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Traffic at U.S. 19, Gulf-to-Bay will be altered starting tonight

CLEARWATER

Traffic at U.S. 19 and Gulf-to-Bay will be altered

There will be a significant change in traffic patterns tonight on northbound U.S. 19 where it crosses Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. The existing bridge at U.S. 19 will be completely replaced. In order to work on that job for the next 16 months, road crews will reduce U.S. 19 to two lanes in each direction where it crosses over Gulf-to-Bay. Currently there are two lanes southbound and three lanes northbound. Traffic will be shifted beginning tonight, and most motorists will notice the change on Friday morning.

Woman goes to hospital after fire

A 38-year-old woman was taken to a local hospital Tuesday night after an apartment fire broke out at 407 S Jupiter Ave. The fire in apartment No. 8 started about 9:30 p.m. Clearwater firefighters extinguished it in about 10 minutes and found that a malfunctioning bathroom fan had sparked the fire, which caused about $2,000 in damage. The unit's resident wasn't home at the time. A woman who lives in a neighboring unit was taken to a hospital to be checked for smoke inhalation.

TARPON SPRINGS

Suspect flees after fray with officer

An off-duty Clearwater police officer scuffled with a shoplifting suspect Tuesday outside a Walgreens in Tarpon Springs, authorities said. He saw a man put an item in his left front pocket and leave the store at 605 S Pinellas Ave. The officer told a clerk to call 911, then tackled the shoplifter when he tried to flee. During a struggle, the officer's gun came loose and was on the ground. The officer retrieved it, but the shoplifter escaped on a bicycle. The incident remains under investigation.

PALM HARBOR

Deputies say man used fake $20s

A 44-year-old Palm Harbor man was arrested Tuesday after deputies say he used 10 counterfeit $20 bills to buy video games at a store on U.S. 19. William Joseph Hecker of 2229 Orangeside Road is charged with 10 counts of uttering forged bills, checks, drafts or notes. Deputies say he passed the fake bills on Feb. 27 at GameStop, 33342 U.S. 19 N in Palm Harbor, where he bought the games Call of Duty, Elder Scrolls and Battlefield for a total of $155. His image was captured on the store's video surveillance system. He used 10 bills in three separate transactions, and all the bills had the same serial number, officials said.

LARGO

Come on out and play in the park

Largo Central Park will host "Play! Unplugged: Just What the Doctor Ordered" from 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday. The city is teaming up with businesses and medical professionals to emphasize the importance of free play and creativity. This family-friendly event will feature nine play stations, entertainment, healthy food vendors, drum circle performances throughout the day and train rides aboard Largo Central Railroad's miniature trains from 2-5 p.m. The Tampa Bay Rays Street Team will be present along with the Boy Scouts of America, who will assist children with tree climbing and zip lining. The free event will wrap up with a campfire around the fire circle in Largo Central Park at 101 Central Park Drive. Visit Largo.com/play unplugged or call (727) 587-6740, ext. 5014.

Traffic at U.S. 19, Gulf-to-Bay will be altered starting tonight 03/07/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 7:09pm]

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