Around the Region, March 28


Published: Thursday, March 28, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, March 27, 2013 at 10:04 p.m.

POLICE BEAT

Former restaurateur accused of tax fraud

The former owner of the now-closed Calico Jack’s Oyster Bar & Seafood House has been arrested on allegations she stole more than $58,000 in sales tax money that she collected from customers but failed to send to the state.

Maria P. Romero, 41, of Newberry, was arrested March 18 on the felony charge of theft of state funds, a Florida Department of Revenue news release states.

Calico Jack’s was a popular restaurant and bar in the Creekside Plaza at 3501 SW Second Ave. in Gainesville. It closed in May when it was evicted for nonpayment of rent, The Sun reported at the time.

The state alleges that during various periods from 2009 through 2012, Romero failed to send in all of the taxes she collected.

— Cindy Swirko

COMMUNITY

Gov. Scott names new judge for Dixie County

Cynthia S. Munkittrick was appointed as a Dixie County judge Wednesday by Gov. Rick Scott, according to a press release.

Munkittrick, 62, has been in solo practice since 1996. From 1974-1976, she served in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Munkittrick earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida and her law degree from the University of Florida. Munkittrick will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Judge Frederick Koberlein.

“Cynthia’s intelligence and her eagerness to serve her fellow Floridians will be a great asset to our state during her time on the bench,” Scott said. “Cynthia will make a great Dixie County Judge and will work diligently to ensure all citizens are treated fairly.”

— Staff report

Shands competing for grant from Livestrong

The Arts in Medicine program at Shands at the University of Florida is in the running for one of 72 grants totalling $1.2 million given by the Livestrong Foundation, which would enable the artists in residence to conduct weekly writing and art workshops with cancer patients and survivors.

The workshops would add to Shands’ “mobile inspiration station,” in which resident-in-artist Dylan Klempner, a writer and visual artist, does bedside writing and art exercises for cancer patients in all stages of their disease. This is part of the Shands Arts in Medicine program, which facilitates workshops, activities and performances for all patients.

Jill Sonke, director of the Shands Arts in Medicine program, said Shands would use the LIVESTRONG grant for workshops focused on artistic expression and empowerment, also incorporating an initiative called “Seize the Days,” an online archive of cancer survivor narratives started by an oncologist, Dr. Evan Lipson, at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Sonke said the focus of the new workshops would be outpatients from the community – and not just Shands’ own patients.

As of Wednesday, Shands was in third place in the regional competition for the grant. Anyone can cast a vote at www.vote.livestrong.org.

Votes must be cast by 6 p.m. Thursday. Winners will be announced April 15.

— Kristine Crane

State

Two guns, stolen police car have been recovered

ST. PETERSBURG — Authorities say they’ve recovered two guns that were stolen along with an unmarked patrol car in St. Petersburg.

Police say the Colt AR-15 rifle and .45-caliber Glock handgun were found in separate locations Tuesday evening.

Detective Matthew Furse discovered the car was missing from his home Monday morning along with his handgun, rifle, portable police radio and ammunition. Those items were kept in the trunk.

Police said the suspect broke into Furse’s personal vehicle, which was parked next to the patrol car, and stole a set of keys from the center console that unlocked the patrol car. Authorities said the suspect also tried to steal the detective’s personal vehicle but was unsuccessful.

The Chevrolet Impala was found a few hours later submerged in a lake. The police radio has not been recovered.

No arrests have been made.

— The Associated Press

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