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Lemonade-for-aid stand moves to prime location

As a Republican, Chief Financial Officer Tom Gallagher seeks the least possible amount of government intrusion into free enterprise.

So when he heard about a South Florida girl who had been denied a permit for a lemonade stand to raise money for tsunami victims, Gallagher invited her to open up shop outside his Capitol office.

He even paid to fly her and her parents to Tallahassee to sell the lemonade and cookies Monday.

"It bothers me to see any child shut down when they have a lemonade stand, especially when it's for charity," said Gallagher, who is expected to run for governor in 2006.

Ten-year-old Carolyn Lipsick of Miami Beach did a brisk business, charging $1 for a cup of lemonade or plastic bag of cookies _ chocolate chip and M&M _ with all proceeds benefiting victims of the tsunami that swept a dozen countries around the Indian Ocean.

"I feel like I've been useful to other people and other cultures," Carolyn said as her parents stood by, smiling.

Carolyn's mom, Desiree Lipsick, was quick to point out that Miami Beach officials didn't actually shut down her daughter's lemonade stand. In fact, they were helpful, but they didn't have a permit that would apply solely to selling cookies and lemonade. The matter ballooned beyond the family's control after Desiree Lipsick said she called a local television station to find out if it knew of any place where Carolyn could set up her stand without violating permitting rules.

Carolyn's lemonade stand was scheduled to be set up in the Capitol only for Monday. But she has an arrangement with a Jewish community center in Miami Beach to continue selling treats to raise money.