Election wrap-up 

Jeb Bush bio's tell us that Florida got the honor of the Texan's presence because wife Columba fell in love with Miami's Latino community, and now she is said to be enthusiastic about the Governor's Mansion in, of course, the world- famous Latino community of Tallahassee. And Diane Ellis, the reality-challenged Pinellas County state House candidate who insisted her opponent was an imposter from New York, still got 12,000 votes (27 percent). And Tampa state House incumbent Deborah Tamargo imploded in the last week, the result of unpaid taxes and criticism of her opponent's position on an issue because he was childless. And Miami's Newall Daughtrey lost for state Comptroller, perhaps because of personal credit-card woes but perhaps partly because of his ad in the last week asking for "1,000 persons" to contribute "$50" so he can hire "1,000 poll-watchers" at "$100" a day ("Comptroller" being the state's chief financial officer). And Miami Democrat Agustin Garcia couldn't even beat a state Senator under indictment (Alberto Gutman). And in non- binding votes, Walton County denounced flag-burning, and Escambia County wants to join the U.S.A. and put fluoride in the water.

Optical nerve

AAA called the bluff of speedtrap town Waldo (the town says it is truly interested in getting motorists to slow down) by planning to paint highway lines on the approach from Gainesville that give drivers the illusion that they're going faster than they are. Waldo collects about $35,000 a month from speeders.

Questionable methods

Miami's Grant Snowden is still a free man, thanks to the U.S. Supremes, who refused to reinstate his day-care/"child abuse"/witch-hunt conviction after the Court of Appeals 86'd it following 12 years behind bars. Snowden was convicted in the 1980s by then-popular prosecution methods (recall California's McMartin School), enthusiastically administered by the Hon. Janet Reno, but which on sober reflection are utterly idiotic, e.g., 3-year-old kids' absolutely fantastic claims are treated as the gospel by judges and juries because "kids don't lie about these things."

Stuff you might have missed ...

• Animal-rights activists moved to save up to 20,000 bats that have nested in the under-demolition Houlihan's Stadium in Tampa. 20,000 bats eat up to 60 million mosquitoes a day.

• Orlando was stunned at the arrest of Jerry Brandon Gray, 24, who thought he could stop his 14-month-old daughter's crying by pressing a 500-degree oven shelf against her body, creating grill marks.

• Among those buried in mudslides in Honduras from Hurricane Mitch: Dalio Ordenez, 22, who escaped from Miami in mid-September after allegedly killing his girlfriend.

• The Sheriff's Office in Jacksonville had to be evacuated briefly when the crime lab, testing a "mysterious" white powder, saw it foam up and concluded it might be the deadly terrorist chemical ricin. Uh, it was detergent.

Informercial scammer William J. McCorkle, 32, was found guilty on 85 counts in Orlando. He didn't quite pull a Jim Bakker by falling into the fetal position, but he did collapse and was hospitalized. Losing lawyer (and it wasn't even close): F. Lee Bailey.

• On Nov. 3, one of two things happened on World Drive leading to Disney World: Either a sinkhole opened on an I-4 ramp, or it was a new, unpublicized Disney ride.

Evel Knievel, 60, was slightly injured in Clearwater when his motorcycle fell on top of him, pinning him.

• Parts of the late George DeWayne McKown of Fort Myers (including his head) turned up in Lakeland, on a BFI medical-waste disposal truck. The deceased's family had donated the body's organs to science, but science rejected them (he had hepatitis), and apparently donors' rejected parts just go unceremoniously to incinerators. An embarrassed BFI leaped into action to make things better: They fired the supervisor who made the incident public, who responded with a rare, four-body-part quote: "Arms and legs come through here, but nobody had seen a head before. I was the supervisor, and my butt was on the line."

• Lawyers for boxers Mike Tyson and Julio Cesar Chavez accused the executive director of the Florida State Athletic Commission of being in cahoots with Don King in greasing a proposal to allow King to sign fighters to exclusive contracts. FSAC paperwork had telltale markings of King's lawyers on it.

• The Conyers, Ga., woman who has been visited personally by the Virgin Mary for the last 15 years and who drew 100,000 visitors at her farm in October for what she and the Virg said was the last pre-millennial message, let it slip out to reporters that she was about to move to the F State (but didn't say where). One reason to leave: The well on her property, which the woman said Jesus blessed in the 1980s, tested positive for coliform bacteria, and she was about to be shut down.

• Stripper clubs in Seminole County said they'll challenge the new cover-up laws (full bikinis covering one-third of the total, uh, buttal area, including all of the cleft, and one-fourth of the, uh, boobal area, including the nipple and areola). There is obviously a measurement problem, but there's also an area-calculation problem, making Seminole sheriffing the only occupation in the country where you really do need to know algebra.

• Remember that stretch of I-4 that a guy says is haunted? Out of the blue this week, Volusia County said they're building a new bridge right there.

• The Wall Street Journal explained why Miami International is almost the only airport in the world without rentable luggage carts: No supplier is willing to deal with the airport authority's designated minority businessman, Lazaro Albo, who by law has to own 20 percent of the concession (not objectionable to the vendors) but wants more.

• World's worst judge of men: Not only did Tampa's Kathryn Hartman invite Willie Crain Jr. home with her, so he allegedly could kill her 7-year-old daughter, but then she selected as her successor boyfriend James Olive, 48, who was just arrested for beating her up and going nuts when the cops arrived.

• And in Fort Myers Beach, Daniel Eddie Gutierrez, 31, was arrested for attempted sexual battery; the victim escaped, causing Gutierrez to flee, but left behind were a clump of her clothes and his wallet.

Copyright 1998 by Chuck Shepherd. All rights reserved. Chuck Shepherd, who lives in St. Petersburg, also writes the syndicated newspaper column News of the Weird.

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