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North Pinellas briefs

By Times staff

© St. Petersburg Times, published December 12, 2000

Kids give rolling welcome to new skate park

DUNEDIN -- The Stirling skate park in Dunedin is open. The park, built with the help of a $100,000 grant from the Florida Recreation Development Assistance program, opened Monday to more than 50 youngsters.

"It's pretty cool," said Nick Cramer, 16. "I give it at least an 8."

The 10,000-square-foot park, which sits on concrete, has platforms and rails designed to withstand bangs and crashes. Skaters, however, must wear helmets to be admitted and also must sign waivers.

"There are so many kids out here who are experienced skaters that they police themselves and abide by normal skate park rules," said Betty Haynes, program coordinator for the Sterling Recreation Center.

Admission is free for parkgoers with a Dunedin recreation identification card. Cards cost $5 for Dunedin residents and are good for two years. Non-residents pay $55 for one year. Cards also are good for the 275 other Dunedin recreational programs.

Chlorine leaks under fountain, injures two

CLEARWATER -- The Pinellas County Hazardous Materials team responded to a leak at the Clearwater Beach roundabout Monday morning, when chlorine seeped from the underground mechanical rooms beneath the large oval fountain in the roundabout's center.

Two contractors doing routine maintenance reported the leak in the fountain's chlorine-injection system at about 10 a.m., after they became sick from a plume of chlorine fumes. The two men, whose names were not available, were treated at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater for minor injuries from exposure to the chlorine, which can irritate the eyes and respiratory system, said Pete Huffman, the Clearwater Fire Department's assistant training chief.

Part of the roundabout's outside lane was closed to traffic while hazardous materials team members donned bubble suits and entered the fountain's underground vaults to ventilate the chlorine fumes. The scene was cleared at about 12:40 p.m.

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