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Letters to the Editors

Marine events bill will lead to torturous airboat noise


© St. Petersburg Times
published April 13, 2003

Editor: In SB 1012 Airboats, State Sen. Anna Cowin inserted "airboats must be operated at a noise level no greater than 90 decibels at 50 feet" in amendment of State Statute 327.65. I was totally deceived.

I have discovered that SB1012 Airboats was nothing more than a decoy bill placed on the Web to encourage support for the actual substituted bill, Vessel Noise Control SB 1012c1 that was passed by the Natural Resource Committee.

Airboat victims encouraged the Natural Resource Committee to pass the decoy bill, 1012 Airboats, not realizing that they were, in reality, asking for the passage of a substituted bill that made it legal for severe increase of airboat sound.

The substitute bill is so bad that the cosponsor, Sen. Mike Fasano, removed his name from Vessel Noise Control SB 1012c1.

A bait-and-switch technique encouraged the passage of SB 1012c1 allowing airboat organizations to have "marine events" on a regular basis with airboats that can legally use cutouts on all the boats in the event.

This means that airboaters will be able to categorize all their airboating activities as marine events and with the cutout arrangement subject airboat victim homeowners to the full intensive, unaltered engine exhaust sound emitted from each airboat which is about 140 decibels (state documented) or more.

Now the number of airboats that take part in events is not less than 20 but usually 40 to 60 for a nonstop duration of usually 14 to 18 or more hours, day and night.

If SB 1012c1 passes, all the local ordinances will be null and void, and it will be perfectly legal to subject homeowners to sounds that can only be compared to those emitted by a jet-propelled plane but in numbers of from 20 to 60 at one time. The number of homeowners who will be able to survive this onslaught of torturous sound is minimal.

Call all the members of the Judiciary Committee, Anna Cowin and any other senator or representative to please kill this bill. Have mercy on the poor homeowner victims.
-- Gertrude C. Dickinson, Lake Panasoffkee

Family thanks center for its warm care of patient

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following letter is to the entire staff of the Healthcenter of Brentwood and reprinted at the author's request.

Editor: The family of Alfred P. Fields would like to extend a sincere thank you for the care he received during his stay at Brentwood.

Who was Al Fields? He was an active and independent tall man, a husband, a father and the best grandpa a child could wish for. During the last two weeks of his life he was able to make big strides to overcome a very sudden illness. At Brentwood, the staff cared; they encouraged him and worried when something did not seem right.

The very last week of his life was spent in one of our local hospitals. At the hospital he was just another old man in a bed. Staff, when asked, could not answer simple questions. They even stated, I have others to care for, I do not have time to answer questions, or He is not my patient, I do not know if there is a difference, I have not seen him before. There was not any consistency of nursing care. But then, no one seemed to care!

On Wednesday evening, Dad stated to his son, "I want to go back to Brentwood. They give you hugs when you go to bed, hugs when they wake you up at night." His son replied, "As soon as you can, you will go back to Brentwood. The staff will encourage you so that you will be able to go home again." Dad replied to his son, as he did every night when his son left for the evening, "Drive slow; I love you."

That was the last thing Al Fields was able to say to his son. On Thursday, at the local hospital an event occurred that went virtually undetected by the nursing staff. Even then, a nursing assistant said, Hurry up Mr. Fields, I have six other patients to care for. ... But Al Fields could no longer move, could no longer speak.

On Friday, Al was transported back to Brentwood to die. He received those hugs he asked for. He received the care he deserved; he was not just an old man in a bed, a room number.

He was Mr. Alfred P. Fields, a tall man, a husband, a father, a grandpa.

He was able to die with the dignity and respect he deserved.

His family at his side and a staff that understood. Thank you for allowing us to have those last moments with him.

With sincere thanks and gratitude to those special people who make the Healthcenter at Brentwood what it is.
-- The Family of Alfred P. Fields, Beverly Hills

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