Northwest Florida Daily News (Newspaper) - March 2, 1995, Fort Walton Beach, Florida WEATHER TODAY Mostly cloudy. High 60; low mid-408. Northeast wind 5 to 10 mph/ 2A. ENTERTAINMENT INSIDE Music industry turns out for awards <àramrm Awards PAGE 5C Warlords move to fill U.N. void in Somalia PAGE 11A INDEX Business...............4B Calendar...............2C Classifieds.............6C Comics..................3C Crossword.............4C Dear Abby.............4C Editorials...............4A Local......................1B Movies..................5C Obituaries..............3B Public Record.......2B Sports....................1D Trends...................tC TV Schedule.........5C f 4 sections, 36 pages Fort Walton Baach, Fla. Copyright* 1995, The Daily News THURSDAY, MARCH 2 Daily 2, 1995 W NORTHWEST FLORIDA 50C FWB councilwoman rebukes mayor for meeting remarks By MICHAEL BOLDEN Daily News Staff Writer Fort Walton Beach City Councilwoman Susan Myers rebuked Mayor Larry Tre-nary Tuesday night for comments he made at a Monday meeting. In a Feb. 27 Meet the Mayor session, Trenary criticized the council, saying, "What we've got here is seven ants row ing a boat and nobody has any direction." Moreover, Trenary mentioned three candidates he is supporting in the March 14 municipal election. On Wednesday, Myers said she brought up the issue because "the mayor hasn't accepted the fact that he's not supposed to run the city. The mayor's post is largely ceremonial. But Trenary said Wednesday he does not want to control the government. "Let me assure you, the mayor is not trying to take over," he said. Okaloosa County Supervisor of Elections Pat Hollarn said her office received queries Tuesday about the mayor's comments being made during a meeting while a city employee was taking minutes. "We referred people to the state statute (116.15)," Hollarn said. "However, I think you'd have to stretch pretty broad to find a violation of the law. I think what you have is a perception problem." Florida Statute 116.15 prohibits the use of government employees for campaign purposes during working hours and forbids people from soliciting or accepting campaign contributions in a government building. Trenary said in hindsight he probably should not have mentioned the candidates. However, Myers also criticized comments Trenary made about city committees and women not being satisfied with temperature settings in buildings. "He seems to be working at cross Please see REBUKES/6A $23 million digs for bad guys Daily News/LARRV A. SULLIVAN Buildings are taking shape as construction of the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution gets into high gear. This 240-acre site is being carved out of woods along U.S. Highway 90, east of Milton. Workers carve prison out of Milton woods ■ The 240-acre complex will eventually house up to 1,300 criminals. By LARRY A. SULLIVAN Daily News Staff Writer MILTON — It hasn't been easy and there's a long way to go, but a $23 million prison is taking shape in the middle of woods east of here. A small army of workers is transforming the 240-acre site from woods to a massive complex of grounds, fences and buildings that will house up to 1,300 convicted criminals — the first contingent of which is scheduled to arrive by September. The facility is part of Florida's ambitious project to make room for 18,000 additional inmates this year by building new prisons or adding on to existing ones. Although ahead of schedule at one point, construction was slowed by Northwest Florida's notorious rainy weather. "We'll be ready," Sam Robinson said with determination. It's not an idle comment for Robinson, who is superintendent of the job. He works for Jacksonville-based HDI Construction, which won the contract to build the prison. After weeks of fighting bottomless clay, a series of drier, sunny days allowed workmen to pick up their pace. "You wouldn't believe how muddy this can get," Robinson said, pointing out the windshield of his company pickup. "We're on schedule now." As if on cue, a two-story gray building pops into view after Robinson drives around a corner. Suddenly dominating the landscape is the key to the prison construction boom. Somber and gray as a winter's day, the edifice is called a T-Building. It is made in pieces at a plant in Georgia then hauled here by truck. A gigantic red crane carefully lifts the components to crews, which spend two non-stop weeks bolting and welding Dally News/LARRY A. SULUVAN Jeff Smith operates a backhoe In front of a T-Building at the Santa Rosa Correctional Institution. The prefabricated T-Buildings will house the majority of inmates. The T-Buildlngs also cut construction time in half, officials say. walls, floors and ceilings. When that is done, carpenters, plumbers and electricians go about finishing the inside. These instant buildings can be ready in half the time, says Richard