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"Anyone over the age of 10 knows plastics kill sea turtles. There's just no excuse for this."

_ Beth Connor, conservation organizer for the Florida Sierra Club, on TECO's discharge of thousands of small plastic devices into an inlet at its Big Bend power plant. Environmental regulators ordered the company to stop and are considering fines. The devices are used to clean outfall pipes at the plant.

"It isn't the amount, it's the spirit in which it's given."

_ Tampa businessman John Sykes on the $28-million donation he and his wife, Susan, made to the University of Tampa. It is thought to be the largest gift ever to a Florida university.

"It happens sometimes."

_ Animal trainer Erik Adams Jr., shrugging off the risks involved in training wild animals. A loose circus elephant kept at a Riverview compound trampled a woman to death last week.

"At night you hear them cry and cry. It wants to break your heart. Caged up is not a life for an animal that big."

_ Joan Russell, who lives near the Riverview compound and is one of the few neighbors who worries about the presence of wild animals, a common sight in an area that is home to numerous circus and carnival acts.

"You don't cast a play in hell and get angels in starring roles."

_ Federal prosecutor Jim Preston, telling jurors why they should believe three ex-convicts who fingered Tampa dry cleaner Dennis Fonte as a cocaine dealer. The jury convicted Fonte, who faces at least 10 years in prison.

"Everyone ponies up and you've got your own cop. It's a lot easier than having to go to City Council and lobby council members to hire more officers."

_ Tampa Deputy Police Chief Ken Taylor, defending a policy allowing neighborhoods to hire off-duty officers for enhanced patrol. Some cities have banned the practice on grounds of inequity.

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