Around the Region for Oct. 11, 2012

Published: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, October 10, 2012 at 9:41 p.m.

Police beat

Man hospitalized after apartment kitchen fire

A man was hospitalized with burns Tuesday night when his apartment caught fire, reported Gainesville Fire Rescue.

The fire was reported at 8:32 p.m. at 934 SW 9th St., Apt. 4, District Chief James Lovvorn said in a news release.

The first firefighters on the scene found fire and smoke in the apartment and began extinguishing it while searching for anyone inside.

Meanwhile, Gainesville Police Lt. Mike Schibuola said a resident of the apartment told an officer outside that he had been burned inside. He was taken to Shands at the University of Florida for treatment.

Schibuola said the fire started in the kitchen.

GFR extinguished the fire within seven minutes by 24 firefighters with eight trucks, Lovvorn said. The fire was contained to the one apartment. The cause is under investigation.

— Cindy Swirko

Police say thief tussled with workers at Walmart

Gainesville man was arrested on a robbery charge Tuesday night after he assaulted Walmart employees who were trying to detain him for shoplifting, according to an arrest report.

Charged was James C. Wess, 42, of 413 S. Main St.

The incident occurred at the Walmart on Waldo Road. The report states that Wess was seen on surveillance taking merchandise and putting it in a Walmart shopping bag.

Store loss-prevention officers tried to stop Wess as he was leaving. The report states that Wess initially tried to flee but then used force to try to hurt the employees by ramming them into the store’s wall and front doors.

A Gainesville police officer arrived to find Wess still fighting with the employees and warned him that he would release a police dog on Wess if he didn’t stop.

— Cindy Swirko

GPD: Woman attacked on Southwest Fourth Avenue

A woman was sexually battered by an acquaintance Tuesday night on a Gainesville street, police Lt. Mike Schibuola said.

The incident happened about 7 p.m. around 500 SW Fourth Ave. The woman told police she was talking with an acquaintance when he pulled her into some woods and sexually assaulted her, Schibuola said.

She was taken to Shands at the University of Florida for treatment, he added.

Detectives are investigating the case and no arrests have been made.

— Cindy Swirko


Signals malfunction at Archer Road and I-75

City of Gainesville traffic signal technicians worked on malfunctioning stop lights at the interchange of Archer Road and Interstate 75 Wednesday.

Philip Mann, traffic operations manager for the city of Gainesville, said workers were fixing a wiring issue. The wires were old and exposed, he said, and the crews had to replace them.

The traffic lights kept shorting out and going into flash mode.

Crews with two bucket trucks worked at the scene, and Gainesville Police Department officers kept traffic flowing normally.

— Jon Silman

Melrose business group hosting political event

With the Nov. 6 election less than a month away, the Melrose Business and Community Association is hosting a political rally Friday where area candidates can meet residents as they peruse fresh produce.

The informal rally will run from 4 p.m. to dusk in downtown Melrose at Heritage Park on Bellamy Avenue, also known as State Road 26.

It will coincide with the Melrose Community Farmers Market, which runs from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.

County commission and sheriff candidates for races in Alachua, Bradford, Clay and Putnam counties, all of which contain part of Melrose within their borders, are invited to attend.

They can chat with locals at the farmers’ market for a while before heading over to the park gazebo for the October meeting of the group that is hosting the event.

Candidates will be introduced at the meeting and are invited to say a few words about their campaign, said Felicity Trueblood, a member of the MBCA board of directors.

— Staff report

Report: Rip current risk rises on Atlantic coast

The Florida Division of Emergency Management is warning beachgoers along Florida’s Atlantic coast to be aware of an elevated risk of rip currents through the weekend.

The risk of rip currents may also be elevated along portions of the Gulf Coast, officials said Wednesday.

“Onshore winds and rough surf conditions will bring an increased risk of rip currents to beaches on the Atlantic Coast, which will likely persist through the upcoming weekend,” said Florida Division of Emergency Management deputy state meteorologist Michelle Palmer. “Beachgoers should always remember to review the rip current outlook for their area, check beach warning flag signs before entering the water and swim within sight of a lifeguard.”

A rip current is a narrow, powerful current of water that runs perpendicular to the beach, out into the ocean. These currents may extend 200 to 2,500 feet (61 to 762 meters) in length, but are typically less than 30 feet (9 meters) wide. Rip currents can often move at more than 5 mph and are not always identifiable to the average beachgoer.

— Staff report


1 dead, 1 injured in nursing home shooting

ORANGE PARK — One person is dead and another is injured in a shooting at a northeast Florida nursing home.

A Clay County Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman says the victims shot Wednesday afternoon at the Life Care Center in Orange Park are believed to be a husband and wife in their 70s. The male victim was pronounced dead; the woman is said to have suffered life-threatening injuries. A nursing home spokeswoman says the situation has been contained, and no evacuation was necessary.

The identities of those involved have not yet been released.

— The Associated Press

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