Palm Bay, Florida

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Palm Bay, Florida
City of Palm Bay
Official logo of Palm Bay, Florida
Motto: "A perfect place to grow!"[1]
Location in Brevard County and the state of Florida
Location in Brevard County and the state of Florida
Coordinates: Lua error in Module:Coordinates at line 668: callParserFunction: function "#coordinates" was not found.
Country  United States of America
State  Florida
County Brevard
 • Type Council-Manager
 • Mayor William Capote
 • City Manager Sue Hann
 • City 68.8 sq mi (178.3 km2)
 • Land 65.7 sq mi (170.2 km2)
 • Water 3.1 sq mi (8.1 km2)  4.56%
Elevation 19 ft (5 m)
Population (2010)[3]
 • City 103,190
 • Metro 543,376
Time zone Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)
 • Summer (DST) EDT (UTC-4)
ZIP code 32905-32911
Area code(s) 321
FIPS code 12-54000[4]
GNIS feature ID 0288389[5]

Palm Bay is a city in Brevard County, Florida. The city's population was 103,190 at the 2010 United States Census,[3] making it the most populous city in the county. Palm Bay is a principal city[6] of the Palm Bay−MelbourneTitusville Metropolitan Statistical Area, which had a population of 543,376 at the 2010 census.[3]


The Timucua people, attracted to the mouth of Turkey Creek at the Indian River by freshwater springs, fish, oysters, and wildlife, are thought to have been the first inhabitants in the Palm Bay area.

Palm Bay's recent history began in the 1850s when the first European settlers built homes along Turkey Creek. Originally referred to as Tillman, the settlement was described as a "small strip of hammock...on each side of Turkey Creek...mostly pine and palmetto, miserable sandy barren oak scrub, some ponds and interspersed with sawgrass and gallberry."[7]

By the mid-nineteenth century, there was a lumbering operation,[clarification needed] packing house, and orange groves. Growth was slow until the arrival of the railroad in 1894. Then goods were brought in and produce was shipped to market faster.


Between 1910 and 1914, Tillman became the center for a land company known as the Indian River Catholic Colony. Attempting to grow two crops a season, farmers quickly depleted the soil, and the colony failed. Those remaining built St. Joseph's Church on Miller Street, the oldest building still standing.

In the 1920s, the city was renamed after the bay bordered with sabal palm trees known as Palm Bay, located at the mouth of Turkey Creek. A group of Tillman businessmen established the Melbourne-Tillman Drainage District, and issued $1.5 million worth of bonds. Starting in 1922, a 180 miles (290 km) grid of 80 canals was dug to drain 40,000 acres (160 km2) of swampy land west of Palm Bay. The canals made it possible to control flooding and turn marsh lands to agricultural use. Farmers planted citrus groves and truck farms which shipped winter produce by the Florida East Coast Railroad to northern markets. Farmers sold timber and land to paper companies. In 1926, a fire among the dredges and a severe hurricane economically depressed Palm Bay. The Melbourne-Tillman Drainage District went bankrupt.

In 1959, General Development Corporation purchased and platted extensive tracts of land in Palm Bay for its large residential project known as Port Malabar. The city incorporated itself on January 16, 1960.[8] Prior to expanding their borders, the city population was 2,808 that year.[9]

1987 shooting

On April 23, 1987, William Cruse shot 16 people, killing six, including two college students and two police officers, at a local shopping center. He wounded a number of others. The story was national news.[10][11][12]


The active development of the city after that point was intertwined with GDC, who laid out and built many of the streets, sold and built many of the city's now older homes, and built a water treatment plant later purchased by the city after GDC filed for bankruptcy in 1991.

The city made the finals for "All American City" for three years (2003–2005).

