Regional News: Alabama Professor's Death; Manatee Deaths in Florida

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) -- Tuscaloosa police say they're following up on numerous tips from the public in the slaying of a retired University of Alabama professor last month. Dozens of people have called investigators to report suspicious activity and potential suspects in the killing of 73-year-old Kate Ragsdale.

KEY WEST, Fla. (AP) -- A kayaker has arrived in Key West after paddling some 4,000 miles -- from one of the northernmost spots in the U.S. to its southernmost city.
Daniel Alvarez pulled his 17-foot kayak onto Key West's South Beach on Saturday, completing the trek that began June 11th.
The 31-year-old from Tallahassee started at Minnesota's Northwest Angle. His route took him through Lake Superior, the Mississippi River, Florida's Everglades and a portion of the Florida Keys island chain. He won a $10,000 endowment for the journey after competing in an online contest for an outdoor adventure magazine.
He said he paddles about 20 miles per day, but wind and weather conditions set him back. He stopped along the way to conduct presentations on waterway conservation.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- A deadly algae bloom is causing a record number of manatee deaths in Florida.
That's according to a Tampa Bay Times report that says red tide has been killing ten or more manatees a day. On Friday the number reached 149 so far this year. By the end of the weekend, that number could pass the record set in 1996 at 151 deaths.
Biologists say it's unclear if the algae bloom will let up any time soon.
Nearly a dozen manatees have been rescued and are being treated at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa.
Red tide turns the water into a rust color, releasing large amounts of toxins. The current bloom affects 70 miles of the southwest Florida coast, from Sarasota through the middle of Lee County.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) --Former Palm Beach Post reporter Susan Spencer-Wendel's book, "Until I Say Goodbye," hits bookshelves Tuesday. It's an account of her diagnosis with Lou Gehrig's disease and the year that followed, in which she took trips she long had hoped to take and prepared to say goodbye to her loved ones.

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) -- A judge has ordered Columbus tax assessors to pay nearly $160,000 to a homeowner to cover legal costs of his property-tax appeal that dragged on nearly five years. Records show Gunby Garrard bought his 9,000-square-foot home in 2006 from his parents for $800,000. It was assessed at $2 million.

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) -- A 19-year-old Georgia woman who police say was critically injured by a hit-and-run driver in Athens has emerged from a coma. The father of Emily Bowman of Woodstock says she is breathing on her own, her eyes are open and she turns her head in response to noises.

ATLANTA (AP) -- Delta Air Lines' longest-serving pilot is hanging up his captain's stripes and retiring after 37 years in the cockpit. Cal Flanigan joined Atlanta-based Delta as a mechanic in 1968. After two years in the Army he was able to pay for pilot training and became a first officer flying Delta DC-9s in 1976.