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 Monday, March 16, 2009                                                                The Daily Commercial
                                                                                                                                                                           Bill Koch
                                                                                                                                                                           Phone: (352) 365-8208
                                                                                                                                                                           FAX: (352) 365-1951


News in brief                   Man kills 4 in Miami, then kills himself
                                       TAMARA LUSH                        including       a    pregnant     ous shots had been fired and
Man charged                              Associated Press                 woman, ran into the street.       a red pickup truck had been
in nephew’s                        MIAMI — A man barged
                                into a birthday party early
                                                                             “It was chaotic,” Ford said.
                                                                          “I can’t imagine what it was
                                                                                                            spotted leaving the scene.
                                                                                                               Juan Sosa, who lives a
shaking death                   Sunday, shot his estranged                like in there.”
                                                                             The man also killed his 51-
                                                                                                            block away, was out walking
                                                                                                            his dog early Sunday when
                                wife and three other people
  LAKELAND —                                                              year-old wife’s mother and        he heard two shots and saw
                                to death, then went home,
Authorities say a Lakeland                                                daughter, along with her          people running toward him,
                                set his truck and house on
man is responsible for the                                                daughter’s boyfriend, whose       screaming. Then he heard as
                                fire and killed himself, police
shaking death of his 17-                                                  birthday they were celebrat-      many as two dozen more
month-old nephew.                                                         ing, Ford said.                   shots and ducked behind a
                                   Witnesses described a
  Police say 32-year-old                                                     Police did not release the     large tree to call police.
                                chaotic scene that started
Matthew Robert                                                            victims’ names because other         “I didn’t want to get hit,”
                                when the man showed up
Wyrosdick initially report-                                               family members had not            he said.
                                uninvited at the party and
ed that his nephew had                                                    been notified. They said the         The pregnant woman who
                                told about a dozen people
hit his head on a coffee                                                  man and his wife were mar-        fled was taken to the hospital
                                there that he blamed them
table after falling from his                                              ried about four years and         as a precaution, but she was
                                for his wife leaving him, said
seat Thursday morning,                                                                                      not hurt.
                                homicide detective Ervens                 they weren’t sure when she                                                                                                         AP PHOTO
but doctors at a Tampa                                                                                         Soon after, someone called      A Miami police crime scene investigator writes notes at the house
                                Ford.                                     left him.
hospital said the injuries
                                   Then he opened fire. Some                 Officers got a call shortly                                       where a man shot himself and set the house on fire after shooting four
didn’t fit the uncle’s story.
                                took cover while others,                  after midnight that numer-             See KILLINGS, A4              others at a family gathering at another location early Sunday in Miami.
The child died the next
day, and an autopsy
showed the toddler’s
injuries were consistent
with shaken baby syn-
                                                                                                                                                        Health insurance
  On Saturday, police say
Wyrosdick admitted that
he shook the boy repeat-
                                                                                                                                                        industry works on
edly and dropped him on
his head several times.
  Wyrosdick was arrested
                                                                                                                                                        image makeover
early Sunday morning                                                                                                                                                  RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR
and charged with aggra-                                                                                                                                                         Associated Press
vated manslaughter of a
child. He was being held                                                                                                                                   The health insurance industry is working on a
without bail.                                                                                                                                           transformation that could come right out of
                                                                                                                                                        “Extreme Makeover.”
Inmates find                                                                                                                                               Long cast as villains for denying coverage or refus-
                                                                                                                                                        ing to pay for treatment, insurers now are represent-
trash bags full                                                                                                                                         ing themselves as indispensable partners in health
                                                                                                                                                        care overhaul.
of marijuana                                                                                                                                               In their pitch to lawmakers, the companies say
                                                                                                                                                        they are in a unique position to help improve quali-
  OCALA — Authorities                                                                                                                                   ty and root out waste, saving money so everyone can
are trying to figure out                                                                                                                                be covered.
who dropped four 55-gal-                                                                                                                                   “They are making inroads,” said John Rother, pub-
lon trash bags filled with                                                                                                                              lic policy director for AARP. “They are getting past the
marijuana by the side of                                                                                                                                rhetoric and starting to talk about more concrete
an Ocala road.                                                                                                                                          ideas for improving quality and getting value.”
