Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on May 10, 1996 · 132
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 132

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Friday, May 10, 1996
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Social Security benefits come too late to help Hudson man - Story, Section B TO CONTACT US : ABOUT NEWS: ' ' For news: (813)869-6238 . ' Qflnl M IKflC CTJO PASCO Til NORTH AN EDITION OF THE Petersburg Times UUU UJJ'f JUJ, CM. U&OO j uy ioa. ous-U00 By e-mail: pascosptimes.com FRIDAY MAY 10, 1996 t : t I I State f avoirs new heairong tfoir killeir A judge has the final say, but prosecutors support a new penalty hearing for a teen convicted of murder. By T. CHRISTIAN MILLER TTrrwt Staff Wrftw Johnathan Grimshaw's conviction is to stand; his penalty may change. NEW PORT RICHEY Prosecutors agreed Thursday to give Johnathan Grimshaw a new chance for life. Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis said he decided the 19-year-old killer deserves a new penalty phase hearing, because jurors heard wrong instructions at the hearing in April and recommended execution. "We feel in the interests of justice, it would be best to give him a new sentencing hearing," Halkitis said. Circuit Judge Craig C. Villanti is scheduled to decide the issue later this month. It affects only Grimshaw's punishment, not his conviction for first-degree murder. He was convicted in April. At the hearing on a penalty, jurors were told they could recommend two fates for the Veterans Village teenager: death by electrocution or life in prison without the possibility of parole for 25 years. But parole was abolished for people convicted of first-degree murders that happened after May 25, 1994. Grimshaw robbed, raped and killed 71-year-old Mildred Boroski with friend Nathan Ramirez in March 1995, so under the new law he could leave prison only in a coffin. During their deliberations in the April penalty phase hearing, jurors asked the judge whether a 25-year sentence would result in early release. Villanti reread the wrong instructions and the jury voted 7-5 to recommend death for Grimshaw. When the Times polled jurors after their verdict and told them the correct law, one juror said he might have changed his mind resulting in a life recommendation. Please see KILLER Page 10 JAN GLIDEWELL OFFBEAT Local news is a product of many local lives Twenty years ago I was at a meeting in Hernando County when somebody in the group, in a pronounced Brooklyn accent, wanted to know why we "outsiders" were trying to tell locals like him how to conduct their business. I think he was mad because we had endorsed a political candidate, something I think we should continue doing until every member of a large audience can name the congressional candidate who tried to dig up his deceased mother to put pest control strips in her casket and the County Commission candidate who sent out a news release with the color of his pubic hair in it. On a whim, I asked how many Floridians were in the room. I was the only one. Although if my acquaintance Seminole Chief i Jim Billie were in the room, he might have snick-1 ered at my three-generation claim to nativeness. And what, exactly, difference does it make? So-called "local newspapers," especially, it seems, those owned by Virginia corporations, seem hellbent lately on making an issue of their "local-ness" as opposed to the so-called "big city," "out of town," "metropolitan" papers "from the south." Occasionally they throw in "liberal" in the list of invectives although that always causes confusion if they want to include both us and the Tampa Tribune, which is not exactly what most people would consider a liberal newspaper. The implication is always that local is better, even if your big story every week is the flower show or repainting the white lines on Main Street, and that size is somehow inversely related to quality. I have been at the Timesior 23 years, have lived in Pasco County for all of that time but six weeks and have been covering Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties for all of that period. My colleagues have been at their jobs anywhere from two weeks to nearly as long as I have and most of them live in the communities they cover. In all we had, as of 1995, 225 employees in Pasco County, 96 in Hernando and 78 in Citrus. Our payroll is more than $6-million per year. We pay rental on offices in five cities in these counties and property taxes on one that we spent millions of dollars, nearly all with local contractors, to build in 1980. Our staffers own and rent homes and apartments, pay local taxes, patronize local merchants, send their children to local schools and walk streets patrolled by the law enforcement agencies we cover who are paid, in part, with taxes we pay. We vote in local elections, participate in local charitable functions and services, belong in many instances to local churches and spend the same amount of time waiting for local traffic lights as do our counterparts at any of the weekly or small daily newspapers in the same area. If we have a slightly higher turnover in staffers, it means that we expose local problems and institutions regularly to fresh viewpoints unob-scured by years of familiarity. Four Pulitzer Prize winners have honed their skills while working for the Times in these counties, and one of those prizes was for stories about a Pasco County situation. All this woe-is-me, we're the poor underdogs and the big dogs are taking our bones whining is ludicrous. Some of the best reporters in this area (including some who work for us) have worked at some of the smaller local papers. Some of the worst, to be bluntly honest, have worked for us and the Tribune, although not for long in either case. The truth is that there are things we can do Please see GLIDEWELL Page 11 ' 1 J fcs I 'V 'Vrf-.xrv '' i; ' V ' I - 'w ' ... it ilii anfliliitii.il'. iliUftia'iM.iili.Hiiln in ill tohlArtHr.!' i..W ,iAti.lilllifi,iliilillllBiil8iiii.)Hni.iili.fci Timet photo JOSEPH GARNETT JR. Dave Carr of the Florida Department of Transportation prepares to photograph the 6-foot-wide