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Digest

Jail social worker is forced to retire

By TIMES WIRES
Published January 30, 2007


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TAMPA

The Sheriff's Office forced a jail social worker to retire after discovering she broke rules by offering home loans to inmates.

Linda Beavers, 59, spent 16 years helping inmates at the Orient Road Jail, but investigators say she crossed a line by lending them money.

After an investigation, Beavers retired Jan. 9 rather than be fired, records show.

She offered to help two prisoners buy a home, by offering them $1,000 loans at 4 percent interest, investigators say.

TAMPA

Hillsborough's first public defender dies

Joseph G. Spicola Jr. - whose legal skill led him to a wide range of offices in Tampa, Hillsborough and Florida government - died Sunday night in his Davis Islands home.

He was 75.

Mr. Spicola became Hillsborough County's first public defender in the early 1960s. He also was county attorney, Tampa city attorney and general counsel to Gov. Bob Martinez.

Mr. Spicola's career was blemished in 1991, while he served as the Martinez-appointed attorney for the Tampa Port Authority. The state Ethics Commission recommended he be fined $10,000, the maximum punishment, for shunting nearly $70,000 of work to his own law firm. Instead, the port board, which holds enforcement authority, chose to fine him $500.

Blount & Curry Funeral Home on S MacDill Avenue, is handling the arrangements.

BROOKSVILLE

Pit bull euthanized after mauling cat

Christopher Niswander of 18670 Lake Lindsey Road, surrendered his pit bullterrier mix and its seven 10-week-old puppies to Animal Services after the pit bull and a German shepherd mauled a neighbor's 8-year-old cat, Beauregard. The pit bull was euthanized; the puppies were turned over to an animal rescue agency.

Freight train clips back of school bus

A CSX freight train clipped the tail of a Hillsborough County school bus carrying about 15 magnet school students late Monday afternoon, but no one was hurt.

Bus driver James Hein, 67, described the collision as a bump. The bus' back end was slightly damaged in the collision at N Nebraska Avenue and E Chapman Road in Lutz.

Hein had stopped for a stop sign on Chapman, just past the tracks. Part of the bus bumper still hung over the tracks, said Highway Patrol Trooper Larry Coggins.

Norovirus outbreak easing after 50 fall ill

Health officials are now counting nearly 50 people sickened by a norovirus outbreak.

The virus is believed to have infected more than 40 people who ate food prepared by Mallie Kylas Cafe on Jan. 19 for a County Commission workshop.

Al Gray, environmental health manager for the Hernando County Health Department, stressed that the outbreak is ending and that it's safe to eat at the restaurant. He pointed out that the virus doesn't live or breed in food and isn't necessarily a result of poor food handling.

[Last modified January 30, 2007, 01:31:12]


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