In 2008, the former Port Malabar Country Club property was revalued at $300,000, essentially "worthless" because of arsenic in the groundwater which would require an estimated $12 million to clean up.[13]

There are hundreds of miles of roads that are in such poor condition that the city Public Works Department considers them unserviceable. The voters have consistently defeated measures which would have improved roads, termed the worst in Brevard. In 2005 they voted down a $58.7 million bond measure. In 2009, they defeated a $75.2 million tax referendum. In 2010, voters living in areas with the worst roads voted 9-1 against $44.7 million assessment for repairing them. In 2011, the city government created a Palm Bay Road Maintenance District that they hope can levy taxes and alleviate the situation.[14]

In 2008, fires on Mother's Day destroyed 37 homes.[15][16]

The Florida scrub jay is threatened because the species is territorial and cannot move to better grounds when its habitat is jeopardized. In 2009, the Brevard Zoo moved the remaining 15 scrub jay families native to the city to Buck Lake Conservation Area in Mims.[17]

In 2010, there was some fiscal concern over firefighters' pensions. Firefighters' salaries averaged $71,100 annually plus $5,590 overtime pay. They were eligible for 100% of base pay after 28 years of service.[18]

The city formerly monitored some intersections with radar cameras, resulting in the issuing of traffic tickets for running a red light. In 2013, these monitored intersections were no safer than unmonitored ones.[19] These cameras were removed in 2014.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 68.8 square miles (178.3 km2), of which 65.7 square miles (170.2 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.1 km2), or 4.56%, is water.[2]

The city is often referred to in four quadrants: Northwest, Northeast, Southwest, and Southeast, each containing multiple zip codes. The most urban area is in Northeast. The most rural area is in Southwest, containing an area called The Compound. This area is home to Bombardier Recreational Products. A small portion of Bayside Lakes lies in the area.[citation needed]

Palm Bay is developing its portion of Bayside Lakes "downtown" to create a focus for the city.[citation needed]

During the early 1990s, Palm Bay Regional Park, a soccer and athletic complex in the western part of the city, was constructed. It is the largest of a citywide system of parks and recreation areas. The Turkey Creek Sanctuary is a small nature reserve in the northeast part of the city.[citation needed]


Climate data for Palm Bay, FL
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 89
Average high °F (°C) 72
Average low °F (°C) 50
Record low °F (°C) 17
Average precipitation inches (mm) 2.48
Source: [20]

Surrounding areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1960 2,808
1970 7,176 155.6%
1980 18,560 158.6%
1990 62,632 237.5%
2000 79,413 26.8%
2010 103,190 29.9%
Est. 2014 105,838 [21] 2.6%
U.S. Decennial Census[22]
Palm Bay Demographics
2010 Census Palm Bay Brevard County Florida
Total population 103,190 543,376 18,801,310
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010 +29.9% +14.1% +17.6%
Population density 1,570.6/sq mi 535.0/sq mi 350.6/sq mi
White or Caucasian (including White Hispanic) 72.9% 77.6% 75.0%
(Non-Hispanic White or Caucasian) 63.9% 53.7% 57.9%
Black or African-American 17.9% 10.1% 16.0%
Hispanic or Latino (of any race) 14.1% 8.1% 22.5%
Asian 1.8% 2.1% 2.4%
Native American or Native Alaskan 0.5% 0.4% 0.4%
Pacific Islander or Native Hawaiian 0.1% 0.1% 0.1%
Two or more races (Multiracial) 3.6% 2.6% 2.5%
Some Other Race 3.2% 1.7% 3.6%

As of 2010, there were 45,220 households out of which 12.7% were vacant. As of 2000, 34.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.0% were married couples living together, 12.2% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.2% are non-families. 21.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.60 and the average family size was 3.03.

In 2000, the city's population was spread out with 26.5% under the age of 18, 7.6% from 18 to 24, 29.6% from 25 to 44, 21.5% from 45 to 64, and 14.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 37 years. For every 100 females there were 95.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.4 males.

In 2000, the median income for a household in the city was $36,508, and the median income for a family was $41,636. Males had a median income of $31,060 versus $22,203 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,992. 9.5% of the population and 7.1% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total people living in poverty, 11.5% were under the age of 18 and 8.1% were 65 or older.


