Editor: Having lived in Seminole for over a decade, I have spent a fair bit of time driving on 83rd Avenue and, over this span, have observed an alarming development. Where the Pinellas Trail crosses that street there is a flashing yellow light to caution drivers about crossing pedestrians and bicyclists and a triple red flashing light on the trail to warn the latter to stop before crossing. In recent months there have been an increasing number of drivers who simply stop when they see someone standing at or approaching the road, either through ignorance or a misguided effort to be polite.
This act alone creates a potential traffic hazard but more alarmingly, increasing numbers of hikers and cyclists are entering the road without so much as first looking or slowing down. I feel that this is probably the result of a sense of entitlement engendered by motorists just stopping to permit a crossing. I have been telling anyone who might listen that this will likely result in an increase in injuries or mortality for unwary trail users.
Only a few weeks ago I saw one such incidence involving a cyclist and last night there was another casualty. If I have personally observed two such accidents in a brief span, how many more must have happened when I was not around? Monkey see, monkey do has led to an untenable situation and the only solution I see is for the responsible parties to place an actionable crosswalk stop warning at that intersection, such as one sees on Gulf Boulevard. Let's not wait until some child is killed to act.
Editor: I’m 61 and I grew up in St. Petersburg Beach. I have three wonderful daughters for whom I have nothing but respect. I have voted on both sides of the aisle for years. I don’t normally get worked up over politics but this year is exceptional.
I served three years in the USMC back in the ’70s. I lived and trained with hundreds of Marines who fought in the jungles of Vietnam. Funny thing I never heard anyone say, “I like war.”
Then in the 1980s President Reagan kept saying tear down that wall. He was referring to the Berlin Wall. He was successful. Now we want to build one of our own?
Immediately after 9/11, we set up camps and tortured people accused of plotting 9/11. This will not bring anyone back. The Lord’s Prayer does say, forgive those who trespass against you. Christians around the world should have been appalled.
Editor: On behalf of the Home Instead Senior Care office located in Clearwater, we would like to thank the community for its overwhelming support of the Be a Santa to a Senior program this holiday season.
Be a Santa to a Senior is a nationwide program that provides gifts and companionship to seniors who may otherwise not have a gift under the tree this Christmas or someone with whom to share the holiday. Since the program began in 2003, it has helped provide nearly 2 million gifts to more than 700,000 seniors, with the help of over 60,000 volunteers.
In Pinellas County, members of the community generously donated thousand of gifts for 1,500 area seniors through this year’s program - all of which were wrapped and delivered by volunteers, just in time for the holidays. Many of the gifts were for everyday needs such as socks, shirts, blankets and toiletries, or a pharmacy gift card.
We would like to especially thank our community partners who helped make this program possible, including Bealls Outlets, BonWorth stores, WellCare, JSA Medical, Ricoh USA, YMCA of Palm Harbor, Abe’s Place, AxisCare, Tampa Bay Salvage, PODS (Feather Sound Office), T3 Plumbing, the Stephenson Family, Jones and Sons Plumbing, E Bache LLC, RM Ward & Sons Inc., Haus Coffee Shop, Seminole Garden Community Club, Ramona Brown, Treasure Island Islets, WellMed, Safety Harbor VFW, Julia Jones, Timberly McKenzie, and the wonderful community of Pinellas County. Over the past several weeks, these organizations and individuals have brightened the holidays by bringing both gifts and companionship to seniors in need across the area.
Editor: January is National Mentoring Month and is the perfect time to consider becoming a volunteer Big Brother or Big Sister mentor!
Take a few minutes to visit our website (www.BBBSTampaBay.org), where we publish the schedule for our upcoming orientation and training sessions. We invite you to attend any of these 90-minute sessions (no RSVP required) to learn what it takes to become one of our volunteers. You will learn a lot, be able to decide if this is the right opportunity for you, and leave having completed nearly 90 percent of the enrollment process.
In 2016 we averaged 70 new Big/Little matches per month throughout Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Polk, Citrus, Hernando and Sumter counties and are positioned to do even more in 2017. In total we served 2,871 youth last year. With our Big/Little matches staying together longer thanks to the support we are able to provide to them, and new matches being made in increasing numbers, we started 2017 with about 2,100 active big brothers and big sisters, a 3 percent increase over Jan. 1, 2016.
But we also still have hundreds of great kids who are waiting for their perfect volunteer big, including now many foster youths. We have several programs for volunteers to select from, based on their time and location, which range from 4 to 8 hours per month over a minimum 12- to 15-month commitment. We also have an exciting new program called School-to-Work that we have implemented at the Operations Center for USAmeriBank in Clearwater and a few other workplace locations. All of our mentoring programs follow the standards of one-to-one mentoring from Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, which exemplify the best practices of mentoring, promote child and volunteer safety, and celebrate documented positive outcomes.
