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© St. Petersburg Times, published February 22, 2001
Re: Fort Harrison Avenue badly needs work, letter, Feb. 16.
I agree wholeheartedly with the letter writer. Being a newcomer to the city of Largo, I also find it atrocious, a shame and a poor introduction to the state. Can no one see the condition of this area?
The last time I traveled the road -- and it is traveling, not driving -- there was an accident in front of Morton Plant Hospital. The traffic was bumper-to-bumper; and an ambulance was coming from another direction, unable to get into the hospital area. Would you like to be in a situation like this? Not me. I soon found an alternate way to get about.
Having driven nearly 3,000 miles to get here with no vehicle problems and after traveling three weeks twice a day on this route, I found the stabilizer bolts on my car loosened, with two missing, even -- a very serious and sobering situation.
I do not want to find myself in that situation again.
City fathers, commissioners, planners, wake up and take care of this area!
-- Barbara J. Lam, Largo
I read with interest your Feb. 12 article, For women in need, a guiding hand, concerning the Women on the Way program at St. Petersburg Junior College. Although it was factual, the article was one-dimensional and failed to convey the essence of this remarkable program.
First of all, it's not just about divorced women or single moms. There are many older women who are pursuing careers they always dreamed about while they were raising their children, and some of us are widows trying to make a new life. WOW is much more than a cozy place to visit between classes -- it is a virtual lifeline for students returning to school.
Program director Sharon Coil, with the help of her assistant, Velma Deuel, provide guidance and serve as mentors. Meetings are conducted by Mrs. Coil and guest speakers address topics such as "Creating a Great Life," "Building Self-Confidence," "Understanding and Winning Scholarships," "Career Possibilities," "Attitude, Time and Stress Management," "Successful Employment Strategies," "Women and Substance Abuse," "Creating Safe Environments for your Children," "Helping your Children Cope with Divorce" and "Budget Management for Life."
This program goes well beyond free books, cosmetics and clothing. WOW teaches lessons in life that are not taught in the classroom. It gives us courage to face whatever trials have come our way, along with the knowledge and belief that we are able to change our lives through education.
The camaraderie the women share provides support, encouragement and, most of all, belief in one another that we really can achieve our goals. If it were not for this one-of-a-kind program, many of us would not have the courage to persevere and make our dreams come true.
We hope that women who have benefited from this organization will contact Sharon Coil at (727) 791-2634 as we organize our 20th reunion celebration.
Deborah Seslar, Palm Harbor
Re: Expense imperils wildlife corridor, Feb. 15 story.
Thank you for your interest in this topic. I have been involved in exploring the feasibility of the Starkey/Brooker Wilderness Corridor for the past eight months. Regarding the referenced article, I'd just like to add a couple of clarifications.
First, we don't anticipate the costs reflected in your article. Our strategy has been to work toward completing this project in collaboration with many state and local entities -- a cost-sharing endeavor. We believe that cost sharing provides everyone with the full benefits of the corridor at only a percentage of the cost.
What are those benefits? In addition to function and value as a wildlife corridor, we believe this project has great recreational value. Hiking trails, bike trails and horse trails are all recreational activities that are shared by the Starkey Wilderness Park and Pinellas County. This corridor ultimately could link trail systems that extend from the southern tip of Pinellas County to State Road 52 in northern Pasco County.
Second, in response to the statement that "biologists disagree whether bobcats, foxes and deer actually use the pathways laid out for them:" The Brooker Creek Preserve/Starkey Wilderness Preserve corridor concept was developed in committee by a group of the area's leading scientists representing the tri-county area; University of South Florida; and local, state and federal regulatory agencies. There was overwhelming consensus on potential corridor size, location and function. We all agreed to take the next step and evaluate the project's feasibility.
Third, the Starkey family has consistently exhibited excellent stewardship and a sense of community responsibility for generations. That is why their land is valued ecologically in the first place. They operate an ecotourism business, clearly an illustration of their respect and appreciation for the land.
Again, thank you for your interest in the project. We believe that through time, fruition of this concept is regionally invaluable as a recreational and ecological resource.
-- David Sumpter, land management coordinator, Department of Environmental Management
Environmental Lands Division, Tarpon Springs
Re: When did it become cool to ignore all the rules? guest column, Feb. 8.
I believe columnist Douglas Spangler needs to be educated as to the full purpose of the "ramps" on U.S. 19. These lanes are not exclusively for use as exits from the main traffic. They are also acceleration lanes for entering traffic (please note the broken lines).
I will agree that there are a lot of drivers who do not use common sense and courtesy. They also are in need of some education.
-- Gene Johnson, Palm Harbor
Re: Plans that send us in circles, Feb. 14 column by Howard Troxler.
Howard Troxler's analysis of the flawed Clearwater Beach roundabout, a.k.a. Clearwater's Folly, was quite thorough, especially his unchallengeable observation that "... (the roundabout) is a dangerous journey for the unwary. The wary, too."
But Troxler fails to identify the fundamental flaw in the roundabout. It is that fundamental flaw that is the underlying cause of accidents averaging almost one per day, plus all the daily near-misses.
That flaw is the size of the minuscule traffic circle, which is too small and should not have been built there.
It is a mathematical fact that a short diameter must result in a tight turning arc, especially for motorists foolish enough to enter the inner lane of the notorious roundabout. Because of the tight turning arc, there is no way motorists can circumnavigate the circle without being at risk when changing lanes.
It is impossible for that fundamental flaw to be "tweaked" ("tweak" is the euphemism favored by some of the hacks on the City Commission when floating further money-wasting schemes to salvage Clearwater's Folly).
The only way to correct the severe traffic problem at the entrance to Clearwater Beach is to demolish the roundabout, including the vision-obstructing fountain. It is time for the delusional City Commission to stop throwing good taxpayers' money after bad. If they don't, it is they who should be thrown out.
Anthony J. Wickel, Clearwater