Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

Monday's Quick Hits: Saturday in the park and some observations about the news

If I were a Realtor...

trying to sell a house in Spring Hill, I'd love to be able to bring prospective buyers by Delta Woods Park, where I spent all weekend witnessing it function just as a semiurban park should.

A full-court basketball game — lots of games, really, but one steady stream of action — raged for two straight days like some saloon's legendary, never-ending backroom poker game.

Swing sets, monkey bars and the playground picnic tables were also in constant use, as was the walking trail that weaves through park. A couple dozen young folks carried on an epic, three-hour game of touch football on the field down by Lake Theresa on Sunday afternoon. Then there was the reason I was at the park — the Simon Toftegaard Memorial Junior Tennis Tournament, which lasted all weekend and drew a record 46 entrants.

Unfortunately, as lively as the park is, I'm not sure I would include it on a buyers' tour for the simple reason that it looks like a bit of a dump — threadbare fields and tennis courts in desperate need of resealing. It's the perfect example of an asset on its way to becoming a liability because of neglect. It's proof that scrimping on park maintenance over the past few years has cost us a lot more than it's saved.

One story I would have loved to have seen on Sunday's front page, above the fold ...

was Craig Pittman's piece about the flawed model that is used by water management scientists to determine how water flows from the surface of the earth to the aquifer.

They think it seeps. It actually shoots.

That means pollutants enter our drinking supply and our once-pristine springs a lot faster than water managers assume when issuing permits.

We didn't exactly bury the story, by the way. It's on the front page of today's paper and here on tampabay.com: tinyurl.com/bej2xtw.

Another revelation in the Times ...

was the Sunday Perspective section's cover story on the inequity of government spending: tinyurl.com/bjt3hp3 .

Summed up, we spent lots more — more than twice as much — on old people than we do on children.

Being well on my way to joining the ranks of these older people, I'm all in favor of our society taking care of them.

But do we really need to spend so much more money supplementing the comfortable lives of retirees in gated communities than we do easing the decidedly uncomfortable existence of kids in need?

Lee Dolan, a regular reader ...

wrote that on Sunday night "I almost hit a young man riding a bicycle along the side of the road. ... The road was dark & narrow, he wore a dark hoodie ... & the bike had no reflectors. Oh, and (the rider had) no helmet, either."

The email went on to say that equally careless cyclists are a common sight on Dolan's regular commute to Tampa, which includes stretches of State Road 50, U.S. 19 and Shady Hills Road.

The point is that the still-rising number of bike fatalities in the Tampa Bay area — tinyurl.com/aoo8y9v — is not all the fault of careless drivers and car-oriented transportation planning, though those are, of course, major factors.

Cyclists have to do more to protect themselves, and the county bicycle-pedestrian transportation planners, the state Department of Transportation and local law enforcement agencies need to do more to tell them how to do this.

For example, that it's a good idea to avoid riding at night, on a busy street, with no reflectors or helmet.

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