Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on December 8, 1996 · 1
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 1

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St. Petersburg, Florida
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Sunday, December 8, 1996
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1
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Florida 45 Alabama 30 The Gators sit atop the SEC again and may have another shot at the national championship. IN SPORTS as fete. Florida's Best Newspaper WEATHER: High 66, low 60; partly cloudy. More, 6B SUNDAY, DECEMBER 8, 1996 One dollar 5 ' t .urn .P..W - .'. 1 HILLSBOROUGH COUN1T 5 ::J14 Tornado rinse Bmito hoimies. Ikils mnsuni Violent storms move through the bay area Saturday ahead of a cold front that will have temperatures falling. By JACKIE RIPLEY TimM Staff Writer Phnin hu flAN MTTII 1PFIP Hillsborough Fire Chief Doug Gasque surveys debris left after a tornado hit the Cowley Cove mobile home park. RIVERVIEW R. J. Rolison crisscrossed the country for 28 years as a truck driver. But in all that time, he saw nothing like the devastation that struck Saturday in his own back yard. A tornado touched down in the Cowley Cove mobile home park in eastern Hillsborough County, killing one man, destroying at least six homes and leaving residents dazed. "God knows I've seen it all from Colorado to the Everglades. But I've never seen anything like this," said Rolison, 47, after the storm that killed 50-year-old Gary Lee Davis, shredded mobile homes and spilled lifetimes of memorabilia into a drenching rain. "It was the most incredible force of wind I have ever experienced," said Tina Gray, 30, who lives in Cowley Cove with her husband and three children. Gray was home alone when the twister touched down just before 3 p.m. in this community off U.S. 301 north of Big Bend Road. "The house started shaking, and I was running Please see TORNADO 9A Panel can't agree how to fix Social Security The advisory group is divided on replacing part of the retirement benefit plan with private investments. By ROBERT PEAR New Yort Timet WASHINGTON After more than two years of work, a federal advisory panel studying Social Security has been unable to agree on how to find enough money to pay for the retirement of the baby boom generation. The panel is divided into three factions, with six of the 13 members opposed to the most important change recommended by the others. That recommendation would replace part of Social Security with compulsory private savings that would be invested in stocks and bonds. The disagreements foreshadow a major battle "over proposals to reduce the federal guarantee of retirement benefits and supplement it with a new system of compulsory individual savings accounts. m The six opponents include three union representatives and Robert Ball, a former Social Security commissioner who has worked closely with Democrats in Congress for more than two decades. Members of Ball's group said that they were distressed at the surge of interest in "privatizing" part of Social Security and that they had been chagrined to see their names associated with such proposals, which they regard as a betrayal of the "community solidarity" embodied in the program. ; The panel, the Advisory Council on Social Security, was appointed in June 1994 by Donna Shalala, secretary of Health and Human Services. The 13 Please see SECURITY 9A life AFTERJ DEATH Linda Howe is intrigued when a salesman comes calling. If s a major purchase, and Linda is paralyzed with fean Should she or shouldn't she? What would Milt say? 8A A note to readers Because of an unusually large newspaper, you may have received your Times a little later this morning. We apologize for any inconvenience. Index 7 ll,l89067li19942l AnnAbby 2F Astrology 2F Books D Bridge F Chess F Classified G Crossword F, 0 Comment D Deaths 4A Editorials 2D Jumble F Letters 2D Lottery 2A Markets 3-5H Movies 6F Parimutuels 14C Sewing F TimesLine 2A AIM Inside: TV Dial Entertainment2B Comics Vol. 113-No. 137 12 sections C 1996, Times Publishing Co. How to call us: Page 2A A RETURN TO CROSS CREEK Old woman river Dessie Prescott showed author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings the ropes in backwoods Florida. If fnr, mem Ik rr w. In.- vt J' Vi--f"" 7? -5 Uf- r -' Jm. m - r - : ''.ft . VIA t I , ft ! J: . . ;. . , -. ,nrt --1f-- r I,, jrti wmii WMMiii fi n i i i lilil i ililti i In nlm.i uMlWMln Mi 1m , I -M- TlmAt nhntn ,4 V - Times photo - JOANNA B. PINNEO Dessie Prescott relaxes at her home on the Withlacoochee River. Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings wrote about her adventures with Dessie in Cross Creek I loved the Creek, I loved the grove, I loved the shabby farmhouse. Suddenly they were nothing. Vie difficulties were greater than their compensations. I talked morosely with my friend Dessie. I do not think she understood my torment, for she is simple and direct and completely adjusted to all living. She knew only that a friend was in trouble. She said, "Well take one of those river trips we've talked about. " from Cross Creek by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, 1942 Dessie Prescott, who taught her famous book-writing friend Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings how to hunt and fish, could use a good river trip right now. "I can't cast a plug anymore with an ordinary fishin' rod," she tells me. "Not since I boogered up my shoulder takin' a tumble. But I can still cast a fly rod. You use your elbow more than your shoulder castin' a fly rod. I would like to catch me some bass. This is a good time of year for them." Dessie Prescott is 90, and like Old Woman River, she goes rolling on. She is healthy except for that ailing shoulder, some allergies and a knee sore from a fall in a boat We are sitting on the back porch of her ranch in Citrus County; behind us, through the oaks and the cypress, the Withlacoochee River flows toward the gulf like spilled moonshine. "Oh, there's big bass to be caught in the river," she says. She is sure that over the years if' ' JEFF KLINKENBERG REAL FLORIDA she has tangled with world records, gape-mouthed bass likely to tip an honest grocer's scale past 23 pounds. Those big bass, they always broke my line swim-min' into the lily pads." She sighs. Although Dessie is still passionate about her hunting, she no longer is comfortable firing a shotgun the recoil is too great for her tender shoul der. Still, she sleeps next to her trusty 12-gauge and hopes she never has to use it But give her a rifle and a quiet spot to sit in the woods, and she might down a wild pig and do the butchering herself. "I'm a tough old heifer," she says, daring me to argue. Dessie has been an orange picker, a salad maker, a bus girl and a waitress during her nine decades. She has killed, skinned and sold skunk hides for money. She worked as hairdresser, a real estate agent and sold cars. She was a municipal license inspector, a barnstorming pilot and a military officer. If she were to describe herself as any one thing, it likely would be "sportswoman." And if people want to identify her as the late Marge Rawlings' best Florida friend, that is perfectly fine with her, too. "She is an astonishing young woman," is how Rawlings described Dessie in Cross Creek, a biogra- Please see DESSIE 12A

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