Editor: The Seminole Water Tower is a symbol of the people - part of our heritage. Towns all over the country are making efforts to save their water towers.
Stockton, California, is an example, and Wes Swanson, chairman of the Cultural Heritage Board there, says: “It’s not about what’s pretty, it’s about what matters.” When they put the water towers up, they changed the way the water system worked and they changed people’s lives. That’s the important thing about heritage. They are important because they had impact.
Seminole has already lost a part of history from demolition: Two railway stations were razed, Seminole Depot and Bay Pines Depot, and two citrus warehouses. The Meares home at what is now Seminole Park was torn down in the mid-1970s, when the city bought that land.
It is necessary to keep our Seminole Water Tower. It is an icon - a portrait of beauty, art and culture - a landmark used by countless people to identify Seminole. Young and old alike are all in on saving this monument. The county is making plans to tear it down in May.
Re: “Save the water,’’ by Tiffany Razzano, March 9 Editor: Seminole takes steps to save the water tower. Has this council lost its mind? Under what circumstances might the residents of our great city benefit from purchasing this Trojan Horse? According to the article, the County is offering this piece of property to the taxpayers for quote
“Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard provided Toney-Deal with a preliminary value of the tower. He wrote that the county’s Real Estate Management team estimated the land value for the 1.25 acres of land around the water tower to be between $500,000 and $600,000.”
Shut this door, council.
Also quoted “(Sandy) Holloway and Jeff Etter, who is also on the Historical Society board, said it might seem like a daunting project, but as a community, Seminole residents have the power to save the water tower.”
Editor: It is beyond comprehension why each and every sheriff and chief of police in the state has not joined together to oppose the ridiculous NRA backed gun bills being filed by our bought and paid for legislators every year, and most especially those this year.
As a concealed carry owner in three states for over 45 years and a former sworn law enforcement officer I am disappointed and surprised that there is not a rampant opposition with a thousand protesters in uniform with a unanimous voice in the courtyard of the capitol building demanding these obvious gun bills be voted down by lawmakers.
Our entire system of government appears as of late to have entered a twilight zone and intelligence has totally dissipated into hyperbole and fantasy. To argue that untrained citizens, immature youth or impaired seniors are capable of calm reasoning and sufficient skill to prevent a shooter in a public arena by shooting them first, not withstanding the untenable position it places on first responders, are the ramblings of either mentally disturbed or just plain stupid people.
A reality check would prove that not even our citizen hero Charlie Bronson could do that. What must be killed are these very dangerous gun bills being considered in our Florida Legislature this year.
Editor: Thank you for your detailed coverage of local issues that affect our community.
We became legal residents of Dunedin three years ago, after several seasons of vacationing here. We explored many communities in Florida before we made our final decision, and chose Dunedin for its diversity and seemingly progressive planning, and because it seemed to have a real cross-generational identity forged over time.
In the campaigns last fall, we paid close attention to issues around communication with residents, and chose our candidates in part because they seemed to support the visioning sessions that have been promised for a while now. According to the recent article about public feedback, it seems those have been pushed to at least late spring. Though we are seasonal residents, we have enjoyed becoming part of this community, and value the library, the senior center, the parks, the Fine Arts Center, the Pinellas Trail, spring training, nearby beaches, and our many downtown activities.
As we would like to participate in the planning process, we hope very much that at least some of the visioning exercises will be done while seasonal residents are present in the community. We look forward to those meetings and to coverage of the outcome in the Beacon.
Editor: Interventions can be the difference between life and death for a drug addict or an alcoholic. Not every person in need of rehab is going to initially jump at the chance to get clean and handle the issues that drove them to addiction.
While some addicts or alcoholics have been so badly beaten and battered by their lifestyle that they grasp at the first opportunity to deal with their problems, others need some type of external help in order to seek help. Interventions are extremely helpful tools for families who are dealing with a loved one who is completely against getting help and resistant to going to treatment.
Some families believe if an addict or alcoholic isn’t willing to get help and go to drug rehab on their own, they aren’t going to force them to go and certainly won’t waste their money.
Here’s an interesting fact: if some addicts or alcoholics believe they can continue to drink alcohol or use drugs successfully, without any type of consequences for their behavior, they will continue to do so because the problems caused by their addiction are still less than the power of the addiction over them.
Editor: As a 50-year resident of Seminole, my heart is heavy with the prospect of our beloved water tower encountering its end with a wrecking ball. We have, over the years, witnessed too many of our treasures in this county meeting a similar fate. A public outcry, after the fact, is of little use. A piece of the water tower displayed in a museum is no solace for the people who have lived, loved and pointed with pride to this icon of our community.
The water tower came into existence in 1958, but through the extraordinary vision of two Seminole businessmen in the year 2000, artist Tom Stovall was commissioned to paint the beautiful shore birds on her face - a piece of art that serves to uplift, not only our Seminole community, but residents countywide.
Surely, there is a way to save this landmark. Letters to our county commissioners, voicing the passion we feel, will certainly have an impact. It is not a time for us to sit back and just hope for the best.
Sandy Holloway Immediate past president,Seminole Historical Society
Editor: Does it seem sometimes that we are not moving forward at all? While our neighbors in Largo have come up with a strategy for annexation, the politicians here would rather talk about a water tower that is not in our city that is scheduled for demolition. Everything has a shelf life and the county has moved on from this aging structure.
