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Evacuation alerts could be better - and louder

Letters to the Editor
Published September 25, 2005

We have lived in Largo since July 2000. In the five hurricane seasons since then, and for the prior 21 years that I lived on St. Pete Beach, I have never heard siren or bull horn warnings about evacuation alerts - only radio or television warnings.

Both of those are great if there is no interruption of electrical power and people have no other interests except TV surfing.

We live in a manufactured home community and evacuation is mandatory, but official notification is hit or miss. I am not an authority on any of this, but I would think if we can renourish beaches and rebuild homes destroyed by hurricanes, we could design and utilize localized evacuation signals loud enough for everyone to hear. If one doesn't care to evacuate, no one can help you anyway. If you care enough to heed warnings, you should be given every opportunity to exercise that right.

When we moved into our community, Island in the Sun on Starkey Road in Largo, the clubhouse was touted by salespeople and management as a designated shelter. About three years ago, due to concerns about liability, that designation was canceled by mutual consent between the Largo Fire Department and park management. We now must evacuate or be cited.

At nearly 80 and 76, we don't want to start a criminal career by disobeying orders, but we need early warnings from someone in legal authority who will stand the consequences of misuse of that authority.

-- William G. Fulton, Largo

Diocese's hiring worker put children at risk

Re: Deputies: Worker asked boy for sex, story, Sept. 22.

I am outraged that a criminal of this magnitude was allowed to be anywhere near children. The comments by the spokeswoman for the Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg were inane and thoughtless. When questioned about the employee's file, her only comment was that "they were very pleased with his work." Am I to think that a molester of children cannot be good at his job? And furthermore, who cares?

The diocese should be held completely responsible for putting the children in the community at risk. And where are the personal reference checks, not only criminal background checks? You mean to tell me that no one who knew this man could tell the diocese that he was of ill character? Someone should have asked!

-- Christina Lacey, Dunedin

Charity still planning for assisted living residence

Re: Builders retract Menorah Manor plan, story, Sept. 13.

Menorah Manor, a major community-sponsored charity and highly regarded health care organization in the Tampa Bay region, is still planning an assisted living residence on our Belcher Road property in Palm Harbor.

Unfortunately, the above referenced article stated that we are finished with this project. As stated to the reporter, the withdrawal of the application for a development agreement (not a rezoning) is only temporary; more time is needed to complete the design and also to see what the effects of Katrina will be on construction costs.

Twenty years ago, Menorah Manor opened a nursing and rehabilitation center, and recently an assisted living facility, in St. Petersburg, and has provided much high-quality care to Tampa Bay's frail elderly, regardless of ability to pay.

Menorah Manor looks forward to resubmitting its application to build an assisted living residence, not a medical facility, to meet the growing needs of the elderly in northern Pinellas County. We do not have a builder or developer, as the article incorrectly stated. Menorah Manor is an arm of the community that plans and executes services for the elderly who need help. We pride ourselves on representing the needs of the community and look forward to meeting our new neighbors.

-- Marshall Seiden, CEO, Menorah Manor, St. Petersburg [Last modified September 25, 2005, 02:15:40]

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