The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida on August 28, 1988 · 21
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The Tampa Tribune from Tampa, Florida · 21

Tampa, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, August 28, 1988
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THE TAMPA TRIBUNE Sunday, August 28, 1988 Pier draws crowd for food and view Don Pride From The Capital r ! f Democrats urge Whitehead to stay in post TALLAHASSEE Charles Whitehead, the personable chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, had intended to step down after the November election, but probably won't. Somehow, his choice for a successor didn't qualify as a candidate for precinct committeeman the first step in the party's election process leading to the chairmanship. The 56-year-old Whitehead says he was convinced that George Piatt, chairman of the Broward County 1- 1 Democratic Executive W" Cr- I Committee, would have made a good state chairman and could have devoted the time that the job requires. "George filled out his papers, but somewhere between his of- Whitehead fice and filing them, they got lost and he didn't file." Whitehead, a burly, silver-haired man, says he searched unsuccessfully for a loophole that would enable Piatt to proceed through the party's precinct, county and state committee election process. "I don't know how to resolve it," Whitehead says. "So I may be locked in unless there's somebody else that comes forward" who already has filed for precinct committeeman. But having Whitehead retain the chairmanship would suit state and national Democrats just fine. Performance praised - Whitehead's performance these past nine years has won high praise from fellow party officials and candidates for offices from the courthouse to the White House. Attorney General Bob Butterworth and other Democrats in Florida's Cabinet have urged Whitehead to stay on. Whitehead says U.S. Sen. Bob Graham recently wrote him a "long, personal letter" toward that end. When Piatt failed to become eligible for the post, Whitehead says, chuckling, "I thought there was some sabotage going on." The job's not easy to fill. Not only does it require someone politically savvy and skillful, it also requires a person able to focus most working hours on politics rather than his or her regular business or profession. There are speeches to be delivered, political fences to be mended, considerable j travel and endless telephone calls. . "It's not a job that you spend 25 percent of your time on," says Whitehead, part owner of a Ford dealership in Panama City. "I spend 25 percent of my time on my (business, and 75 percent of my time is 5 spent on party matters." I For the first five years, Whitehead i didn't take the job's $25,000-a-year salary J from the money-strapped party. Lately, j he's been using it for traveling expenses. f wnitenead says ne may remain cnair-f man for another year or so, despite his de-t sire to step down sooner. "I'm going to miss Jit, I really am," he says. "But I'm really j tired of it. It's time for somebody else to ! take on that job." By BONNIE WESTON Tribune Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG Thousands of people with determinedly sunny spirits turned out Saturday to elbow their way through crowds, wait in long lines for elevators and food, and gawk at St. Petersburg's newly refurbished Pier. The crowds made the most of their first official opportunity to check out The Pier since it closed more than a year ago for a makeover that cost almost $12 million. And most of those who came seemed to agree the city spent its money wisely. One elderly man who declined to give his name nodded with energy when asked if the renovations were an improvement. "Before it was just a morgue, that's what it was," he said. "Now there's a little life." The Pier, which juts into Tampa Bay, is considered St. Peters burg's premiere waterfront attraction. It has a quarter-mile approach that leads to an imposing, five-story inverted pyramid structure which includes restaurants and shops. St. Petersburg police estimates put the crowd at between 50,000 and 70,000 for Saturday night's fireworks display. While police said it was hard to gauge crowd figures because many people were coming and going, they said more people appeared to be on hand for the fireworks than for the daytime festivities. Marline Carr, president of a downtown travel agency, said it took her a long time to work her way through the opening-day crowds to the fifth-floor observation deck. But she had no complaints. "The view is just gorgeous," said Carr, who said she had her 1982 wedding reception in the ban- .yV.-.1 JtliJW-'-Wii -it'll T . , ..... aF .. I -evrar t ' y . I 71. i I ..k. j " Sv Jr( ? ;- ' : Patty Clark, right, of Bay Plaza Cos. and Dede Balas of Balloons by the Bunch drive See PIER, Page 7B to the Pier in St. Petersburg on Saturday. Tribune photograph by BRITT LAUGHLIN The balloons were given away to people who turned out to see the view and sample shops at the refurbished landmark. "If! ) V f Who killed Little Miss Panasoffkee? During the 17 years since she was stran gled and dumped into Lake Panasoffkee, authorities have unsuccessfully tried to identify the young woman who was buried as Jane Doe in a rural grave. They believe she was a runaway who was hitchhiking on Interstate 75. V SUMTER COUNTY h detailed Y j Lake j Wildwood Panasoffkee l ' , -s I) f I v r- I Body found here. (A i!"shne11 1 , . , , ! if - W us V (l Tampa l 60 miles . . .'