The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida on September 28, 1989 · 385
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The Miami Herald from Miami, Florida · 385

Miami, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 28, 1989
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TALLAHASSEE — (UPI) — Attorney General Bob Butter orth announced Wednesday a public service campaign to let Florida adults know that they could be prosecuted if they do not keep their guns a ay from children Florida's gun-safety law which goes into effect Oct 1 is the first in the nation to make adults responsible if a weapon gets into a child’s hands “Ths is a chld-safetv issue not a gun-ccntrol issue" Butterworth said in a new s conference The campaign consists of public-service announcements warning parents that the law takes effect Oct 1 and that if they do not start lockng them weapons or stormg them where ehddren cannot get them they could face criminal prosecution The campaign slogan: "It’s a good law and it might save your child’s life” Flonda’s law was passed during an emergency session of the Legislature in July prompted by a rash of shootings during one week in July that lett six children killed or w ounded from shots inflicted by other children who found loaded weapons Since the law was passed at least 28 other children have been wounded or killed in accidental shootings In Florida 90 percent of the weapons used m accidental shootings came from the victims' homes In all but one case the weapon was already loaded “There’s no question that Florida is the leader in accidental shootings" said Dennis Smith of the Center to Prevent Handgun Violence a nonprofit organization in Washington DC that helped design the campaign “It’s about 15 to 20 percent higher than in Texas or California In high gun-owning states there’s a correlation between gun-owners and kids being shot” The law requires adults to lock up their handguns or store them in a place that is inaccessible to children or face criminal prosecution if the gun is used by a child to shoot another child accidentally Smith said the law was a great be ginning and noted that four other states — Maryland Virginia Connecticut and Wisconsin — are using Florida’s law as a model for measures of their own When asked if the law would be effective in reducing the number of accidental shootings Butterworth said: “We don’t know yet I’m sure there’s been some effect already We’re hoping that the law and the education will be enough of a deterrent” cience skills TWO FOR THE ROAD: Two young American kestrels released at Everglades National Park were hatched in a West Palm Beach zoo Chicles hatched in captivity freed By LYDIA MARTIN Herald Staff Writer Two American kestrels falcons no bigger than bluejays were released Tuesday at Everglades National Park They are the chicks of two kestrels living at the Dreher Park Zoo m West Palm Beach The parent birds were picked up by the Tropical Audubon Society in South Miami about a year ago because they were injured One had been hit by a car at Everglades National Park The other found just outside the park had been shot The Audubon Society which runs a wildlife rehabilitation center nursed the birds to health But because they will never be well enough to live in the wild again they were given to the zoo Experts predicted the two kestrels which cannot fly for long periods would simply languish m their captive environment Instead they did the w ild thing they mated “We never expected them to reproduce” said Gail Schneider zoo executive director “They came into captivity as adults That’s considered pretty stressful for them So we didn’t pay any attention to their breeding behavior And then low and behold the female was sitting on eggs” There were four eggs Soon after they hatched one chick died The other three one male and two females stayed with their parents until they were a month old and were then transported to the Audubon Society for flight school training The kestrels which each weighed about 100 grams and stood about eight inches high were already full-grown to hunt their prey and behave in the wild” On Tuesday Hitzig drove two of the four-month-old birds — a female and a male — to Everglades National Park After driving off the main road into an area rarely traveled by visitors he released the birds into their natural habitat The female went first Hitzig walked into a field with the bird and opened his hand The bird lay in his palm about a minute Then it flew off — about 50 feet — circled back landed m a nearby pine tree and stayed put The male then took off circled a couple of times and flew away The third kestrel which broke a feather when it was brought from the zoo will be released in about a month Hitzig said “We didn’t want them to stay at the zoo be- Kestrels are found mostly in open areas They cause we didn’t want them getting accustomed to ' are much more common in Florida in winter people” said David Hitzig director of education Around October migratory American kestrels for the Audubon Society “We taught them how from northern states come to Florida to winter to be tested in select schools By DIEDTRA HENDERSON Herald Staff Writer Third- fifth- and eighth-graders at a handful of Broward schools will have to strain their brains next week They will be among 20000 students statewide taking a special test of science skills Starting Monday the state Department of Education will give a new science section of the State Student Assessment Test a trial run The SSATs already include tests to measure students’ skills in reading math and writing A science section is being tried at a random sample of schools to gauge Florida students’ strengths — and weaknesses — in science a subject m which American school children have been lagging behind kids in other industrial countries Broward science teachers for the most part welcome the addition “That’s where the future of the country lies” said Kay Betzoldt a seventh-grade science teacher at Crystal Lake Middle School in Pompano Beach “We’re falling behind all other industrial countries in our science and engineering and mathematics” Crystal Lake Middle added a sci-encepre-engineenng magnet program this year Its 325 eighth-graders will take the 30-question science test Oct 6 guidance director Walter Tilghman said In all students in four Broward third-grade classes seven fifth-grade classes and four eighth-grade classes will take the untimed test said Mark Heidom director of the statewide SSAT program Next year the state will do a test run of a computer literacy exam Heidom said That’s planned for October 1990 And a social studies test will be tried out by 1993 or 1994 Heidom said A school is red-flagged if its students score below 80 on any subject on the SSATs and it must take steps to fix the deficiency There is some apprehension about adding new areas of testing Roberta Nesselroth a science teacher at South Plantation High School said even the best of teachers may get caught in a squeeze if the test does not cover areas they teach “Until they iron out some of the bugs there’s going to be some anger at trying to follow what you think is a good curriculum and finding out you’re not teaching the right thing” Nesselroth said Myra Brown an eighth-grader at Apollo Middle School m Hollywood suggested the