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    Letters to the Editors

    List of driving shortcuts a disservice to some folks

    © St. Petersburg Times
    published June 6, 2002

    Re: Savvy drivers find ways to shorten commutes, story, May 26.

    As an 18-year subscriber to your paper, I feel an intense obligation to tell you how thoroughly disgusted, angry and disappointed I am after this ridiculous article enumerating shortcuts for people to get to work. Why is this information important to all of your subscribers?

    Do you have any idea how angry and disgusted all the residents are who live in the shortcut areas? Many of these people are already angry at those who cut through, and now hundreds more know about them.

    We live in Highland Lakes, an over-55 community of 2,500 homes, and Highlands Boulevard goes completely through the community in one direction or another. It just so happens we live on Highlands Boulevard right where the reporter tells people to go to get to Tampa Road.

    We already have extremely heavy traffic because of more than 200 school bus trips per day, all the parents four times a day, teachers twice a day, plus all the other school employees, semitrailer trucks and our own residents, who often have a very difficult time getting onto Highlands from their side streets. We have pollution from the starting and stopping of vehicles, speeding, loud stereos and general congestion.

    Highlands Boulevard is home to two schools. The speed limit is 30 mph most of the way, and the street is double yellow-lined in many areas (which is ignored). There have been four accidents in the last 11/2 years in just the 1/8-mile space of Highlands where we live.

    It is totally beyond my imagination how you could print such an article, much less the boxed listing of shortcuts. I'm sure I speak for many hundreds of people who feel as my husband and I do.
    -- Eleanor Lanz, Palm Harbor

    Responsible boat owners don't abuse sandbar

    Re: Father, son arrested in sandbar squabble, story, May 29.

    Regarding the sandbar where the father and son reportedly destroyed signs put up to protect endangered birds from dogs and boaters: I have no idea whether they are guilty of arson, a felony and misdemeanor criminal mischief; but it seems to me that the state officials are bending over backward to try to work out a solution and appease the boaters while at the same time protect these endangered birds and their nests.

    If a responsible boat owner wishes to let his dog romp and run free, then let him take it to one of the many dog bark-parks we now have for that purpose. If a responsible boat owner wants to build a fire to cook his dinner, let him go to the wonderful Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs or others in the area such as Sunset Beach.

    I love the water and have had boats, and I adore dogs (I have three); but to purposely try and upset officials with an "I'll show them" is childish when you need them on your side. It seems to be counterproductive to the Save Our Sandbar cause, and invites fines and jail time. Sometimes compromise is the best solution.

    Birds have a voice to sing with. We have a voice to speak up for these endangered creatures.
    -- Meredith Brown, Palm Harbor

    Water rules must be clear and enforced across the board

    I refer to your May 30 story, Patrols enforce watering rules, and also to other recent articles about the overuse, misuse and plain wasting of water, including reclaimed water.

    Yes, please enforce the watering rules, and include those many areas of government-owned greenery which are being watered in complete disregard for watering rules.

    I also include large, condominium-type expanses of multifamily town houses, etc. Many of these appear to have improperly set controls, so perhaps a possible water violation is less expensive than overtime pay for a maintenance engineer to reset the controls.

    We know that the above is simply part of human nature, the "I'll do what I want to" syndrome, but another part of human nature is to act without checking the details. I know that your staff writer included Pinellas County Utilities in the story, but it was printed in the Clearwater Times, and I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that many Clearwater citizens reset their sprinkler controls before realizing that a Pinellas County water user who lives in Clearwater is not a "Pinellas County water customer."
    -- R.J. Radford, Clearwater

    Those who wish for foreign culture should buy a plane ticket

    Re: Learning to speak Australian takes time, mall owner says, story, May 24.

    Our country is flooded with foreign cars, clothes, electronics and road design such as our famous Clearwater Beach roundabout. Now Australia comes along and wants us to call our malls "shoppingtowns."

    Then they suggest that learning Australian takes time. Well, who wants to speak it, anyway? I'm an American, not an Australian. What happened to all our tried and true American ways, such as thought, tradition, individualism and our way of life? Why is it so important for some to think that we have to be just like Europe and other foreign countries?

    If these countries and their lifestyles and ideals are so desirable, you know what I say: There are planes leaving every day. After all, isn't the reason our forefathers settled here -- to have a new beginning?

    Now everyone seems to feel that if it doesn't have a made-in-somewhere-else label, it's no good, it's not cool. I feel that our United States are being sold right out from beneath us, and it is not right.
    -- Steven Kelly, Clearwater

    Thanks for uplifting article on Planting the Seed program

    I am writing to commend you on the front page of the May 29 Largo Times. For the first time in a long while, the whole page was filled with upbeat and informative news.

    The write-up about the Planting the Seed program that the St. Paul School has initiated was not only enlightening -- I had no idea what happened to the little flags (placed on graves at Memorial Day ceremonies) after they were used -- but it was a joy to read about the young students helping and learning such hands-on lessons that will no doubt stay with them long after written lessons are forgotten. It also was wonderful to note how many of the parents who were available gave of their time and energy, as well.

    I plan to send this article to my grandson in Georgia, who will be entering the sixth grade in the fall. Perhaps he will share it with his school and get a similar project started.
    -- Nancy A. VanWinkle, Largo

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