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THURSDAY, AUGUST 2, 2007
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Police: Teen painted slurs at golf course in Florence

FLORENCE (AP) — Police have arrested a Florence teenager who is accused of vandalizing the municipal golf course by spray-painting racial slurs before a tournament that involved minority golfers.

Florence detective Kevin Jackson said Jake Adam White, 18, was arrested Tuesday on criminal mischief and burglary charges. White was placed in the Lauderdale County Detention Center, accused of spray-painting walls, buildings and at the practice putting green and driving range at Blackberry Trail.

According to event organizers, the spray-painting incident angered many of the golfers, some of whom left the golf course before tournament activities were completed Saturday.

“We’re embarrassed by it all,” said James Barnett, a member of the Muscle Shoals Golf Association, which sponsored the tournament. “It’s a terrible thing, and it’s a shame our visitors were exposed to that.”

Barnett said 120 golfers participated, with most of those being residents from Huntsville, Decatur, Chattanooga and Columbia, Tenn.

Florence Mayor Bobby Irons said he has met with members of the golf association and apologized.

Barnett said he and others were concerned that golf course workers didn’t apologize Saturday.

“You can’t talk about attracting tourism here, then something like this happens and you don’t address it,” he said.

Parks and Recreation Department Director Tina Kitchens said about $5,500 worth of damage was done at the golf course Saturday. He said workers removed the spray-painted words.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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