Archive for June 28, 2008

Alligator Kills Police Bloodhound in Bayou George, Florida

BAYOU GEORGE, Fla. — A 10-foot alligator attacked and killed a 5-year-old bloodhound used as a tracker by the Bay County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigator Doug Pierce’s wife had taken Datsi and the family’s two other dogs for a run on Monday when Datsi jumped into a lake to cool off. That’s when she was attacked by the alligator.

Pierce says the dog managed to get away from the alligator, but her injuries were so bad that she collapsed and died on the shore.


Alligators will come out of the water after a dog. Walkers and joggers are cautioned to beware of taking their canine companion out for a stroll near the water.


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InBev Sues to Dump Anheuser-Busch Board

In response to reports that Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc.’s board of directors is prepared to reject InBev’s $46.3 billion unsolicited takeover offer, the Belgian brewer said Thursday it filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court, asking the court to confirm that shareholders can remove without cause all 13 members of St. Louis brewer’s board.

InBev said the eight Anheuser-Busch directors elected after 2006 are subject to removal without cause under the brewer’s charter and the laws of Delaware, where Anheuser-Busch is incorporated. InBev wants to confirm that the other five Anheuser-Busch directors, elected in 2006, can be removed without cause through the written consent procedure.

An Anheuser-Busch spokeswoman was not immediately available for comment.

Read the rest at Jacksonville Business Journal.

Maybe it will be successful, maybe not. Could be that national pride might be more important than cash. Yeah, I know, maybe I was out in the sun too long.

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City of Jacksonville Makes Biodiesel from Used Cooking Oil

WESTSIDE — The city of Jacksonville’s fleet management division is converting its fueling stations to carry ethanol-blended gasoline while it prepares to become fully operational as a biodiesel distiller.

The conversion of unleaded gasoline tanks to dispense E10 — 10 percent ethanol and 90 percent gasoline — began the week of June 23. Seven of the city’s eight fueling stations will be converted the first week of July and the eighth by the end of July.

The division also is distilling its own B100 — 100 percent biodiesel — from vegetable oil at its Commonwealth Avenue fuel depot. Twenty percent homemade biodiesel is blended with 80 percent petroleum diesel to make B20, a fuel suitable for all diesel-powered vehicles.

Fleet management picks up used cooking oil from Naval Station Mayport, The Avenues and Orange Park malls and two Hooter’s restaurants in Jacksonville. The Avenues mall operations manager, Jim Leitner, said the free exchange is working well. The city provided stainless steel tanks about a year ago and has a weekly collection service.

When the division can accurately gauge its weekly B100 production capacity, it can begin signing on other restaurants for the service. Division Chief Sam Houston said the program will be “big business — important, steady business” for the city.

The city has invested about $68,000 in the plant, mostly on equipment, since it opened a year ago. Erik Preacher, who’s in charge of inventory control and financial administration for fleet management, estimates that the plant will pay for itself within the first few months of full operation.

The cost of B100 on the market now is about $4 per gallon, while the cost of producing it at the depot is about $1.50 per gallon.

Read more at Jacksonville Business Journal.

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Death Penalty Will be Sought in Melrose Case

Prosecutors will seek the death penalty against a 22-year-old man accused of killing a Melrose resident with his teenage girlfriend during a home invasion in April.

Toby Lee Lowry was charged with first-degree murder in the death of James Thomas Stewart, 66, whose body was found May 1.

Stewart had been beaten, stabbed and suffocated.

The killing appeared to be premeditated and for witness elimination, State Attorney John Tanner said Friday, calling the case “particularly heinous, atrocious and cruel.”

Earlier this month Lowry tried to hang himself in his Putnam County jail cell, authorities said.

I don’t think that there is much question about guilt or that it will be granted.

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Thieves Steal From Homes Built to “Revitalize” Neighborhood

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — They are homes designed to revitalize struggling neighborhoods — but someone isn’t acting very neighborly, after two different homes were vandalized.

“The entire unit was stripped down for its copper. The thing was stripped down to a bare minimum,” said Robert Ownby, project manager for Operation New Hope.

Operation New Hope has been revitalizing rundown houses in Springfield. The home that was vandalized was its latest project. Now it needs a couple of new air conditioning units, because someone tore them off the house.

“The copper goes for… it’s about $15-20 for each. Considering it does about $3,000 in damage… the comparison is not there,” Ownby said.

The next door neighbor knew this was a problem and locked down his units.

“Now that we’ve come to our senses, the standard procedure is put a steel cage around the entire thing that is reinforced and anchored into the ground,” he said.

Operation New Hope isn’t the only victim. HabiJax built a home in Northwest Jacksonville, where vandals pried open the doors. Once inside, they took off with the air conditioner, oven, washer, dryer and dishwasher. And even the carpet was taken.