A little forward thinking please. If they are serious about investing what would amount to millions in that area, how about a new City Hall on the lot at 70th Avenue and 113th Street? Several years ago the city purchased the property adjacent to the fire station for several hundred thousand dollars. In an area where the city has invested millions in new buildings, it is past time for a fitting City Hall for our residents. The current building is a retread and is terribly inadequate. Recently many of us who wanted to be heard regarding the new city center were turned away, not once but twice, from meetings there; the building could not accommodate those that would have liked to attend.
More recently, there has been an increase in resident complaints regarding repeated traffic and vagrancy issues. This is a symptom of contracting for police services. We budget $1.7 million annually for patrols. That would seem more than enough for a well-staffed local department. Can anyone tell us why we do not have our own department, when smaller communities do, and have, for some time? Treasure Island, with a population of approximately 6,500 residents for one. Kenneth City, about 4,500 residents, for another. Divide a salary of say $50,000 into $1.7 million, and that is a lot of officers. More than we would ever need. My guess is 17 would be about right, costing taxpayers half of what we pay out. That would give us a proactive force, versus the current reactive deal we have in place.
Build the residents the City Hall they deserve and an in-house department can share the current building with fire, which currently occupies a portion of the building that houses City Hall. An added bonus would result from having both public safety departments under one roof, so to speak. There are always excuses for not doing what needs to be done. But if they are serious about spending that kind of tax dollars on a structure we do not own, certainly we would be better served spending it on these improvements to our city.
Editor: My mother, Patricia J. Shontz, died Jan. 19, 2017. She served the Madeira Beach community in countless roles over many years and is revered for her service, serving multiple terms as mayor and commissioner. Perhaps not everyone agreed with her positions but she was always fully engaged in her efforts to improve the city as best she could. She was always ready to assist when needs arose. Sadly, there are few citizens willing to put their lives on the line for their neighbors, as she did, often for no thanks and frequent disparagement.
To my dismay, I have discovered that there are numerous rumors and innuendo circulating about the details of Mother’s death and administration of her estate. I believe that family business is just that and should not be anyone else’s. Unfortunately, I now have to publicly discuss what should be, private affairs.
I have been dealing with major health issues over the last two years and the decision to designate Shane Crawford as Mom’s power of attorney and executor of her estate was made by me and my mother. I must name Mr. Crawford, since it is apparent that he has been made a target of ignorant allegations. He deserves better. I am confident in the decision we made and it should not be of concern to any one else, including other family members, and certainly no affair of interest to the community at large.
I am fully engaged in the business of Mother’s affairs and resent intrusion into her final business, reputation, and memory. There seems to be an effort to subvert the normal and legal administration of Mother’s estate that will not be tolerated by me and the representatives of the estate.
Editor: Thank you for your article in the Beacon regarding the Dunedin bridge project. As a resident of the immediate area since the early 1980's with extensive community involvement, this is a real concern.
The high-level bridge seems most cost effective with consideration to cost of operations and 75-year lifespan. Restrictions to reduce excessive population risk of visitors may be supported by tolls to limit entry at an established visitor count to the island. Residents of the housing units on the west end of the bridge would be provided a prepaid device for ease of passage to and from their homes. Guests and visitors would need a head count restriction with the objective of health concerns of bathing in the Gulf. The potential for traffic and an extreme in population and cleanup for our island will continue to expand with the newer multi-housing projects east of U.S. 19.
The final decision is definitely a challenge with population growth a high risk factor.
With thanks to those committed to sustainable growth and living.
Editor: Mr. Driver absolutely does not owe anything remotely resembling an apology to the mighty so-called Church of Scientology.
I worked as a reporter at the Clearwater Sun in the mid-’70s when the cult-like for-profit group slunk into town and began spreading its so-called gospel. I saw first-hand its heavy-handed ways of shutting down those who dared oppose them.
It was devious then and remains so; and devious might be one of the least-snarky adjectives one could apply. Their tactic of attacking the questioners - liars, everyone always a liar - remains a cornerstone of the machine. Join at your own risk.
Editor: Not sure what’s happening to our area but noticing people with big backpacks or shopping carts hanging out in Seminole Park and behind the Marathon station at the corner of Ridge Road and Park Boulevard.
Guess Seminole is turning into a slum area; what a shame since its image seemed to be headed upwards by adding Seminole City Center. Alert authorities when you see something suspicious so we can keep the city of Seminole a safe family city.
Editor: Wayne Ayers’ coverage of Madeira Beach candidates Feb. 16 was a fair picture of the views of people running for mayor and commission.
By contrast, Robert Shaw’s letter to the editor Feb. 23 is incredibly slanted and misstates the concerns of the challengers.
Maggi Black, for mayor, Nancy Oakley and John Douthirtor for commission seats are running because of the failure of the incumbent mayor and the two short-term appointed commissioners to hear the concerns of residents.
Many citizens have spent countless hours the past 18 months listening and speaking out on the huge developments planned for 150th Avenue, the northern entrance to Madeira Beach. Always, without comment, the Commission voted unanimously to approve what the developers proposed. After about six months of citizen protests one commissioner began to question and vote against the majority. She was viciously attacked by the city manager and mayor and shunned by the rest of the Commission. She resigned due to her husband's deteriorating health.
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