Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida on May 20, 2000 · 42
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Tampa Bay Times from St. Petersburg, Florida · 42

St. Petersburg, Florida
Issue Date:
Saturday, May 20, 2000
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local News TIMES SATURDAY, MAY 20, 2000 3B' hurfttle to woirtk bd space stetfoim The Atlantis crew's most important job is to nudge the space station back to the correct altitude. By DAVID BALLINGRUD Timet Staff Writer CAPE CANAVERAL One of the most spectacular liftoffs in the history of NASA's space shuttle program provided an optimistic sendoff for a mission already known for headaches. As the shuttle Atlantis climbed into the still-dark sky at 6:11 a.m. Friday, the spacecraft and its billowing plume of smoke were suddenly bathed in light from the sun rising over the eastern horizon. It was an unexpected moment of beauty, and a chorus of approving murmurs rose from observers at the Kennedy Space Center. So much for cosmetics. NASA and the seven-member crew of Atlantis went quickly to the task at hand: jump-starting the assembly of the frustrating, costly and behind-schedule International Space Station. - Atlantis will deliver more than a ton of supplies and parts to the station, including four big electricity-generating batteries to replace those already failing. A new cargo boom will be attached and a smaller one that had come loose will be tightened. But perhaps the most important thing the crew will do is nudge the station back to the correct altitude. Increased solar wind has increased the "drag" the station IT experiences as it orbits Earth, so much so that it has been falling at the rate of almost 2 miles per week. After docking and unloading supplies, Atlantis will fire its rocket motors to lift the station about 26 miles, back into the proper, slightly elliptical orbit about 229 miles above Earth. But the need for this orbital boost highlights NASA's long-simmering problems with the Russian Space Agency. The International Space Station should be able to make this kind of altitude adjustment on its own. And when it is complete, a Russian-built "service module," called Zvezda, will give the station this capability. Zvezda also will provide crew quarters. Zvezda, however, is more than two years late getting into space. It is now s tags scheduled for launch from the Russian Baikonur launch site in mid-July. Friday's mission was supposed to follow Zvezda into space, but had to be moved up to adjust the station's deteriorating orbit NASA spokesmen say they are confident the Russians will launch in July. Problems with Proton booster rockets have been resolved, said James Hartsfield of NASA headquarters, "and we think they are ready to go." Thus far, the Russians have been problem partners. A struggling economy has left their space program strapped for cash and behind schedule. They agreed to launch the service module in mid-July only after NASA administrator Dan Goldin, under increasing pressure from Congress, said he was preparing to launch an American-built replacement Earlier this year Goldin said he yas "frustrated and disappointed" by the delays, and said the United States and otrjer nations involved in the construction could no longer afford to wait. "We're at the moment of truth," he said. "It is up to the Russians to demonstrate . . . their commitment." ' j And there have been problems wjth I what the Russians have contributed thjus j far. i During the current mission, the Atlqn- tis crew will have to wear earplugs while working inside the Russian half of tjhe station because of the racket from whir- j ring equipment. j i Times researcher Caryn Baird contributed to thjs j report. Information from the Associated Press was. used. ' j Committee suspends efforts for fountain By BRYAN GILMER Timet Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG Amid waning enthusiasm for things millennial, a punishing drought and changes in downtown, the idea to build an interactive Millennium Fountain in St. Petersburg has gone down the drain. The idea was to install a fountain concealed beneath a flat surface, like ones in West Palm Beach and Atlanta. People can walk among the jets, which squirt water into the air in unpredictable patterns. Mayor David Fischer suggested such a fountain last year to a committee, led by First Night St Petersburg, that was looking for a way to memorialize the millennium. The City Council earmarked $250,000 for the project on the condition that the group match the amount with private donations. Last month, leaders of the volunteer committee said they were looking for a site for the project, and they toured Crescent Lake Park, Spa Beach Park and Central Avenue. But now they have sent Fischer a letter saying they will stop working on the project. "The committee felt that the timing was not yet right with so much happening in our downtown," co-chairpersons Phil Graham and Pat Mason wrote. "We look forward to continuing our work at a future time." They listed several obstacles the committee encountered: The lack of a site "we thought was a perfect fit" The addition of condominiums and entertainment venues in downtown, which will "affect the whole picture of downtown