Ownby said it’s frustrating to know his group along with Habijax tries its best to build up communities, when someone works just as hard to tear them down.

“With each house that we redo we like to think we remove blight from neighborhood. And we get homeowners who are proud to live here and want to take care of the ‘hood as they take care of the house,” he said.


*sigh* What they are doing is putting targets slap into a neighborhood that doesn’t want to be revitalized.

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Arts and Crafts at MeeMaw’s House

Jacob squealed with joy as Mommy and Daddy walked through the door. “Mommy! Look at my Pirate Sheep!” He happily ran to the table where a sheep skull was painted glossy blue and purple. He held it up proudly. “Look! I dug it up and MeeMaw let me paint it!”

Poor Daddy looked aghast. “Well, uh, that’s certainly interesting”, he said. Daddy is a city boy and former Navy. He looked afraid to touch it.

I grinned over at Jacob’s Daddy. “Arts and crafts at MeeMaw’s house are a little different than at day care,” I explained.

“I can see that!” he replied fervently.

“It’s okay, mom always bleached bones before she let us play with them”, explained Mommy, the voice of experience. “Did you soak it or spray it?”

“Sprayed it with diluted bleach after scrubbing it down and rinsing it out.”

Jacob had caught sight of what he hoped was a dinosaur bone protruding from the muck in a dried out pond this morning while SwampMan and I were rerouting a fence. “MeeMaw! Come dig it out!” I got a stick and tried to pry it out, but the suction was too much and the stick broke.

“Sorry, Jacob. I’m going to have to get a shovel and dig it out later after I help Papa with the fence.”

About 15 minutes later, I heard a triumphant “I got it!” and there was Jacob holding his archeological prize, a sheep skull filled with mud. “It’s a pirate sheep!” After watching “Pirates of the Caribbean”, Jacob has decided that pirates are skeletons, hence the jolly Roger. He displays better logical leaps than some adults I know. A sheep skull would therefore be a pirate sheep.

“Uh, put that down, and wash it off with the hose, okay?” I instructed. After a thorough hosing and examination by MeeMaw to make sure that no tissue was left, I told him that I needed to spray it with something that would kill the germs that were on there. “I found it! I can take it home? I can keep it in my room?”

“Um, sure. Do you want to paint it?” I asked, thinking that perhaps it would be slightly more acceptable to the parents if the bones were sealed, so to speak.

“YES! I want to paint it blue!”

“No problem. Let’s put the pirate sheep up to dry outside, and we’ll go look at paint.”

He picked out a glossy blue enamel and some purple leather dye. Jacob also picked out hot pink, gold, silver, bright red, and sea green. Oooh, nice choices. I picked out a yellow leather dye as well, since I had in mind that while the pirate sheep was drying from the first coat of enamel, he could paint a nice lil’ 3′ chunk of driftwood and take it home, too. I could get my yard cleared one chunk at a time.

He started painting the outside portion of the sheep skull a bright glossy blue as carefully as a 4-year-old boy could paint. “Don’t get any paint on the teeth, okay? Leave them white, okay?” he instructed as I carefully smoothed out any big globs he had left. The inside portions of the eyes and palate and nasal passages and sinuses were dyed bright purple. Hmmmm. I surveyed the skull. There were a few places that needed touching up but all in all, it looked pretty good. “That looks cool, MeeMaw!”

The piece of gray driftwood had some purple and yellow leather dye daubed on in some places. In others, he applied hot pink, teal green, bright red, and lots of gold and silver sparkly paint. I went over it with a dry brush, blending the paint blotches together. The effect was really nice, particularly since the silver and gold paint overlaid and muted the bright colors and they all flowed together. Hunh. Maybe I should get Jake to paint all my driftwood, and we’ll sell it instead of putting it in the burn pile. I have seen far worse looking things for sale in the art shops at prices that sometimes elicits a forceful “you have got to be (expletive) me” out loud.

Mommy was admiring the blue and purple Pirate Sheep when Jacob showed her another feature. “See! Its tooth is loose! I’m going to pull it out in my room when we get home!”

Mommy said “No, that’s nasty. Whatever would you want to do that for?”

I explained to Mommy that the tooth fairy had been mentioned. The tooth fairy that will only visit Jacob’s house, not MeeMaw’s house.

“The tooth fairy does NOT leave money for Pirate Sheep teeth!” Mommy exclaimed, the spoilsport. I expect the legalities of the contract between the tooth fairy and the person that is in possession of a tooth that has been correctly placed under his pillow per custom will be discussed again tonight.

They left about an hour ago. His sheep skull was tucked securely into his backpack, wrapped in his blanket. I’m expecting a phone call from Mommy regarding whatever gave him the idea that the tooth fairy might be interested in Pirate Sheep teeth anytime now. Heh.

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