The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida on September 19, 1995 · Page 25
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The Orlando Sentinel from Orlando, Florida · Page 25

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Orlando, Florida
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Tuesday, September 19, 1995
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OR The Orlando Sentinel, Tuesday, September 19, 1995 D-3 State looks at buying Maglev site The land in south Orange County became available after the train project was terminated. By Roger Roy OF THE SENTINEL STAFF The state might spend nearly $600,000 to buy land left in limbo by the demise of a magnetically levitated train in south Orange County. Maglev Transit Inc. had proposed linking Orlando International Airport to the International Drive tourist district with the nation's first maglev train, but the project died last year because of financial problems. However, the company had purchased nine parcels of land along the train's proposed path. Under a deal between the Florida Department of Transportation and the company, the state can buy the land for possible use for another project if the two can agree on a price. Nick Serianni, public transportation administrator for DOT, said the state has no plans for the land, which stretches in an east-west path southeast of International Drive. Most of the lots are in remote areas, and some include wetlands that could preclude development, he said. But Serianni said the land might be used for either a planned Orlando-Tampa-Miami high-speed passenger train or a local transit system connecting Orlando International Airport and Interstate 4. "If it turns out that this alignment is of no use for a transportation project, we can declare it surplus property and sell it," Serianni said. It's not clear whether Maglev Transit will sell the land. An appraisal for the company determined the land was worth more than $1 million. But state officials said that figure was too high, in part because most of the lots are not contiguous, Serianni said. The state's appraisers have set the value at $589,000. The company paid $299,700 for the lots in the late 1980s, Serianni said. Maglev Transit President Sam Tabuchi said he had not seen the state's estimate and could not comment on it. Tabuchi has said the company invested $27 million on the failed project. Tabuchi would not estimate what he thinks the property is worth, but he added jokingly, "I'd like to sell it for the $27 million we lost." Grand jury to rehear case in boy's death By Pat LaMee OF THE SENTINEL STAFF DAYTONA BEACH A Volusia grand jury is to reconvene Wednesday and Thursday in De-Land to hear testimony from as many as 20 people in the investigation of the asphyxiation death of an 8-year-old New Smyrna Beach boy. State Attorney Steve Alexander presented several witnesses last month, including the medical examiner and law officers. Those witnesses gave details of the April 23 disappearance of Dimitric Moore and of finding his body the next day. Alexander didn't identify those who testified last month, and he hasn't released names of all those subpoenaed to testify this week. Alexander has vowed to bring new information and witnesses to this week's session. The grand jurors then are expected to determine whether charges should be brought. Dimitric's mother, Ora Moore, 37, is a suspect. Officials have said there are "inconsistencies" in what she said during polygraph tests. Moore reported Dimitric missing at 9 p.m. April 23. Friends, neighbors and police launched a massive search for the second-grader. His nude body was found the next day in the trunk of Moore's car, which was parked in front of their Jefferson Street home. Moore declined a request to appear last month before the grand jury. She wasn't subpoenaed for the current session, said Steve Cotter, spokesman for Alexander. Ex-tackle nabs alleged bandit JOE BUHBANKTHE ORLANDO SENTINEL 1 injured in I-4 crash Orlando Fire Department paramedics treat Wadner Ducloseille of Orlando after a 2-car crash Monday morning on Interstate 4 near the Lake Ivanhoe exit. Ducloseille was transported to Florida Hospital with neck injuries. A witness said the cars collided when traffic slowed suddenly. The accident snarled rush-hour traffic. Police say the Brown Bag Bandit is in jail after 2 incidents in Kissimmee. By Henry Pierson Curtis OF THE SENTINEL STAFF KISSIMMEE The Brown Bag Bandit should have stuck to robbing banks. That's what police said after an Albertson's clerk tackled Michael Derek Johns late Saturday at the Bermuda Avenue grocery. Johns, a suspect in more than a dozen bank robberies in Florida and Georgia, had just snatched $448 from a cash register and was heading for an exit when he ran into a former Osceola High School football tackle, reports stated. "We were probably 10 yards apart when he saw me and started to run, but I had a full head of steam," said clerk Troy Girdner, 29, who threw his 275 pounds around Johns' waist. "I locked him up pretty good." Girdner and other employees pinned Johns, 34, until police arrived about midnight Johns was bruised in the struggle after he punched Girdner, breaking the clerk's glasses, and kicked the other employees, police said. Johns gave police another name, but Les Smith of the U.S. Marshal's Office in Orlando said marshals discovered Johns' identity. Bank security camera photographs of Johns were broadcast in the past week by Or- o lando television stations, which dubbed him the Brown Bag Bandit. In several bank