Woman accused of paying teen for sex

Detectives are accusing Rebecca McGraw of paying a 15-year-old boy upwards of $300 for sexual encounters.

McGraw worked as an assistant manager at the apartment complex where the boy lived.  Detectives said the 38-year-old woman also allowed him to use her credit card and let him drive her car. 

Zahadi Ortis, a resident at the apartment complex, said she couldn’t believe the child sex abuse allegations. 

“She’s always so super kind and sweet,” Ortis said. 

The boy’s mother reported the alleged child sex abuse to police officers, after she found a text message in her son’s phone.

According St. Lucie County Detective Joe Norkus the message said the boy needed to seek out medical attention for a possible sexually transmitted disease. 

Local 10 News’ partner ABC affiliate WPBF News contributed to this report. 

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Florida Gov. oks end to tampon tax, approves 2 tax holidays

Florida Gov. Rick Scott on Thursday signed a $180 million tax cut package that will eliminate taxes charged on tampons and will create two sales tax holidays that will be held over the next three months.

Scott approved the bill even though state legislators gave the Republican governor far less than what he had initially asked for in January.

“Every time we cut taxes, we are encouraging businesses of all sizes to create opportunities for families across the state and more money is put back in taxpayers’ pockets,” said Scott in a statement.

The tax cut package creates a three-day “back-to-school” tax holiday in August where residents can purchase tax-free clothes that cost $60 or less. The tax holiday, which will be held Aug. 4 through Aug. 6, will also cover school supplies costing $15 or less and computers that cost $750 or less.

There will also be a three-day period during the first weekend in June to allow residents to purchase storm preparation supplies tax-free. Batteries, flashlights, portable generators costing $750 or less are on the list of items that will be exempt from Florida’s 6 percent sales tax.

Starting in January, the new law will make feminine hygiene products such as tampons and menstrual pads tax-exempt. Florida is joining 13 states and the District of Columbia that exempt taxes on the sale of feminine hygiene products or have enacted laws to exempt these products in the future.

“This common sense legislation will result in a tax savings for women all over the state who purchase these necessary products,” said Sen. Kathleen Passidomo, the Naples Republican who pushed for the exemption.

Scott had initially asked the GOP-controlled Florida Legislature to pass a hefty $618 million tax cut package that included a 25 percent reduction in the sales tax charged on commercial rents. Scott also wanted the “back-to-school” sales tax holiday to last 10 days and he wanted a three-day sales tax holiday for military veterans. The governor also asked for a one-year elimination of sales taxes charged on college textbooks.

Legislators ignored, or greatly scaled back Scott’s recommendations. They decided to cut the sales tax on commercial rent by only 3 percent.

Republican legislators rejected a Scott plan to use a rise in local property taxes to pay for an increase to public schools. Instead they put together a new state budget that calls for a slight cut in local property taxes that go to schools. They also placed on the 2018 ballot a measure that would increase the state’s homestead exemption for property taxes if approved by voters.

Scott, however, has hinted he may veto the budget, which would force legislators back to the state capital later this year.

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Dr. Beach names Florida’s Siesta Beach best beach in U.S.

The sand on Siesta Beach on Florida’s Gulf Coast is as fine as powdered sugar, a pure, sparkling white and soft as a kitten’s fur — all because it’s comprised of 99 percent pure crushed quartz.

For that reason, and many others, it was selected this year as the best beach in America by a professor who’s made a career ranking and studying beaches around the United States.

“The sand is outstanding,” said Stephen Leatherman, aka Dr. Beach, a professor at Miami’s Florida International University. “Every time I go there, I’ve got to take a bag home with me. It’s almost sacrilegious to walk on it with shoes on.”

Other beaches that made the list this year, in order of ranking, are: Kapalua Bay Beach in Maui, Hawaii; Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina; Grayton Beach State Park on the Florida Panhandle; Coopers Beach in Southampton, New York; Coast Guard Beach on Cape Cod in Massachusetts; Caladesi Island State Park in Dunedin/Clearwater, Florida; Hapuna Beach State Park, Big Island, Hawaii; Coronado Beach in San Diego, California; and Beachwalker Park on Kiawah Island, South Carolina.