..1J"'. .... , ... iimJi ' mi in . m' mi i Artist's work may give ctae to '71 slaying Lt. Bill Farmer, from left, Sheriff Jamie Adams, and Capt. Ed Galvin stand where body was found. Reconstructions of the victim's head are shown below. Tribune graphic by CAITLIN HOPE WRIGHT By STEVE ORLANDO -Tribune Staff Writer BUSHNELL Investigators in this rural Sumter County town don't know who strangled the woman they call Little Miss Panasoffkee. They also still don't know the real name of the young victim. She was buried as Jane Doe more than 17 years ago after her body was found floating about 65 miles north of Tampa in the lake Seminole Indians named Panasoffkee, meaning "valley" or "deep ravine." But the investigators haven't closed the case. "It's hard to believe somebody somewhere isn't wondering, 'Well, where in the hell did she go?'" said Ed Galvin, the Sumter County sheriff's captain assigned to the case with Lt. Bill Farmer. Because the investigators believe the woman was about 18 and a runaway, perhaps unseen by family for several years before her death, they recently sought the help of a Tallahassee artist to sketch the woman as she probably looked several years before someone looped a belt around her neck and pulled it tight in 1971. "Reverse aging" sketches, proposed by Sumter County Sheriff Jamie Adams and being drawn by Linda Galeener of Tallahassee, have never been attempted before, said Dr. Clyde Snow, an internationally recognized forensic specialist and consultant to the Oklahoma Chief Medical Examiner's Office. Snow, of Norman, Okla., in 1986 helped identify the remains of Nazi war criminal Josef Mengele. Galeener's work will be the latest of several efforts to identify the woman. "We're hoping (the reconstructive work) might take it up to the present and jog someone's memory," Galvin said. Since the discovery of the body in the southeast end of the lake, the remains have been the subject of an exhumation and two autopsies, and the skull was used as foundation for a clay reconstruction of what investigators believe the victim looked like when she died. Authorities have several theories about the killing, but they most strongly suspect that a man picked up the victim as she See MODELING, Page 5B Florida teacher pay lags behind U.S. average S Looking toward 1990 j When he does step down, Whitehead I won't quit politics altogether, i He wants to get involved in presidential ; and state primaries. As party chairman, f he's supposed to stay out of intraparty contests even though their outcome often " determines how well or poorly a party will ; do in the general election, f "I'd like to become very much involved I in the governor's race in 1990," Whitehead Jsays. "If I'm not state party chairman, I can do what I want to do. t "My real goal is to put a Democrat back in the governor's office." j Whitehead speaks highly of U.S. Rep. j Bill Nelson, D-Melbourne, who's busy I rounding up support for a gubernatorial j bid, and Attorney General Butterworth, I who has been eyeing the race but says he ! doesn't intend to enter it. He also likes Education Commissioner Betty Castor, who I says she isn't running, and state Sen. ' George Stuart, D-Orlando, who's already in ? the race. I "We've got four good possible candi-f dates who I could support," he says. "If there's one that I think will have a better 1 chance to win in the general election than ? any of the others a much better chance I that's why I'm wanting to become in-volved. Because the bottom line is to win in November." ' Not surprisingly, Whitehead insists that ; Republican Gov. Bob Martinez still is vul-' nerable because of lingering voter disgust with his handling of the abortive services : tax in 1987. "He'll never recover from that," Whitehead says. "Some Republicans indicate to me that : Martinez might not be a candidate," Whitehead claims. "I think he'll be challenged from his inner circle, and I think the chal-, lenge will come from (Republican Secretary of State Jim) Smith. "I know if Smith thinks he's vulnerable, ; he'll be there. Smith wants to be governor." ( 4 " By LESLEY COLLINS Tribune Staff Writer CLEARWATER Pay raises negotiated by Florida teachers this year will average 7 percent to 7.5 percent, but probably will not make a major difference in how salaries for teachers in this state compare to salaries offered teachers elsewhere in the country, educators say. Though average salaries for teachers in Florida may creep up in national rankings, they probably will not significantly close the gap between salaries here and elsewhere. That is a conclusion of Florida Teaching Profession-National Education Association executives that is not disputed by state Education Department officials. "That's been our experience over the last three to four years," said John Ryor, executive director of the FTP-NEA. Ron Boeth, coordinator of member services for the FTP-NEA, said, "In 1980, Florida teacher salaries were $1,821 below the national average. In 1988, Florida teachers are $2,831 below the national