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Northwest Florida Daily News (Newspaper) - March 8, 1995, Fort Walton Beach, Florida WEATHER TODAY Cloudy with periods of rain. High 60; low 30s. North wind 15 to 25 mph/2A. NEWS INSIDE Plan to cut food stamps feeds debate PAGE 6A WEDNESDAY, MARCH Auto tag fees must rise 43%, study shows PAGE 2B INDEX Business...............8B Calendar...............6C Classifieds.............7D Comics..................6D Crossword...........10B Dear Abby.............2C Editorials...............4 A Food.....................1C Local News...........1B Movies.................11B Obituaries..............3B Public Record.......2B Sports....................1D TV Schedule.......11B r 4 »«étions, 44 page« Fon Wallon BMCti. Fia. Copyright* 1995, The Daily News TH^ • "m 'y NORTHWEST FLORIDA Daily News H 8, 1995 ~~ _ ~ 500 Barnes move backed warily ■ School Board members seem to agree with the decision to move the Edwins principal. By SHERRY SAPP Daily News Staff Writer Okaloosa County School Board members are leery of the superintendent's promise last week to transfer first-time principal Dr. Naomi Barnes out of her troubled school. They do agree the principal should be removed from Annette P. Edwins Elementary School. "I think it's very clear to me that there were some misjudgements (by the principal) made," said member Charla Cotton. "I thought it was clear that there were some questions — some grave questions — about some of the issues in that complaint." Board members aren't so sure about Schools Superintendent Bernadette Cover's last-minute timing — or if there is a job at the district level for Barnes to take. Last week, in an effort to save Please see BARNES/3 A Chiles pursues small government Florida Gov. Lawton Chiles makes a point during his State of the State message over a stack of rules and regulations he brought for the occasion, as he addressed the opening of the 1995 legislative session Tuesday in Tallahassee. ■ Governor's annual message gets polite response from Republican majority. TALLAHASSEE (AP) - Gov. Law-ton Chiles said Tuesday he wants to eliminate thousands of government rules to spur the economy and suggested he was thinking about tax reform after sitting out the issue in last year's election. Chiles said he may call a special session later in the year on education — a move he wouldn't deny could be the first step in accomplishing his longtime, unrealized goal of revamping the state's tax base. "I've said forever that, at some stage, I want to try to tackle tax reform," Chiles said after his State of the State speech, which kicked off the annual 60-day legislative session. Although the governor was not interrupted by applause, the 36-minute address was politely received by legislators. For the first time in 120 years, the Republicans have control of one legislative chamber. They enjoy a 22-18 majority in the Senate, while Democrats have a 63-57 advantage in the House. A year ago, in the middle of a tough re-election fight, Chiles for the first time didn't use his annual message to lawmakers to push for tax reform. With lawmakers promising no new taxes this year, Chiles conceded tax reform has little political support. Chiles said government as well as the private sector was drowning in bureaucratic regulations. He asked lawmakers to repeal all of the state's 28,000 rules at the end of the regular session in early May, except those regulations specifically re-enacted. Northwest Floridians not impressed by governor's speech By LAURA CASSELS Daily News Capital Bureau TALLAHASSEE - Northwest Florida's Republican senators, including former Democrat W.D. Childers, shrugged at Democratic Gov. Lawton Chiles' State , Of The State speech Tuesday. Democratic lawmakers from the region said it reinforced themes of importance to the state. "I didn't see a lot of people impressed," said Childers- of Pensacola, a longtime Democrat who joined the GOP Feb. 23. Childers and Sen. Robert Harden, R-Fort Walton Beach, said they were dis appointed to hear Chiles renew his call for health-care reforms to subsidize insurance for some of Florida's poorest working families. Though Childers has supported the governor's health-care proposals in the past, that's all over now, he said. "I don't feel an obligation to," Childere said. His main objection to Chiles' managed-care plan, he said, is that it would limit patients' choice of doctors. Chiles' supporters say that would be a small sacrifice for people who presently have no health insurance at all. Harden opposes Chiles' plan because he fears it would lay more debt on the state, much like welfare programs. "For all practical purposes, I still view that as an entitlement program," Harden said. Rep. Scott Clemons, D-Panama City, said he thinks Chiles' plan makes sense. "It would be foolish not to take the waiver," Clemons said of Chiles winning a federal waiver of Medicaid rules to let Florida set up an alternative health-care program for