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Letters to the Editors

Wildlife plan benefits many, spreads costs

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2001

Re: Land prices endanger wildlife corridor plan, 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 currently 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

Guarding water supply may take extreme means

Editor: Pasco commissioners want to impose fines for excessive use of water. Good, it's about time. But before they start this, they all should get in their cars and ride around and look at all the lush green lawns of people who just don't care. Hit them with heavy fines and if need be, community service or even jail time. It may seem extreme but some people need to learn that we all need to live under one roof.

While they're out riding around they can take a good look and see all the new homes being built. Put a moratorium on the new homes being built, for as long as we are in a drought situation.

I realize this means people will be out of work and I'm sorry for this.

Things need to be done and done fast to guard our fresh water supply.

The big-money builders will fight us all the way on this but we must be firm and think of our future.
-- John N. Pagucci, New Port Richey

The issue is crowding, not low-income housing

Re: Wait on us, but please don't live close to us, Feb. 18 Jan Glidewell column.

Editor: Jan Glidewell states he lives within 20 feet of low-income housing. How many units are in this housing? Is it on a congested corner? Is there a school within a short distance of this housing?

No, Mr. Glidewell, we are not opposed to low-income housing, but we are opposed to putting it in an area that is already crowded with stores, a gas station, a pharmacy and never mind the traffic that is generated when parents pick up their children at the school. Come now, Mr. Glidewell, let's be realistic.
-- Eve Gratton, New Port Richey

Reader criticizes story about police chase

Re: Arrest puts halt to chase, Feb. 20.

Editor: As a 28-year retired law enforcement officer, I find it outrageous that the perpetrator of a crime be given a forum to voice his opinion of his crime-in-progress.

There is no humor in Matthew Korkes' behavior, and the flippant tone of the writer only shows the writer should have been arrested right along with Korkes.
-- B.A. Stickler, Birch Bay, Wash.

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