Letters to the Editors
School Board fails to protect wildlife
© St. Petersburg Times, published April 26, 2001
I have been a resident of St. Croix Drive in Clearwater for 26 years. Behind my home and several of my neighbors' are 71/2 acres owned by the Pinellas County School Board, located east of Paul B. Stephens School.
On March 26, this property started to undergo some major changes without the knowledge of any of us. The district plans to construct a road, parking lot and 100,000- to 200,000-square-foot school, along with a retention pond that will be above the back yards of two unsuspecting homeowners on the east side of the property.
This property was filled with large oak and camphor trees, which were about 60 to 80 years old, and protected gopher turtles. I have seen a protected red-shouldered hawk, a pair of pileated woodpeckers, along with raccoons, possums and other wildlife.
Gone now are at least 20 to 30 large trees, one of which the hawk called home.
Superintendent Howard Hinesley, I am very upset you did not have the decency to tell the surrounding homes about the School Board's plans. We teach our children to respect nature and to protect the environment. We teach them of endangered and protected species of wildlife. Mr. Hinesley, why don't you practice what you preach?
I hope you will not be superintendent much longer.
Good principal should have stayed
Re: Change shocks Seminole principal, April 12.
At a time when the only news we hear concerning high schools pertains to student shootings and bomb threats, our Pinellas School Board demotes one of the finest, most dedicated leaders at one of the county's most popular schools.
My wife and I have three children. Our oldest graduated two years ago after spending four years at Seminole High, our middle child graduates from Seminole High this year and our youngest begins Seminole High this coming year. Having been involved seven years, we have attended every open house hosted by Richard Duncan and his staff. Never have there been any questions avoided or problems diverted during these most informative discussions.
Duncan has managed to run a very sound, successful high school, even through the trial periods of 4-by-4 classes, voucher programs and overcrowded classrooms.
If the School Board has any real reasons to demote Richard Duncan, it would only be proper for them to inform the parents and students involved with Seminole High School.
If the real reason for demotion is only due to poor landscaping, call me and I'll bring my lawn mower!
Months of warning, sudden action
Maybe I am a little confused. Haven't we known for months or perhaps for a year that we are in a drought condition? All of a sudden, the Tarpon Springs City Commission raises water rates for large consumption. That means if you just had landscaping added or changed at your home, you have to pay more for the water or lose your landscaping. Or if you are in business and you have nice landscaping, which adds to the beauty of Tarpon, you have to pay more for that too.
What have you been doing for the past year, thinking that maybe the drought might go away and so you decide in April that the water rates need to go up effective May 1 so that you can save some water?
I guess meteorologists telling us that it needs to rain 2 inches per day for 30 days in order for the water level to come up to normal has fallen upon deaf ears. Stop worrying about casino boats and cell towers and start worrying about Tarpon Springs and its residents.
Why build it if there's no water?
Have I got this right? We are in a serious drought and the brains in Florida are starting brush fires while high winds are blowing. These same brains are ordering residents to stop using water but are giving out building permits like M&M's.
How can Clearwater allow more building on the beach, for instance? All the money spent on the beautiful roundabout fountain, and it's shut off because of the shortage of water.
The inmates should be running the asylum because our officials can't.
Drinking water should be first concern
Re: Park's fountain falls victim to drought, April 13 story.
After all the news recently about our water shortage, I could not believe what I was reading. Largo Central Park was using 20,000 gallons of drinking water a week in its fountain! On top of this, the woman who was visiting the park was disappointed the water was off and thought the fountain looked "dull" now.
I can see that not many people are taking the water shortage seriously. I, for one, would rather have good drinking water than a pretty fountain.
People are not paying attention to the urgency of this, and the situation is getting worse. Now the state Senate wants to relax environmental rules and allow tainted water to be pumped into Florida's underground aquifer. I do not want to see this happen. No one knows for sure how this will affect the aquifer. They are all guessing it will be okay.
Please get the message out that no one should be wasting water, or we'll all be sorry.
Not the time to be building fountain
I am reading yet again of another city turning off its fountains (first Clearwater, now Largo). How, then, could Safety Harbor even consider building its fountain? It seems like an incredibly selfish and thoughtless act. Isn't the city supposed to set the example for its residents?
Clearwater could pipe water from gulf
Re: Drought quells dance of Clearwater fountain, April 3 story.
Clearwater was smart and did the right thing by minimizing the water use of the roundabout fountain to conserve our natural resources.
The fountain is on Clearwater Beach, so how hard would it be to have the fountain plumbed directly to the gulf so it could use salt water? I would think that the savings in fresh water cost alone would cover the expense of replumbing to the gulf and any necessary conversion of the pumps and fountain plumbing.
Bird habitat story appreciated
Thanks for running the Under their wing article by Julie Church April 22. As president of the Clearwater Audubon Society, I very much appreciate your effort at public information and education in regard to bird habitat protection. I know your reporter and photographer resources are limited and sincerely appreciate the decision to use their time on this important public issue. The information was accurate and well-written, and the photographs were very appealing. Thanks again for your concern and expertise.
After the repairs, a bumpy road
Citizens of the Brooklyn community of Safety Harbor, the city may have done you a favor by asking the railroad to bypass your crossing when they were in the area making repairs. The crossing on North Bay Hills Boulevard in Safety Harbor and the one on Forest Lakes Boulevard in Oldsmar were both smoother before the "repairs" were made.
Spoil island becomes unspoiled beauty
Re: Islands of unspoiled beauty, April 9 story.
Thanks and congratulations to the state scientists and local volunteers who worked to transform a spoil island near Dunedin into an exhibit of Florida native plant species and habitat.
I hope this will be only the beginning of a wider effort along the Pinellas coastline. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection provided funding and scientific expertise for the planting of hundreds of trees and shrubs on Island CW1 recently. The wonderful part of this project is that it was a community effort by state environmental specialists and local volunteers, working shoulder to shoulder.
The volunteers were supervised by David Schermerhorn, director of the Southern Estuary Association, a local non-profit organization at (727) 461-4537. SEA also conducts an Adopt-an-Island program.
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