Today’s top new stories: Riverwalk Wins Award, Officers Arrested and More

Here are some of today’s news stories from around the Tampa Bay Area.

Officers arrested

Three officers were arrested yesterday after being charged with smuggling cash into the Avon park correctional facility, according to Sheriff Grady Judd.

Officer Jules Loya, 33, Officer Nathan Lucy, 23, and Officer Victor Medina, 25, were investigated by the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after undercover detectives provided the officers with cash stating that if they gave half of the money to inmates the officers were allowed to keep the rest.

 “These officers broke the law and intentionally undermined the integrity of the Department and the institution they were supposed to protect,” according to a DOC statement. “Their actions do not appropriately reflect the thousands of upstanding officers we employ across the state. We commend the work of our Inspector General’s Office and our law enforcement partners to ensure their arrest, and we will begin the process of moving forward with their immediate dismissal.”

Officer Lucy is still in custody, being held on $3,000 bond, Officer Loya is still in custody, being held on $2,500 bond and Officer Medina has posted $1,500 bond.

Robbery suspect

Clearwater police are asking for help to find a suspected robber. A white male had robbed a Thornton’s convenience store on 1698 Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard, early this morning.

The suspect, who is believed to be in his early 20s, had entered the store around 2 a.m. He implied he had a weapon to the store clerks and ran off with cash from the store, leaving in a white vehicle, according to police. The suspect has numerous tattoos which led officers to believe he will be easier to identify.

Largo police reported a similar robbery earlier on 150th Avenue with a description that matched this suspect about 3 hours prior to the Thornton robbery.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Clearwater police department at 727-562-4242

High speed proposal

The Florida Department of Transportation received a proposal for a new method of transit for the Tampa Bay Area.

All Aboard Florida has proposed a fast passenger rail service connecting Tampa to Orlando. The company is currently building a rail from Miami to Orlando.

Brightline brings hope of clearing up Tampa to Orlando traffic

This was previously proposed, $2.4 billion was offered by the federal government, but ended up being rejected in 2011 by Governor Rick Scott due to low ridership projections. Governor Scott has since changed his stance, investing in funds with links to the rail service.

The Florida Department of Transportation and the Central Florida Expressway Authority have appointed a committee to address further considerations.

Riverwalk wins award

The Tampa Riverwalk is a popular location for residents and tourists in the Tampa Bay area. This local amenity is known for its restaurants, parks and entertainment.

The American Planning Association put on a contest for the Greatest Places in America and had awarded the Riverwalk the ‘Greatest Places in America: People’s Choice Award’.

“The Riverwalk has transformed Tampa and has become a destination for visitors and residents alike. Whether you’re riding your bike, rollerblading or taking a ride on the Pirate Water Taxi, there’s something for everyone. Our river has become the focal point of Tampa’s urban core and that’s made possible by having a promenade that connects all of downtown Tampa’s great restaurants, parks, cultural venues and events.”  Mayor Bob Buckhorn.

This contest allowed participants to vote for their favorite places in the nation. The voting occurred in October and early November on the organizations website.

 

Anchor: Tatyana Bazard

Director: Andrew Fabacher

Producer: Kyle Cooper

Technical Director: Kyle Cooper

Graphics: Annette Gutierrez

Audio: Kelsey Baker

Prompter: Malika Sutton

Floor Manager and Camera Operator: Destiny Wiggins

Teaching Assistant: Dakota Galvin

Graduate Assistant: Kelsey Baker

Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty