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PINELLAS SHERIFF: FORMER INVESTIGATOR LIED ABOUT PROTECTING KIDS
A former child protective investigator was arrested today, accused of lying on reports, including more than 40 cases in which he never met kids who were potentially at risk. Steven Urban, 29, faces 10 counts of falsifying records, Pinellas Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said. An internal review found that his conduct spans many more cases: Out of 142 child welfare cases over a year period, Urban fabricated records in 75 of them, the review found. In one recent case, he reported that he had interviewed a family member who died in 2014.
SEVEN YEARS AFTER NUCLEAR DISASTER, JAPANESE TOWN REBOUNDS FROM ZERO
Before March 11, 2011, Naraha Town was known for hot springs, rivers of salmon and a national soccer training center — all in all, a slow way of life. A 9.0-magnitude earthquake — the largest in Japan’s history — and subsequent tsunami off the east coast killed about 16,000 people. Towering waves overwhelmed the cooling system at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, prompting dangerous releases from three failed reactors and evacuations of more than 150,000 people. Seven years after the triple disaster, Naraha is rebuilding its identity from zero. The country village, 10 miles south of the plant, closed for four years, reopening in September 2015. About 2,200 residents have returned, not even one-third of the pre-earthquake population. Now, lifelong residents can hardly find the old Naraha.
AN UNANSWERED QUESTION IN FLORIDA GUN DEBATE: WHAT TO DO WITH EXISTING GUNS?
Background check data provided by the Florida Department of Law enforcement indicates that the state has conducted background checks on more than 6 million gun purchases through its Firearm Purchase Program since 2011. However, that data does not account for all gun sales — let alone gun gifts or donations. PolitiFact notes that counting guns is notoriously difficult for researchers. Still, the little data we have tells us that the Sunshine State is awash in guns. So here’s the question: How would a ban on new weapons stop mass shootings in a state already filled with guns?
HE BUILT A RITZ-CARLTON AND TWO AREA CONDO TOWERS — AND THEY’D ALL FIT IN A CLOSET
David Spalding made models of the Vinoy Place condos in St. Petersburg, the new Virage condo tower on Tampa’s Bayshore Boulevard and a high-rise going up in Channelside. He built mini-versions of the Ritz -Carlton in Baltimore, the airport in Geneva, Switzerland and the National Cartoon Museum in Boca Raton. There have been models, too, of marinas, yacht clubs, golf courses and entire residential communities — hundreds in all, over a half century. Spalding’s work is so detailed — right down to the teensy people on tiny balconies — that it’s hard to tell from a photo what is real and what is a model. It is a level of exactitude that has enabled him to build a thriving business with zero advertising,
TEE TIMES AND PAIRINGS FOR THE VALSPAR CHAMPIONSHIP
Tiger Woods, Jordan Spieth and Henrik Stenson open play in the Valspar Championship at lunch time today — 12:46 p.m. to be precise — on the No. 1 tee on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook. Here’s a look at how you can watch the tournament, as well as tee times for today and Friday. Whether you’re at the tournament or not, you can follow the latest developments on our live blog. We’ll have the latest news, observations, photos, video and more.