usage." The need for $250,000 in city money "when other needs may be seen as more important" The inability to raise money from the private sector. The severe drought, which has prompted many government agencies to turn off public fountains. Fischer wrote letters to the fountain committee thanking them for their service, and Friday he was circumspect about their decision. "It was just a suggestion I had, and they got excited about it," Fischer said. "I was never wedded to it As time went on, they saw that they were not going to be able to pursue corporate contributions to the magnitude that was going to be needed." The $250,000 in city money will be reallocated in the budget the City Council is currently considering, Fischer said. Family first ""-'"""-"- - ---. " - - Times photo MIKE PEASE Mike Bingham, a senior at Wharton High School in Tampa, holds his daughter My'Anauh Bingham on Friday as he waits for commencement at the University of South Florida Sundome. Officers j to enff orce i skateboard i prohibition; j When the X Trials came two years j ago, the ban was lifted and property j was damaged. Not again, officials vow. ; By MIKE BRASSFIELD Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG The last time ESPN'i X; Trials came to town, downtown businesses cdm-! plained about hordes of skateboarders inflicting! thousands of dollars in damage by gouging stiir-j cases and railings. I Ttiic timf nnlirA nrp wnmincr that tVipv i'il1' enforce the downtown skateboarding ban. d j "We're not trying to squash the X Games," sjiid police spokesman Rick Stelljes. "We just want to: make sure everybody understands that our officers will be out in force. We're trying to keep the damage down." n i The X Trials, which run all weekend on and; around The Pier, are part of ESPN's X Games:' skateboarding, inline DIMA doubts lead to murder mistrial Some of the jurors weren't sure how much trust to place in the DNA findings in the 11-year-old murder. By GRAHAM BRINK Times Staff Writer TAMPA A jury deadlocked on the validity of DNA evidence in the case of a man accused of beating to death a woman 11 years ago, forcing the judge to declare a mistrial. Franklin A. Smith, 53, mouthed "I love you" to his wife after the decision. Bailiffs then led him out and back to jail, where he will await a new trial sometime in the next few weeks. Less than two hours after beginning their deliberations, the jurors sent a note out to the judge saying they had varying degrees of trust in the DNA evidence. The judge read legal instructions telling the jurors how to try again, but two hours later, they sent out another note and Circuit Judge Cynthia Holloway declared a mistrial. Eileen Mangold, 50, was working as a cashier Sept 19, 1989, when witnesses saw a man force her into her station wagon and drive off with her in the passenger seat, according to sheriffs reports Her car was discovered five hours later at Krycul Avenue in Riverview. Her body was found eight hours later. Investigators found fingerprints on the car but could not link them to anyone. Last year, a fingerprint expert found a partial print taken from the hood of the car matched Smith. The jury did not hear about Smith's lengthy criminal record, which includes aggravated assault and rape charges. Investigators questioned Smith, who told them he never knew Mangold and never had sex with her. When asked, he provided a blood sample. Authorities arrested Smith in December after DNA tests came back as a match to the semen found on the blouse. Smith's attorneys attacked the DNA findings, disputing the trillion-to-one odds that the semen belonged only to Smith and the way investigators labeled and handled the samples. Juror Ernest Street, who did not want to say which way he voted, said most of the hang-ups were over the DNA. Prosecutors drop charge of resisting police This weekend in downtown St. Petersburg X Trials, 10a.m.-7 p.m. today and Sunday, The Pier and Spa Beach. Spring Boat Show, 10a.m.-7 p.m. today and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday, Bayfront Center and Yacht Basin. Conference USA Baseball Championships, 9 a.m. to as late as 10:30 p.m. today, Florida Power Park. Parking for the, events is available at the Bayfront Center, the garage at 101 First Ave. S, in private lots downtown and along city streets. By KATHERINE GAZELLA Timet Staff Writer TARPON SPRINGS The Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney's Office has decided not to prosecute Theofilos Mamouzelos on charges that he resisted a police officer during Greek Easter celebrations. ' Prosecutors decided to drop the charges against Mamouzelos, 20, because he ultimately cooperated with police, said Shawn Crane, the County Court division director for the State Attorney's Office. Mamouzelos' attorney said police targeted him because of his acquittal in a previous case. In March, a jury found Mamouzelos not guilty of attempted second-degree murder in connection with the shovel beating of two men. "He was singled out because of his prior not-guilty verdict," attorney George Tragos said. "The charge is ridiculous to begin with." Mamouzelos was arrested by Tarpon Springs police April 30 during festivities related to the Greek Orthodox celebration of Easter. Officers