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Youthful "Law and Order' caps summer for group

(ran East, South editions)

Teen prosecutors thought they had a good case against "Lizzy Lightup," who was hauled in front of a teenage judge last week for truancy and possession of marijuana. A jury of her peers found otherwise. Community Police Officer Richard Grimberg laughed when asked if Lizzy had beaten the rap through jury nullification.

"It was a legal search," Grimberg said.

It just wasn't actual.

The moot court exercise, in which prosecutors, defense attorneys and a judge coached youthful counterparts, was the latest in a string of summer outings for about 60 young people, ages 8 to 18. The Lakewood Estates Teen Council's summer program ends Thursday with a graduation ceremony at St. Petersburg Little Theater.

The group has gone to Busch Gardens, waged mud wars and other "extreme games" at the Colosseum and participated in many other activities. Revenue from a spring festival organized by the Lakewood Estates Neighborhood Watch paid part of the costs, with the youths' families picking up the balance.

Judge Lauren Laughlin will speak at Thursday's ceremony. The veterans group Am-Vets will supply a color guard and be on hand to receive a plaque or recognition from the teens. The evening will conclude with the playing of Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA.

The organization will also change its name, from the Lakewood Estates Teen Council to the St. Petersburg Youth Council. Increasing popularity accounts for the action, Officer Grimberg said, noting that participants in the summer program come from as far away as Palm Harbor.

The graduation ceremony begins at 7 p.m. at St. Petersburg Little Theater, 4025 31st St. S.

Meadowlawn neighbors are planning a September yard sale to benefit the George Lynch Elementary School PTA, which is missing more than $15,000. The Meadowlawn Neighborhood Association has donated school supplies and other items for students every year, said resident Delores Singleton.

"This year, we are also going to give them a check," she said.

Bethel Lutheran Church gave the residents permission to hold the sale on its grounds at 1801 62nd Ave. N.

Kathryn Moylan was charged in June with scheming to defraud the organization. Moylan had served as the PTA's treasurer.

City and county officials are nearing agreement over relocation plans for St. Pete BMX, a bicycle obstacle course adjoining Walter Fuller Park. A longstanding plan has the cyclists moving from city-owned property at 7751 26th Ave. N to Toytown, off Roosevelt Boulevard and Interstate 275. The city would likely replace the track with a parking lot, or possibly a soccer practice field, said Lee Metzger, the leisure services administrator.

Parks and recreation officials from the county and city will meet again Aug. 19 to discuss structure, roads, and partnership and lease agreements, said county Parks Programs Coordinator Kathy Swain.

The 26th Avenue N property has been regarded as important to redevelopment plans for Walter Fuller Park, which include a new lighted soccer field and $1.8-million in park improvements.