In 2008, 403 building permits were issued for 534 units. This was down from 739 permits issued for 739 units in 2007, which was down from 1766 permits for 1771 units in 2006.[23] The median home price in 2007 was $166,500.[24]


As of 2000, English spoken as a first language accounted for 88.55% of all residents, while 11.44% spoke other languages as their mother tongue. The most significant was Spanish speakers who made up 7.45% of the population, while French came up as the third most spoken language, which made up 0.93%, German was spoken by 0.92%, and Arabic was at fourth, with 0.53% of the population.[25]



Forbes magazine ranked the city the 11th most innovative in the nation in 2010.[26][27]

The following corporations are located in the city:


In 2007, the average size of Palm Bay's labor force was 49,935. Of that group, 47,542 were employed and 2,393 were unemployed, for an unemployment rate of 4.8%.[24] This figure had risen to 6,571 (12.7%) and was the highest rate in the county.[30]


The 2015 Tough Mudder 12.5 miles (20.1 km) race, drew 9,875 visitors to the area including 6,835 participants. The Brevard County Tourist Development Council spent $40,000 promoting and staging the event.[31]


File:Palmbayfl citycouncil 2003.jpg
Members of the Palm Bay city government in 2003

Palm Bay utilizes the council-manager form of government.[32]

The Mayor and City Council are the legislative branch of city government; its members are the community's decision makers. The Mayor is the presiding officer at the Council Meetings and is the official head of the City for all ceremonial occasions. Power is centralized in the elected Mayor and Council (City Council), which approves the budget, determines the tax rate, focuses on the community's goals, major projects, and such long-term considerations as community growth, land use development, capital improvement plans, capital financing, and strategic planning.

In Palm Bay, a five-member Mayor and Council, operate in accordance with the City Charter. Three positions created by the Charter (Charter Officers) are appointed by and report directly to the City Council: City Manager, City Attorney, and City Clerk.

The City Manager is responsible for all activities related to the operations of the City. The City Manager hires a professional staff to assist in the administration and enforcement of the City Charter, ordinances, resolutions, financial conditions and all of the various procedures and policies that are required for the City to function properly. In 2011, the annual salary of the city manager was $168,000.[33]

  • Mayor - William Capote
  • Deputy Mayor -Harry Santiago Jr.
  • Councilmembers - Trey Holton, Harry Santiago Jr. and Michele Paccione[34]
  • City Manager - Greg Lynk

Capote, Santiago Jr., Holton and Paccione were elected in November 2012 and will serve through November 2016.[35]

In June 1999 Mazziotti was removed from office by then Governor Jeb Bush when it was revealed that the mayor had previously served two prison sentences and did not have his civil rights restored.[36] After having his civil rights restored, he ran again for the City Council and won. He ran unopposed for mayor in 2005 and 2008.[37] He has been the city's longest serving mayor.[38]

In 2007, the city had a taxable real estate base of $5.84 billion.[39] This amount was the largest of any municipality in the county.

In 2010, the city opened a data base to the public,[40] that tracks city income and expenditures.[41]

In 2010, the city employed 913 full-time equivalent workers.[42]

In 2008, the police department won an award for training patrolmen to properly collect DNA samples. At the time, they were the only police force in the world with this program.[43]

Water department

In 2009 the utilities department had 545 miles (877 km) of water lines, 300 miles (480 km) of sewer lines, 2,250 fire hydrants, and 120 full-time equivalent employees.[44]

Fire department

The Fire department consists of about a hundred firefighters and five stations.[citation needed] Each shift works 24 hour on and 48 hours off.[citation needed] The Palm Bay Fire Department responded to over 12,000 calls in 2011.[citation needed]

In May 2008 (Mothers Day Fires) a wild fire was started that burned a total of almost 26,000 acres (11,000 ha) - 40 square miles (100 km2), 30 homes were destroyed and 140 were damaged.[citation needed] Firefighters from Palm Bay and across the state fought the fires around the clock.[citation needed]

