19 February 2017

Florida News — Ebb Tide

by Leigh Lundin

Florida postcard The weather’s gorgeous. The temperature remains balmy while much of North America is recovering from snow and ice. Alligators are in love, kingfishers and heron trawl the waters, and nearby, Russian warships and airships frolic upon the ocean waves.

Pardon me for not discussing the Winter White House, foreign security sessions in public dining rooms, or Ivanka fashion. That’s outside our purview. The only related [fake] news is that my friend Thrush proposed turning our street into a sanctuary city for the lovely Marla Maples. I’m sure I don’t know what he means by that, other than he’s single.

The One-Day Work Week

Tampa, FL   I will touch on one point of political karma before moving on to recent news. Tampa area State Attorney Mark Ober has run unopposed in the past. According to records, he was so lackadaisical that he showed up for work about five days a month.

Maybe that’s okay if you have nothing pressing, but WalMart, a political donor, brought a $29 shoplifting charge against a 57-year-old wheelchair-bound lady. Ober sprang into action, threw on a bathrobe over his pajamas, found his office phone number in his smoking jacket pocket, and phoned in.

It’s not clear whether Ober’s (a)pathetic work ethic or WalMart donations encouraged him to pursue the case, but prosecute he did at considerable cost to Hillsborough County.

The main obstacle was the lady didn’t do it as proved by WalMart’s own video surveillance. Instead, first-day-on-the-job security guard Arismendy Rosario framed the lady apparently to show what a good little guard he was.

The jury took less than one minute to acquit. Jurors criticized the prosecutor for wasting time and money.

As for the election, Ober lost to US Department of Justice fraud prosecutor, Andrew Warren. At least Ober doesn’t have to get out of his jammies.

Target: Maybe Not the Best Name for a Store


Ocala, FL   The brilliant brain of financial genius Mark Barnett exploded with ideas how to manipulate Target Corporation’s price [TGT] by blowing the floor out of the market… and stores themselves.

According to reports, he didn’t bother leveraging options or short-selling like a really smart, evil guy, but merely planned to purchase stock after it plummeted following the detonation of bombs in a number of East Coast stores. Barnett invested $10 000 in hiring a felon to plant ten of the bombs.

Said felon turned Barnett in. The short-fused Barnett is now sitting firm on rock-solid Florida holdings.

© Orlando Sentinel
Dead Certain

Alachua, FL   Florida troopers came across a single-car accident, a car in a ditch. Inside, they found a woman. Apparently in hope of dodging a ticket, she insisted she wasn’t injured, merely dead.

When asked if she was wearing a seat belt, she replied, “Do I look stupid?” As she tried to buckle her belt, cops kindly refrained from answering.

Alcohol, as you might imagine, was involved.

Ball’s in Their Court

Gainesville, FL   Police officer Bobby White set out single-handedly to ruin my column critical of Florida officials. He defied logic, tradition, and the collective wisdom of his betters by applying gentle common sense on the job.

Answering a demand to deal with kids ‘disrupting’ a neighborhood by playing basketball at 17:00 hours or, to ordinary people, 5pm. Officer White raced to the scene of the alleged crime, leaped from his patrol car… and played a game of pick-up with the offenders.

I’m torn. He deserves a promotion where he might influence incoming rookies and entrenched authorities with his humanity, but doing so might take him off the streets, where he’d loved and respected.

Righteous, Brothers


Hermosa Beach, Ca   This addendum has nothing to do with Florida. Using a criticized DNA data mining technique, police identified the killer in an infamous four-decades-old murder case.

If you’re of an (un)certain age, you’re probably well aware of a talented music duo, the Righteous Brothers. Their ‘blue-eyed soul’ transcended genres and cultures, race and radio waves.

The singers couldn’t contrast more. Bill Medley was tall, dark, slender, and sang booming bass and baritone. Partner Bobby Hatfield was the opposite– shorter, pudgier, blond, and delivered a soaring counter-tenor.

You’ve Lost that Loving Feeling, Ebb Tide, Soul and Inspiration, Unchained Melody, White Cliffs of Dover… you know the songs.

Medley married– and divorced– Karen Klaas. Forty-one years ago, an unknown perpetrator raped and murdered her in her own home. Using mass sampling of familial DNA, police were able to isolate a suspect, a man killed in a 1982 prison escape and shootout with police.

It couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.



† Look for a future article about familial DNA.

10 comments:

janice law said...

Given Eve's columns about skullduggery in S.Dakota, I'm glad to see you are upping your game reports from the Sunshine state.

Eve Fisher said...

Leigh, thank you for taking some of the heat off of South Dakota! I read about the Wal-Mart frame up, but not about Mark Barnett. WHAT an idiot! And may Police Officer Bobby White long police the streets of Gainesville.

Leigh Lundin said...

Thanks, Janice and Eve.

My hypothesis is that in winter, South Dakotans pack it in and retire to Florida to spread out the havoc.

Robert Lopresti said...

My friend Andi Schechter just pointed out a sequel to the story about the cop: http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/shaquille-oneal-joins-florida-cop-pickup-basketball-game-36493030

Eve Fisher said...

Leigh, you may be right; although snowbirds I know say that they keep running across South Dakota plates down south, but when they ask, they're not real South Dakotans, but people using those citizenship centers to avoid paying state income tax.

B.K. Stevens said...

Great stories, Leigh. Like others, I was reminded of Eve's posts about odd doings in South Dakota.

Jeff Baker said...

Wow!!!!

A Broad Abroad said...

Has anyone ever surveyed the home-states of the folk featured in your Florida News columns? Is this lunacy genetic? Something in the water?

Answers could lie here: Why Florida is America’s weirdest state

Leigh Lundin said...

Rob, what a great article! Those kids were in awe. When Shaq lived in Orlando, he developed a very friendly reputation here.

Eve, that’s a possibility. Gives new meaning to sanctuary cities.

Bonnie, this is one of the milder posts. Some you would not believe, some are barely mentionable in mixed company. (Will the gentlemen leave the room, please?)

Leigh Lundin said...

Hey, Jeff! Good to see you. You’d love it here!

ABA, what a perfect article. And it’s all too true. Which leaves a question about my residency…