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FHP boosts holiday patrols

Highway fatalities are down this year, but the Florida Highway Patrol is taking no chances.

In what has become the norm every holiday weekend, the Highway Patrol is roaming the highways in "wolf pack" patrols and targeting known trouble spots to catch drunken drivers.

"We either deter you from drinking or we arrest you," said Capt. Ken Howes, an FHP spokesman.

This year, the death count through June 21 is 2 percent lower than the same period a year ago. And as of Sunday, 11 people had died in traffic-related accidents this weekend, the FHP reported.

From Friday to 10 p.m. Sunday, there had been three fatalities in area roads, two in Pasco County and one in St. Petersburg.

The Fourth of July weekend ranks fourth for fatalities among holiday weekends, according to a count of highway fatalities from 1990 to 1993.

The deadliest holiday weekend is Labor Day.

Boater tangles with gill net

TALLAHASSEE _ A recreational boater got tangled in a huge, abandoned gill net in Santa Rosa County on Sunday, apparently a victim of the recently enacted net ban.

"The report is that the net is 4,000 yards in length," said Capt. Alan Richard of the Florida Marine Patrol.

Richard said the net could have floated in from the Gulf of Mexico or been mistakenly left behind. But he added: "It's just as easily a net left there intentionally as a protest statement concerning the net ban."

It was virtually the only incident in an otherwise calm Sunday, the second day the ban was in effect.

Radar system gets improvements

FORT LAUDERDALE _ Technicians have changed electrical circuitry, added computer safeguards and waterproofed some components in efforts to shore up the troubled radar system that serves the Fort Lauderdale and Miami airports.

The repairs were prompted after the system failed a dozen times in the last month while air traffic controllers were directing flights into Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport and Miami International Airport.

Officials will meet this week to discuss other corrections that may be required.

_ Compiled from staff, wire reports

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