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MAN GETS 6 MONTHS FOR ANIMAL CRUELTY

George Hale, who was charged with six counts of animal cruelty after five horses and a donkey were rescued from his property on Donegan Road, was sentenced to six months in jail Thursday.

Hale, 40, pleaded no contest to the charges. He received five years' probation and was ordered to pay $10,000 in fines. The horses and donkey were starved and living in deplorable conditions when they were rescued in August.

All of the animals have now been rehabilitated, and all have found new homes except for a horse named Promise. To learn more about Promise, go to www.SPCATampaBay.com.

- Times staff writer

Son of slain couple arrested on drug charge

INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - One of two men arrested in a beach motel room with 40 to 60 pounds of marijuana and $194,000 in cash last week is a "person of interest" in the deaths of his mother and stepfather in Pasco County, authorities say.

While Jackie Lee Braden, 36, is a person of interest in the deaths of David and Sherrill Wright, he has not been charged, Pasco sheriff's spokesman Doug Tobin said.

"We don't have probable cause to make an arrest," Tobin said. "At least, the detectives would like to get more details."

A relative found the Wrights' bodies Monday evening in their house near the Hernando County line. Officials have not said how they were killed. They were both 54.

Braden, who lived at least part-time with the Wrights, was arrested Monday night in a Pinellas beach hotel - hours after the bodies were discovered. Acting on a tip, deputies went to the Holiday Inn Harbourside in Indian Rocks Beach and found Braden and Christopher Jay Catalano in a guest room, along with the marijuana and cash, Pinellas sheriff's officials said.

They also found David Wright's silver Toyota pickup.

Catalano, 36, of Tarpon Springs is not a person of interest in the murders, Tobin said.

Molly Moorehead, Times staff writer

Vice mayor pushes for intersection cameras

CLEARWATER - Vice Mayor John Doran wants to make sure no one else does what he recently did: Run a red light and crash into a car.

So to curb stoplight runners and encourage safe driving, Doran is spearheading an effort to install cameras at some of the area's busiest and most dangerous intersections. The city is in the early stages of putting together a plan. So far, it appears to have the support of a majority of the City Council.

On Jan. 16, Doran was headed east on Chestnut Street in his 1963 red Willys Wagon when he ran the light at Myrtle Avenue and hit the passenger side of a black 1982 Toyota Supra going south. Doran was cited for running a red light.

- Mike Donila, Times staff writer

Power company wants wider corridor for lines

EAST LAKE - To the list of projects proposed or discussed for the Brooker Creek Preserve, add this: an electrical transmission line corridor a half-mile wide.

That's one possibility a consultant for Progress Energy has outlined for Pinellas County officials, if the utility decides to build a nuclear power plant in Levy County.

Currently, towers up to 140 feet tall run through a 500-foot-wide power line corridor along the east side of the preserve near the Hillsborough County line.

But Progress Energy's consultants have told the county that one scenario would widen the 500-foot corridor to half a mile. The extra width could be needed for building a new row of 165-foot-tall transmission towers to carry power from the new power plant.

County officials are appalled. "Destroying parks and preserves is unacceptable," said Bruce Rinker, director of the county's environmental lands division.

Progress Energy officials say construction of any new lines would not start until 2012 and would take until about 2016 to complete.

- Theresa Blackwell, Times staff writer

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