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    Letters to the Editors

    Don't allow greed to ruin Tarpon Springs


    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published November 30, 2001

    Re: Possible casino boat muddies hotel deal, story, Nov. 11.

    I read with horror the possibility that Tony Markopoulos may want to include a casino boat along with his proposed hotel and restaurant at the Tarpon Springs Sponge Docks.

    His statement, "Really, I don't remember if I've done something in the past," suggests he should not be in any sort of business at all if his memory is so short-lived. He may not remember to apply for building permits, he may not remember to install a sprinkler system in the hotel rooms, he may not remember this is, first of all, a fishing village with a long and proud history.

    Attorney Larry Crow's comment at the end of the article, "If they're going to allow them (casino boats) at Pappas', they're going to have to allow them all up and down the docks," should be enough for all City Commission members to vote a resounding "no' on the issue of a casino boat being attached to the hotel deal.

    Please don't destroy Tarpon Springs out of greed. If this issue needs a petition to prevent the casino boat in our river, I will be the first to organize the drive for signatures.
    -- Kathleen Carothers, Tarpon Springs

    A "no' vote on sewers, reclaimed water

    Re: Dunedin leaders roll through issues, story, Nov. 10.

    I always have opposed and still oppose sewers in Spanish Trails. I object to my unnecessary initial and monthly sewer costs, as well as the related use of reclaimed water.

    First, my background and then the reasons for my opposition. I am a chemical engineer, have been a registered professional engineer in Florida for almost40 years and have worked my entire career in the chemical engineering and nuclear power fields.

    I built one of the first homes in Spanish Trails some 35 years ago. At that time, I conducted my own successful percolation tests but bowed to Pinellas County's permitting requirements and installed an underground sand filter, in addition to a septic tank with drain fields. There has been no problem with my sand filter or drain field performance.

    But during the 35 years I have noticed some homes having problems because their drain fields were either too short, had too much slope or had been clogged with tree and shrubbery roots. I assume these are the residents -- but almost half are not -- who are asking for the sewers.

    We have been told that along with the sewers, a reclaimed water system will be installed. Is that cost included with the $2-million and the $5,500 per household mentioned in the article? In addition to the $5,500, a tie-in plumbing cost of something like $2,000 each, $300 for septic tank destruction, plus the present value of monthly charges for the sewer and reclaimed water, even if not used, of about $3,000 brings the total cost to about $10,800. I suspect most residents have not yet realized this.

    As for the reclaimed water, I prefer to have my own household waste beneath the ground surface on my property, rather than have hospital, medical, industrial and other residents' wastes on my or my neighbors' grass. This water is potentially hazardous, so it cannot be used on vegetables, certain plants, in pools, and where children or pets are playing. At times, it could be damaging to automobile paint if used for washing cars, and one should not get hose spray in theface.

    I hope this letter leads other residents also to object to the sewers and reclaimed water, and that we together can reverse the Dunedin officials' decision. The officials only see the city income increased by the charges mentioned above and contracts to be awarded. Other cities have obtained federal and state funds for sewer work. Did Dunedin either not request such assistance or did they use their allocations for items such as the Blue Jays' stadium?
    -- Gilbert M. Brown, Dunedin

    High school students worthy of praise

    We have just experienced an event which reveals just how fantastic the majority of our young people in this country really are.

    Our Palm Harbor Historic Society and its museum personnel have spoken of and wished for a veterans memorial to honor and remember the many persons from our unincorporated area who have served and in many instances given their lives in service to our great country.

    A local reporter overheard a conversation about our dream and inquired about it. He proceeded to write an article, which resulted in a phone call to the museum with an offer to help from the Health Occupations Students of America Club of the medical magnet program at Palm Harbor University High School.

    We had really wanted to have the memorial at least begun by this year's Veterans Day. Were we ever surprised!

    Pinellas County had given the special Italian stone, which had been a focal point of the United Methodist Church in Old Downtown Palm Harbor, to be used in our future memorial. Within one week's time, this club had received donations from the Clark Hunt Construction Co. for all the cement and other material needed to adhere the stone, including four of their personnel to coordinate and oversee the actual construction.

    On Nov. 10, 50 students, their sponsor Mrs. Leila McKinney, her husband and the construction company personnel arrived. Other adults arrived for a period of time, including one who just happened to be a distributor for Boar's Head meats in this area. She proceeded to set up a hot dog stand to provide much-needed food for the students; others were there to bring soft drinks, water, etc., which was much appreciated.

    But the true story of the day was the students themselves. The volunteer museum director, a retired teacher in the Pinellas school system, was almost speechless over the courtesy, attitude and initiative of these students.

    Space would not allow for a full description of the way the students took over the project. They came prepared to work, and work they did. It is impossible to relate all the procedures they performed in creating this first part of our to-be-expanded memorial. Let us just say that not a single one of those 50 students went home with clean clothes, dry hair or even clean hands. Every student put in a very long day, with sweat pouring down their faces.

    And when some students discovered that we had been loaned a flag until we could purchase an outdoor flag and that we did not have the required lighting to illuminate the flag at night, they proceeded to work out that problem. Without the knowledge of any society or museum personnel, they created signs and stationed themselves at the busy intersection of Belcher and Curlew roads to receive donations for those two items. In slightly more than an hour, they decided they had the necessary funds and they returned to the building project.

    And we must express our great appreciation to those travelers who donated to this appeal. We will have a dedication of the memorial; and although we have no idea who the contributors were, we trust you will watch for the announcement, which may be after the first of the year. Please plan to attend.

    Our members who were present for this day's work wish all to know that never did we hear any profanity or rude language, no sign of personal glorification or other actions that adults often expect from young people.

    With young, intelligent and concerned persons such as these, this country has nothing to fear. The future of our country will be in very good hands.
    -- Rose Smith, president, Palm Harbor Historic Society; Winona Jones, director, Palm Harbor Historical Museum

    Movies are not what they used to be

    Re: Screen duds snuff out movie theater culture, Douglas Spangler guest column, Nov. 26.

    How right he is about the quality of movies showing now. I remember in the '40s when the films were uplifting and enjoyable. There was no overuse of violence and swear words. Musicals and comedies were enjoyed by the entire family and shown overseas to our fighting men. I have not seen a good musical since The Sound Of Music.

    It seems Hollywood has forgotten the purpose of films. I thought they were to entertain, but Hollywood puts a dollar sign before entertainment, as Mr. Spangler wrote. Remakes of classics fall short of originals in my opinion.

    I also enjoyed the smaller movie theater that is now disappearing like the drive-ins did. Being handicapped, it is easier for me to walk with my cane a few steps than to trudge up stairs or walk down long halls to see a movie.

    I agree with Mr. Spangler and will stay home rather than spend the money to see trash.
    -- Connie Berridge, Dunedin

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