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Today's Letters: There's another side in the congregation's story

Published May 30, 2007


Church's state of separation May 16, story

Your article failed to tell the other side of the story. Bill Martin has been upset for some time now and has tried to draw his whole congregation away from its parent denomination. Why not report on the congregation left behind?

There are a large number of members of the congregation he left that are actually celebrating their relationships with each other and with the church. I have visited with them and have been pleasantly surprised at the sense of joy and love that I found there. They recently celebrated their 40th anniversary as a church and the building was full.

Check the other side of the story. Talk to the people who refused to leave and who have stayed to build a new life and an exciting fellowship.

Wm. C. Sistar, St. Petersburg

More important issues

The hypocrisy of Bill Martin and the Presbyterian Church in general is sickening. The breaking point for these members is allowing gay ministers?

Where was this outrage when the Presbyterian Church called for a universal divestment from Israel? Was the pastor not compelled to leave after some delegates of the Presbyterian Church made repeated trips to Beirut to visit with members of Hezbollah?

Take off the homosexuality blinders and look around. There are much more important issues in the world today. The breaking point for any decent, God-fearing person should be the Presbyterian Church's unmitigated, unabashed anti-Semitism.

Timothy Hobbs, Pinellas Park

City draws a line in the sky May 18, story

High-rise doesn't belong

I would like to commend the Times for its comprehensive coverage of the controversy over Fuel Development Group Inc.'s proposal for a 33-story hotel/condo sandwiched between two nationally registered historic districts. Writers Aaron Sharockman and Paul Swider hit the nail right on the head. Specifically ringing true was the statement that "the residents' victory was as much a declaration for hometown rule as it was a condemnation of 300-foot towers."

The Environmental Development Commission received hundreds of letters in opposition to this proposal. This was not a NIMBY (not in my back yard) issue. Many groups stood with the immediately affected neighbors, from CONA and St. Pete Preservation to the National Trust for Historic Places.

This ill-conceived plan was offensive to the hundreds of citizens (local developers, planners and businesses included) who participated in the Vision 20/20 plan that will help guide development going forward. Committed volunteers also assisted in the rewriting of Local Development Regulations. By volunteering their time and giving input, this extraordinary effort produced a plan that most could live with.

St. Petersburg now has all the attributes of a great city: historic neighborhoods, beautiful parks, a jewel of a waterfront, universities, museums and, most importantly, a sense of place. Gone are the days of rolling out the red carpet for any developers who want to impose their "vision" on the city.

We already have a vision and it is thoughtful, responsible and, most importantly, ours. The EDC ruled correctly by denying the proposal and should the issue be appealed to the City Council, they should do the same.

Beth Connor, St. Petersburg

Kudos for taking stand

The Old Northeast Neighborhood Association is to be commended for standing up to the city and developers seeking to alter the core of our neighborhoods.

The Eagle Civic Association has, for the past two years, been fighting commercial/high-density development moving into our residential neighborhoods. We've put forward the very same arguments: increased density; excess traffic/parking congestion; encroachment into residential areas.

What is the subtle difference? The project in Old Northeast meets the zoning requirements. The land use of the property Eagle Crest is suing the city of St. Petersburg over is not zoned for the uses the city and the developer "wish" it to have (66th Street and Ninth Avenue N).

Where was the EDC when we presented the same exact arguments, with more than sufficient data and the passion-filled voices of the people of west St. Petersburg? We are forced to find our answer in a court of law.

Meanwhile, citizens of St. Petersburg, fight on!

Lance Lubin, president, Eagle Crest Civic Association, St. Petersburg

Hospital gave dad dignity

I am called to give tribute to the caring professionals at the Bay Pines VA Medical Center and hospice unit. My father, George Walter Ott, had been cared for at the hospital for about 10 years before he died in January.

My father, a Korean War veteran, was shown dignity and honor while being treated at Bay Pines. They called him a "precious receiver" of care and they thanked him for his service to this great county. They gave quality heath care and then helped him cope with the end of his life with dignity.

The care workers showed great compassion and gave from their hearts care that we as a country can be proud of. Their accomplishments are rarely recognized, but I will remain forever grateful for them.

Helen Stellrecht, Seminole

Help report litterers

For the past 20 years, almost every Sunday morning I have picked up three to four bags of litter along 98th Street from 86th Avenue to 94th Avenue. For the past two weeks, someone has been throwing newspapers all along the corner of 86th Avenue and 98th Street.

On Mother's Day, there were papers on both sides of the bridge that goes over the Seminole Canal, and I felt so sad while I picked them up.

Please help us by reporting anyone you see littering. You can take a picture of their tag with your cell camera or write it down and call the Pinellas Sheriff's Office at (727) 582-6200.

Let us keep our city beautiful.

Mary Anne Hamilton, Seminole


We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters To The Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. They can be sent by fax to (727) 893-8675 or through our Web site at: They should be brief and must include the writer's name, address and phone number. Please include a handwritten signature when possible. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. We regret that not all letters can be published.

[Last modified May 29, 2007, 20:14:52]

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