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    Pinellas digest

    Parks board likes smoking ban

    By Times staff writer
    © St. Petersburg Times
    published April 17, 2003

    OLDSMAR -- A proposed smoking ban at Bicentennial Park is one step closer to reality. The city's Board of Parks and Recreation voted 6-1 Monday to recommend that the City Council ban smoking at the park -- home to a new 4,000-square-foot skate park, tennis and basketball courts, a playground and a fitness trail.

    The park also has a teen recreation center. Some people have complained teenagers gather outside the center and smoke. The City Council will vote on making the park smoke-free next month. Lynn Rives, director of parks and recreation, said Bicentennial was the logical choice because it is primarily used by youth. It also is one of 50 sites in the country chosen for a pilot Hearts 'N Parks program, which uses parks to spread information on better health. Pat Lamphear, who voted against the smoking ban, questioned how the city would enforce it.

    "I think it's a good idea, but children -- a lot of values they get (from parents) at home," said Lamphear, a nonsmoker. "You can't police it." Rives has said signs declaring the park smoke-free would go up, but enforcement would be the honor system. The ban could be in place by June, before summer camps start.

    Accident closes part of U.S. 19

    PALM HARBOR -- A three-car accident closed northbound and southbound lanes of U.S. 19 for about 30 minutes Wednesday morning. Two people were injured in the accident which occurred at the southbound lanes of the 33000 block of U.S. 19 just after 10 a.m., said Tom Fritz, district chief of Palm Harbor Fire Rescue. One person was taken to the hospital by helicopter with injuries that were not life threatening. The other person was taken to the hospital by ambulance.

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