state get kids to help make up new tests “If they have a child make up a test we would know how to do it” said Brown 13 “When you have an adult doing a test they do what they know” Police search car in clerk’s slaying LAKE CITY — (UPD — Lake City officers were searching an impounded car for clues in the death of a convenience store clerk who was abducted and killed last week Investigators said they are questioning a 31-year-old Gainesville man about the slaying of clerk Darlene Messer 36 She was abducted from the store in Lake City Sept 18 and her body was found two days later in a Union County creek Police arrested the suspect on unrelated charges and impounded his car which matches the description of a car used in a Hernando County holdup the night before Messer’s body was found The car also is similar to one used in an armed robbery in Starke not far from where Messer’s body was discovered Speakers protest prayer restrictions PENSACOLA — (AP) — Most of about 700 people attending an Escambia County School Board forum told the panel they were opposed to new rules banning prayers at football games and restricting other religious activities Car insurance rate freeze coming Sunday TALLAHASSEE — (UPI) — Insurance Commissioner Tom Gallagher said Wednesday he will impose a 60-day freeze on automobile insurance rates when tougher insurance requirements take effect Sunday The new requires motorists to carry property damage Lability insurance Anticipating the change Gallagher said he was issuing an emergency bulletin to insurance companies “My message to the insurers is if you are considering asking for approval to raise your rates dunng the next 60 days forget it” Gallagher said “We want to see the impact of this new law and provide for a stable insurance market dunng this period when new coverage will be purchased by many dnvers” The extra insurance is intended to cover costs when a motonst’s car damages another vehicle fence or building It will not cover repairs for the dnver who causes the damage Gallagher said he is issuing a new rule to prevent insurers from discriminating against dnvers who have never before purchased damage Lability coverage The rule says they cannot be denied coverage or hit with surcharges just because they are new to the market Drivers have been required since 1972 to carry a minimum $10000 no-fault personal injury protection coverage to pay for injunes regardless of who causes an accident Effective Sunday they will also have to carry $10000 property damage coverage as well Of 38 speakers 33 said Tuesday that School Superintendent Pete Payton went too far when he ordered a halt last month to some traditional practices m the district the Florida Panhandle’s largest It has about 42700 students The order barred prayers at all school activities It also bans Bible reading the posting of the Ten Commandments and school sponsorship of religious graduation ceremonies and religious-oriented clubs during regular school hours Publications of photos of such clubs in school yearbooks also is prohibited Shouts of “Amen” followed many of the pleas to reverse the rules “We’re Christians and not doormats” said Tracy Herring who called for forming separate schools for athiests The new rules were a response to federal court rulings that outlawed public prayers at high school football games in a Georgia case The 11th US Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta held in that case that the prayers violated the First Amendment of the US Constitution The US Supreme Court let that decision stand The Rev David Shofner of West Pensacola Baptist Church urged the school district to limit its restrictions to football games One religious activity unaffected by the new rules is the invocation given at the start of School Board meetings Several speakers said it was hypocrisy for the board to start its meeting with a prayer while banning prayers at other school activities Only three speakers supported Payton's actions while two were neutral One of the supporters William David Tatum said Pensacola is a secular community and not everyone follows a strict fundamentalist mindset Only one school official spoke Board member Elmer Jenkins said he agreed with the sentiments of some of the opponents but that he is charged with upholding the Constitution which calls for a separation of church and state WALTER MICHOT Miami Herald Staff GAS TANK EXPLOSION Broward Sheriff’s Office Bomb and Arson investigator Rick Case examines a gas tanker at Certified Truck Sales in Davie on Tuesday after fumes inside the tanker ignited as welder Neal Sims 32 of Cooper City affixed a runoff tank to its top He was blown back 10 feet by the explosion Flames melted the tanker and shot 50 feet in the air Sims was treated for an ankle injury at Pembroke Pines General Hospital and released Official’s mom tied to vote scam JACKSONVILLE BEACH — (UPI) — A City Council member’s mother is charged with casting 23 fraudulent ballots in a recent election and authorities are trying to determine if she may have also rigged an earlier race that her son won by a single vote Arlene Cooper 57 the mother of Councilman Bill Cooper was charged Tuesday with 23 felony counts of fraud in casting votes in a May 30 recall election for Jacksonville Beach’s city clerk Frankie Knight Six of the alleged illegal absentee ballots were ca st in die name of dead people not yet purged from voter registration rolls and three others were cast for people who actually voted in the election “What’s really amazing regarding this case is having six people who were deceased at the time of the ele ction voting in the election" Assistant State Attorney Bemie de la Rionda said “Dead people can’t vote so these people definitely could not have voted” De la Rionda said the forged ballots were cast in the names of residents and former residents of the Cooper-Holt Manor retirement complex operated by Arlene Cooper The illegal absentee votes did not affect the outcome of the recall election in which voters ousted Knight Investigators said they are also trying to determine whether illegal absentee ballots were cast in the 1987 election Bill Cooper won by a single vote De la Rionda said neither the councilman nor any other public official is expected to be arrested State lottery sales hit $3 billion early Herald Capital Bureau TALLAHASSEE — Florida’s lottery has passed $3 billion in total sales this week almost one year ahead of original sales projections officials said Wednesday That means more than $1 billion has been generated for public schools At least 35 percent of all sales have been directed to education That share was increased to 375 percent July 1 Lottery ticket sales started Jan 12 1988 By the end of the current budget year on June 30 1989 every county in Florida will have received at least $500000 from the lottery some much more Dade will have received nearly $150 million Of the $3 billion worth of tickets sold Lotto accounted for 425 percent scratch-off tickets 363 percent Cash 3 142 percent and Fantasy 5 7 percent “While lottery dollars provide only a small portion of the total funding need for education I am proud that the Florida Lottery is helping prepare our students for the challenges of the future" Gov Bob Martinez said in a statement I f

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