Monday, May 21, 2018
News Roundup

Top 5 at noon: Pinellas Sheriff: former investigator lied about protecting kids; seven years after nuclear disaster, Japanese town rebuilds; and more

Here are the latest headlines and updates on tampabay.com:

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.

Sign up for our News at Noon email newsletter here

Comments

FDLE: Pasco couple scammed elderly employer out of $480,000

TAMPA — A Pasco County couple face dozens of charges after the Florida Department of Law Enforcement said they stole more than $480,000 from their elderly employer.Chet Alan Ragsdale, 45, was arrested Monday on 28 counts of grand theft, 25 counts of ...
Updated: 8 minutes ago
Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

Rays journal: Christian Arroyo set to play first game at Tropicana Field

ST. PETERSBURG  — Christian Arroyo has watched more than 50 Rays games at Tropicana Field from the stands. Has been on the turf for his younger sister's gymnastics competitions and once, while it was in football configuration, to take grou...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
State softball: Academy at the Lakes romps in long-awaited semifinal

State softball: Academy at the Lakes romps in long-awaited semifinal

VERO BEACH — On a day when the weather at the state softball tournament finally said yes, Academy at the Lakes pitcher Alexis Kilfoyl said no to Lake Worth Christian.The hard-throwing right-hander fired a no-hitter in a Class 2A semifinal Monday morn...
Updated: 16 minutes ago
Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

Prepare yourselves: Golden Knights will be talk of the Stanley Cup final

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It's incredible. Unbelievable, really. Maybe the best sports story in this country and the sport of hockey since 1980's Miracle on Ice.And, as a side note, if the Lightning reaches the Stanley Cup final, everyone in the count...
Updated: 24 minutes ago
Oscar Mayer asked people to tweet photos of hot dog toppings. They got toothpaste and Pepto.

Oscar Mayer asked people to tweet photos of hot dog toppings. They got toothpaste and Pepto.

Oscar Mayer last week asked people on Twitter to tweet a photo at them of toppings on their new hot dogs — which the company described as "improved."The payoff? A year’s supply of hot dogs hand-delivered by none other than the iconic Wienermobile.Sha...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Less than one year after historic flooding, Alafia River spills its banks again

Less than one year after historic flooding, Alafia River spills its banks again

LITHIA — Frank Rodriguez was still several hundred yards from his house Monday when he pulled his SUV to the side of the road and changed into a pair of beach shoes.Ahead of him, the way home along River Drive was submerged. He was spared a wade thro...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Company that spilled fertilizer at Tampa port says not as much hit the water

The company that on Friday reported spilling 2 tons of fertilizer into a channel feeding into Tampa Bay says now that the amount was far smaller — 200 pounds, at most.Both Kinder Morgan, which spilled the fertilizer, and the state Department of Envir...
Updated: 1 hour ago
4 sinkholes open in The Villages retirement community

4 sinkholes open in The Villages retirement community

THE VILLAGES — Four sinkholes have opened up in a fast-growing retirement community in Florida, including one in front of a home that was abandoned months ago because of an earlier sinkhole. A spokeswoman for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office says t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Shoppers begin Publix boycott as chain continues supporting Adam Putnam for governor

Publix has been Florida’s favorite grocery chain for decades — but some shoppers are turning their backs on the store after learning it donated more than half a million dollars to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. A handful of state advocacy group...
Updated: 1 hour ago
There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

There’s a swing by Rays CF Kevin Kiermaier …. and a gender reveal for November baby

Tampa Bay Rays OF Kevin Kiermaier and his wife Marisa are having a boy.Kiermaier shared the news on Twitter over the weekend in a most appropriate themed gender reveal event — taking a swing at ball that exploded with blue powder.Looks like im ...
Updated: 1 hour ago