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    Letters to the Editors

    Sheriff's Office isn't fit to investigate child abuse, neglect


    © St. Petersburg Times,
    published December 11, 2001

    Re: Deputy must stop drinking to keep job, story, Nov. 30.

    After reading this story, it is clear that the state Department of Children and Families should not be using the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office to investigate child abuse and neglect allegations.

    This Pinellas County deputy drank heavily around his children, and became angry and yelled at them. He would pass out, sleep late in the morning and leave the children unsupervised. This man drove his children around while intoxicated. He was not arrested.

    The article says that child abuse allegations were never substantiated. The children's lives were put in jeopardy every time their father got behind the wheel after drinking. Their well-being was threatened every time he became intoxicated and lost his temper with them or left them unattended.

    I guess the Sheriff's Office and the DCF have different definitions of child abuse and neglect when it comes to their own people. If the perpetrator had been a civilian, you can bet the DCF would be doing a real investigation and pressing charges. More than likely, the father would be arrested and denied visitation with his children. Instead of facing the possibility of arrest or losing his children, he may lose only his job.

    And these are the people who are supposed to put child welfare first?
    -- Holly Hiltz, Palm Harbor

    Alternative rock, religion don't conflict

    Re: Why offer destructive entertainment to youth? letter, Dec. 6.

    It was saddening to read the letter from Addie Anderson. How does Ms. Anderson know that some, if not all, of the youths that attended the alternative rock concert in Coachman Park were not regular attendees of church? Is Ms. Anderson implying that she has not missed one Sunday at church for a recreational reason, perhaps a vacation? Or attended a Sunday evening service rather than a morning service?

    Additionally, 115 injuries in a crowd of 15,000 is representative of a very small percent of concertgoers. Of the 115 injuries, it has been reported that 70 percent were heat-related. This leaves 30 percent that can be attributed to alcohol, drugs, etc., which is a tiny percent of the crowd. Our children face greater odds going to school each day. They are constantly tempted and subjected to peer pressure. If we provide our children with solid foundations, they will be in the majority, that is the 99.998 percent who enjoyed the concert responsibly.

    I am a Christian who attends church nearly every Sunday and also happens to be a fan of several bands that performed at Sunday's concert. It's a good thing God led me to him, rather than a confrontation with Ms. Anderson. She should remember that Jesus told us that evil is not what goes into our mouths but rather what comes out of them. Ms. Anderson can lead people to Christ or offend them. I'll pray she chooses the right path next time.
    -- Jennifer Pettay, St. Petersburg

    Animal abusers deserve punishment

    Re: Teen enters guilty plea in llama beatings, story, Nov. 20.

    I have followed this story since it began. I was totally shocked that anyone, let alone a teen, would do such a thing.

    Animal abuse is the beginning of all abusive behaviors. In fact, it is more evil to hurt something that did nothing to you. It is not like road rage, in which people are reacting from anger or doing something without thinking. Hurting animals is a willful and evil act that is unprovoked and just plain mean.

    These teens need to be punished before they move on to bigger evils. They need to be punished because of the heartache they have bestowed on others, and because of the pain and suffering they caused to innocent animals and to the owners.

    I do not know the people whose animals were involved nor had I any idea that they were just down the road from me until I went walking one day and there they were -- a beautiful home with a quiet and peaceful location that should have been a safe haven. To think it was this close to me is unsettling.

    I was in tears when I read about this. There is nothing more heinous than abusing an animal or child. They cannot protect themselves, and they are at the mercy of those abusing them.

    Both (defendants) deserve to go through agony. The sad thing is that we can't beat their heads in or kill them as they did the llamas. We just stick them in jail with three meals a day and a bed.

    Give them a second chance, but make sure they get the punishment they deserve first. I pay taxes to help punish evil people. Punishing these two would make it all worthwhile. I would never complain about paying taxes again.
    -- Melony Vasho, Tarpon Springs

    Visitor center? Yes. New building? Well ...

    Re: Beach visitors center in limbo, story, Nov. 28.

    "Limbo" seems to be where Clearwater Beach revitalization is headed. Perhaps a little foresight and vision will help everyone, including the taxpayers of this great city.

    Do we need a visitor center? Absolutely! Do we need a new building to house it? Maybe, maybe not. Consider this: We read about a new parking garage for the beach and the excessive costs for a local library. Then there is the Jolly Trolley expense, along with the police sub station costs.

    Maybe some creative planner could envision a consolidation of sorts, using some existing space within part of these three centrally located public facilities that are currently funded.

    This is only a thought that may work in these conservative times. It's a lot better than having nothing to offer our visitors, who may not have another source of information.

    May I thank the many people who have worked diligently to make this visitors center a reality? Your efforts are appreciated by many, including myself.
    -- Bill Day, Clearwater

    Traffic pattern invites trouble in circle

    The traffic pattern within the Clearwater Beach roundabout only invites wrecks. Problem: Except when drivers exit the roundabout leading east to the causeway, the drivers on the inside lane have to cross in front of, into, and/or behind drivers in the outside lane to make their exit.

    Suggestion for interim fix: Close off the inside lane, thus eliminating this traffic hazard.
    -- Ed Wright, Clearwater

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