its needy residents. "It would be throwing money away." , , Childers and Harden endorsed Chiles' call for deregulation but were not impressed by it. "They need to just go ahead and stop talking about it," Childers said. Rep. Robert Trammell, D-Marianna, said conservative Democrats have long called for regulatory relief, and he supports the governor giving it a high profile. "It was entirely apropos. Conservative Democrats have been preaching that message for a long time," Trammell said. Regarding Chiles' hint about calling a special session on education, Childers, Harden, Trammell and Clemons agreed that the Legislature should do the right thing during the regular session, though none expects education funding to be generous this year. AP/Wm. J. Castello GOP House affirms litigation legislation ■ The bill would force lawsuit losers to pay more of the legal fees. By KNIGHT-RIDDER NEWSPAPERS WASHINGTON - IForging ahead with the GOFs agenda, the House on Tuesday passed and sent to the Senate a bill that would require losers to pay part of the legal fees in many civil lawsuits brought in federal courts. In overturning more than two centuries of courtroom practice, the bill's sponsors said it would greatly reduce the number of "frivolous and fraudulent" lawsuits they say are clogging American courts. Under the bill, the loser could be required to pay double the legal fees he or she pays now. Still to be considered this week are bills that would: ■ Make it harder for aggrieved small investors to band together and sue stockbrokers and publicly traded corporations in federal courts for allegedly misrepresenting their prospects in order to attract investors. ■ Put a cap on the amount of punitive damages complainants could receive in jury awards. Okaloosa County gives condo project go-ahead — sort of ■ The highly debated design received the ayes it needed but at the cost of 85 feet. By LEE FORST Daily News Staff Writer Okaloosa County commissioners on Tuesday approved plans for the controversial high-rise Bay Club Condominium — but some 85 feet shorter than what developers wanted. Call it approval of a downsized project or a roundabout denial, the 3-2 vote drew applause from dozens of people who sat through the three-hour debate over the pair of proposed nine-stoty buildings planned for Country Club Road in Shalimar Pointe. But it confounded the developers, JMJ Investors Inc., which got the county Planning Commission's blessing last month. George Jones, JMJ's vice president of operations, called the decision "totally off the wall" and said a date in Circuit Court likely will be the next step. "From our attorney's viewpoint, our only recourse is to appeal the deci- JMJ's plans have met all county development regulations. But residents said the Commissioners should go beyond that. sion," Jones said later. JMJ wants to develop 46 condominiums in the two brick and stucco buildings along Choctawhatchee Bay across from the Shalimar Pointe Countiy Club. The units in the 120-foot-tall structures would sell for $300,000 to $750,000 for penthouses, Jones told commissioners. The condo parcel and much of the surrounding area have been zoned business-tourism since March 7, 1974, exactly 21 years as of Tuesday. Although that designation allows uses ranging from high-rises to filling stations to strip joints, the neighborhood has become almost exclusively single-family homes. "They built theirs first," Jones told commissioners of the opposition's Please see CONDO/3A DUCKY HANDOUT Dally Newt/TRACEV STEELE Shelby Marie Burns, 21/2, feeds some ducks at Lincoln Park in Nlceville Tuesday afternoon. Shelby was out with her mom and stepfather, Melody and Michael Mantini. The Nicevllle family has a near-daily ritual of feeding the ducks old bread, popcorn or leftover biscuits. 5 suspended in wake of Rudder deaths ■ The Army continues investigating the survival training deaths last month. By BRUCE ROLF8EN Daily News Stall Writer EGLIN AFB - The February deaths of four Army Ranger students at Camp James E. Rudder resulted Tuesday in the temporary suspension of the camp commander and foui? other soldiers who were supervising the class of 102 soldiers. The suspensions were enacted by Maj. Gen. John W. Hendrix, commander of the Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Ga., where the Ranger program is headquartered. The prohibitions will stay in place until Fort Benning's investigation is finished and Hendrix has the results. Hendrix's announcement came the same day as 173 Ranger students began their stay at Camp Rudder, said Monica Manganaro, a spokeswoman for the Army Infantry School at Fort Benning. The Army, citing federal privacy rules, wouldn't announce the names of the suspended soldiers. The Army did release the soldiers' assignments. The camp commander was among those temporarily relieved of duty. At the time of the deaths, Lt. Col. Richard Rathmeler was Please see WAKE/3A
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