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Feds looking into death of witness, report says

Federal investigators have launched an investigation of the fatal shooting of a businessman in what appeared to be a typical nighttime stickup, a newspaper reported Saturday.

Yigal Gretah, who was shot as he left his travel agency business, was set to testify in the trial of reputed Israeli organized crime boss Eli Tisona.

Gretah, 51, was the second government witness to be gunned down since Tisona and several relatives were charged in 1996 with laundering $42.5-million in drug money for the Cali drug cartel, a federal official said.

Palm Beach power plant

finds use for melaleuca

WEST PALM BEACH _ Melaleuca, the pest tree that is threatening to overwhelm the Everglades, is good for something. A Palm Beach County power plant is burning it to make electricity.

The gnarly trees, imported decades ago from Australia, have so successfully taken root in the Everglades, they have smothered native vegetation. Making matters worse, they have no native predators. When they are cut down, they just grow back.

But they do burn.

"Melaleuca burns pretty well," said James Meriwether, environmental manager at the Okeelanta Cogeneration Plant.

The 2-year-old power plant in western Palm Beach County is mostly fueled by crushed sugar cane fibers and wood. But now, the plant is also burning up to 50 tons of melaleuca an hour.

Since March, Okeelanta has been receiving 10 truckloads a day of ground-up melaleuca trees.

When mulched, melaleuca produces about 5,400 BTUs of heat per pound _ less than a third of the energy produced by diesel fuel, but about 35 percent more than produced by sugar cane stalks.