sinkhole at U.S. 19 and Hudson Avenue on Thursday afternoon. U.S. 19 sinkhole damages van Officials hoped to have the relatively rare roadway obstacle at Hudson Avenue repaired Thursday evening. By ROGER CLENDENING II Timet StaH Writer HUDSON A sinkhole claimed two lanes of southbound U.S. 19 and a van Thursday afternoon. The cavity, 6 feet across and 4 feet deep, opened at U.S. 19 and Hudson Avenue about 1 p.m., straddling the right through-lane and right turn lane. By the time police arrived, the van was gone. But sheriff's Sgt. Raymond Stanley pointed out the oil-spattered tire track where the vehicle had been towed away. Stanley said there was no report of the accident. Apparently, it was the only vehicle damaged, and traffic was not seriously hindered by the problem. Officials with the Florida Department of Transportation thought the road could be repaired Thursday evening. "What we're going to do ... is have a hydraulic excavator cut out (a section) 12 feet by 12 feet by about 6 or 7 Please see SINKHOLE Page 10 Food sought for special delivery to needy By WES PUTT Timet Staff Writer Local mail carriers are asking residents to donate food for Pasco County's poor families on Saturday. "It's important to help the community, the people and the families with children that are in need of food this time of year," said Richard Cherchio, president of Branch 4681 of the National Association of Letter Carriers. The branch includes post offices in New Port Richey, Port Richey, Hudson, Dade City, Brooksville and Spring Hill. On Wednesday, postal workers started distributing 40,000 fliers and 30,000 plastic bags donated by U-Save grocery stores for the collection. Ken Buck, executive director of the Pasco Food Bank, is calling on residents to show their generosity to less fortunate neighbors. "This time of year, we're low on nutritional foods," said Buck, whose wholesale food warehouse is on U.S. 41 in Land O'Lakes. "We have a lot of snack foods and drinks." Said Cherchio: "Before school breaks and people leave on vacation, we need to shore up our local food pantries to carry them through the summer months." Residents should leave bags next to their mailboxes Saturday morning. The food bank is asking for soups, pasta, sauces, instant potatoes and canned items such as fruits, meat, fish and vegetables. Last year, postal workers collect-Please see FOOD Page 10 Levine Candidate founds board on education The task force established by Alan Levine wants to give counties more flexibility in spending state funds. The incumbent says his goal goes too far. By KATHERINE SNOW SMITH Timet Staff Writer Using Pasco County's low ranking in state education funding as a springboard, legislative candidate Alan Levine is touting a newly formed task force on education reform. Levine, a Republican challenging Democratic incumbent Debra Prewitt in Florida House District 46, has put together a bipartisan board of students, teachers, principals and business people. The Legislature could have done more for education reform in its session, which ended last week, Levine said. "I'm really kind of disap pointed," he said. "They did some positive things, but if you really want to regain the public confidence in how tax dollars are spent, the public wants to see some true funding reform." Levine has charged the 15-member task force with developing a plan that gives teachers more freedom and the School Board no-strings-attached flexibility in spending its budget from the state. He thinks the Legislature should stop specifying how certain dollars must be spent within each district. "Obviously I have my own ideas, but I think that's part of the problem," he said. "You have 160 legislators who have their own ideas, but nobody really has been asking people who are dealing with the problem every day." Levine acknowledged he is not the first legislator Please see BOARD Page 1 1 TIMES DIGEST Passenger injured in 2-car accident NEW PORT RICHEY A 19-year-old woman was injured Wednesday night when the car in which she was riding collided with another vehicle at Little Road and Plathe Road. Cindy Henrichs of 91 18 Rug-er Drive was in serious condition after being flown to Bayfront Medical Center in St. Petersburg. The woman had head and chest injuries, said Chief Chris Alland of Pasco County Fire-Rescue. Henrichs was a passenger in a 1988 Pontiac driven by Danielle En-gel, 17, of Deer Lodge Road. Engel was injured but was set to be released Thursday from Bayfront. Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Del Barfield said the accident happened at 9:05 p.m. as Engel turned left onto Plathe in front of a 1994 Jeep, driven by Richard L. White, 53, of Hudson. White was treated at Columbia New Port Richey Hospital and released. No charges had been filed in the case Thursday. Murder suspect is returned LAND O'LAKES Sixteen months ago, murder suspect Albert Leon Fletcher got away from the Pasco County Sheriffs Office. Thursday, Pasco detectives brought him back. Fletcher, 26, of Zephyr-hills was booked into the county jail in Land O'Lakes without bail on an escape charge. He disappeared Jan. 11 from Dade City while deputies were transporting him to the county courthouse for a grand theft and armed burglary trial. Fletcher was found April 29 in Delaware after a neighbor there recognized him from NBC's Unsolved Mysteries. He is wanted on suspicion of murder in Polk County. - - - - -- - Timet photo TONI l SANOYS Deputies escort Albert Leon Fletcher into the Land O'Lakes jail Thursday. Steppin' Out Nathan and Gina's Wedding, an audience-player interactive theater experience, is coming to the Spartan Manor at 6:30 p.m. May 18. Story, PACE S Weather Today: Partly cloudy with isolated afternoon thunderstorms. High in the upper 80s to near 90. Tonight: Isolated evening showers or thunderstorms then fair. Low in the upper 60s to near 70. Map, SECTION B Correction Jason Murphy, who recently completed undergraduate work at Florida State University, is a 1993 graduate of Gulf High School. An item in the Good News column Thursday listed an incorrect graduation year. I

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