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Bay area veteran shares her story of being gay during DADT

Bay area veteran shares her story of being gay during DADT

Lakeland, FL - For eight years straight, Felicia Pecoro served her country silently under Don't Ask Don't Tell.

"It was a little lonely," she said.

Pecoro, 41, was a machine-gunner for the Army. Her service took her to Korea, Haiti and Bosnia. She rose up the ranks to become a sergeant. All the while, she never breathed a word to her comrades about her true self.

"Not only would it have been bad for me and dangerous for me but it might have set them in a bad place where they would have gotten in trouble because they knew about it. Under DADT, they [fellow soldiers] were required to tell the company commander there was a gay amongst them," explained Pecoro.

So, when her contract came up, Pecorro got out. "It was such a contradiction to serve my country and be open at the same time. Plus, I'm turning my back on my partner because I can't acknowledge they even exist," said Pecoro.

Winter Haven man arrested for attempted murder

Winter Haven man arrested for attempted murder

Winter Haven, FL -- Robert Dinesen, 63, was arrested and charged with attempted murder after stabbing a man several times.

The Police department received 9-1-1 call Sunday afternoon from 302 Avenue G, SE. When they responded to the home, they found the victim, 39-year-old Jerry Curry, leaving the home with several cuts to his face and a stab wound in his back.

Immediately following him was Dinesen, who had a large kitchen knife.

Officers demanded Dinesen drop the knife and he complied.

Dinesen and Curry know each other, because they had had a relationship with the same girl.

Curry was  transported to Lakeland Regional Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries.

Suspect wanted in Family Dollar robbery in Winter Haven

Suspect wanted in Family Dollar robbery in Winter Haven

Winter Haven, FL -- Tonight, police are searching for an armed robbery suspect in the Avenue T, NE area of Winter Haven.

The suspect entered the Family Dollar in the 200 block of Avenue T, NE, showed a gun, then demanded money. The suspect then took off with an unknown amount of money.

He is described to be 5'9"-6'0", 150 to 180 pounds with black hair, brown eyes and scruffy facial hair. He was last seen wearing jeans, gray sweatshirt and sneakers.

Anyone with information is asked to call Polk County Crime Stoppers at 800-226-TIPS.

Playboy's Bartow local in the running for 2011 Playmate of the Year

Playboy's Bartow local in the running for 2011 Playmate of the Year

Bartow, FL - Playboy Magazine's Miss January 2010, Jaime Faith Edmondson, is a Tampa Bay local. The Bartow native, who will be 32 years old next week, is currently poised to potentially receive an even more elusive honor: be the first Playmate of the Year in the new decade. One of the twelve Playboy centerfolds from 2010, also known as Playmates, will earn the title.

After leaving Bartow to graduate from Northeast High School in Oakland Park, Florida, she stayed in the Sunshine State to major in Criminology at Florida Atlantic University.

Family remembers Polk deputy hit and killed

Family remembers Polk deputy hit and killed

Winter Haven, Florida - A Polk County Sheriff's deputy was killed Sunday morning after his patrol car was struck in the parking lot at the 7-Eleven store located at the corner of Spirit Lake Road and Recker Hwy.

60-year-old Sgt. Wes Whitmore spent 15 years with the department.

Before that, he served more than 25 with the United States Air Force.

"My dad was a very selfless person.  Probably the most selfless person I've ever known in my life," said his son, also named Wes.

Photo Gallery: Sgt. Wes Whitmore Junior

Deputies say Whitmore had just gotten out of his car at the 7-Eleven around 10:30 a.m.

That's when witnesses say a Cadillac Escalade came off the road, went through metal barriers, hit a woman and her business, before ramming into Whitmore's car as he stood next to it.

Editor of The Ledger retires at 64

Editor of The Ledger retires at 64

Lakeland, FL (AP) -- The Ledger's Executive Editor Louis M. "Skip" Perez will retire from the Lakeland newspaper next month.

Perez said Thursday he will retire Jan. 14 and plans to spend more time with his family. The paper reported the 64-year-old is its longest serving editor since being founded in 1924.