Around the Region

Published: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 6, 2008 at 12:00 a.m.

North Road will have new traffic pattern

* Students returning to the main Santa Fe Community College campus in northwest Gainesville on Monday will encounter a new traffic pattern. North Road will be partially closed.

Drivers who enter campus from NW 91st Street will be able to turn onto North Road at the gymnasium and then will be forced to make a right turn onto Service Road or a left turn into the North Parking Lot. Barricades will stop motorists from continuing east toward NW 83rd Street.

Drivers who enter North Road from NW 83rd Street will encounter barricades preventing them from reaching the North Parking Lot.

SFCC officials said the change will remain in effect during school days to improve the flow of traffic and to make it safer for students and employees to cross North Road after parking in the North Parking Lot.

- Karen Voyles

Man killed in house fire started by heater

* WINTER HAVEN - A man was killed after a space heater set his mobile home ablaze, authorities said.

The man was identified as Andre Berlise by neighbors and the Polk County Medical Examiner's Office. However, the sheriff's office has not confirmed his identity.

Neighbor Artis Washington said he tried to save Berlise and said he could hear the man inside the home as it burned and filled with smoke.

"I can't get that sound out of my head,'' Washington said. "I don't think he could see a thing in there.''

Authorities said the fire appeared to be accidental but an investigation continued.

"He was a nice man,'' said Gladys Bellman, who rented the mobile home to Berlise. "A very good man.''

-The Associated Press

Car hits bus, sending dozens to hospital

* DAVIE - One person was in critical condition and dozens more had minor injuries after a car collided with a tour bus filled with cruise ship passengers Saturday.

The crash happened at about 9:15 a.m. on Interstate 595 near the interchange with State Road 7 and Florida's Turnpike.

Florida Highway Patrol later identified the driver of the car as 37-year-old Omar Abu-Jabir and said he had been transported to Broward General Medical Center with critical injuries. It was not clear what caused Abu-Jabir to lose control of the vehicle.

The driver of the bus - which was carrying 48 passengers - was also transported to the hospital in serious condition along with approximately 30 passengers, none of whom had life-threatening injuries, according to FHP.

Braulio Rosa, a spokesman for Davie Fire Rescue, said the passengers had disembarked the Maasdam, a Holland America cruise ship, earlier Saturday, and were traveling westbound on I-595 when the crash occurred.

Paramedics and police initially said at least four people were critically injured and four others seriously injured while others sustained minor injuries.

-The Associated Press

400 pounds of WWII munitions unearthed

* ORLANDO - Officials have unearthed more than 400 pounds of World War II-era bombs and munitions from the grounds around Odyssey Middle School over the holiday break.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers planned to detonate them Saturday, and warned residents they would be hearing several large blasts.

Among the items found since Dec. 27 were about 50 bombs, several rockets, a rocket booster and a cannon.

"This shows how urgent this is,'' said Orlando City Commissioner Phil Diamond. "I don't know if everyone has grasped the magnitude of this.''

Some are still concerned.

"I'm really uneasy about it,'' said Ralph Hazlett, whose granddaughter attends the school. "How can they dig this up and say she and all the kids are safe?''

Part of the school grounds was used by the Army in the 1940s to train bombardiers for combat. The Army Corps announced its cleanup of the area during the summer.

Munitions, including unexploded ordnance, have been found throughout the area, in backyards and construction sites even outside the range boundaries.

An Orlando Sentinel investigation found that developers had been using dirt from the land within the former range throughout the entire community.

The corps plans to continue weekend excavations indefinitely.

-The Associated Press

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