The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on March 24, 1998 · Page 66
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March 24, 1998

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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 66

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West Palm Beach, Florida
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Tuesday, March 24, 1998
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Page 66
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The Palm Beach Post msl SECTION B TAX BATTLE Congressman brings anti-Internal Revenue Service discussions to area. STORY, 2B MERGER SUIT Justice Department sues to 1 prevent proposed Northrop, Lockheed merger. ; BUSINESS, 5B nfidijSn 1131 to (SlW fc, iU & r f TUESDAY, MARCH 24, 1998 LOCAL NEWS Millionaire given life term in rival's death Ik f"J ft! i The judge follows the jury's recommendation at Alan Mackerley's sentencing, saying details of Frank Black's murder and kidnapping were 'sketchy.' By Pat Moore Palm Beach Post Staff Writer STUART Calling the details of the crime "sketchy," a judge Monday sentenced Stuart millionaire Alan Mackerley to life in prison for kidnapping and murdering New Jersey business rival Frank Black two years ago. ducting a bus-business deal. Prosecutors say Costello drove Black from the West Palm Beach airport to Mackerley's home in Stuart, where Mackerley shot him and dumped his body into the ocean. Black's body was never found. Costello is awaiting trial on murder and kidnapping charges. Black's daughters, Diane and Leeanna Black, left the courtroom without commenting, but a family spokesman later said they "feel the system has worked and Mackerley is going to pay for his Please see MACKERI.EY2Z? "Thank you, your honor," Mackerley responded, when Senior Circuit Judge C. Pfeiffer Trowbridge rejected prosecutors' requests to sentence him to death. Mackerley's daughter, Michelle Sanandajian, sighed as the judge announced he would follow a jury's recommendation to sentence her father to life in prison. "I think the judge summed it up lack of evidence, lack of evidence, lack of evidence," her husband, Rob Sanandajian, said. Mackerley, 54, and his girlfriend, Lisa Costello, 34, were accused of luring Black from New Jersey to Florida in February 1996 under the guise of con DAVID LANEStaff Photographer 'Thank you, your honor,' Alan Mackerley, being fingerprinted, told the judge after sentencing. ' i- Blaze destroys Port St. Lucie home Man gets Death Row i reprieve Port St. Lucie 1 1 OKs plans for 380 -foot radio tower -i ma wui i-ui uci cu resentencing, he gets consecutive life terms for the robbery-murder of Ranjit Patel. By Pat Moore Mm Beach mt Staff Writer STUART The man convicted of robbing and murdering popular Port Salerno convenience store owner Ranjit "Pete" Patel on Easter Sunday 1992 was sentenced Monday to two consecutive life prison terms by the same judge who sentenced him to ' 'If f J Ks, A V 'i ' By Teresa Lane Z Palm Beach Post Staff Writer PORT ST. LUCIE A sharply divided city council OK"d plans for the city's first FM radio station Monday night when it approved a proposal for a 380-foot radio tower at a sewer plant off Paar Drive. ; t. Despite neighbors' complaints about everything from declining property values to health concerns and flickering lights, council members said a 60-acre sewer plant may be the least offensive place to plop a tower that is 80-feet higher than allowed under the city's ordinance. I ? As part of the approval, city council members said Aero Communication Systems Inc. must absorb antennas from a nearby lSOfoot tower at the Westport Wastewater Treatment Plant. If that tower cannot be removed, council members said, the taller tower will not be allowed. "The city does not have an FM radio station, but we're always talking about the need for growth," Councilman Ron Bowen said. "If you can't put a tower on a 60-acre sewer plant, where can you put it?" Councilwoman Mary Ann Cernuto and Mayor Bob Minsky voted against the proposal, which was approved 3-2, saying they sympathized with Sawgrass Lakes developer Mark Soverel and others who complained that the tower is death vk years ago. j Unlike the chaotic courtroom scene in 1994, when Stuart Po-! meranz fought with bailiffs and screamed obscenities at Circuit :, Judge Marc Cianca for sentenc-; , ing him to death, he calmly pro-fessed his innocence Monday in a i m i i x ) A ) i ! j too tall and too unsightly to put at the sewer plant, which is surrounded by homes. ;4 "We spent six months writing our tower ordinance, and we should follow it" said Cernuto, who said the proposal would require two special exception permits because of its height and distance from an existing 150-foot tower. "We have an ordinance that limits towers to 300 feet." ' - The proposal from Aero Communication Systems Inc., co-owned by Vernon Smith of Riverside National Bank, drew support from county officials interested in using it for a countywide emergency system that will link police, rescue and public works crews. -; '.' Undersheriff Dennis Williams urged council members to allow the tower because it could save the city and county hundreds of thousands of dollars by not having to build a separate tower. Helen Horton of Port St Lucie has worked for nine year? to license an FM station in Port St Lucie. She thought her plans were doomed this month when the city's planning and zoning board recommended the tower be rejected, but council members ignored that advice Monday night V i Horton received approval Feb. 19 to begin operating the station at 101.3 on the FM