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Sheriff returns after surgery

Hillsborough Sheriff Cal Henderson returned to work Monday in full vigor, one month after undergoing surgery for prostate cancer.

To prove it, a trim Henderson showed up in a pinstriped suit for a press conference at a sheriff's office building in Ybor City to announce the capture in Texas of Pedro Hernandez-Alberto, wanted here on charges of murdering of his two stepdaughters.

Normally, Henderson leaves media briefings to subordinates. Det. Lisa Haber said his appearance was a way to "show everybody he's back in the saddle," and trumpet an important arrest.

"I'm happy to be back from a month off," Henderson said before getting down to business, though he conceded he wasn't ready to prove his health by dancing a jig.

Calling the surgery on a small tumor "successful," Henderson said he goes back for a blood test in three months to make sure everything's in order.

He's dropped weight lifting in favor of walks for now and will be going home early from work if he gets tired, he said. But on the up side, he said, he was able to shed 15 pounds.

"Keeping it off is my New Year's resolution."

_ KATHRYN WEXLER

Outback chips in

for museum's sake

The effort to bring to town the USS Forrestal, an old aircraft carrier sitting idle in Rhode Island, just got a shot in the arm.

Outback Steakhouse will give organizers $100,000, the biggest gift yet. The money will go toward a set of environmental and feasibility studies that need be completed before Tampa can get the 1,086-foot-long ship and turn it into a floating museum along the Ybor Channel.

For the past six months, momentum has been building for the plan.

Mayor Dick Greco endorsed the project, saying it could attract hundreds of thousands of tourists each year.

Officials at the Florida Aquarium, the Downtown Partnership and other community organizations also have lent their support.

The Outback gift will help Forrestal organizers get over their first hurdle of raising $500,000 this spring for the feasibility studies.

Then the group will have to find another $12-million to tow the ship from Rhode Island to Tampa and turn it into a museum.

Other cities including Baltimore are competing for the ship, the first supercarrier of its class.

_ JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

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