Todays Letters: All welcome, no strings attached

Letters to the Editor
Published December 13, 2007

Winter Wonderland and Scientology

I am the chairperson of Clearwater Community Volunteers and our group is proud to continue to help the families in our community enjoy the holiday spirit.

Now in its 15th year, Winter Wonderland is produced annually by the Clearwater Community Volunteers (CCV) of the Church of Scientology and is constructed and manned by our hundreds of volunteers. More than 12,000 residents and children visit the vibrant village each year and join in fun-filled family treats such as cookie decorating with Mrs. Claus, photos with Santa Claus, a petting zoo, pony rides, bouncy house, blowup slide and playground.

Winter Wonderland is a charity drive that collects food and toys for families and children, including the Homeless Emergency Project. This year, CCV is providing a special day for the special needs kids of Safety Harbor Middle School. Many of their students do not get opportunities to experience things as some other children do and the school takes the students out to familiarize them with what is available to them in the community.

Also starting this year, donations and care packages will be given through the "Adopt a Platoon" organization to our servicemen deployed in Baghdad. We have committed to supporting these courageous men and women through May 2009.

Winter Wonderland is a treat for children of all ages. We have live stage entertainment that runs during the entire event and includes Sonny LaRosa's "America's Youngest Jazz Band," Eve Dupont Marionettes, the Storytellers, the Tricky Dogs show, and several nights of audience karaoke. The highlight was Dec. 11th, which featured the lively music of the Jive Aces, a world famous jive-swing band that has performed at Royal Albert Hall, the Apollo Theatre and the House of Blues.

Winter Wonderland village is open to everyone. Admission is free, but guests are asked to bring a nonperishable food item or unwrapped new toy. Winter Wonderland is at Drew Street and Fort Harrison Avenue and will be open from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. week nights and 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekends through Dec. 21.

Joanie Sigal, Clearwater

Scientology using seasonal cult tool letter by David Rodman, Dec. 5

Get into true spirit of season

Let me preface by saying I am not a Scientologist.

I wonder if the letter writer warning people against Scientology's Winter Wonderland, calling it a "tool for deceiving the public," has ever been to see it.

And as for Scientologists being "anti-family," well, that is ironic because volunteers spend two months putting the display together primarily for the enjoyment of the children!

This guy really needs to relax a little bit. What ever happened to live and let live?

Can't we all just get along?

Traci Walters, Palm Harbor

Good local artists among blessings

Thanks to my careful perusal of the Clearwater Times, I learned of a Christmas folk song concert by my neighbors, Susan Boyer Haley and her husband, Bill, scheduled at the Dunedin Library on Dec. 11.

My wife and I attended, along with our daughter and son-in-law visiting us from Greenville, S.C., and we enjoyed an outstanding performance by the multitalented Haleys.

Susan sang beautiful Appalachian-American and old English carols while playing the guitar, dulcimer and an antique psalter, with Bill accompanying her on the banjo and mandolin. The audience enthusiastically joined in sing-alongs with full Christmas spirit.

Overall, it was a memorable musical evening which brightened our Christmas celebration!

We are so fortunate in the Tampa Bay area to have so many talented artists, like the Haleys, living among us.

Bill Schwob, Clearwater

Don't have to fight this city hall

I had the opportunity of visiting the Largo City Hall today on a very small matter (permit department). No matter how insignificant my business was, I was treated with the utmost respect by a friendly, humorous and delightfully efficient staff person.

The front counter was another example of how proudly they serve for the city of Largo.

Largo must have shared a workshop with Clearwater recently, eh?

Ron Townson, Clearwater

Your voice counts

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