East Hillsborough residents will debate the possible closing of Cockroach Bay to propeller-driven boats at 7:30 tonight at East Bay High School, 7710 Big Bend Road. Commercial anglers who use the bay and environmentalists who say boats destroy sea grass will attend. The debate will center on Cockroach Bay, but also discuss the Pinellas County decision Tuesday to limit motorboat access around Mullet Key. Environmentalists say that temporarily closing parts of Cockroach Bay to boats with propellers will preserve sea grass beds, which nurture fish and birds. Commercial fishermen say the damage is not their fault. Mullet boat engines don't drag along the bottom, and nets dragged by shrimpers have been proven not to harm sea grass beds, fishermen say. Robin Lewis, an environmental consultant, will present a proposal to the Hillsborough Environmental Protection Commission on Feb. 26 for closing the bay.
Ground broken for Ybor statue
YBOR CITY _ Members of the Ybor City Roundtable broke ground Wednesday for a statue commemorating the arrival of immigrants. About 75 people, many of them descendants of Ybor City immigrants, attended the ceremony at Centennial Park. "This is an impossible dream come true," said Steve Lester, president of the Roundtable. Sam D. Leto, statue committee chairman, spent five years planning and raising money for the statue, which will arrive in June. The 6-foot bronze depiction of an immigrant family will honor those who came to Ybor City in 1920 from Spain, Cuba, Italy and other countries. The statue will be placed in a park at Ninth Avenue between 18th and 19th streets.