Election Results - Local favorite Charlie Crist soundly beat opponent, Tom Gallagher, in the GOP primary, for the governor's seat. Charlie Crist will now confront Democrat winner Jim Davis (who beat Rod Smith) in the November general election.
Katherine Harris beat all GOP challengers to oppose incumbent Bill Nelson for a U.S. Senate seat. Harris proved that she has "grass-root" support from conservative and moderate GOP voters.
Some races were a mere formality; for example, Gus Bilirakis, Kathy Castor, Tom Lee, Dottie Reeder, Calvin Harris and Susan Latvala easily displaced all opponents.
On the other hand, there were some primary elections that were contentious - such as Kim Berfield beating Frank Farkas in the GOP State Senate (Dist. 16) primary. The Berfield/Farkas race was perhaps one of the most heated primary elections. Personal attacks were clearly part of the campaign strategy for both candidates, which was noted by the local media.
There were also election surprises. James C. Friske beat Rod Jones for GOP House Dist. 54. Jones outspent Friske by a 5.1 margin and still lost.
Also, Ed Hooper beat Nancy Riley for House Dist. 50 GOP primary. Hooper had earlier lost to Kim Berfield in an attempt to win this seat.
Nancy Bostock convincingly beat all challengers, including fellow school board incumbent Mary Russell for District 2 school board seat.
In the Pinellas County Judge races, Lorraine Kelly beat George Brown, and Susan Bedinghaus beat Nat Kidder who was perhaps the most qualified judicial candidate for office. Jack Day beat Robert "Bo" Michael for Circuit Judge while other judicial elections may require "run-offs".
In Tampa, popular Ronda Storms beat former State Rep. Sandy Murman for GOP Senate Dist. 10 race.
In November, winners of recent primary elections will face challengers from the opposing political party.
The big race?
Charlie Crist (GOP) vs. Jim Davis (D).
Goodbye to Steve Irwin - "Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin died from the barb of a stingray while filming a documentary off Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The shocking incident was caught on videotape as Irwin was hit by a stingray barb and quickly pulled the barb from this chest and was gone" . . . stated a film crew companion.
The world perhaps only knew Steve Irwin as the "Crocodile Hunter" while many Australians knew him as a devout conservationist who supported many environmental issues. Irwin's daughter was snorkeling with him when the incident occurred.
Many thousands of friends traveled to parks where Irwin had an influence over the past weekend. One Queensland park had a small sign that read, "Mate, you made the world a better place."
One commentator stated that he would never have guessed that Steve Irwin would die due to the barb of a stingray. "We would have expected a crocodile bite, a snake bit, or something like that."
Australia and the world takes pause to remember the outdoorsman who coined the phrase, "Isn't she a beaut!"
Gator Attack - Some folks wonder why I keep talking about alligator kills in Florida. Of course, and as many of you recently read, another large alligator recently killed a 40-pound pet dog in St. Petersburg. The pet owner could only watch in a state of helplessness as his pet was caught in the jaws of a 10-foot long "pond" gator.
There will be more killings. I fully expect to read about children killed by "pond" gators in the future. Pets, children, adults . . . gators will attack and try to kill anything they think they could eat. Bigger the gator, the bigger the prey.
The way I see it, alligators should be removed from ponds and rivers when they reach four feet in length. There is nothing cute about a 10-foot long gator swimming a local pond.
I'd make large gators unprotected and "free game" to licensed hunters.
Hunters would clear the area of large gators in about two years, then we might begin to enjoy our local ponds and rivers.
What, you are an alligator lover! Then visit the everglades; alligators can grow large enough down there to fight-off stray 18-foot long pythons and anacondas that people let loose in the wild (because the exotic snakes grew longer than "pet" size.)
Right to kill gators over 4-feet long?
Top College Games in 2006 - CLEARWATER - How would you like to pick the winners of some of these college football games in 2006?
Sept. 9 - Ohio State at Texas, Penn State at Notre Dame
Sept. 16 - LSU at Auburn, Florida at Tennessee, Michigan at Notre Dame
Sept. 23 - Penn State at Ohio State
Oct. 7 - LSU at Florida, Tennessee at Georgia
Oct. 14 - Michigan at Penn State, Florida at Auburn
Oct. 28 - Florida vs. Georgia
Nov. 2 - W. Va at Louisville
Nov. 11 - S. Carolina at Florida
Nov. 18 - Alabama at Auburn, Michigan at Ohio State
Nov. 25 - Florida at FSU, Notre Dame at USC
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