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Man gets 15 years for shaking baby to death

Man gets 15 years for shaking baby to death

BARTOW, Florida (AP) - A central Florida man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for violently shaking his infant nephew to death.

A Polk County judged sentenced 30-year-old Gary Sipek on Wednesday after he pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter of a child.

Authorities say Sipek was babysitting 5-month-old Bryden Rideaux and three other children in July 2010. Sipek initially told deputies that he put the child in a playpen and later found the baby unresponsive. He later changed his story, saying he shook the infant after becoming frustrated with his crying.

Man arrested for stealing fountain from Lakeland church

Man arrested for stealing fountain from Lakeland church

Lakeland, FL -- Police have arrested the man they say is responsible for stealing a $2,000 fountain from a Lakeland church back in July.

Polk County Sheriff's detectives arrested 23-year-old Shane Larmon, of Davenport, Thursday morning after an investigation tracked the ownership of the fountain from two separate people back to Larmon.

Detectives say they developed information early about a man who was in possession of the fountain. The man cooperated with detectives telling them he had gotten from a man, who in turn said he got it from Larmon.

Missing 16-year-old girl in Winter Haven

Missing 16-year-old girl in Winter Haven

Winter Haven, Florida - UPDATE: Winter Haven Police have reported that Emma Boone was found safe.

Emma was last seen on Aug. 3, 2011, at her grandmother's home, at Avenue B. NE, around 7 p.m.

Her grandmother told police she thought Emma was sleeping on the couch. Her grandmother reported her missing around 3:30 a.m.

Top Florida citrus executive resigns from job

Top Florida citrus executive resigns from job

HAINES CITY, Florida (AP) - The Florida Citrus Commission has accepted the resignation of Ken Keck as the top executive at the Florida Department of Citrus.

Ken Keck resigned from the department Wednesday.

Declining orange juice sales, citrus greening and higher taxes factored into Keck's decision.

Commissioners voted 7-0 to appoint Debra Funkhouser, the department's chief financial officer, as the interim executive director. The Citrus Commission will meet Aug. 31 to discuss the search for a new executive director.

Sheriff Grady Judd elected to Florida Sheriff's Association

Sheriff Grady Judd elected to Florida Sheriff's Association

Winter Haven, Florida - Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has been elected as 2011-2012 Secretary of the Florida Sheriff's Association.

Sheriff Judd was installed Tuesday night during the closing ceremony of the FSA Annual Conference, held in Daytona Beach, Florida.  Sheriff Judd will hold the FSA Secretary position for one year.

This position marks the third position of FSA leadership for Sheriff Judd. He has served as FSA Board Chair and Treasurer. The Secretary position is the next step in the leadership progression to FSA President.

Police determine cause of Lakeland stabbing

Police determine cause of Lakeland stabbing

Lakeland, FL -- After interviewing the man who was found with multiple stab wounds at the entrance ramp on I-4 and US 98 North Tuesday, July 26, police determined his wounds were self inflicted.

Lakeland police say 24-year-old Steven Cruickshank had personal problems, was distraught, and used a beer bottle to self-inflict the sounds on his upper torso and arms.

Previous story: Early morning stabbing leaves one in critical condition

Community partners assist Auburndale High, Tenoroc High

Community partners assist Auburndale High, Tenoroc High

Two philanthropic organizations have partnered to help students at Auburndale High and Lakeland’s Tenoroc High.

The Hamptons Educational Foundation, composed of residents of The Hamptons retirement community in Auburndale, secured a $15,000 grant through the TD Bank Charitable Foundation that will benefit both schools. The check presentation was made at a ceremony held  July 27 at the TD Bank branch in Auburndale.

The money will be used to fund an after-school tutoring and literacy program at Auburndale High and for college scholarships for Auburndale High and Tenoroc High students.  Auburndale High tried to initiate an after –school tutoring and literacy program in the 2010-2011 school year but fell short when they could not secure funding for student transportation in the program.