Greetings, reader. We're starting something a little different this week in North of Tampa. I call it "My Time."
It's nothing radical, but it represents a desire to get more points of view into our publication. "My Time" articles are basically guest columns, which we have always published on occasion, and which I hope we will now publish with far greater frequency.
The idea grew out of coffee with original Carrollwood's Mark Snellgrove, who had some things to say about his neighborhood — if only we would give him a little bit of space in the newspaper.
Sure thing, I told him, wondering: Might there be someone in Westchase, Tampa Palms or Temple Terrace who would want to do the same?
"My Time" columns can be essays about what is right or wrong about the suburbs, or informative pieces about a special charter school or an effective Crime Watch method.
You might laugh. You might wince. When you read what Bruce Michaud says about traffic calming along West Village Drive, you might do both.
The upshot, I hope, is that we will have even more information, and a diversity of voices, from the many communities reached by North of Tampa.
So please give "My Time" some of your time. And e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join in.
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Had to laugh at a notice from Hillsborough County that began like this: "Public Meeting To Discuss Traffic Calming Along Summer Oak Drive and Winter Oak and Autumn Oak Place.''
Had to shake my head when we reported last week that the county planned to shut down New Tampa's Kinnan Street, a.k.a. the "road to nowhere."
Kinnan, which dead-ends at the Pasco County line, passes by a gate at the rear of Live Oak Preserve, which was locked at the time.
Live Oak homeowners wanted to own their streets, hence the gate. But they did not want to lose that road. So they offered to unlock the gate, but only to the people who live there.
If you don't have a magnetic sticker on your car that identifies you as a resident, you cannot get into Live Oak — unless you tailgate the car ahead of you. That's not something Live Oak residents wanted. Which is why, presumably, developers kept the gate locked until they could install a security system to repel interlopers.
So do the math.
The county tries to save money, and cut down on illicit activity, by shutting down an unused road. A community protests, asking for a piece of the road that nobody outside the community will have any reason to use. The matter comes before the Hillsborough County Commission on Aug. 20.