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Ethics panel dismisses complaint against Graham

The U.S. Senate ethics committee dismissed a complaint a California businessman filed against Sen. Bob Graham accusing him of using his government staff to promote a proposed state constitutional amendment.

Robert Kaplan, whose company Zonetal was fired as a fundraiser for the ballot initiative, filed the complaint claiming the Democrat used his Capitol staff to work on the campaign to create a panel, similar to the abolished Board of Regents, to oversee the state's public university system.

"The committee has determined that your complaint lacks substantial merit," committee chief counsel Victor Baird wrote in a letter to Kaplan last week.

"I can't say that I'm surprised," said Kaplan, who also filed complaints with the state Elections Commission and attorney general.

Man accused of dangling, dropping wife off balcony

FORT MYERS BEACH _ Police say a man dangled his wife by the ankles from a hotel balcony and then dropped her nearly 60 feet to her death.

Colleen Dame, 46, died in the fall from the fifth floor of the beachside Lani Kai Island Resort into the sand late Sunday, Lee County sheriff's Lt. Richard Dobson said.

Christopher Dame, 47, was arrested and charged early Monday with second-degree murder.

The couple, from nearby Cape Coral, were drinking at a bar in the hotel when they got into an argument, Dobson said. A witness told officers Colleen Dame had been dancing with two younger men when her husband became upset and confronted her, at one point grabbing his wife's neck and yelling at her.

"They took it up to their room, and then out on the balcony," Dobson said.

A man staying in the hotel room next to the Dames told officers he saw Colleen Dame run to the balcony railing as if she were going to vomit, the police report said. Her husband then allegedly grabbed his wife by the ankles, lifted her over the railing and dangled her. He yelled to his wife that she was drunk, then dropped one hand so that he was gripping only one of her ankles with the other, the report said.

Colleen Dame frantically tried to grab the floor of the balcony, the witness told detectives. "Then he dropped her into the sand," Dobson said. "We believe this was an intentional act."

Alice Faye Redd dies; fraud led to downfall

LAKELAND _ Alice Faye Redd, once a leading figure in Polk County Republican politics who defrauded investors in a multimillion-dollar pyramid scheme, died Sunday after a long bout with cancer. She was 65.

She died just over three months after her husband, Dr. Henry Redd, a retired Watson Clinic physician.

In 1995, Mrs. Redd pleaded no contest to defrauding more than 100 people out of $3.5-million. They thought the money was being invested in the clinic.

In 1998 the Florida Parole Commission released her from the remainder of her 15-year prison sentence and put her on house arrest because of her advancing bone cancer.

When Christian radio station WCIE went on the air in Lakeland about 20 years ago, Mrs. Redd was "The Happy Homemaker," hosting a five-minute program that aired five days a week for more than 13 years, offering recipes and tips.

Mrs. Redd worked with Camp Fire Girls, helped start a home in Lakeland for unwed mothers, took clothing and medical supplies to Nicaraguan refugees and, in 1972, was honored in Washington as one of the Outstanding Young Women of America. She also campaigned hard for Republican candidates and conservative causes.

Dr. Redd died in April. He was on probation after pleading no contest in 1995 to selling unregistered securities.

_ From Fort Myers News-Press, Ledger and wire reports