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Replace ignorance about homeless with caring

Letters to the Editor
Published February 4, 2007


Panhandling in schools threatens safety of kids Jan. 31, letter

I was appalled by the letter written by a woman distressed about the homeless at her preschool. What irritated me most was her perception of the dangers they posed to her safety. Unfortunately, this is a misconception held by most.

These unfortunate people, and, yes, they are people, are down on their luck. They are not rapists, murderers or robbers. They are homeless for a host of reasons, which include lack of housing, lack of resources and lack of job skills. Many of them are veterans who have served this country, and often they are mentally ill people with no place to go.

Have a little compassion. As a member of King of Peace MCC, we as a group feed the homeless every month. In most cases this is the only hot meal they will get for a week. The homeless we encounter are thankful, appreciative and well mannered.

It would do the letter writer good to volunteer at St. Vincent de Paul, as we do, so she would have a heightened awareness of the needs and the plight of the homeless in St. Petersburg.

Aimee Gallucci, St. Petersburg


Uncomfortably close

I read about the tent city set up in St. Petersburg by the homeless and wondered: What do we do with the homeless people in this area? I more specifically wonder what to do about the homeless people in my own back yard.

I live in Palm Harbor in a subdivision off U.S. 19. There is a wooded area between U.S. 19 and my back yard where several homeless people are living. We first noticed they were there last summer when we could see their tents from U.S. 19. The police came and made them move.

We thought they were gone but didn't know for sure until about two months ago, when we had our back doors open and heard them screaming obscenities and threatening one another on and off for more than two hours.

The police told us they know that this is a problem. They make them leave, but they keep returning. We've seen these men crossing U.S. 19 and figure that they are working for the day labor agency across the street. We've seen them numerous times going into the woods carrying cases of beer.

We bought this house a little over a year ago and moved onto what we thought was a quiet cul-de-sac so our children could play outside without worries. We have no idea who these men and women are. Are they criminals? Pedophiles? Mentally unstable? We realize that not all homeless people are these things, but maybe these people are.

Years ago when my parents lived in Tarpon Springs, there were homeless people in the woods behind their house also. My brother works in Clearwater and there are homeless people in the woods behind his office.

The point of my letter is that it's not just 50 tents in an empty lot in St. Petersburg. The problem is all over this county, and I'm willing to bet most people don't realize it. I doubt the people who live across the street from me have any idea that we have this problem in our neighborhood simply because the homeless aren't in their back yard.

This is a huge problem that needs attention. I have no idea what the solution is, but then I'm not an elected government official. I just want to feel safe in my own home.

Shelly Worden, Palm Harbor


Bread isn't for the birds 

Feeding her feathered friends Feb. 1, photo

According to the photo caption, this woman feeds bread to the seagulls on an almost daily basis at Demens Landing in St. Petersburg.

I am sure she thinks she is doing something good for these birds, but that is just the opposite. Seabirds' bodies are designed to digest fish, not bread.

Bread contains flour, salt, high fructose corn syrup and a host of other preservatives and additives. A steady diet of bread will compromise a seabird's immune system and that will lead to disease and death.

So please don't mislead the public with pictures in your newspaper glorifying this activity.

Kathy LaDuke, St. Pete Beach


Real story of Bay Pines

I have been a volunteer at Bay Pines VA Medical Center for years and I see how well my fellow veterans are treated. The caregivers in the wards, clinics and nursing home are loving and compassionate. The housekeepers keep the place shining and clean, and our director is a hands-on manager who really cares for the patients.

I resent the constant negative headlines by people who have no idea what they are talking about.

A disagreement between doctors over research problems has nothing to do with the care of the thousands of veterans who come through our doors every day.

I am sure that you can always find someone who has a gripe, but I hear constant compliments from patients about how well they have been treated.

If we have a problem, it is the sheer volume of happy people, glad to have such a nice facility, who overwhelm our limited parking areas.

Perhaps someone on your staff could spend the day interviewing our patients and get the real story of Bay Pines.

Robert A. Stanton, Seminole


Anti-Muslim? Not really 

Anonymous anti-Muslim flier raises ire Jan. 29, story

One gets the feeling that Joel Harper saw an opportunity to get his name in the news by being politically correct and raising a stink over the so-called anti-Muslim fliers.

The fliers state a person's opinion on what the writer thinks some - I repeat, some - Muslims might be planning. This is the flier writer's opinion.

You would think that if a person really believes the United States is in danger, he would feel obligated to warn his neighbors.

Mr. Harper could have just tossed the flier. I get fliers every day.

I don't try to use them to make myself look good in the media.

Pat Pearlman, Largo


[Last modified February 3, 2007, 20:30:47]

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