dial. , " Also Monday, the council: "i Approved on first reading a change to the sign code that allows billboards up to 35 feet tall on Interstate 95 and Florida's Turnpike. City officials expect to make millions of dollars in rental fees over a 10-year period from billboard companies. Gave initial approval to rezoning land at the southeast corner of Port St Lucie Boulevard and Floresta Drive, west of Stargrass Street from residential to limited mixed district to accommodate a bank. ; Granted special exception permits to allow cellular telephone towers on Jennings Road and on a city-owned park site at Becker Road and Florida's Turnpike. The first tower will be 275 feet and the second will be 200 feet 4 j " Martin County courtroom. , "I completely agree the killer should be put to death and whenever they catch that person, j that's the sentence he should be ' given," said Pomeranz, now 26. "Under these circumstances, they have the wrong person on Death Row, and that's all I have to I say." 'j None of Patel's family attended the resentencing ordered in December by the Florida Su-: preme Court, which criticized 1 Cianca for overriding the jury's , recommendation to sentence Pomeranz to life. ' But Assistant State Attorney Nita Denton read a letter from Patel's widow criticizing the justice system that she said gives criminals so many rights. "I guarantee, if it had been a police officer, or one of the Supreme Court judges' children (who was murdered), they would not have overturned this decision," she wrote. "Laws are just too easy here for criminals. They are supposed to be punished for their crimes, not given a slap on the wrist" , Pomeranz, formerly of Broward County, had been out of prison only two months in 1992 when he embarked on a crime spree that included robbing Patel of $51 and shooting him to death. He also was sentenced to life in prison in 1993 for robbing a man at gunpoint outside a Jensen Beach bank two weeks before Patel's murder. The 4th District Court of Appeal ordered a new trial, however, claiming Cianca improperly limited defense attorneys' questioning of the victim and a key witness. Pomeranz later pleaded guilty to a reduced theft charge in that case and he was sentenced to five years in prison. After Monday's hearing, Po-meranz's mother, Donna Pittman, said her son's case never should have gone to the Supreme Court "What Cianca did was waste tons of time," she said. 3 TREASURE COAST UjU(njLtL9!J JASON NUTTLEStaff Photographer PORT ST. LUCIE - Firefighters from the St. Lucie County Fire District inspect the home of William Griffin after a fire Monday. Battalion Chief Gary Key said the $85,000 house at 1786 S.E. El Rose St. was a total loss. Griffin was treated for smoke inhalation at Columbia Medical Center. The cause of the fire has not been determined, officials said. Holy bat house! Stadium dwellers get new home FORT PIERCE Three robbers fired two shots at a liquor store clerk in a midday robbery along U.S. 1 Monday. No customers were in the store and nobody was injured. Once buzzed into Pelican Liquors at 709-A N. U.S. 1 by the two clerks, the robbers took less than two minutes to empty the cash drawers. They escaped in a stolen, four-door silver-gray Buick with an undisclosed amount of money. Anyone with information about the trio can call 468-1805, ext 5252 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 273-8477. Mullet with lesions have been reported in the Earman River off Northlake Boulevard in North Palm Beach, fish health expert Ann Forstchen said Monday. Forstchen, with the Florida Marine Research Institute in St Petersburg, said scientists are checking the report received through the state's fish kill hot line. Mullet and several other species of fish have been found with lesions, rumors and sores from New Smyrna Beach to Jupiter Inlet Health officials have warned people not to eat the sick fish or swim in waters where they are found. People who find sick or dying fish are asked to call the fish kill hot line at (800) 6360511. screeching noises in hopes of frightening the bats, then put up nets to keep them out of food service areas. Finally, they paid a Wisconsin companv." Bay Area Bat Protection. $30,000 "to install one-way gates so the bats could get out but couldn't get back into the stadium's cracks. Now they hope the bats, which eat thousands of mosquitoes each night will find a new home in the bat Area officials are hoping the flying mammals will leave Thomas J. White Stadium for a new roosting spot. By Jim Reeder hiim titarii Post Staff Hnter PORT ST. LUCIE It looks like a giant birdhouse sitting atop four 14 foot poles, but it's intended as a new home for bats, the flying mammals recently evicted from from Texas for the occasion. "This is a great positive contribution to conservation," Mark Kiser said. Bats roosting in the crevices of Thomas J. White Stadium had become a nuisance. Leisure Services Director Jack Doughney said. We were having a problem in food areas and patrons sometimes got hit by bat droppings," Doughney said. They'd be watching the bats instead of the ballgame." The county tf d broadcasting Thomas J. White Stadium. Dozens of people bat lovers, local officials and curiosity-seekers gathered Monday for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the official opening. "I've been involved in multimillion-dollar projects and none of them have attracted the attention of this $1,700 one," County Administrator Doug Anderson said. A representative from Bat Conservation International, the group that provided house plans, came llsase set BATS23

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