In 2006, they became the highest paid fire department in the county. In 2010, average compensation exceeded $68,000 annually. Supplements earned during a year were also eligible for retirement. Thus a 2010 retiree, a 47-year-old with a former salary of $75,540, was receiving an $86,580 pension annually.[45]

In 2013, the city concluded an agreement with the county to furnish fire and emergency medical aid to whichever governmental unit was closer to the problem: a Palm Bay unit or a Brevard County unit.[46]

Public safety

A 2009 survey indicated that the city was ranked 263 out of 400 in crime statistics, with #1 being the worst. Crimes included murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, and motor vehicle theft.[47]

In 2011, Skype was used 32 times to obtain warrants promptly.[48]


All public schools are run by the Brevard County School Board:

Public Elementary Schools:

Private schools include:

Public Middle School:

  • Southwest Middle School

Public High Schools:

Higher Education:


File:Pbsignpatriotic cropped.jpg
City name marker erected on I-95 in 2002

Major roads in Palm Bay include the following:

  • US 1.svg U.S. 1 - This road serves the northeastern section of the city. It is intersected by four main roads: Malabar Road, Port Malabar Boulevard, Robert J. Conlan Boulevard and Palm Bay Road.
  • I-95.svg Interstate 95 - The major freeway serving the East Coast of the United States runs northwest to southeast through the center of the city's area. The city is served by Interchanges 176 (Palm Bay Road) and 173 (Malabar Road).
  • Florida 507.svg Babcock Street - This road runs through the eastern portion of Palm Bay. It provides a direct route to Fellsmere in Indian River County from Brevard County. Main intersections include Palm Bay Road, Port Malabar Boulevard, Malabar Road, Waco Boulevard, Valkaria Road, Grant Road, Eldron Boulevard, and Cogan Drive.
  • Florida 514.svg Malabar Road - This road connects U.S. 1 along the Indian River on the far eastern end of the city to the far western end at the headwaters of the St. Johns River. It is the main road to the town of Malabar, which gives its name to the road and is largely surrounded by Palm Bay. City Hall and Palm Bay Regional Park are located at its western terminus. Main intersections include Interstate 95, Babcock Street, Minton Road, San Filippo Drive, Emerson Drive, Jupiter Boulevard and Eldron Boulevard.
  • 20px CR 516 - Palm Bay Road
  • Emerson Drive, Bayside Lakes Boulevard, and Bombardier Boulevard - All three roads make a large crescent-shaped roadway. The northern terminus is Amador Avenue, and the southern terminus is a dead end in The Compound. There is a dirt road, Emerson Drive, off Degroodt Road. The western terminus of the route is Sappodilla Road. Main intersections include Wingham Drive, Sapodilla Road, Degroodt Road, Eldron Boulevard, Walden Boulevard, Waco Boulevard, Malabar Road, Minton Road, and Jupiter Boulevard.

There are about 851 miles (1,370 km) of city-maintained highways.[50][51] Most roads in the area west of DeGroodt Road are unpaved. In 2013, the public works director reported that most roads in south Palm Bay were "failed roads," for lack of maintenance.[52]

In 2012, Palm Bay had the lowest walkability of any city in the United States with a population over 100,000 people.[53]

