Airport response to emergency poor
I recently visited your area and was at the St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport on Thursday, the day of the storms. I am back home finally after being at the airport for hours.
I understand that you cannot predict Mother Nature, but the lack of communication from anyone was ridiculous. I received no food or water while I was waiting. They paraded us around in the dark like cattle. No one would tell us anything.
That close to the actual tornado, no one even told us to take shelter. We had no idea things were that bad. Thank God the tornado did not hit the terminal itself. There was no protection where we were, and no one was prepared. There would have been many people hurt or worse.
In my opinion, Pinellas County Emergency Management, the airport, and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office managed the situation very poorly. They never told us we were in danger.
I cannot express to you in words the disappointment I feel in the experts employed to guard our safety. Bad form.
Ernest Adkins, Hollister, Mo.
County came up short in the storm
My goodness. You would think with all the codes and so forth for hurricanes, Pinellas County and its controlling utilities would have survived Thursday's storm better.
Granted, there were some high winds — Oh my! — and lots of rain. The result? This county is on its "fourth point of contact," to use an old U.S. Airborne term.
God forbid it be a Category 2 or worse hurricane! Progress Energy and Bright House have been knocked on their collective butts. I've seen far harsher storms in 16 years in central Kansas and not seen the problems there were here.
Beware, folks. If ever there is a direct hit in the bay area, we are truly screwed!
Patrick M. Oatley, Seminole
Re: Doing the Stingray Shuffle | story, March 27
Lucky stingrays off Indian Rocks?
I thought I'd pass on the news that for the last week or 10 days there have been hundreds of stingrays off Indian Rocks Beach. On the days with calm east winds, they were right at the water's edge. They were easily visible from our second-floor rental deck.
I assume they were making whoopee. Lucky stingrays!
Tyler Carder, Largo
Motorists not always to blame
Accidents involving pedestrians, bicyclists and those riding on their motorized wheelchairs are unfortunately on the rise in the Tampa Bay area. There seems to be no shortage of stories in the St. Petersburg Times.
Just today, as I was driving in downtown Clearwater, I witnessed what could have been two individual and very bad accidents. And only because those involved were not obeying the law. Instead of crossing the street at a corner and at the light, folks are crossing wherever they choose and in the midst of heavy traffic.
It was around the noon hour, the traffic was bumper to bumper and moving slowly, when suddenly there was a man crossing the street in his motorized wheelchair. He was so dangerously close to the car bumpers that he could have easily reached out and touched them.
And then, within seconds of the man in the wheelchair, two young boys on bicycles suddenly appeared between the bumpers. They too were crossing the street. I was so alarmed, because they were so close to me, that I blared my horn at them.
Sure, all was well this time. But what about the next time? What is happening here is that pedestrians, wheelchair riders and bicyclists are playing Russian roulette. And in doing so, they are transferring all of the responsibility onto us motorists.
There is no good that can come from not working together. For starters, though, perhaps more police surveillance would be helpful on Court Street, ASAP.
JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater
Re: Teachers' worth found outside tests | column, April 1
Teaching to tests can be deceptive
In response to Marie-Myung Ok-Lee's column, I completely agree with her. I was an elementary school teacher for 33 years in Illinois and was told to "teach to the test," wasting valuable instruction time only to benefit the very best students who would remember those quick lessons.
Testing is a tool, not a contest. Some children do very well, some don't test well, and the rest don't care. To hold a teacher totally responsible for how her class does on a test and to threaten her livelihood, career and integrity is an abomination.
Most administrators don't want to do all the hard work that is involved in firing a teacher for incompetence — they don't want to buck the union and do all the paperwork. That's why there are incompetent teachers still teaching, not necessarily because the class performed poorly on the FCAT. There is so much more to learning than tests.
Valerie Moustakas, Tarpon Springs
Superintendent Janssen must go
It's time for Julie Janssen, Pinellas County schools superintendent, to leave. There must be someone, somewhere, who will be better able to lead our schools. We need to find him/her.
The Raysses-Whipple issue is the last straw.
Mary Anne Mulder, St. Petersburg