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News nuggets make interesting stories

Sometimes the most interesting nuggets don't tie in with the subject being dealt with in a story. A saver by nature, I store these gems in my computer.

For instance, there was Dan Rather in Tampa a few weeks ago. He is a veteran of many years in his business but still so excited about what he's doing that you can't help catching his enthusiasm.

"No matter what you say about our system," he said, "it has produced three men who are qualified to be president. They are intelligent. They are all patriots. Oh, this is going to be an exciting campaign. I'm having a 3,000-calorie attack over Perot."

He also believes this will be a really important election and "one of the dirtiest campaigns in American history."

Then there was Dennis Neighbor, "The Car Doctor," subject of a recent interview. "I don't believe children have inalienable rights. I believe they need to be governed," he said. A former Boy Scout and regular in Sunday School as a child, he has three grown children, all in business with him. Drugs and rebellion have never been a factor in their home, and he credits this with the fact that he has been anaware parent, always knowing whom his children were with and where they were.

Neighbor also believes everyone, man or woman, should go into the military, "just to give them an idea of reality."

Saturday brings a new twist to the party scene. It's an "Island Party" at Shell Island, with guests being taken by boat from the Tierra Verde Yacht Club. They'll leave at 4, 4:45 and 5:30 p.m., return at 8:30, 9:15 and 10 p.m., having dined on roast pig, chicken and other Hawaiian offerings catered by Feather's Cuisine. Guitarist David Micheals will play island music, and we predict a great sunset. The cost is $50. Call Gloria McPeak, 572-8300, or Ann Torguson, 864-3890, who are members of the host group, the Suncoast Friends.

Gary Crosby, St. Petersburg Little Theatre board member, called last Thursday to report an interesting omen. The Little Theatre is now in rehearsal for The Rainmaker, to open Oct. 22. "We put up a marquee last week," he said, "and it's been raining ever since." So what does this portend? I don't know, but if the rain hadn't stopped, we were going to ask him to take it down.

Delegates and clergy of the Episcopal Diocese of Southwest Florida, convening at Punta Gorda last weekend, attended a reception honoring lawyer Bill Belcher, who retired as chancellor of the Diocese after 17 years. His wife, Mary Lina, also was honored. The Right Rev. Rogers Harris, bishop of the diocese, was host of the event.

The Downtown Core Group will meet Monday at 7 p.m., at the Stouffer Vinoy Resort. Vince LaRuffa, general sales manager for the resort, will discuss the Vinoy's relationship to downtown. Independent film producer Rick Cason will present plans for a cable program for downtown St. Petersburg, a half-hour program in which business owners would be interviewed. Money raised by the Core Group will be given to the city, which will buy a bicycle for police to patrol downtown.

Core members are gearing up for another progressive dinner. Itis scheduled Oct. 27, beginning with an appetizer at Mansion by the Bay, salad at Ollie's One-Eleven, entree at LeGrand Cafe and dessert at the Stouffer Vinoy. It's a great way to familiarize yourself with downtown restaurants at a cost of $25. Call 527-2217 for information.