Originally created 01/25/03

Across the Southeast



Rebel flag clothing worries principal

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -The principal of a Jacksonville middle school has asked parents to meet with teachers next week and discuss a rising trend of pupils wearing rebel flag clothing.

More pupils have started wearing T-shirts with the Confederate battle flag since classes resumed after Christmas break, said Kirby-Smith Middle School Principal Elnora Atkins. She described the situation as unlike anything she has seen in her 12 years at the school.

One day last week, 15 to 20 pupils wore Confederate battle flag clothing to school, Ms. Atkins said. She said she is concerned about the clothing causing racial tension at the school, which has 500 white pupils and 509 black pupils.

Man who beat dog with gun dies of shot

WINCHESTER, Va. -A man trying to beat his dog to death with a gun was fatally wounded when it went off, apparently accidentally, police said.

Raymond Poore Jr., 43, called his wife at work Thursday and told her that their dog had bitten him and that he intended to kill the animal, police Capt. David Sobonya said.

The wife came home at about 6 p.m. and found her husband unconscious, with a number of dog bites and scratches. Emergency medical personnel discovered that Mr. Poore had been shot. He was pronounced dead at Winchester Medical Center.

Capt. Sobonya said Mr. Poore must have beaten the 30-pound Shar-Pei with the gun that went off. He said the stock of the weapon, a combination rifle and shotgun, was broken, and there appeared to be blood and dog hair on it. The captain had no information on the dog's condition.

Florida fruit survives record-setting freeze

MIAMI -Florida's $9 billion-a-year citrus crop escaped major damage Friday from an arctic blast that brought rare snow flurries to Cape Canaveral and shattered record lows as far south as Miami Beach.

Though the mercury dipped as low as 15 in Panama City Beach and 19 in Jacksonville, citrus growers said temperatures in the prime growing region farther south did not fall below 28 for more than four hours, the threshold for damage.

But the threat may not be over for a citrus crop that is largely mature and still on the trees. A huge Canadian weather system that has gripped the eastern two-thirds of the country was expected to bring another hard freeze to Florida early this morning.