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Eckerd Theater Company has solid future

Re: Theater company imperiled | Jan. 14 story

Theater company has solid future

As board chairs of Ruth Eckerd Hall, we'd like to comment on the article with regard to the state of Eckerd Theater Company (ETC) and its future.

Our mission and vision at Ruth Eckerd Hall is to be a leader in providing the finest in performing arts and performing arts education programming, and to educate all segments of the community in and through the performing arts.

We are proud of the many education programs that we provide through the Hoffman Institute at Ruth Eckerd Hall that reach more than 100,000 children annually, through off site and on site community engagement programming in performing arts classes, professional development, school-time and family performances. ETC is a proud and important part of our overall education department.

For-profit and not-for-profit businesses alike can relate to the regular evaluation of our programs and initiatives that are necessary in this economic climate, as well as the funding needed to keep these programs and efforts alive. Ruth Eckerd Hall is not exempt from this type of evaluation.

In light of the lack of grants and government funding, and recognizing our fiscal responsibility, this past December we sought out and appointed a task force of individuals who are passionate about ETC and who are committed to maintaining the good work that the ETC provides. This task force will focus on securing new funding sources to sustain ETC.

As we move forward in this process, we will continue to seek donations, grants and other financial resources to fund this and all of the programs we provide that have made such a difference in so many people's lives. We are confident that the arts will survive these economic times and that we will preserve the culture that Ruth Eckerd Hall has brought to the Tampa Bay area.

We are also confident that the funds will be raised allowing ETC to continue to provide the quality theater experiences that it has become well known for in Clearwater, the state of Florida and throughout the performing arts industry.

We welcome input and support from all like-minded arts enthusiasts, and together, we will ensure that the arts programs here at Ruth Eckerd Hall will survive and continue to enrich the lives of our young people and all who enjoy the arts. If you are interested in supporting ETC, please contact the development office at (727) 712-2720.

Mark H. Edmunds, chairman, Ruth Eckerd Hall Foundation, and George M. Cantonis, chairman, Ruth Eckerd Hall, Inc., Clearwater

Re: Clearwater driver guilty in DUI | Jan. 13 story

If only people would listen

Staff writer Demorris Lee, thank you for the kind words and making sure that people know that drinking and driving hurts a lot of people. I wish we could stop it, but I have come to the understanding that it will never end.

Jill Smith, Clearwater

Re: Biggest challenge? Budget | Jan. 13 story

A slick way to make money

Ah ha! Now it is all becoming clear to me. I was cited recently by a Clearwater police officer on Mandalay Avenue on Clearwater Beach. I was going about 27-28 mph, however my speed was "lasered" at 41 mph in the 25 mph zone. My choices were to "pay the ticket, go to traffic school or contest it , but you don't have a chance since it is laser," the police officer told me. Two other cars were pulled over soon after me.

So until Clearwater's laser is calibrated properly, new police Chief Tony Holloway will not need to worry about the budget .

Roberta Cauthen, Clearwater

Re: "Everyone is Welcome" at gay men's chorus holiday concert | Dec. 26 story

Spiritual needs must be fulfilled

I'd like to thank Clearwater Times assistant city editor Steve Morse and correspondent Julie Church for the excellent Dec. 26 article providing information about a holiday concert presented at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Clearwater, one of the many ways that we have been trying to inform the gay and lesbian community of the welcome and affirmation our congregation offers. Because of your coverage, we had close to 200 people at the event.

On Jan. 31, we will celebrate the decision this church made five years ago to become part of "Reconciling in Christ," a national initiative that offers an intentional welcome to those who have been marginalized by churches in the past. That decision was affirmed by the many people who expressed their appreciation for the holiday event, which reminded us that there are still many unmet spiritual needs in the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Paul Gibson, Clearwater

>>Your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

Eckerd Theater Company has solid future 01/19/10 [Last modified: Tuesday, January 19, 2010 4:58pm]
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