  The Marion County                                                                                                                                        In a big change from three or four years ago, insur-
Sheriff’s Office reports                                                                                                                                ers are writing bigger campaign checks to Democrats,
that inmates working                                                                                                                                    now the party of power in Washington. The insur-
with the county’s solid                                                                                                                                 ance industry gave $10.7 million to Democratic can-
waste department found                                                                                                                                  didates for federal office in the 2006 elections,
the bags on Thursday.                                                                                                                                   according to Last year, it was $20.7
Drug agents say the bags                                                                                                                                million.
weighed a total of nearly                                                                                                                                  The stakes are high.
65 pounds.                                                                                                                                                 If the industry’s pitch succeeds, insurers will be
  Officials are investigat-                                                                                                                             guaranteed many more customers. The industry
ing where the bags came                                                                                                                                 wants all people in the United States to be required to
from.                                                                                                                                                   carry medical coverage, with government providing
                                                                                                                                                        financial help for those who cannot afford it.
Woman hurt in                                                                                                                                              Even if insurers end up making less per customer
                                                                                                                                                        because of anticipated consumer safeguards, they still
crash gets $9.4M                                                                                                                                        could come out ahead.
   PORT RICHEY — A judge                                                                                                                                   But if the overhaul that President Barack Obama
has ruled that the Pasco                                                                                                                                has promised goes against them, insurers could find
County Sheriff’s Office                                                                                                                                 themselves trying to compete against a new govern-
should pay $9.14 million                                                                                                                                ment-run health plan offering cut-rate premiums to
to a woman who sus-                                                                                                                                     middle-class families.
tained permanent brain                                                                                                                                     That’s exactly what many liberal Democrats want,
damage from a crash with                                                                                                                                and Obama hasn’t taken the option off the table.
a deputy.                                                                                                                                                  “No one is naive enough to believe that insurers
   A judge ruled Friday                                                                                                                                 aren’t going to have problems with parts of this,”
that Deputy Kenneth                                                                                                                                     Rother said. “But they are pushing back in a rather
Petrillo was negligent in                                                                                                                               quiet way.”
the January 2005 crash.                                                                                                                                    Said Karen Ignagni, president of America’s Health
He had been chasing a                                                                                                             CHRIS O'MEARA / AP
                                                                                                                                                        Insurance Plans and the industry’s top strategist in
suspected drunken driver                                                                                                                                Washington: “We understand we need to come to the
                                The space shuttle Discovery lifts off Sunday at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral. Seven astronauts
when he followed                                                                                                                                        table with very specific solutions.”
                                are beginning a 12-day mission to the international space station.                                                         Ignagni is hedging her bets by building ties to
through a red light and
hit Jennifer                                                                                                                                            groups such as small businesses, whose conservative

                                Discovery lifts off
Wohlgemuth’s car. The                                                                                                                                   outlook and grass- roots clout could be crucial.
crash sent five people to                                                                                                                                  Yet the industry has won a measure of respect from
the hospital.                                                                                                                                           some longtime adversaries.
Wohlgemuth’s attorney                                                                                                                                      “I have seen very few groups, including the insur-
says the 25-year-old                                                                                                                                    ance industry, that are willing to exercise the nuclear
woman’s brain injury has                                                                                                                                option and torpedo reform,” said Ron Pollack, execu-
left her unable to care for                        MARCIA DUNN                                  A hydrogen leak prevented Discovery from lift-          tive director of Families USA, a liberal advocacy
                                                    AP Aerospace Writer                       ing off Wednesday and, before that, hydrogen              group. “They have participated in a good faith man-
   A sheriff’s spokesman           CAPE CANAVERAL — Space shuttle Discovery                   valves kept the shuttle grounded for weeks in             ner.”
says state law limits civil     and its crew of seven rocketed into orbit Sunday              February. Launch pad repairs took care of the                Others on the left are not convinced. “Private
judgments against law           evening, setting off on a space station construc-             leak, and the astronauts were able to board their         insurance is the problem,” said Carmen Balber of
enforcement agencies to         tion mission cut short by launch delays that                  spaceship and lift off.                                   Consumer Watchdog, a California-based group.
