Our share of Monicagate 

Florida owned a big chunk of Monicagate last week:

Starr report showed it was Palm Beach mogul Alfonso Fanjul who interrupted POTUS by phone at a most inopportune time to lobby against the 'Glades-restoring sugar tax, to wit, on 2-19-96, just when POTUS was telling Monica to please get lost. The real scandal is, How come Fanjul's calls go through, and yours don't?

And then of course it was Broward's Fred Snodgrass, 76, still sniffing over the 30-year heartbreak of losing his lovely Cherie to the affections of Henry Hyde, then 41, back in Chicago.

And then it was U.S. Rep. Alcee Hastings, Miramar, who demanded impeachment of Starr, and the Congressman knows whereof he speaks, having himself been impeached by the House (bribery) while a federal judge in 1989.

And one other related story: DeLand police arrested Harold Tyrell, 81, for allegedly pocketing his sick friend's bankroll he was supposed to be caretaking. Relation to Clinton? Well, Tyrell's explanation was that the victim actually wanted Tyrell to spend all the money to make up for his having lived too "thrifty" a life, which is such a hardy defense that Tyrell just must have been emboldened by Clinton's own deconstructions.


DuPont's scheme to mine titanium in the eastern edge of the Okeefenokee swamp was reported by the Tampa Tribune. DuPont promises to restore the land when it's done (in the same year that Chelsea Clinton turns 62), but in the meantime, mining would really mess up the swamp's hydrology and would require huge, noisy machines over thousands of acres 24-7, i.e., for the next 350,000 consecutive hours. You've heard your last bird.

Alien threat

The U. S. Board of Immigration Appeals again turned down former USF Middle East researcher (and current incarcerate) Mazen Al-Najjar, who is alleged by the feds to be such a national security threat (not a criminal, just a threat) that they cannot even show him the documents that supposedly justify confining him. This, uh, seems a bit unfair, but the Board said aliens can be stomped on more freely than citizens can.

Bad risk

The February dream team of lawyers for Rev. Henry Lyons (including F. Lee Bailey) has dwindled to his one-stop lawyer-mouthpiece Grady Irvin, who won a postponement of the federal fraud trial until April, claiming overwork. State fraud trial starts in January, and Irvin says he might be doing both of them solo. Vegas oddsmakers immediately took Lyons off the table.

Stuff you might have missed ...

• A Melissa Etheridge superfan was committed to a state hospital for trying to steal a plane in Venice last year to fly to an Etheridge concert in Kansas City.

• In Sebring, Spencer Kirkwood, 41, got 16 years in prison for underage rape and became the state's very first lucky winner of chemical castration injections allowed for recidivists by a 1997 law.

• Also in a first case, Kenneth James Hofbauer, Tampa, was charged under a July law as practitioner of the new photographic genre, Upskirt, on an unwary female shopper, with his videocam at University Mall.

• Jose Martin Rodriguez, 40, said he was not guilty of manslaughtering one and maiming another when he smashed into them with his truck heading south in the northbound lanes of I-75 near Dade City: He was sound asleep during the entire 2-mile drive and according to his lawyer Todd Foster, that makes him as much as victim here as the aforementioned. These days, only the unsophisticated fall asleep driving; the chosen ones "suffer the disability of narcolepsy."

• The owner of Trader's South strip club offered to pay $500 a year to the Gainesville Symphony Orchestra if the city would get off his back about alcohol sales at the club. Mayor Paula DeLaney closed out the deal.

• In other stripper news, Miss Tawny Peaks, 28, fresh from her "People's Court" victory (that she couldn't have hurt plaintiff Paul Shimkonis all that much by nuzzling him to even her 60HH bosom), was picked up on a routine indecent exposure raid at a Pinellas County Diamond Dolls, this time featuring too much cleft on the backside. Miss Peaks is on the final, uh, leg of her farewell tour, as she retires next week.

• The family of Roger Maris arrived back in Gainesville after helping to celebrate Mark McGwire's record-breaking home run on national TV in St. Louis, back to work on their federal antitrust lawsuit against the owner of the Cardinals for snatching away Maris's Anheuser-Busch beer distributorship (awarded when Maris was a Cardinals' star). According to the Marises, A-B offered them $20 million for it in 1996, and when the answer was no, decided to yank the franchise over sales of allegedly stale beer.

• The wife of a 29-year-old, 270-lb. Sanford firefighter sued the city over the training program he died participating in last year. She said no wonder he passed out: The agility-training maze was too hot, i.e., over 100 degrees. Imagine asking a firefighter to brave 100-degree heat!

• Four people were arrested in Naples in a cocaine barter ring, which worked out to $500G in drugs exchanged for 12,000 pairs of blue jeans.

• The head of Miami's most notorious tourist-robbery gang, David Harrell, was convicted, the last of the 12 to go down. We like Mr. Harrell very much for his reader-friendly nickname, "Robbin' Dave."

• A high-school slacker ID'd as CTH ("Slackin' C"?) filed a federal lawsuit against the Spanish River school in Boca Raton because officials sent him several times to the in-school suspension room a.k.a. Hell, and The Pit, and made him squat in the Slacker's Box under a counter for hours at a time, where he felt humiliated and uncomfortable. The Complaint failed to specify what CTH might have done to warrant his first trip to Hell and why it was that he couldn't stop doing it. Perhaps it was narcolepsy.

• And two teen-agers escaping in a stolen van in Miami Beach won a high-speed chase with police, but road signs are hard to read at high speeds, so when the van turned onto the Venetian Causeway, the driver did not notice the "Detour" and "Bridge Closed" signs, which have been up for a year. Smashed into a light pole trying to avoid the water.

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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