Re: “Gov. Rick Scott wants it both ways,” Joe Henderson, Dec. 29. Editor: I read Joe Henderson’s column and have to reply to it. Just once I’d like to see a print newspaper writer give Gov. Scott credit for what he has accomplished for this state. Every article or editorial I read about him is deeply critical of the job he is doing; what he is doing is exactly what he promised when he ran for office. Surprise, surprise - a truthful politician.
Henderson complains about him running a tight ship by reducing the cost of government and trying to save taxpayers money, all the while the progressives praise Obama for what really, raising the national debt a trillion a year for a total of $8 trillion?
Remember when he and Biden came to Florida with a high-speed train proposal that was a “gift” it down. Well, I just read that Gov. Brown was begging Obama and was turned down for $11 billion more because they can’t privately fund the boondoggle that the people of California don’t want. Thank you Gov. Scott for your foresight when you said you would not put the burden on the state’s taxpayers.
November was the shock heard around the world when the people wanted change and the progressive liberal party was almost wiped out. The folks are not stupid. They know that this economy has been in the ditch for one half of a generation and most of it during the Obama years, yet for six of them Florida’s GDP and job growth has been about the highest of any state, proving conservative principles work!
Re: ‘Council ponders parking permits,’ Dec. 16. Editor: Clearwater City Manager Horne’s proposed ordinance to convert a large portion of the north Clearwater beach streets and a smaller section of the south beach streets to resident permits only is indeed overkill.
Let’s consider just the north section. While only the city council members know for certain, the probabilities are very high that nearly all of the complaints are coming from maybe a couple of dozen homeowners whose properties are within a block or so of the beach. And it’s equally likely that the great majority of complaints are raised due to parking issues on weekends and holidays, not weekdays. So, the “solution” to this is an ordinance that affects hundreds of households, 24/7. What’s more, it seems likely that the plan is going to be chock full of exceptions, creating confusion and hassles for every homeowner in the targeted area (even the current complainers) as well as increased headaches for parking enforcement. Further, once this approach is taken, returning from it will be extraordinarily difficult, if feasible at all.
But, all of this aside, the plan is just plain wrong because it will block the public’s access to that very large section of the beach, effectively making the beach from Acacia Street all the way north to its end readily accessible only to the neighborhood residents and to nonresidents willing to walk a long distance. We live on Clearwater Beach also, in Clearwater Point. And we confess to being among those who park legally near 880 to go for walks on the beach from there north because that is, for us, the most beautiful part. So, selfishly, we oppose such an ordinance because we would no longer be able to do that.
The point is that the ordinance will impact tax-paying beach residents wanting to access the north beach as well as nonresidents. But we also point out that on busy beach weekends, the street parking around Clearwater Point is mostly gobbled up by beachgoers and Shephards partiers, creating similar headaches to homeowners near the beach further north. So, north beach folks, we feel your pain. But, we would as well oppose such an ordinance were it targeted at Clearwater Point.
Editor: In his Dec. 11 letter in the Bee, it’s ironic that Pinellas Suncoast Fire & Rescue District Chief Sal D’Angelo terms Indian Rocks Beach residents’ investment in an oversight review of his operation a waste of taxpayer money.
Since the cost of the review is about one-fourth of the tax dollars (ours!) spent by the district pushing through a referendum that triggered a costly lawsuit and needlessly put our residents at odds with those whose service we value, I’d say - dollar for dollar - it is money better spent.
Re: “Good things to come from passing ERA,” Sandy Oestreich, Dec. 26. Editor: Having read “Good things to come from passing ERA,” I was startled to learn its passage as alleged would “boost America’s Gross Domestic Product by a whopping 15 percent, and increase women’s earned wages by “20 percent,” not to mention the remaining speculative assertions made by its author.
But there was something else which caught my eye. The author, in promoting the passage of the already rejected Equal Rights Amendment - the ERA was officially defeated on June 30, 1982 when it failed to gather the necessary number of states for ratification while some states actually withdrew their original support - makes an appeal to why women ought to support its passage. But the interesting thing is, the word “women” is nowhere to be found in the wording of the amendment!
As introduced in the Senate on May 7, 2015, Section 1 of the amendment reads: “Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex,” which is a bit different than the wording given by Sandy Oestreich.
Now, if you are aware of how the Fourteenth Amendment has been repeatedly used and interpreted in a manner to undermine, circumvent and unconstitutionally expand the limited intentions and beliefs under which it was adopted - such limited intentions being to forbid the enforcement of any state laws which made distinctions based upon race, color or previous condition of slavery - then you will surely understand how the open ended wording of the Equal Rights Amendment, if adopted, will open the floodgates for countless lawsuits and our federal judicial system to impose its personal whims and fancies as the rule of law within every sate in the union, which in turn will make our Tenth Amendment and our constitutional guarantee to federalism meaningless.
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