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Beyond the News Brief

Shortly after 9 a.m. on October 6, a Sunrise dishwasher named Edward Nathaniel Williams drove his Hyundai sedan to the turnpike toll plaza on Sunrise Boulevard, handed a collector his driver's license, credit cards and relatives' phone numbers, eased onto the ramp's shoulder, and apparently set his car on fire, killing himself.

You read about that in the Sun-Sentinel and the Miami Herald. But neither daily could squeeze even 300 words out of the tragedy. And neither followed up.

It turns out that at the moment Williams was burning himself, his wife of five years, Deloris Ann Lee-Williams, was petitioning Broward courts for a restraining order against him. She tells the `Pipe that Williams, 51, had of late grown jealous, badgering her on small matters and dropping in on her at church (she goes two nights a week) to keep an eye on her. The Tuesday before his death, Williams called his wife from his workplace, the International House of Pancakes in Dania Beach, demanding she run an errand. She turned him down. "I knew since I did not do what he wanted, I would get [no] rest that night," she wrote in the petition. "He has verbally abused me by telling me he will kill me if I leave!" Instead of waiting for him, she went to church, spent the night at a girlfriend's house, and ignored Williams' calls on her cell phone. She filed the order early the next morning. Then, about half an hour after she arrived at work, police came to inform her of her husband's death. She says she doesn't know what pushed him so far.

He carried spite to his grave. He left a note saying she could find him on the turnpike, she says, and she since has noticed "a lot of things, sentimental stuff" missing from their home. But it could have been worse. "He often used to say that he would kill me and he wasn't afraid of dying, and if he died, he wasn't going to die alone," Lee-Williams says. "I never wanted to leave him. We had some happy times. But he did have a temper."

Come to the Aid of the Party

Only a couple of volunteers were working the phones the afternoon of October 12 at the Bush/Cheney campaign office in Fort Lauderdale. The empty seats had office manager Corie Kapel worried. "We need to have people at all of these phones tonight," she ordered her staff. Was she trying to meet a deadline? Some daily quota of phone calls placed to the GOP faithful? Nope -- she wanted the place to look busy as a beehive for the arrival of their star volunteer: Mayor Jim Naugle, Fort Lauderdale's leading Democrat.

The Kinder Fanjuls

In the midst of a campaign by Palm Beach County's multimillionaire Fanjul family to remake its sinister image this summer, a worker in one of the sugar barons' mills named Jose Gallardo lost his hand in a drill press. The family of would-be do-gooders (with, incidentally, big plans to turn some of their land into huge real estate developments) suddenly looked a lot like the unbridled capitalists of old when they failed to pay Gallardo worker's compensation. That is, until New Times started asking questions.

Now, the Fanjuls are facing real backlash from the accident. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued the family two "serious" violations for failing to supply safety equipment that could have helped prevent the accident. The violations carry fines totaling $3,469 and require the Fanjuls to supply the necessary safety equipment on the press Gallardo was running. Fanjul spokesman Gaston Cantens, an outgoing state representative from Miami, didn't return phone calls seeking comment on the fine.

Kudos

Trevor Aaronson's January 15, 2004, story, "Too Dumb to Die," has taken first place in the daily news category in a contest sponsored by the National Association of Black Journalists. The piece, which won the under 150,000 circulation category, described the debate over executing a man with an IQ of 54 for killing an elderly woman.


The 'Pipe last week belched some baloney. Jimmy Johnson preceded Dave Wannstedt as Dolphins coach. Sorry.

-As told to Edmund Newton

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