robberies, the thief handed a brown bag to tellers and implied he had a weapon. Police said Johns first claimed he was working for the FBI. When that didn't work, Johns told Detective Wesley Erickson he suffered from a terminal brain tumor. Kissimmee Fire Department para- Johns medics took Johns to a hospital where he announced he had swallowed a suicide pill. Johns was treated and released to police. Johns has a history of robbing banks in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Florida. He and a girlfriend, Debra Ann Kostar, were convicted last year, Assistant U.S. Attorney Monte Richardson said. Detectives said Johns escaped last summer from a Tampa hallway house for federal prisoners. Less than 30 minutes before Johns and a friend, Jam-mie Lee Dotson, 36, rode their bicycles to Albertson's, they tried to rob a gas station across Bermuda. Clerk Betty Lecrone, 54, later identified Johns. Johns, charged with attempted robbery and robbery, remained held without bail Monday evening in the Osceola County Jail. Dotson, charged as a principal to attempted robbery and principal to robbery, was held on $3,500 bail. Staff writer Jim Leusner contributed to this report. Missing link chain-gang prisoners to go separate ways ASSOCIATED PRESS TALLAHASSEE When chain gangs return to Florida Dec. 1, the prisoners won't be linked together. Convicts will be chained individually at the ankles in groups of up to 20, and will be watched by shotgun-toting guards, according to a report released Monday by the state Department of Corrections. The inmates will clean ditches, pick up trash, build roads, repair fences and perform other work outside state penitentiaries. The report should end the dispute between agency Secretary Harry Singletary and state Sen. Charlie Crist, a supporter of chain gangs as a way to get tough on criminals. Singletary opposed chaining the inmates together because they couldn't be as productive. Crist, R-St. Petersburg, accused the prisons chief of misinterpreting the intent of legislation passed last spring to bring back chain gangs. "We envisioned a group of people chained together," Crist said after reviewing the report. "It's almost as if we have to have an extra sentence in the law to say 'We really mean it.' " Despite the disagreement, Singletary is pushing ahead with the details of how chain gangs will work. Disruptive inmates will be assigned to work squads, with exceptions for extreme security risks and medical problems. "The goal is to use these armed squads to work inmates who create disciplinary problems within the system," Singletary said. An inmate's legs will be restrained either by a leather restraint with a 2-foot length of chain or a standard metal leg restraint with a 3-inch piece of canvas under the inmates' legs to prevent chafing. Each work group will be supervised by one unarmed guard and two guards each armed with a shotgun and a 9mm pistol. The guards also will carry either portable radios or cellular phones. When the chain gangs are working along public roads, "Prisoners at Work" signs will be posted. Chain-gang members will have a white stripe running down their pant legs to identify them as inmates. They will also wear hats for protection from the sun. The report, which was ordered by Singletary, said the work squads will work close to their institutions, many of which are in remote areas. Florida is the third state to bring back chain gangs, which fell out of use in the 1960s. Alabama and Arizona started using them earlier this year. In Alabama, inmates are chained at the ankles in groups of five. Arizona prisoners are chained individually but those in Maricopa County (Phoenix area) are chained together. STATE Abortion-rights group hands out new award PENSACOLA BEACH The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice presented a new award named for a slain abortion clinic volunteer to the victim's widow and their church Monday. The first Jim Barrett Memorial Award for leadership in promoting constructive discussion of reproductive rights and related issues went to June Barrett and the Pensacola Unitarian Universalist Fellowship during the national group's annual meeting here. It is to be presented annually. Barrett, 74, a retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, and Dr. John Bayard Britton, 69, died July 29, 1994, in a hail of gunfire as they drove up to the Ladies Center clinic in nearby Pensacola. June Barrett was wounded in the attack. Sammie Smith's uncle surrenders to marshals Wydell Mars, the uncle of former NFL star Sammie Smith, surrendered Monday to U.S. marshals in Orlando. Mars, 43, was one of a dozen people charged last week by federal and state agents with running a crack cocaine ring based in Zell-wood. He is being held without bail at the Orange County Jail. Mars was convicted in federal court in 1991 on drug charges. Smith testified at the trial, saying his uncle was innocent. Mars later was acquitted at a retrial Smith was arrested last Thursday night meeting with two people who agents said were delivering 15.4 pounds of cocaine. Activists vow to sue, call Everglades cleanup slow MIAMI A coalition of environmental groups filed a letter Monday giving state and federal agencies 60 days' notice that it plans to sue be-, cause efforts are moving too slowly to save the Florida Everglades. The groups want restoration of the freshwater flow and improvement of water quality in the Florida Bay. The planned lawsuit arises from criticism of the management of the canals that drain Everglades National Park and deprive Florida