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Nuke Officials: Japan's radiation reaches Bay area

Nuke Officials: Japan's radiation reaches Bay area

Tampa, FL -- It took two weeks, traveling thousands of miles, but officials confirm radiation from Japan's nuclear disaster has now reached our area.

Similar findings have been reported at all three nuclear power plants in Florida. Each is equipped with super-sensitive monitoring equipment.

"Progress Energy has detected some extremely low levels of Iodine 131 at our Crystal River nuclear plant north of Tampa," said Progress Energy spokesperson Cherie Jacobs.

Better hurry for SECO scholarship opportunity!

Better hurry for SECO scholarship opportunity!

Citrus County, FL -- Sumter Electric Cooperative wants to remind area high school seniors that the deadline for submitting applications for SECO Scholarships is April 1.

This year, SECO will award up to twelve $2,500 scholarships to deserving seniors from throughout its service territory.

Applications are available at area high school guidance offices and at any of SECO’s customer service centers in Marion, Lake, Citrus, and Sumter counties.

Homosassa soldier killed in Afghanistan

CHILLICOTHE, Ohio (AP) -- The military says a soldier from southern Ohio and one from central Florida have been killed in an attack in Afghanistan.

The Department of Defense says 28-year-old Staff Sgt. Joshua S. Gire of Chillicothe, Ohio, and 26-year-old Pfc. Michael C. Mahr or Homosassa, Florida, died Tuesday after an attack involving explosives and small arms fire. They were assigned to Bamberg, Germany.

Relatives told The Columbus Dispatch and WBNS-TV that Gire was a third-generation Army soldier and had served in Kosovo and Iraq. They say he graduated from Huntington High School and enlisted before the Sept. 11 terror attacks.

Gire is survived by his wife and two young children, who live in Germany.

Large margins of safety in FL nuclear plants

Large margins of safety in FL nuclear plants

St. Lucie, FL (Florida Today) -- Based on an analysis by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the St. Lucie nuclear power plant, less than 40 miles south of Brevard, ranks sixth of 104 reactors nationwide for yearly risk of a radiation release caused by a worst-case scenario earthquake.

But that ranking is misleading, officials say, because it assumes quakes much stronger than likely would ever happen. And the risk at all the nation's nuclear plants is extremely low to begin with, given the huge safety margins built in.

Police identify murdered Citrus woman

Hernando, Florida -- Investigators say a murdered Citrus County woman is 59-year-old Diane Bartlett.

Photo Gallery: Body of woman found behind Citrus County home

Neighbors called for deputies to do a welfare check at Bartlett's home on Thursday morning after a dog belonging to her and her boyfriend was seen running loose. 

Investigators found Bartlett's body in the back yard, behind a shed.

Deputies identified the boyfriend, 48-year-old Arthur Sputa, as a suspect in Bartlett's murder. 

Sputa is hospitalized due to an unspecified self-inflicted injury, and charges are pending his medical release.


Woman's body found dumped behind Citrus home

Hernando, Florida - Sheriff's detectives in Citrus County are investigating a woman's body dumped behind a shed, in the back yard of a home on Tsala Apopka Drive in Hernando.

The unidentified victim was found after deputies say they responded to complaints of a neighborhood dog on the loose and performed a welfare check at the owner's home. 

Once there, deputies made the gruesome discovery and also found a man inside the home. The man, 48-year-old Arthur Sputa is listed as the owner.  Sputa was taken to nearby Citrus Memorial Hospital because of some medical reasons, but we have since learned he has been moved and is still in the custody of the Citrus County Sheriff's Department.

Neighbors describe Sputa as an outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing.

An autopsy will be performed on the victim Friday.

Regulators cancel nuclear plant meeting

CRYSTAL RIVER, Florida (AP) -- Federal regulators have canceled a scheduled meeting about a Florida nuclear plant because of ongoing repairs at the facility.

Staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said Thursday that Progress Energy's Crystal River plant appears to have a new gap in the concrete containment which would prevent it from reopening anytime soon. Because of that, next week's meeting to discuss the reopening of the plant was nixed.

The plant had been set to restart in April. It shut down in 2009 for repairs.

NRC spokesman Joey Ledford says the gap in the containment poses no threat since the plant is not in operation and there is no fuel in the reactor.