Kronenberger, assistant secretary of the state Department Please see PRISON/6A WILL IT BE YEA OR NAY? Balanced budget vote today ■ If it fails, Dole threatens to revive it at election time. WASHINGTON (AP) - Facing likely defeat, Senate Republicans set a showdown vote for today on the balanced-budget amendment while vowing to revive the issue at the height of the 1996 election season if it fails. Majority Leader Bob Dole sharply attacked several Democratic opponents Wednesday for what-he called a "stunning flip-flop" on the measure similar to one they supported a year ago. Other GOP senators criticized President Clinton's opposition. Dole's decision to proceed with INSIDE ■ The states can put a hall to the amendment/9A. a vote came after apparently unsuccessful attempts to reach a compromise with wavering Democrats who could ensure passage. The Democrats said they would support the measure only if it specifically spared Social Security. He conceded that no senator's vote had been changed, indicating that barring a last-minute development, the measure would fall one vote short of the two-thirds needed for passage. Pentagon hopes BR AC pays off ■ The Air Force will be spending around $20 million to make the changes at Eglin. By BRUCE ROLFSEN Daily News Staff Writer EGLIN AFB - You've got to spend money to save money is the theme of the Air Force's recommendation to the Base Realignment and Closure Commission. The Air Force will be spending at least $20 million in moving and construction costs to complete Eglin Air Fore Base's portion of the proposed massive swap of missions and base closings. Pentagon officials say the short-term costs will be rewarded by long-run, long-term savings from combining operations. INSIDE ■ A complete list of the BRAC recommendations/3A. ■ The military is still top heavy/3A. The high price tag of closing bases, especially Air Force aircraft repair depots, kept the 1985 BRAC list shorter than many people had anticipated, said defense analyst Paul Taibl. Taibl is director of economics at Business Executives for National Security, a Washington,D.C.-based think tank. "The Air Force has a lot of underutilized depot capacity," Taibi Please see PAYS/6A Alabama bringing back the sound of the chain gang ■ But national corrections system critics sing the blues about reinstating prison work crews to do the roadside shuffle; MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) -Alabama is bringing back the chain gang, a sight most Americans haven't seen since the Paul Newman movie "Cool Hand Luke." This spring, inmates will be put in leg irons and made to pick up litler along well-traveled roads. Alabama will be the first state in the nation to reinstitute chain gangs, according to several national corrections organizations. Prison work crews shuffling along in leg irons were a common sight in many states until public opinion was stirred by the 1932 movie "I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang," about an innocent man brutalized by a Southern chain gang. "I find it fascinating the corrections system is turning back the hands of time when the rest of the world is moving forward," said Rob Hoelter, director of the Na tional Center on Institutions and Alternatives and a critic of the plan. No one at the state Corrections Department can recall exactly when Alabama did away with chain gangs or why. Alabama's new prison commissioner, Ron Jones, has placed a $17,000 order for 300 sets of leg irons so inmates can be put to work during the first 90 days of their sentences. Jones is carrying out a directive from Republican Gov. Fob James that new inmates be denied TV and other privileges; that they be put to work; and that their first impression of prison be so unpleasant that they never come back. The idea is to change the perception "that all inmates do is watch soap operas and drink Coca-Colas," said Donald Claxton, the governor's spokesman. Alabama and many other states use minimum-security inmates, without shackles, to pick up litter. But half of Alabama's nearly 20,000 prisoners are medium-security inmates who don't qualify for work details outside prison. They stay inside, working in kitchens, mopping floors or making license plates. j Report cites safety concerns with inmate work programs TALLAHASSEE (AP) - The state's training of civilians who supervise inmates working outside prison is inadequate and poses safety concerns, a report released Wednesday said. The non-department workers who supervise groups of up to 14 inmates at a time "is a significant security weakness in the program," concluded an audit by the Office of Program Police Analysis and Government Accountability. Nearly 3,400 inmates classified as minimum or medium custody participated in the department's Community Work Squad Program last year. That represented about 6 percent of the total prison population of more than 50,000.