1. Archive

That chill you felt was fewer fairgoers

Cold weather may be the reason nearly 90,000 fewer people attended the Florida State Fair this year than last year, organizers say. Preliminary figures show that 434,067 people turned out for the 102nd annual fair in Tampa, which ended a 12-day run Feb. 20. The average temperature during the fair was 59 degrees, about 4 degrees below normal.

Did teachers scam

to make the grade?

Miami-Dade school officials are investigating more than 350 teachers allegedly involved in a phony credential scam. Nearly a dozen teachers already have retired or quit and school officials will recommend 30 more teachers be fired, the Miami Herald reported Tuesday. Broward County is investigating nine teachers. Florida law requires public school teachers take the equivalent of six education credits every five years. High school teacher William McCoggle has admitted essentially selling continuing education transcripts to teachers who never took the classes.

Inquiry targets words

official said to activist

A dispute with a Tampa community activist has landed an Orlando city commissioner in hot water. Orlando Commissioner Ernest Page met with prosecutors Tuesday about his threat to kill an affordable housing project that Al Pina plans, the Orlando Sentinel reported. Pina, who held a 13-day hunger strike to protest SunTrust Banks, plans to convert rundown Orlando apartments into condos. But Page left Pina a voice mail message that the city would not get involved if Page's own nonprofit group was cut. Prosecutors want to know what he meant by that.

Warning to boaters:

Whales sighted in gulf

A rare sighting of two North Atlantic right whales off Florida's Gulf Coast prompted a warning to boaters. The mother and calf were spotted Monday morning off Bradenton and again Tuesday heading south from Siesta Key to Venice. Confirmed right whale sightings in the gulf have been reported twice before, in 2004 and 1963. This pair is believed to have been first sighted Jan. 16 off Corpus Christi, Texas. North Atlantic right whales spend most of the year off the coast of New England and Canada. From November to April, females migrate to the south Atlantic coast to their only known birthing grounds off the Georgia and north Florida coasts.


"From this commissioner, it is not going to happen again. I just view it as a hard lesson."

TED SCHRADER, Pasco County commissioner, on his habit of scrolling the Internet during commission meetings. Schrader had staunchly defended the practice, which has gotten county employees fired.