Water shortage brought a lesson
Living at Royal Stewart Arms in Dunedin, my husband and I have recently gone through the challenge of living without water for a week. It was a mind-opening occurrence, and now that it's over, we think it is one that we should all experience at least once in our lifetime.
From now on when asked to conserve during water shortages and droughts, we won't think twice about turning off the water while brushing our teeth or sudsing up in the shower. This experience has taught us how much water we actually use during a day and how much of it turns out to be unnecessary.
Other good things have come from the experience, as well. We know that a backup plan is necessary and hope that the city and neighboring towns take a fresh look at basic services to all of our neighborhoods.
We also learned that we have angels with us here at RSA. They are disguised as residents, neighbors from Mediterranean Manor, firemen and city workers, but they are truly angels who came through for those who were experiencing physical challenges. They brought water to floor-mates and went shopping for emergency supplies for them. They brought us coffee and breakfast to cheer us up. They stood outside in the rain, gusting winds and cold to help us fill our water bottles, with pleasantries to help us keep our spirits up. They camped out in our clubhouse, away from family and friends, to keep us safe.
It wasn't all uplifting, and one of the most unpleasant incidents was an article that appeared in the St. Petersburg Times by staff writer Drew Harwell. He used this incident to jab "fun" at the residents here, characterizing us as all over 80 who leave a trail of bingo chips as we walk. His photo in his online profile shows that he is very young, and perhaps a community of 55-plus seems very old to him. That being the case, he used an unpleasant, if not dangerous set of circumstances to take a cheap shot at those who were doing their best to manage. Ageism is never appreciated, least of all during a crisis. I'm hoping that he also learned from this experience.
Jacqueline Wickenheisser, Dunedin
Re: Clearwater threatens trash haulers with a loss of business | story, Feb. 6
City surcharges unfair, excessive
A 15 percent surcharge tax on trash haulers doing business in Clearwater? This is another example of Clearwater's City Hall using its monopoly power to extort money from small-business competitors. Clearwater's 15 percent tax on trash haulers' profits is nothing but an illegal income tax designed to put competitors out of business.
Clearwater also charges 16 percent taxes and franchise fees on all residents' electric bills. These grossly excessive taxes and fees are so exorbitant they would embarrass even an organized crime protection racket.
In my view, the big-spending, tax-crazed, turf-protecting municipal corporation of Clearwater has become an embarrassment for Pinellas County.
Bob Snow, Clearwater
Coyote sightings a cause of worry
I write to the St. Petersburg Times out of concern for my family and all families in East Lake Woodlands Country Club where there have been numerous coyote sightings. We have small children, dogs and people who cannot fend for themselves if attacked by a pack of wild coyotes.
When I walk my small dog at night, I am armed with a golf club and an air horn. One would think I lived in a dangerous area — I guess I do! Who would ever think that alligators are probably safer to live near than coyotes? At least alligators stay to themselves for the most part and don't brazenly walk on our property.
Please warn people to be on alert and write letters to our congressmen to help protect us from these coyotes.
Lynn Thompson, Oldsmar
Parking meter fine rankles
I just wanted to say thank you to the policeman who gave me a ticket for parking in front of Frenchy's Rockaway Grill on Clearwater Beach at 11:06 p.m. Feb. 13. It must have been a slow night, as I was one of six cars in a parking lot of 100 spaces. My wife thanks you very much for making her Valentine dinner a memorable one.
By the way, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, there is no cost to park on weekends or after 6 p.m. during the week. So the next time anyone is in my hometown, don't worry about putting 50 cents in the meter.
Steve Gilbert, Ingramport, Nova Scotia