average. And this is at a time when everyone's talking about improving education in our state." Boeth cited salary information compiled annually by the NEA and its state affiliates. Although Florida teacher salaries have been growing at a faster rate in recent years, so are those in states such as Michigan, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, California and Texas, Ryor said. For years, in a ranking of the average teacher salary in the 50 states, Florida has been bogged below 30, said David Voss, spokesman for the state Department of Education. In 1987-88, Florida broke through that barrier, he said, placing 29th last year in average teacher pay. The 1988 national average teacher salary is $28,031, a figure gleaned from 1987-88 teacher negotiations in some 16,000 school districts across the country. The state's current average teacher salary is $25,200. Voss said Florida's movement up in the national ranking is a definite indication that the state is making headway in its teacher salaries. However, Boeth disagreed. "Quite honestly, over the course of the last eight years, we've stayed relatively in the same position in national ranking," Boeth said. "There's always the possibility that we'll move up a place or two. But in See STATE'S, Page 6B Last-minute TV campaigns will define U.S. Senate race By RAY LOCKER Tribune Staff Writer TAMPA The U.S. Senate candidates may not like it, but they will live or die on the state's airwaves this week. In Florida, television advertising is a political fact of life. With only eight days left before the U.S. Sen- . ate primaries Sept. 6, the candidates A nalwcjc need t0 spread their message on tele- Ll!zZz! vision or risk almost certain defeat-L..iii,r.iiiiiin voters receive much of their information from 60-, 30- and 10-second advertisements; the campaign's dialogue is often dictated by the give and take of opposing advertisements. Until the last few days, those voters have learned little. Florida's television sets, which have overflowed with political advertisements during recent elections, have been silent. Some political analysts and candidates dislike the emphasis on television advertising in campaigns; they believe it obscures the issues and puts the office up for sale to the highest bidder. Only one candidate Democratic Insurance Commissioner Bill Gunter has won a statewide political campaign and has high statewide name recognition. The rest must raise their profiles outside of ) Spring Hill resident jailed in slaying of his mother ELECTION '88 their home districts, a task that requires bombarding Florida television viewers and radio listeners with advertising. But the five Democratic can- didates who lack Gunter's statewide profile haven't had the money to pay for the weeks of advertising needed to get them known. Only Gunter has had much of a television presence. His five opponents state Sen. Pat Frank of Tampa, U.S. Reps. Dan Mica of Lake Worth and Kenneth H. "Buddy" MacKay of Ocala, former Republican Gov. Claude Kirk and unemployed postal clerk Fred Rader of Homestead haven't come close to matching Gunter's advertising campaign. "We're feeling pretty good," said Gunter pollster John Hutchens. "Our opponents have been pretty quiet. I thought we'd be hearing more from them now. They've been real quiet." In the Republican race, pitting U.S. Rep. Connie Mack of Cape Coral against former U.S. Attorney Robert W. Merkle of Clearwater, there has been almost total television silence. Mack conducted a statewide advertising campaign for two weeks in June but has been silent since then. See GUNTER'S, Page 4B By DOUG STANLEY Tribune Staff Writer SPRING HILL A Spring Hill man was arrested Saturday and charged with first-degree murder after the fatal stabbing of his 74-year-old mother in the modest home they shared in this southwest Hernando County community, authorities said. A neighbor discovered the body of Agatha Phillips at about 5 p.m. inside her gray stucco home at 437 Merrimac Lane, Hernando County Sheriffs Sgt. Frank Bier-wiler said. Deputies found Robert Gray Phillips, about 45 minutes later at a vacant supermarket on Spring Hill Drive, he said. Authorities were releasing few details Saturday, but said a knife was involved in the killing. Deputies took Phillips, 45, back to his home after his arrest Handcuffed and alone in the back seat of a patrol car, he struggled and shouted while authorities waited for crime scene technicians . "She wouldn't leave me alone," Phillips shouted. "I just wanna die. I just want to get the hell off the face of the Earth." A neighbor, Dorothy Pile, found the victim after Robert Phillips showed up at her home covered in blood, Bierwiler said. Bob Messner, who was visiting his 85-year-old mother, Stella, next door to the Phillips home, said he was watching television when Pile came to the door. "She said, 'She's dead, and there's blood all over,'" Messner said. "She was a good friend of Agatha's." He said Phillips is unemployed. Messner said Robert Phillips delivered a bowl of fruit from his mother Friday evening. When Stella Messner told him she had enough fruit, thanked him and told him to keep it, Phillips became upset, Messner said. "He acted awful strange." . . . ..

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