Bay of fresh water. Conservationists claim water managers have provided excessive flood protection to farmers while depriving the Everglades of the water to restore a natural flow. They complained that the plan to buy the land to restore the water flow over 20 years will come too late. The letter to Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt was signed by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the National Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, Florida Audubon Society and the Wilderness Society. Knife-wielding robbers hit south Orlando eatery Four robbers armed with a knife and a club held up a restaurant early Monday in south Orlando. The manager, Randy W. Lee, was stabbed in one arm and hit. He was treated at Florida Hospital East and released. Lee, 46, was closing up Angel's Diner, 4580 S. Semoran Blvd., just after midnight Sunday when the robbers entered, police said. The robbers, three men and a woman, forced Lee to open the safe. When he resisted, he was stabbed, knocked to the ground and kicked. The robbers fled with an unknown amount of cash. Burglars speed into path of tractor-trailer; 1 dies GROVELAND David Malick pulled into his driveway Monday just as burglars who were in his house sped off in a pickup onto County Road 33 without looking, authorities said. Malick watched in horror as a 77,000-pound tractor-trailer slammed into the pickup, killing the driver, John Moffett Jr., 40, of Umatilla and critically injuring the passenger, Jeffery Wright, 34, of Sorrento. The driver of the tractor-trailer, Timothy Brown, 36, of Flora Home had several cuts on his face. He won't be charged. 1 waiBfafaafe I QWhat has happened to astronaut Norman Thagard since he set the U.S. space endurance record by living aboard the Russian space station Mir for 1 15 days this year? A "It took about two months, but I'm essentially feeling normal now," Thagard said. The last thing to return to normal was his stamina; he is back to running four miles a day. Thagard, 52, who lost 17V4 pounds aboard Mir, has regained the weight. He said he doesn't know If he'll fly again, but he'd like to get the chance. Still an astronaut, Thagard said he hasn't thought about his long-term career plans, yet. Thagard returned to Florida this month to watch his alma mater, Florida State University, beat Duke in football, and he will return this week to his hometown of Jacksonville to talk with schoolchildren and get an award from city officials. Call us with your idea (407) 420-5780 or write to Follow-up co The Orlando Sentinel. 633 N. Orange Ave, Orlando, 32801 F i " ""- v- J 1 lf : tt '"' PHELAN M. EBENHACKTHE ORLANDO SENTINEL Bicycle built for school Glenridge Middle School 7th-graders Candace Worthington, 12, pedaling the bicycle, and Amber Strachan, 12, make their daily commute home from school a little easier by sharing a ride Monday afternoon. They both are from Orlando. Monday's mostly sunny skies had the thermometer topping at 93 in Orlando. Today, expect more of the same with the high around 90. Tonight forecasters predict the low could be in the low 70s. School mourns victims of plane crash By Blake Fontenay OF THE SENTINEL STAFF DAYTONA BEACH Aspiring pilots at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University have learned all about the safeguards of airplane travel. Monday, they remained in shock after a jarring lesson about their chosen profession's real-life risks. Two students and a flight instructor from the university were killed Friday evening in a midair collision over the New Smyrna Beach Municipal Airport an incident that many on campus were still trying to come to terms with Monday. The school held a memorial service Monday night to honor flight instructor Joseph McCoy, 26, of Day-tona Beach; and the students, Robert Scheithe, 17, of Beacon Falls, Conn., and Hyun "Ben" Sin, 20, of South Korea. A group of students who didn't even know the victims has established a fund to pay for a plaque at the airport and scholarships dedicated to the crash victims. There also was an open forum Monday to give students a chance to speak their minds about the incident, said David Gass, production editor for Avion, the campus newspaper. The general mood on campus was tinged with sadness and concern. At a university where most stu- !.. . .1 dents are majoring in aviation-related fields, Gass said there also were those who quickly accepted the harsh reality of the situation. "A lot of people feel that while it's not expected, it's something that's always there," Gass said. "It's part of the job." That didn't make the shock any easier to bear for others. "All of the students have an idea something like this could happen, but nobody expects things like this to happen," said John Fernando, Embry-Riddle's student body president. "It's something that's in the back of their minds, but they don't want to think about it." The students were both freshmen who had been enrolled less than a month, and the instructor was a young pilot who graduated from Embry-Riddle only two years ago, said Lisa Ledewitz, a university spokeswoman. "This is a very sobering experience," Ledewitz said. "This is something they all could face. I'm sure they're all doing some soul-searching." V V Anyone wishing to make a donation for the memorial plaque and scholarships may do so by toriting to the following address: Qfjfice of Development, Memorial Fund, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, 600 S. Clyde Morris Blvd. , Day tona Beach, 32 1 1 4. )

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