were watching a crowd of young adults celebrating on Athens Street when one officer suspected that someone had stolen something from a police cruiser. Police saw that Mamouzelos had been videotaping the area and asked if they could watch the tape. Instead, he gave the camera to someone else who disappeared in the crowd, a police report said. Police arrested Mamouzelos and charged him with resisting a police officer without violence. Later, though, Mamouzelos turned over the tape to police. Representatives of the Tarpon Springs Police Department were not available for comment Friday. skating and bike stunts. The event brings in hundreds of athletes, thousands of visitors and countless skateboards. But skateboarding downtown has been illegal for eight years. The city forbids it in the area between Fifth avenues N and S, Tampa Bay and 16th Street. Violators get a $30 ticket. City leaders created the rule after skateboarders were accused of damaging downtown property, including gouging Italian marble planters at what was then Barnett Tower. When the X Trials came two years ago, the St. Petersburg City Council debated but agreed to temporarily relax the no-skateboarding rule to be hospitable. j The result: Some business owners at the east end of downtown near; Spa Beach reported that hundreds of local skate-i boarders left behind cracked tiles, chipped cement! and scraped handrails. J At least two office buildings City Center at mn QnrnnH Avf S anrl Pla7a Tnwprs at 1 1 1 Sfrnnrl Ave. NE reported thousands of dollars in dam-! age. ! ! This time, City Council didn't relax the rule. ; "All the business owners don't want their prop erty damaged," said police spokesman Dan Bates ', "If you go to the baseball game, you can't bring your! ; own ball and bat and hit it around. So don't use your ; skateboards downtown." Jazz Holiday volunteer whips up new Clearwater Beach party Times Staff Writer CLEARWATER After finding out Clearwater Jazz Holiday wouldn't be returning to the beach in October, Lisa Chandler was disappointed. Thousands of people poured onto Clearwater Beach for the two-day festival to hear pianist David Benoit, guitarist Earl Klugh and drummer T.S. Monk. Many fans slept, ate and shopped on the beach as well. "Economically, it was good for the beach," said Chandler, a volunteer for the Jazz Holiday and co-owner of Pier 60 Concessions, which sells various sundries on the beach. Disappointment soon turned to action when the Clearwater native began organizing a bash the beach could call its own. "I thought this was our opportunity to slake out our own event," Chandler said. With the support of Sunsets at Pier 60 Society, a non-profit group that operates a daily festival on Pier 60 patterned after the famous sunset festival in Key West, Chandler got to work and put together a $42,000 budget The result is Sunsets' Summer Beach Fest 2000, which will debut on Clearwater Beach on June 9-11. The Orlando-based Landsharks Band will headline the free festival with a tribute to Jimmy Buffett. Man takes deal, pleads no contest in beating William E. Mart will get 15 years for manslaughter after he testifies against a co-defendant. By WILLIAM R. LEVESQUE Timet Staff Writer LARGO One of two men accused of beating to death a homeless man last year because he may have complained about their loud stereo pleaded no contest on Friday to a reduced manslaughter charge. In a plea agreement with prosecutors, William E. Marr, 20, of St. Petersburg will be sentenced to 15 years in prison for participating in the August 1999 beating death of 51-year-old Don Regnier at a St. Petersburg bus stop. Marr, who had been charged with second-degree murder and faced life in prison, has agreed to testify against co-defendant Tony Rosa, 20, also of St. Petersburg. Rosa is scheduled to go to trial May 30 on a second-degree murder charge. Marr will be sentenced by Pinellas-Pasco Circuit Judge Philip Federico after Rosa's trial. His plea deal is dependent on his truthful testimony in the case. Neither prosecutors nor the defendants' attorneys could be reached for comment. Regnier was killed at a bus stop in the 4700 block of 28th Street N. Police officers and neighbors describe the site as a gathering place where men hang out and frequently drink beer. For years, Regnier had been a fixture around the 28th Street Drive-in and an adjacent strip mall. He had no permanent address. William E. Marr Early on a weekday morning in August 1999, the two suspects punched and kicked Regnier to death after he or someone with him complained about their loud car stereo as they cruised by, po- lice said. A couple driving by saw the beating and called 911 on a cellu-. lar phone. ' The attackers left the bus stop and drove to a nearby friend's house, where they told two women that they; i i i r- i . i: : ,1 nau oeeii in a Jigni, ponce saw. j , Marr and the women went back to the; ; bus stop, where witnesses pointed out Marr to police. Rosa was later arrested at home. ; '. At the nearby B&N Food Mart, Regnier; ; enjoyed opening the door for customers and ; swept the parking lot at night. One time, he; ' even helped a customer retrieve a fright-! ', ened cat from under a car. ; I

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