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Todays Letters: Light sentence an absolute disgrace

Letters to the Editor
Published February 8, 2008


Shorter jail stay set for offender story, Jan. 31

What an absolute disgrace! How heartbreaking for the poor, helpless children involved in the pornographic pictures and videos.

What an absolute insult for that man to say, "Yes, I knew it was wrong," but, "I did not recognize that (children) were exploited and most likely physically and emotionally harmed." What? This from a person retired from a job in finance with General Motors - someone who obviously had some intelligence. What incredible gall!

I can't find any sense to the leniency that is constantly given to these most vile offenders that harm our children. My only concern is for all the children in the world who are at the mercy of these monsters and what misery they must suffer.

How utterly disheartening.

Susan Juhl, Belleair

Officer is cleared in french fry fiasco story, Feb. 5

Investigation was a whitewash

Shame on Clearwater police Chief Sid Klein (and shame on the St. Petersburg Times for not saying it themselves) for the whitewash of the investigation of the officer who illegally arrested a person, handcuffed her and took her to jail for ... what? For exercising her constitutional right to free speech! It is not a crime to be rude to an officer, even to angrily shake a finger in his face when he is arresting you without probable cause and taking you to jail in handcuffs.

Also, if the officer and his supervisors truly believed what they offered as excuses for their conduct - that the woman acted as if she had dementia - there are more appropriate courses of action than taking her to jail.

Michele Krentzman, Clearwater

Re: Reclaimed water for Palm Harbor

Reclaimed water raises questions

According to some recent large studies, the spread of antibiotic-resistant bacteria from hospital and household waste via effluent from sewage treatment plants is a major health concern. There is mounting evidence that treated and reclaimed sewer water spreads drug-resistant pathogens in the environment and is polluting drinking water sources.

Unfortunately, the reclaimed sewer water we use for lawn irrigation is regulated by the state, not the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and does not have to meet even the requirements of other sewer water effluent if it does not end up in a body of water.

According to an important study in the Florida Water Resources Journal, antibiotics cannot be completely removed from reclaimed water, and small amounts can further increase the spread of resistant pathogens. That resistance can be easily transferred to other bacteria or viruses, even if they don't directly cause illness themselves.

A U.S. Department of Agriculture 2005 report states, "Recycled water used for municipal irrigation can contain enough pathogenic organisms to threaten human health once released to the environment." This refers to the well-documented fact that testing methods at treatment plants are out of date and vastly underestimate pathogen populations because of a stealth condition in which bacteria and viruses are inactivated but not killed and can regrow in the nutrient-rich environment of pipes and retention ponds.

What about regrowth in the long pipeline from Clearwater and Pinellas County to Palm Harbor, and in the retention ponds at the county's Dunn wastewater treatment plant?

As of now, there is no direct proof that reclaimed water is harming people who have contact with it. Even if there were epidemiological studies, they do not record low levels of infection or acquired drug resistance.

With the appearance of ever more virulent "superbugs," combined with many unknowns about the quality of water tested frequently only for fecal coliform and for cryptosporidium every two years, I am not brave enough to use it.

Barbara Witlin, Crystal Beach

Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

[Last modified February 7, 2008, 21:07:29]

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