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"If, God forbid, something's happening on a campus, you don't want to have to get up close to shoot."

Pinellas County Schools Chief of Police Rick Stelljes, on the need for his officers to have access to M-16 rifles

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big graph

The number of M-16 assault rifles now possessed by the police departments at the University of North Florida, University of South Florida, University of Central Florida and Florida International University:

11 University of South Florida

20 University of Central Florida

23 University of North Florida

50 Florida International University

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time capsule

With Halloween coming, we searched the archives for something costume-related. We happened upon this photo of Kathleen Schultz, the Costume Lady of Madeira Beach. This was January 1981, and Mrs. Schultz was preparing for a "miniature inauguration party" held by the Women's Republican Club of St. Petersburg. She called the ensemble she wore in the picture "The Elephant Queen." It featured a royal purple velvet cape, a dramatic headdress, silver boots and a bejeweled elephant hook she had fashioned from a fireplace poker. Every outfit component came from Mrs. Schultz's extensive wardrobe, as did the 15 costumes she assembled for other attendees who dressed up as former first ladies, includingMartha Washington, Mary Todd Lincoln, Grace Coolidge, Mamie Eisenhower, Pat Nixon and Betty Ford. But these historical characters were not much of a challenge artistically for Mrs. Schultz. She told the Times that she "comes alive when she is creating" designs for exotic characters such as the medieval Protectress of the Unicorn. "When I get really old and I can't play Juliet anymore, I shall be a Venetian lady with a velvet mask in the most lavish clothes and have a midget on either side assisting with my robes." We hope someone took a photo of that if it ever came to pass.

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big numbers

3 Cities in Alaska on a list of the 100 most affluent metropolitan areas in the United States, according to the Business Journals. (Juneauis 12th, Anchorage 24th and Fairbanks 59th)

1 Florida cities on that list. (Naples-Marco Island, 83rd)

Cities were ranked by median household income, per capita income, percentage of households with annual incomes over $150,000 and poverty rate, among other factors.

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"Alaska is going to be the next Florida by the end of the century."

Camilo Mora, a geography professor at the University of Hawaii quoted in the New York Times on how high temperatures worldwide will force people to seek refuge from violent weather far, far from traditionally balmy destinations

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MORE THAN FORTY AUTHORS will come to St. Petersburg on Oct. 25 for the 22nd annual Times Festival of Reading. That's a lot of literary oomph descending on one patch of Florida ground. To get you ready for the all-day free event we've excerpted two authors who have local connections and who have memorable things to say about this state we're in. Look for more on the festival ( in coming issues of Latitudes, Weekend, Taste and tb-two*.



Aasif Mandvi, the Indo-Muslim-British-American correspondent on Comedy Central's The Daily Show With Jon Stewart, has published a brief memoir called No Land's Man (Chronicle Books). In it he explains how his family, which was not unaccustomed to big moves, came to live in Tampa. He went to Chamberlain High, so his appearance here in October is a sort of homecoming.

In 1982, on the advice of a transatlantic real estate agent who was selling homes and businesses to adventurous Brits wanting to emigrate to the States, my father had gone on a reconnaissance mission to see if Florida inspired him enough to sell everything we owned, leave the north of England forever, and start all over again. I was sixteen and had been sold on the idea from the moment my parents first mentioned it. ... Moving from Bradford to Florida felt akin to the day my parents finally threw out our old black-and-white TV and replaced it with color. I was willing to leave everything in my world behind - my friends, my school, and even my brand-new clock radio - to spend one day in what I imagined would be a sun-drenched beach paradise. Just as in the Hollywood movies I had grown up with, my life would be underscored by the gentle harmonies of surf rock, my girlfriend would look like Miss Teen USA, and my best friend would be a dolphin. I couldn't wait to leave.

I remember the call he made from West Palm Beach, his excited voice on the other end of the line as he spoke to my mother, my sister, and me as we crowded around the receiver of a single rotary telephone back in Bradford.

"How is it," my mother asked him, perhaps hoping that we would back out of this idea to once again move to a foreign land. ...

"It's wonderful," he replied. His voice was almost at the top of his register with excitement. "I just ate my first American brunch and it was delicious! The only thing I don't like is that you can't get a bloody cup of tea in this country. They drink cold tea. Iced tea! They actually put ice in their tea! Can you imagine? They also put ice cream in their Coca-Cola! Bloody Americans! I love them. Their palate is atrocious, but there seems to be nothing they won't eat."

We all laughed, enjoying his exuberance, until my mother began to cry.



Lucky Bones (University of Pittsburgh Press) is Peter Meinke's eighth book in the Pitt Poetry Series. The first poet laureate of St. Petersburg - a resident since 1966, when he came to teach at Eckerd College (then known as Florida Presbyterian College) - he has written countless times about his hometown. In this short piece, he conjures a landmark restaurant not far from the USF St. Petersburg campus, where he will appear Oct. 25 at the Times Festival of Reading.

The Chattaway

We wear our neighborhood tavernlike a pair of old pants:

scratch ourselves wiggle aroundstretch & feel good

I think I'll go out nowand put my tavern on

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jobs, jobs, jobs

The locomotives and coaches for All Aboard Florida, the privately owned and operated passenger rail train system that will ultimately connect Orlando and Miami, will be built by Siemens in California. Perhaps even more interesting than the Made in the USA angle is that Siemens' plant in Sacramento is almost entirely solar-powered. According to the news release announcing the manufacturing deal, the plant, "which has been in operation for almost 30 years, is up to 80 percent powered by two megawatts of solar energy and currently employs more than 800 people." Is it absurd to think that major manufacturers such as Siemens might one day use Florida sunshine to power their assembly lines?

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word of the month


Definition: Amateur beekeepers who keep small hives. Since 2012, when Florida law was rewritten to encourage backyard hives, the number of beekeepers statewide has increased from 900 to 3,000 and the number of hives has nearly doubled, to 400,000. Over the past decade, honeybees, which pollinate 90 percent of the crops in America, have suffered catastrophic losses in population because of disease, pesticides, loss of habitat and the invasion of Africanized bees.

Source: Miami Herald

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