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In other news…

November 6, 2012

So, this year has been dedicated to the biggest project I have ever done, under the close guidance of investigative guru Chris Davis. But I’ve gotten to work on some other pretty neat odds and ends, including some Republican National Convention coverage here in Tampa.

Freedom, freedom, freedom. After tea partiers packed an east Hillsborough megachurch to standing-room-only Sunday night, after they were told jeering, heckling and animal noises were encouraged, after they heard an emcee call Secretary of State Hillary Clinton a WINO — “wife in name only” — they heard from the people they were there to see: Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain…

The empty jail. To prepare for an expected 1,000 protester arrests during the Republican National Convention, the Hillsborough Sheriff’s Office paid $140,349 for software that would alert deputies if an inmate had been sitting in one place for too long. To treat the injured, they paid $240,000 for medical staff. They bought a new fence, food and electrical updates, and got a green light to spend $1.5 million in overtime pay. Then this week, on a dry-erase board in their flat-screen-filled command center, they began to tally the arrests. The grand total, by midday Thursday: Two.

Command Central. There are a handful of protester hubs scattered along the gritty fringes of downtown this week during the Republican National Convention. Only one sells quiche.

Who authorized this?! … But on any weeknight, what is the baseline of nightlife in downtown Tampa and St. Petersburg? The Times dispatched a team Wednesday to investigate… Before the night is over, the dancing woman will approach the Times reporter, grab his nipple, and squeeze.

Daily deadline profile. … In an age of bump-and-grind, Barsukov is a stand-in Prince Charming. He is handsome, not hot. He smells sweet and sweats with grace. And when it was time to take his first partner to the dance floor on Saturday, he led her by the hand.

Judicial drama exclusive. A Hillsborough judge said Thursday she will not hear any cases involving an assistant public defender she called “incompetent and untrustworthy” and accused of “sitting on her butt.”

Tinderbox  … So into this metal box they cram, the prosecution and the defense, the judges and the accused, bow-tied and seersuckered, neck-tattooed and ankle-monitored — up to a dozen at a time — sharing a rough 6 feet by 5 feet and oxygen, and the experience of momentary captivity.

Selling a crime scene. Tampa Palms Beauty! the ad said. Move-in ready. NOT a short-sale. Can close quickly. But the house at 16305 Royal Park Court, behind the gates of Ashington Reserve, had a sad history told only in crime stories: A year ago this month, two children died there. Police charged their mother, Julie Schenecker, with murder.

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