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Woman accused of check-writing scam

CLEARWATER _ A Clearwater woman is accused of taking advantage of a 100-year-old woman by writing checks from the elderly woman's account. Alice Lampkin Long, 48, was arrested by Clearwater police Thursday and charged with financial exploitation of an elderly person, according to records at the Pinellas County Jail. The woman is not being named to protect her from potential thefts. Records gave these details: Long ran a business at her home, 1100 Jackson Road in Clearwater, in which she cared for the elderly. The woman stayed there for an unspecified period of time up until June 1989 and put Long's name on her checking account while she lived there. When she left, however, Long wrote a total of $2,685 worth of checks off the account without the woman's permission. The money taken from the account did not benefit the woman. Long was being held at the jail Thursday in lieu of $500 bail.

Clearwater board rejects restroom site

CLEARWATER _ A city plan to build restrooms on the Holiday Inn Surfside's property was turned down by the Development Code Adjustment Board on Thursday. City officials plan to build three new restroom facilities on Clearwater Beach for up to $65,000. They would be on the beach near the parking lot on S Gulfview Avenue, near Rockaway Pier and near the Holiday Inn Surfside. The city wanted to put the restrooms on the hotel property because the alternative was to use city-owned land where officials have proposed building a parking lot. The parking lot would be at the western end of Marianne Street. But the board voted 5-0 against the request, saying that the restrooms should go on public property, because they are public restrooms. Assistant City Manager Charles Hunsicker said the restrooms would be built about 10 feet south of the original site, which would remove about four spaces from the public parking lot. The board voted to allow the construction of the S Gulfview restrooms. The third set did not require board approval.

PSTA scraps new rules on complaints

LARGO _ The Pinellas bus system plans to abandon its new rules for counting complaints. The Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) last month reported a 44 percent drop in complaints from October to November. But that was partly because, under new rules, the PSTA was not counting 17 complaints it considered "unverifiable." PSTA officials defined unverifiable as complaints that were anonymous or did not contain a bus number or the time the problem happened and therefore could not be traced to a driver. The St. Petersburg Times reported that board members were not told about the new rules and that some complaints were counted as "unverifiable" even though they did not fit the definition. David T. Welch, a PSTA board member, said that looked like "manipulation of information." Now, the PSTA is scrapping the new rules. PSTA Executive Director Larry Newman wrote to the board Thursday that separating unverifiable complaints was "easier said than done . . . we will henceforth report only total complaints received."

Largo teen dies in Alligator Alley accident

LARGO _ A 16-year-old Largo resident was killed in a head-on collision early Thursday while driving along Alligator Alley near Naples, the Florida Highway Patrol said. Benny Gilley died at the scene, a highway patrol spokeswoman said from Naples. The highway patrol gave these details: Gilley, of 18361 Cross St., was driving a 1972 Pontiac west on Alligator Alley 20 miles east of Naples about 7:20 a.m. Gilley, who was not wearing a seat belt, veered into the eastbound lane. The driver of a semitrailer truck coming in the opposite direction attempted to avoid Gilley's car by steering onto the shoulder, but the vehicles collided. The Pontiac was destroyed. Damage to the truck was estimated at about $250. The driver of the truck, Emory Jones of Miami, was wearing a seat belt and was uninjured. No charges were filed Thursday.