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    Letters to the Editors

    Rain or shine, Ozona postmaster delivered love

    © St. Petersburg Times, published September 22, 2000


    Re: "Sonny' delivered fun to Ozona, Sept. 17 story.

    I write this with great sadness. A fixture of our community is gone. Sonny McBrayer, the postmaster at the Ozona post office for as long as I can remember, passed away. For years, even though I was not an Ozona resident, I patronized that post office because of Sonny. He always had a bright smile, kind word and cheery tidbit to help make your day better.

    When moved to Ozona, it was even easier to stop in more often. And I did. Rarely do you meet someone who is unafraid to wear his faith on his sleeve. Sonny was such a man. He did it without judging. He did it without prodding you to believe as he did. He did it, I suppose, because the joy his faith brought to him was something he wanted to share.

    One time when I stopped in, I had had a harrowing day. I had come from All Children's Hospital, where my best friend's 14-year-old son was dying of cancer. When I walked in to buy stamps from Sonny, he and another customer could tell I was upset and they asked me what was wrong.

    I told them, and Sonny, the other woman and I joined hands and Sonny prayed aloud for comfort for this child and for his parents and for healing if that's what the Lord saw fit to provide. I am not sure Sonny ever knew the depths to which his caring prayer touched me. I will never forget it.

    May his family find comfort in knowing how much Sonny was loved and that he certainly is at eternal rest.
    -- Carol Ionata, Palm Harbor

    Weapons in school should surprise only the naive

    Re: 2 students arrested on gun charges, Sept. 16 story.

    Nick Grasso, principal of Clearwater High, stated, "I'm surprised a student would have come to school with any kind of weapon." Perhaps in the 1950s, '60s and maybe even the '70s, a principal would be shocked to learn this. Wake up, principals and parents! The public schools are dangerous, especially if you are in the "traditional" program.

    Anyone doubting this, I urge you to be brave and just take a walk through one of the halls in our public high schools during a change of class. You will change your mind.
    -- Lynne Shelby, St. Petersburg

    Safety Harbor has much more to offer than just hair salons

    Re: New restaurant fills void in Safety Harbor, Sept. 13 story.

    The article was misleading, inaccurate and the quote the writer chose to include by Tony Comeiro of T&T's salon ("There's no reason to come to Safety Harbor unless you want your hairdone... ") was downright insulting.

    The loss of one tiny Italian cafe serving evening dinners isn't a disaster. The town has several interesting, eclectic eateries offering both lunches and dinners. We welcome the new Green Springs Cafe, but I hope people aren't expecting a fantastic architectural experience by the writer's describing its location as "the former site of a Buddhist temple." The location is actually a charming converted older home just off Main Street.

    The overall tone of the article leads the reader to believe the nightlife restaurant scene and hair salons are the heartbeats of Safety Harbor. Wrong. They are merely parts of an emerging business community including florists, design studios, boutiques, art galleries, contractors' showrooms, an antiques and collectibles shop, several service businesses, a bakery, a sausage factory, frame shops and a hardware store -- not to mention a state-of-the-art library, a regional museum, excellent parks and recreational facilities, a charming marina and several outstanding outdoor events that draw thousands of people to our city each time they are scheduled.

    I urge people to come and experience the real Safety Harbor... truly one of Pinellas County's best-kept secrets.
    -- Lois S. Spencer, Safety Harbor

    Family leaving Clearwater in search of affordable housing

    After 29 years in Clearwater, my family has moved to Largo. Because I once heard former Clearwater City Manager Mike Roberto muse aloud about attracting median-income families to Clearwater, I thought I should let people know why we moved. Simply put, try as we might, we couldn't find decent, affordable housing in Clearwater.

    In the past 29 years, the city of Clearwater has outgrown city government's ability to provide services to its residents, at least to those residents in South Greenwood.

    Perhaps now that the bayfront referendum has failed, the city can find the money to renovate and improve the recreation center at Ross Norton Park. Ross Norton is inadequate to meet the needs of the people in the neighborhood. On the other hand, I suppose the new police substation at Greenwood and Woodlawn avenues is something.

    With the annexation wars between Largo and its neighbors so much in the news this year, perhaps South Greenwood residents should consider annexing to Largo. Clearwater city government is so focused on the beach and the bayfront, they might not even notice.

    Annexation would be easier than all those people moving. What have they got to lose?
    -- Philipp Michel Reichold, Clearwater

    Residents have ways to fight Alt. U.S. 19 right turn lane

    Attention, residents of Belleair. Our town manager has a memo on his desk from the Florida Department of Transportation informing him that when the DOT resurfaces Alt. U.S. 19 in the near future, part of the plan is to put a third lane, a quick-access right-turn lane, in the southbound lanes of Alt. U.S. 19 at Belleview Boulevard.

    This will push more traffic into Belleair and onto Indian Rocks Road -- traffic we do not need and have been fighting to reduce.

    In an effort to minimize the excess traffic in our town, I suggest, if you agree with me, that you call each commissioner, the mayor and town manager and ask them to resist this easy-access right-turn lane.

    You might also suggest they consider implementing one of the following options: adding more stop signs throughout Belleair, gating Belleair, lowering the 30 mph speed limit to 25 mph.
    -- Tom Vourlos, Belleair

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