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Letters to the Editors

Building beach at park is unsound environmentally

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 9, 2001

Re: Support needed to bring beach, fishing pier to county, Jan. 31 letter.

Editor: The Salt Springs Run State Park offers the residents of Pasco a rare chance not afforded other areas of Florida. That chance is the opportunity to preserve a piece of our heritage by maintaining this parkland as close as possible to original condition, which is the intent of the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

This beautiful park offers a chance for young and old alike to learn about plant and animal species that are native to our area of Florida, and enjoy all the beauty they have to offer. The exploration possibilities are endless.

Given that fact, it bewilders me why Pat Raimond, a self-proclaimed environmentalist, would want to bulldoze this land for the sake of building a beach. Haven't we bulldozed this county enough?

Given the fact that no natural beach exists in Pasco County, many yards of fill dirt would have to be trucked in at taxpayer expense, only to be dumped on the natural habitat of fish and plants, killing both. All for the sake of a beach?

And after this beach is built, it would be necessary to wade approximately 2 miles offshore to swim in water over waist-high. This area of the coastline does not offer deep water and natural beach, such as the beaches of Pinellas County. It is shallow and covered with plant life. I urge all citizens to make their voice heard at the workshop scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday at New Port Richey City Hall.

Let our state officials know that we don't need any more destruction of our pristine coastal lands.
-- Scott Factor, New Port Richey

Parkway will relieve overcrowding

Editor: I couldn't hold back after reading two columns criticizing the new Suncoast Parkway because it only saved a short time on a trip to the city.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I was of the opinion that the dual highway was built to also relieve traffic from some of the overcrowded two-lane thoroughfares such as State Road 54, Gunn Highway and Van Dyke and Sheldon roads, and to relieve the multilane roads such as U.S. 19, Little Road and Hillsborough Avenue.

Daily, you read in the newspaper and hear on the radio about accidents occurring on all these roads.

Surely you will agree that a divided, controlled-access highway is the safest type of road for safe travel. Maybe it will eliminate some of the accidents that would occur on the already overcrowded roads.
-- C.R. Smith, New Port Richey

School proud of improvement effort

Editor: Although I think that Gulf Middle School should get to see some of the money from impact fees and probably won't because there are no new homes being built in our school's area, I thought it was an abomination that a City Council member would call the school I have taught at for five years a "hell hole."

As a teacher, I work diligently to boost the self-esteem and morale of the approximately 140 students that I teach. We have had class discussions on the things that need to be improved at our school, but we also focused on the great things that have been done at our school by the students, faculty and parents.

Our principal has worked hard to improve the image and public perception of our school. Our students raised money to buy computer equipment. Some have repainted the inside of the gym.

The outside of our school was repainted just two years ago, and our front doors are now made of glass instead of caged bars.

Our media center has been recarpeted and restocked with several thousand new books. This year our computer lab was upgraded with 30 brand new Apple computers, and teachers are being trained as tech specialists on iMacs.

Every teacher has a computer, and we are soon to be retrofitted for Ethernet. There are a lot of great things going on at Gulf Middle School. Our school may be one of the oldest schools in the county, but it is filled with students, teachers, administrators and parents who care and are working hard to improve it.

To say that our efforts are an abomination is a slap in the face.
-- Kathie Harsch, language arts teacher, Gulf Middle School

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