Knowing trash from treasure | Dec. 28
Florida lags on trash recycling
It was refreshing to see Tracee Stockwellís article. Iím a snowbird from Wisconsin, where recycling has been mandatory for years, and Iím appalled at the abysmal rate of recycling in Florida. On my street in Holiday, there are only two households that recycle at all; in Wisconsin, it is rare to see two households that donít recycle.
As a single person, I generate a 13-gallon blue tote filled with recyclables every two weeks, and thatís without paper and cardboard that I recycle at the local public elementary school and aluminum cans that I donate to a local church group.
Iíd like to see a series of recycling articles for each county since the rules differ greatly. It was great to see Pinellas County doesnít charge extra for electronics or yard waste recycling; Pasco County charges $5 for TVs under 36 inches and yard waste is charged at $59.30 per ton (prorated at $2.97 per 100 pounds). At best, most people are putting yard waste and electronics in their residential trash; at worst, theyíre dumping it on the side of the road. The recycling costs should be included in our tax bill since I donít know anybody who doesnít have yard waste or hasnít gotten a new flat-screen TV in the last 10 years.
Itís time that Florida got caught up with the rest of the world with their recycling.
Thomas Hansen, Holiday
As other nationsí life-spans rise, it falls in U.S. Dec. 28
Lifestyle choices to blame
I find it interesting that this article regarding falling life-spans in the United States fails to properly emphasize the real issue causing shorter life-spans. It is obesity (beginning in childhood) and lack of physical activity.
Itís not lack of paid maternity leave, nor lack of gun control, nor less than generous unemployment benefits, nor non-mandatory health care. Itís adult Americans being fat, eating processed foods, and young Americans spending too much time indoors playing computer games instead of running and playing outside.
Diabetes, heart disease and lifestyle cancers are the real killers, and those relate to obesity and lack of physical activity. The other factors noted are simply socialism excuses.
Eric Statham, Tampa
We need mass transit upgrades Dec. 28, letter
San Franciscoís example
I couldnít agree more with this letter about upgrading mass transit system in this area. Iím from San Francisco and moved here in 2004. In San Francisco, we have multiple mass transit systems that interconnect with each other.
On street level are buses and streetcars. One story below the street is Muni. Two stories below the street is BART, which extends far outside San Francisco. It connects with the San Francisco and Oakland airports. There are also multiple ferry lines to take you across the bay. I exclude cable cars because theyíre taken over by tourists, making them difficult for San Franciscans to use. Every time I go back to San Francisco, I marvel at how I donít need a car or even a taxi to get around.
A constant complaint I hear from Floridians is how terrible traffic is. I hate being at the mercy of my car. In the heat and humidity of summers, I canít walk or bike and will not sweat in the heat waiting for a bus. As the writer said, itís time to do something.
Stan Koyama, Tampa
Utility rates may climb | Dec. 30
Enough is enough
Duke Energy wants ratepayers to fix "their" equipment? Donít they have business insurance, a rainy day fund or some other plan to cover storm damage? If not, then isnít this a form of malpractice? The only reason their shareholders havenít revolted is Dukeís dividends have stayed at 4 percent or above since the fourth quarter of 2012.
A power company with above-ground wires running from the Carolinas to Florida has to expect storm damage almost every year. The problem with rate increases is they go on even after the work is done and end up as a larger dividend and bonus for senior management.
Enough is enough. Tallahassee should remember 2018 is an election year.
Robert Spencer, Dunedin
Investors should pay
Duke should not be able to increase its rates. Most of us agree that Duke Energy did a substandard job when it came to hurricane preparation and response. They did not maintain the infrastructure, cutting back on tree trimming and other maintenance. The response to the power outages was painfully slow. Duke couldnít even communicate adequately with customers, rarely updating its social media and not updating information on repairs.
Yet Dukeís stock rises and it pays a hefty dividend to its investors because the company will likely not be held responsible for the poor response. Why should we as customers provide Duke, an already high-priced utility, with support? In a capitalist society shouldnít the investors pay their fair share?
The Public Service Commission should come in on the side of the consumer and deny this requested increase.
Lynn Bosco, Clearwater
Slow delivery overseas
Last week the president posted a critical tweet about the post office and Amazon. If he needs to be critical of anything it should be the way the military handles packages to our servicemen and women.
My son is in the Air Force, stationed in Turkey. I have sent several packages to him during his tour. The last one (Publix cookies, which he loves) was mailed in early November and took five days just to get to Chicago. It then took almost another three weeks to get to him. This is ridiculous. It cost almost triple the price of the cookies to mail them.
I think our military personnel need better treatment than this.
Rick Johnson, St. Petersburg