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Sarasota man appeals his Ponzi-scheme conviction

Sarasota man appeals his Ponzi-scheme conviction

TAMPA, Florida (AP) -- A Sarasota man is appealing his conviction for a running a $37 million Ponzi scheme that defrauded nearly 200 people.

The attorney for 32-year-old Beau Diamond filed a two-page notice of appeal with the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit Monday.

5 years later, Temple Terrace woman still missing

5 years later, Temple Terrace woman still missing

Venice, Florida -- Five years ago Monday, Sandra Prince, a social worker from Temple Terrace, was reported missing from her home.

What happened to the 59-year-old and where she may be remains a mystery. About a dozen of her closest friends, going back to their days at Florida State University in the 1970's, gathered a home in Venice on Sunday.

"Just talking about her, reminiscing about old times, and just never giving up hope," said one of her friends, Susan Horton.

Sarasota Police investigate New Year's Day death

Sarasota, FL -- Police are investigating the death of Omar Hung-Gonzales, a 36-year-old man who was found dead at a home in the 1200 block of Tarpon Avenue.

Shortly after 3 a.m., police were dispatched to the home to find two people who had injuries. One of them had died from his injuries and the other, Lincon Fernandez, 40, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The death is being investigated as a possible homicide. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective DeFrancisco at 941-954-7070.

Venice power outage due to electrical accident

Venice, Florida - Sarasota Sheriff's deputies and Fire/Rescue responded to Sea Grape Road in Venice to investigate a report of an electrical wire contact injury.

Upon arrival, they found 22-year-old Rachel Hinkle and began CPR.

The power to the associated neighborhood grid was shut down to facilitate treatment.

A preliminary investigation indicates Hinkle was erecting a structure that touched the overhead electrical wires and caused the contact injury.

Investigators from the Sheriff's Office responded. Florida Power and Light will also investigate this incident.

Hinkle was taken to Venice Regional Medical Center in serious condition.

The power was restored to most of the neighborhood. Per FPL, an estimated 16-18 homes will be without power until the line is repaired.

Anyone with information about this incident may contact the Sheriff's Office Criminal Investigations Section at 861-4900.

Police search for home invasion robber

SARASOTA, Florida -- Sarasota County officers are searching for two men who broke into a Sarasota home late last night attacked and robbed a teenage girl.

Kayla Lamb, 19, was at home when two men wearing masks broke into her home on Spahn Street. They hit her on the head with an AK-47 style rifle, took money and fled in a dark SUV and a low rider type vehicle.

Lamb was treated for minor injuries.

Lamb described one suspect as a black male, 6 feet tall, 180 pounds, with a possible moustache and wearing black baggy clothes. The other suspect is a male of an unknown race wearing dark baggy clothes.

Police ask anyone with any information on this crime to call the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office Investigations Section at 941-861-4900 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-366-TIPS(8477).


Sarasota County teachers awarded grants

Sarasota County teachers awarded grants

SARASOTA, Florida -- Seven Sarasota County teachers are among the 206 educators across the District's 16-county region who were awarded Splash! school grants on Dec. 20 through the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Mary Margaret Hull, lead communications coordinator, attributed the effectiveness of the grant program in Sarasota County to the strong partnership with Sarasota County Schools, which helped get the word out to teachers. Susan Puchalla, Sarasota County science program specialist, serves as the District’s liaison to teachers.

“These teachers are receiving a small amount of money but are able to accomplish so much,” Hull said in a statement. “Grant recipients also use the District’s collection of curriculum materials and other free educational resources.”

Sarasota parking garage opens in time for New Year's Eve party

Sarasota, FL - A parking garage will open in time for a New Year's Eve celebration in downtown Sarasota, according to city officials.

The Palm Avenue Parking Garage, located northwest of the Palm Avenue and Main Street intersection opens to the public Friday, December 31 at noon. Parking will be free for the first month. The six story garage will be open daily 6 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In a press release from city officials, the Mayor praises the work of the contractors. "It's really a beautiful job," said Mayor Kelly Kirschner.  "This was a truly 'hyper-local' project and we should celebrate all of the local talent that worked on it."