facility for a 30-day evaluation.

Center of state citrus belt moves south

VERO BEACH _ St. Lucie County has displaced longtime leader Polk County as the center of Florida citrus production with the freeze-frightened industry shifting south, state officials say. Statistics released Friday by the state Agriculture Department show Polk, the title holder for decades, was edged out by St. Lucie. "Citrus production is definitely changing in Florida," said Robert Freie, state citrus statistician. "The figures reflect a move to the south." St. Lucie led citrus production in the 1990-91 season with 26.9-million boxes of fruit, followed by Hendry with 23.5-million and Indian River with 21.8-million. A box is 90 pounds of oranges or 85 pounds of grapefruit.

War means free pizza for customers

ROYAL PALM BEACH _ Customers ordering pizzas from a delivery company aren't seeing double _ just competition _ when a driver from another restaurant also shows up. Deliverers from a Domino's Pizza restaurant this week have followed their counterparts from a competing Pizza Hut and offered customers a free pizza, said Craig Marcin, Domino's assistant manager. "We've got this new and improved pizza, and we're doing it to compare it with our competitors, but in a nice way," Marcin told The Palm Beach Post for Saturday's editions.