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Museum architect lacks state license

The architect selected to design the new Tampa Museum of Art might have the job, but still lacks something else: a state license.

State law makes it a first-degree misdemeanor to offer architectural services without a Florida license.

"You just can't do that in Florida," said Les Smith, an investigator for the state's Department of Business and Professional Regulation. "You've got to have a license. Florida's one of the toughest states in the union for licensing. Particularly architectural licensing," he said.

Smith said if he investigates the activities of the architectural firm of California's Stanley Saitowitz and finds it has violated the law, he will tell it to stop practicing until it gets a license and issue a $500 fine.

Pete Karamitsanis, the consultant who coordinated the museum's architect selection process, disputed Smith's assessment.

"This guy is ridiculous. People don't get licensed in a state until they have work," he said.

NEW PORT RICHEY

Pasco sheriff to help with Crist's transition

Pasco Sheriff Bob White has been named co-chairman of a panel that will review the performance of the state Department of Juvenile Justice for Gov.-elect Charlie Crist's transition team.

The panel is charged with gathering facts and reporting them to Crist, with an eye toward making the agency more effective. White is a volunteer. He denied rumors that he might join the new administration.

INVERNESS

Money earmarked for parkway extension

Florida's Turnpike Enterprise has earmarked $182.9-million from 2008 to 2012 for possible development of a Suncoast Parkway extension through Citrus County.

The County Commission will review the numbers next week.

The money would go toward engineering and buying land for the highway, which would stretch from its current terminus at U.S. 98 to U.S. 19 in Red Level.

No money has been earmarked for construction, and the state hasn't decided whether to build the 27-mile, $879-million road.

TAMPA

Half of Ybor building is being saved

Crews began taking apart the second floor of a fire-ravaged historic building in Ybor City Friday after engineers determined the first floor was the only part worth saving.

The building at Seventh Avenue and 22nd Street was built 90 years ago and once housed the Masonic Lodge. Le Chateau European Antique Imports made the two-story building home before Sunday's blaze.

Engineers determined the second floor wasn't safe enough to withstand rumbling from nearby trains and wind from trucks and nature.

WESLEY CHAPEL

Wiregrass Ranch wins planning board's okay

The giant Wiregrass Ranch development won staff approval from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council.

The recommendation helps pave the way for the "development of regional impact" designation for the 5,000-acre, 13,500-home project. Plans include at least 2.7-million square feet of stores, 1.2-million square feet of offices, a hospital and three schools.

Officials in Hillsborough County and Tampa continued to signal their reservations on unresolved traffic issues on Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

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