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BOY, 16, HIT BY LIGHTNING LAST WEEK DIES

ST. PETERSBURG

Sam Santilli, 16, died Tuesday, four days after he was struck by lightning on Treasure Island Beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

Sam was knocked unconscious on Friday and taken to All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg after lightning hit him and his mother, Maureen Machajewski, as they headed for cover from a morning thunderstorm.

Machajewski, 46, who was visiting from Texas, recovered from the strike.

Friends left about 50 messages on Sam's MySpace page Tuesday and Wednesday, saying he was a funny, amazing person who will be missed.

Sam would have been an incoming junior at Hillsborough High School in Tampa and played soccer, said Hillsborough County schools spokesman Steve Hegarty.

Although classes aren't in session, grieving students can contact the school for counseling, Hegarty said.

"Schools are like families," Hegarty said. "There are still people around who will respond."

NEW PORT RICHEY

Pasco 911 dispatcher suspended over call

A Pasco County 911 dispatcher will be suspended for mishandling a July 9 call from a mother whose boys died of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ilona J. Smith will serve a 12-hour suspension without pay for negligence and insubordination, county personnel director Barbara DeSimone decided after a hearing Wednesday.

Barbara Baudin called 911 after finding her sons Jules, 14, and Parker, 12, "cold as ice." The family minivan had been left running in the garage.

Authorities said Smith, a lead communications officer, focused too much on treating the boys for being unconscious instead of addressing whether they were having difficulty breathing. Smith has 10 days to appeal.

SAFETY HARBOR

Neighbors lead defeat of kennel expansion

Several residents of the swanky Signature Estates helped persuade the Pinellas County Commission on Tuesday to defeat plans to expand a dog kennel in Safety Harbor.

In a 6-1 vote, elected officials decided they would not permit Sheldegren Pet Resort's owners to build 30 additional enclosed dog runs because the racket would bother the neighbors.

Mary Ann Engelmann, who owns the kennel with her husband, Jes Engelmann, said that the noise concerns were unfounded.

Most of the people who spoke against the project live next door to the pet resort in the upscale Signature Estates community, which comprises more than a dozen million-dollar-plus homes.

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