Notable people


  1. City Council/City Clerk - City Emblems, Palm Bay City Emblems.
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (G001): Palm Bay city, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 30, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Profile of General Population and Housing Characteristics: 2010 Demographic Profile Data (DP-1): Palm Bay city, Florida". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Retrieved January 30, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "US Board on Geographic Names". United States Geological Survey. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2008-01-31.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Update of Statistical Area Definitions and guidance on their uses" (PDF). Office of Management and Budget. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-11-20. Retrieved 2007-11-25.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Albert Hazen Wright, The habitats and composition of the vegetation of Okefinokee Swamp, Georgia, Durham, N.C. : Duke University Press, 1932. OCLC 1965132
  8. Cervenka, Susan (5 December 2009). "Parade kicks off Palm Bay birthday". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Summers, Keyonna (17 January 2010). "Looking back at 50 years". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. Nordheimer, Jon (25 April 1987). "FLORIDA GUNMAN CHARGED WITH KILLING 6". The New York Times.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "William Cruse - Florida Death Row Inmate William Cruse". 1987-04-23. Retrieved 2012-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "William Cruse 82, Oldest Man On FL Death Row Dies Of Natural Causes". 2009-12-01. Retrieved 2012-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. Moore, Kimberly C. (June 19, 2008). "Old country club value nose dives". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  14. Reed, Matt (6 March 2011). "Vote makes way for pothole patching". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. Berger, Bill (22 January 2011). "An eventful time". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 13A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "City of Palm Bay, Florida LISTSERV - POLICE_DEPARTMENT Archives". 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2012-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  17. Waymer, Jim (20 December 2009). "A new home, new hope for scrub jay". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  18. "Editorial (Our view):Day of reckoning - Palm Bay firefighters pension dispute requires straight talk, compromise". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. 23 May 2010. pp. 18A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  19. "Editorial:Thumbs up, thumbs down". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. September 25, 2013. pp. 9A. Retrieved September 26, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  20. "Average Weather for Palm Bay, FL - Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved August 26, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  21. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  22. "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  23. Building Permits United States Census Bureau. Retrieved on 2009-07-24.
  24. 24.0 24.1 Palm Bay Community Data Sheet Economic Development Council of Florida's Space Coast. Retrieved on 2009-07-24.
  25. Modern Language Association Data Center Results of Brandon, Florida.
  26. Kennerly, Britt (2 January 2011). "Palm Bay census a letdown". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  27. Explanation of criteria for "innovative" ranking
  28. Peterson, Patrick (17 October 2010). "Harris considers PB overhaul". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1E.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  29. Peterson, Patrick (18 February 2010). "Spin-off success stories". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 8C.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  30. "Indicators already show weak economy". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. 10 January 2010. pp. 6A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  31. Neale, Rick (December 29, 2015). "Report: Tough Modder accrued $4.7 million". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 3A. Retrieved December 29, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  32. "City of Palm Bay form of government information". Palm Bay, Florida. Retrieved 2008-11-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  33. Kennerly, Britt (April 14, 2011). "Feldman among final 3 for job". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  34. "City Council/City Clerk - City Council". Retrieved 2012-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  35. "City Council/City Clerk - City Council". Palm Bay, Florida. Retrieved 2009-07-24.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  36. Mazziotti had served 27 months in a federal penitentiary for a marijuana trafficking conviction in Pennsylvania and a second separate conviction for smuggling amphetamines across the Canadian border."Governor Suspends Mayor". Associated Press. 26 June 1999. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> It was also discovered that, as a 17-year-old, Mazziotti drove the getaway car during a robbery."Florida Today archive search–keywords john mazzioti prison". Florida Today. Retrieved 2007-08-18. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  38. Kennerly, Britt (14 October 2010). "Ball gives back to city". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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  42. Moor, Kimberly C. (6 March 2010). "Cities find ways to trim budget". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 1A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  43. [1] retrieved November 25, 2008 Archived May 9, 2015 at the Wayback Machine
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  45. Zonka, Milo (26 October 2010). "City seeks pension reform". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 7A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  46. [2]
  47. Moody, R. Norman (28 November 2009). "Brevard crime up, down". Melbourne, Florida: Florida Today. pp. 5B.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  48. Gallop, J.D. (April 7, 2011). "Skype speeds warrants process". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 1A.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  49. [3]
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  52. Gunnerson, Scott (December 29, 2013). "Road work falls miles behind". Florida Today. Melbourne, Florida. pp. 3A. Retrieved December 29, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  53. "Explore the Walkability of 2,500 Cities in the United States on Walk Score". Retrieved 2012-12-18.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  54. Matt Schundel (April 25, 2015). "Bruce Alger, firebrand Republican congressman from Texas, dies at 96". Washington Post. Retrieved May 17, 2015. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
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External links