On a recent workday, Siesta Beach was packed with people, even though it wasn’t particularly sunny. The turquoise water was still gorgeous, the sand still fine. The beach is about 200-300 feet (60-90 meters) wide in some places, which means people can stretch out and not feel crowded. The beach was last year’s runner up and one of three in Florida on this year’s top 10 list.

“It’s nice and clean, that’s what I look for,” said Jamie Gaskin, a 59-year-old retiree from Lakeland, Florida, who was scoping out the beach for a family Memorial Day party. She especially liked the two-story pavilion, which boasts a snack bar and restrooms. It’s only two years old and even offers sweet crepes for breakfast and tapas dishes in the early evening.

“There’s plenty of tables to barbecue and to hang out. And the restrooms were nice and clean. I’d definitely recommend this,” she said.

Siesta Beach is on a barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico, and is located just southwest of downtown Sarasota. The water is placid on most days — Leatherman says you can measure the waves “in inches” — and is shallow and safe for swimming, with no sharp drop-offs. Added bonuses include lots of parking, a trolley service to and from the island’s adorable downtown area and plenty of lifeguards. The beach also has natural dunes, which is a bit rare for Florida, and the fine sand is excellent for building sand castles.

“I look for kind of a balance between nature and a developed environment,” said Leatherman, who lives on the other side of the state, closer to Miami Beach. “Fourteen million people go to Miami Beach every year. There’s just too many people there. I think a lot of people are looking for more of a getaway.”

Leatherman, who is director of the Laboratory for Coastal Research at Florida International University, uses about 50 criteria to assess and rank beaches across the country. In recent years, he has given extra points to beaches that prohibit smoking, saying cigarette butts are not only environmentally damaging, but can ruin the experience for beach-goers. Safety and environmental management are other major factors, he said.

He’s rated beaches since 1991.

The Maui beach that came in at No. 2 on the list, Kapalua Bay Beach, is smaller than Siesta Beach. It’s crescent-shaped and flanked by palm trees. Unlike lots of Hawaii beaches, there aren’t many waves at Kapalua, he said, making it perfect for safe swimming.

“The coral reefs almost go right to the beach. There are tropical fish swimming all around.”

The third beach on the list, Ocracoke, is unique in both history and location. Leatherman points out that it was once the pirate Blackbeard’s old haunt. And it’s only accessible by a state ferry.

“The only negative I have, it seems like too many cars,” he said. “I wish they would turn car ferries to pedestrian ferries.”

Leatherman says he tries to select locations that are a bit off the beaten path, yet immensely rewarding once visitors arrive. Siesta Beach, he points out, is an outstanding place to watch the sun dip below the Gulf horizon — one more reason why it made the top of this year’s list.

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Walt Disney World housekeeper arrested for stealing

A Walt Disney World housekeeper is facing charges after investigators said she stole money during an undercover sting. 

Detectives said surveillance cameras caught Mayra Burgos stealing from rooms inside Disney’s Old Key West Resort. 

The investigation came after Disney security noticed a high number of reported thefts from rooms Burgos serviced. 

According to an arrest report, investigators placed $20 on a nightstand and caught Burgos taking the money after cleaning the room.

Burgos was arrested and has since bonded out of jail. 

 

 

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Walt Disney World housekeeper arrested for stealing

A Walt Disney World housekeeper is facing charges after investigators said she stole money during an undercover sting. 

Detectives said surveillance cameras caught Mayra Burgos stealing from rooms inside Disney’s Old Key West Resort. 

The investigation came after Disney security noticed a high number of reported thefts from rooms Burgos serviced. 

According to an arrest report, investigators placed $20 on a nightstand and caught Burgos taking the money after cleaning the room.

Burgos was arrested and has since bonded out of jail. 

 

 

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