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POSTED September 10, 2012 1:02 a.m.

• OBAMA GETS A RISE OUT OF A FLA. SUPPORTER: FORT PIERCE, Fla. (AP) — If President Barack Obama was looking for a lift in Florida, he got one from Scott Van Duzer.

The 46-year-old, six-foot-three Republican gave Obama a bear hug, raising him off the ground as Obama marveled at the man’s strength — and enthusiasm.

Van Duzer owns the Big Apple Pizza and Pasta Italian Restaurant where Obama stopped on Sunday during a Florida bus swing. He also runs a foundation that helps collect blood for the ill; he has received White House commendations for his work.

As he entered, Obama admired Van Duzer’s biceps, saying “Look at these guns!”

Said Obama: “The guy’s just got a big heart, along with big pecs.”

Of his embrace, Van Duzer said: “I was overwhelmed when I saw him.”

He said Obama had his vote.



• FLA. OFFICER IN OBAMA MOTORCADE STRUCK, KILLED: WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) — A motorcycle police officer escorting President Barack Obama’s motorcade has died after being hit by a pickup truck.

Palm Beach County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Teri Barbera says the Jupiter police officer was on Interstate 95 Sunday afternoon preparing to shut the roadway down when he was struck by a Ford F-150.

He was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital. His identity has not been released.

Barbera says an investigation is ongoing and no charges have yet been filed against the driver.



• BICYCLIST DIES IN UTAH-TO-WYOMING RACE: JACKSON HOLE (AP) - A bicyclist competing in a race from Logan, Utah, to Jackson Hole, Wyo., crashed on a bridge in Wyoming and fell about 35 feet to his death into the Snake River.

Robert Verhaaren, 42, of Mesa, Ariz., was participating in the annual LoToJa race when he swerved to avoid a pothole and crashed on Highway 89 about eight miles from the finish line Saturday afternoon, Teton County sheriff’s deputies said.

The 206-mile race also was marred by serious accidents in Idaho and Wyoming that sent two bicyclists to the hospital and by flat tires experienced by roughly 200 cyclists early on, said race spokesman David Bern.

He said it’s the first fatality in the 30-year history of the race, which is billed as the longest one-day bicycle race in the country sanctioned by USA Cycling. This year’s event drew 1,500 competitors from across the nation.



• JOE BIDEN BUDDIES UP TO OHIO BIKERS: SEAMAN, Ohio (AP) — Vice President Joe Biden was looking to cozy up with voters as he toured Ohio this weekend, but he did not imagine that an Ohio woman would nearly end up in his lap.

Biden was chatting up customers in the Cruisers Diner in southern Ohio Sunday when he met a group of motorcycle riders in black leather vests and bandanas.

A female group member was watching, and Biden waved her over, telling her, “I know who runs the show.”

The woman had no place to sit, so Biden pulled a chair in front of himself and pulled her nearly into his lap. He put his hands on her shoulders and leaned in for a conversation as photographers snapped away.

Biden was on his way to a speech in nearby Milford.



• Ky. man accused of killing lawman who arrested him: TOMPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Their paths had crossed before: the career lawman and the man known around their small Kentucky town for having a mean streak.

Now authorities are investigating whether a slow-burning desire for revenge that began with an arrest a decade ago was behind last month’s death of Herbert Proffitt, 82, who was gunned down in his driveway while he went to fetch the mail.

Charles Hammer, 81, is accused of killing the former police chief and sheriff, who arrested him in 2002 on charges of harassment, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

“It appears that there was an ax to grind,” said Trooper Billy Gregory, a spokesman for Kentucky State Police post handling the investigation. “It appears to me to be revenge.”

Five days after her husband was killed, Bernice Proffitt died. Family friends described the cause of death as a broken heart. Hundreds turned out for the funeral of the man known affectionately as “Sprocket,” a nickname that stuck since his teenage days of fixing bicycles at a service station.

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