$100,000, and the sher-         dragged on for more than a month.                               “Well, you had a little bit of a wait but that will     “Individuals can’t afford to be forced into buying pri-
iff’s office has insurance         Discovery rose from its seaside pad just as the            just make the payoff that much sweeter,” launch           vate insurance.”
to cover that. But              sun was setting, a spectacular sight for a space              director Mike Leinbach told the astronauts.                  If insurers have come to see government as a part-
Wohlgemuth’s attorney           agency anxious to get the flight going. As the                  Commander Lee Archambault and his crew,                 ner, that’s not as strange as it may seem.
can file a special claim bill   shuttle sped away like a brilliant star, part of the          which includes two former schoolteachers,                    Employer coverage has dwindled in recent years,
in the Florida Legislature      launch plume glowed pink, peach and golden.
to get the rest.                The shuttle was visible for several minutes.                                  See SHUTTLE, A4                                             See INSURANCE, A4

Man arrested
for string of
                                Egyptian’s trial on explosives charges to begin
   ORLANDO — Police in                      MITCH STACY                           Tampa, were arrested on the spot.         have any evidence to prove it, police         convert a remote-control toy into a
Orlando say they’ve                           Associated Press                      Whether those items were danger-        and prosecutors think the young               bomb detonator.
arrested a man for a string
of Florida bank robberies.        TAMPA — Youssef Megahed’s legal                 ous explosives or just the makings of     men were up to no good, noting that             Mohamed narrated the video in
   Authorities say 46-year-     odyssey began a year and a half ago               relatively harmless homemade fire-        they were pulled over for speeding            Arabic, saying he wanted to teach
old Robert McLemore had         when deputies in South Carolina                   works, as the men claim, is expected      near the naval weapons station in             “martyrdoms” and “suiciders” how
been hiding out after rob-      pulled over the car his friend was                to be decided by a jury being picked      Charleston.                                   to save themselves so they can con-
bing four banks over just       driving and found some suspicious                 starting Monday for Megahed’s trial          What the jury won’t hear about are         tinue to fight invaders, including U.S.
a few days earlier in the       material in the trunk.                            in federal court.                         the apparent terrorist leanings of the        soldiers.
week, but officers found          Raising the specter of terrorism,                 The 22-year-old former engineer-        man who accompanied Megahed                     Mohamed, 27, pleaded guilty to
him at an Orlando-area          federal prosecutors said those items              ing student and the other man said        that day, Ahmed Abdellatif Sherif             providing support to terrorists and in
home Friday night.              — PVC pipe containing a mixture of                they were on an innocent college          Mohamed.                                      December got the maximum 15-year
   Police say they found        sugar, potassium nitrate and cat litter,          road trip to visit Carolina beaches.         In the Toyota Camry Mohamed                sentence from U.S. District Judge
evidence from the rob-          plus fuses — were explosives that                 Defense attorneys have characterized      was driving, deputies found a laptop          Steven Merryday, who also will pre-
beries during the arrest,       could be used to build a destructive              the items in the trunk as ingredients     computer containing a video                   side over Megahed’s trial.
and the case will be            device. The two young men, both of                for homemade “sugar rockets,” not         Mohamed produced and posted to                  Megahed is expected to claim that
turned over to the FBI for      them Egyptian graduate students at                dangerous explosives.                     the YouTube Web site. The 12-minute
federal prosecution.            the University of South Florida in                  Although they apparently don’t          clip shows would-be terrorists how to                    See EGYPTIAN, A4