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Baby dolphin a casualty of Jeanne

Rescuers worked Monday to save a baby dolphin washed ashore by Hurricane Jeanne near the Sunshine Skyway bridge, but they were too late.

The month-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin was spotted Sunday by a Highway Patrol trooper at the north pier of the bridge, said Nadine Slimak, spokeswoman for Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota. She could not be retrieved then, but the trooper returned Monday and realized the dolphin was still alive. She had cuts from being scraped against rock and was having trouble breathing.

Mote workers named her Jeanne and spent Monday holding her and walking her around a tank. She was then flown to Miami's Marine Animal Rescue Society because Mote was already caring for seven injured dolphins. Jeanne died five minutes before the plane landed, Slimak said.

Crime drops during Charley, Frances

ST. PETERSBURG _ If there was a good side to the hurricanes, it was that crime took a holiday.

St. Petersburg police Monday released a report for the period from Aug. 2 to Sept. 12 that showed a drop in violent and property crimes as Hurricanes Charley and Frances brushed the Tampa Bay area.

On Aug. 12, as Hurricane Charley headed for the bay area, crime dropped by about a third. But the next day, as Charley turned away and hit Punta Gorda, the crime rate returned to normal.

The most dramatic drop occurred on Sept. 5, as Hurricane Frances grazed the northern parts of the bay area and brought wet, windy weather. Less than 15 crimes were reported, a drop of about two-thirds.

Hurricane Ivan was not included because it was not a direct threat to the Tampa Bay area, and data on Hurricane Jeanne has not been finalized.

"Generally speaking, calls for service of a criminal nature always decrease during a hurricane, but domestic calls tend to go up up a bit," said police spokesman Bill Proffitt. "We see the same things during the holidays."

Bad start to the day for reporter

TAMPA _ WFLA-Ch. 8 reporter J.P. Peterson was reporting to the Hillsborough County Emergency Operations Center for storm coverage duty Sunday when he ran into a state trooper _ literally.

While unloading his car, he accidentally knocked it into gear, causing it to lurch forward and hit a patrol car driven by Trooper Eugene Ferlita.

"What a great way to start my morning," Peterson said. Neither car appeared to be damaged, but Peterson was cited for careless driving.

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