Minister fined for using metal hoe to build sandcastle on Florida beach

An Alabama youth minister was fined $25 for using a metal garden hoe to dig in the sand with his 7-year-old son while on spring break in Florida’s Panhandle.

The News Herald reportED Bryant Rylee, of Moundville, was building a sandcastle on Panama City Beach with his wife and son on March 23 when a police officer approached.

Rylee said the officer told them they couldn’t use metal tools on the beach, and Rylee asked to have the law cited to him.

Police Chief Drew Whitman said Rylee was given opportunities to fill in the hole but refused. Whitman said the law was adopted following a rowdy 2015 spring break and was designed to protect against sexual assaults.

He said it wasn’t intended to “mess up somebody’s sandcastle.”

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University of Miami student, 21, found dead in apartment, police say

Miami-Dade police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old University of Miami student found dead in his apartment Wednesday night.

Nicolas De Lavalette’s body was discovered in a bathroom at about 3:30 p.m. in the 6600 block of Southwest 57th Avenue.

He was pronounced dead in the apartment.

De Lavalette’s body is being examined by the Miami-Dade County medical examiner’s office.

An initial investigation revealed that were was no trauma involved in the student’s death and no foul play was suspected.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 305-471-TIPS. 

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Florida man gets year in jail for burning girlfriend’s bunny

 A Florida man has been sentenced to a year in jail for intentionally setting a pet bunny on fire.

Local media outlets report that 23-year-old Manasseh Walker was sentenced earlier this week after a Sarasota County jury found him guilty of aggravated animal cruelty.

Authorities say Walker told deputies last June that he had burned his girlfriend’s rabbit, Thumper, but claimed it was an accident. A veterinarian who examined Thumper said the animal’s injuries weren’t consistent with Walker’s story. No one saw Walker set fire to the bunny, but witnesses say the man had claimed he was bitten by the rabbit moments earlier.

Thumper survived, but lost his ears. He now lives at a wildlife center.

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Cuba is top country for U.S. visa refusals worldwide

Cuba remains among the top countries for U.S. Visa refusals.

After the “wet foot, dry foot” policy allowing Cubans who managed to arrive to the U.S. without a visa to stay came to an end Jan. 12., the majority of Cubans who applied for a visa were denied. 

Despite the grim prospect of a nearly 82 percent rate of denial, according to the U.S. Department of State, Cubans were still vying for a chance to come to the U.S.

Ana Maria Chiroles was among dozens who were recently standing in line in front of the U.S. Embassy in Havana to apply for a tourist visa.

“I have my grandchildren there and my son,” Chiroles said. She added that a “little piece” of her heart was in the U.S. 

Chiroles’ brother Juan Chiroles, said they have no intention of staying in the U.S., so the two traveled to Havana from Artemisa to test their luck. Chilores said he owns a bakery, land and cattle. He has no need to  move, he said. They risked $160 each on application fees.  

“I think there is a possibility because I am not a possible immigrant,” a hopeful Juan Chiroles said. 

Last year, travelers from Cuba faced a lower possibility of getting a visa than any other country in the world, according to data from the U.S. Department. The possibility was less likely for Cubans than it was for travelers from countries with U.S. travel warnings related to terrorism in Afghanistan and Maurtania. 

After waiting for hours, Chiroles siblings walked out of the U.S. embassy heart broken. Their visa request was denied. 

INTERACTIVE GRAPHIC | A look at the numbers

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