Try driving as if your mom's in the car | May 11
Not all bicyclists, drivers are at odds
Lorrie Lykins said that her Dr. Delay column has been receiving letters from motorists, motorcyclists, bicyclists and other road users hurling invective against each other. Gas has hit $4 per gallon and is projected to go to the stratosphere. It's time we get a handle on why this is happening so we can figure out a way to be nice to each other.
As a commuter bicyclist, I'm right in there experiencing what goes on. I've found that the anger is mostly caused from a lack of contemplation or education.
Fellow bicyclists, whenever you start to feel that "all motorists" are terrible people, set the goal to look for and compliment three motorists who are doing good things.
You'll find that there are motorists who are doing good things but you can't compliment them because you can't logistically get to them.
Eventually, you'll fill your three-motorist quota. In the process, you'll see that there are many more good motorists than the three you complimented. Likewise, motorists can do the same thing when they see bicyclists, motorcyclists and other car drivers.
Americans have a tendency to notice and concentrate on the worst of experiences. Just think about what you do when you get home from work. You probably don't talk about the good that happened. You probably get stuck on the negative. It colors how you think about other people. Looking for and complimenting three good travelers helps to refocus your attention.
Never jump to conclusions about what the other person is thinking.
Once as I bicycled home from work, a man behind me was laying on the horn, following block after block in his pickup truck, even though he could have easily passed to the left with a safe passing distance. A gray-haired man driving a very nice car and looking like he was in his 50s pulled up to my left with a cell phone and told me he was calling the cops. I thought, "Uh-oh. He's siding against me."
When he stopped at a red light and before I could pull out a copy of the bicycling laws to give to him, he said, "That guy was trying to intimidate you!" The 50ish man had
been calling the police to go after the motorist. A few minutes later, a 20ish man pulled up in a van and asked, "Did they get the guy?" He had been driving around looking for the pickup driver after that driver pulled off on a side street.
Fellow bicyclists, never say that all car drivers hate all bicyclists. That's not true. Nor do all bicyclists hate all motorists.
Kimberly Cooper, St. Petersburg
8.5 | June 8, story by Donna Winchester
Kudos to 8.5
The 8.5 program at Lealman Intermediate is impressive. So many of these kids are suffering students who have a constricted life, rife with abuse, neglect and general hardships in the home environment. Thus, the Olympian leaps in achievement levels are awesome.
Teachers and administrators have been able to elevate motivation to stratospheric heights. Directionless pupils now have progressive perspectives and high self-esteem with the loss of immature, infantile thinking. All this fortifies the conclusion that all is never lost in the midst of wondrous tutelage.
Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg
Walker's Rising Stars
May 28 was one of those magical nights! Twenty of the most artistically talented high-schoolers from Pinellas County came together for the Walker's Rising Star competition. Such a thrilling evening! There were four contestants for each category: dance, instrumental music, vocal, visual arts and theater.
What a treat to be inspired by these gifted teenagers! If only television could showcase such talent and produce such a wonderful variety of the living arts from our young people.
Pinellas County can be proud of these artists. There are many more and we must ensure that the arts are a regular part of the yearly school curriculum. The arts help our souls blossom and keep youngsters out of trouble. They also help with academics and learning in general. The discipline involved remains a lifelong skill.
We must keep the arts alive for all our youngsters, not only for ourselves, but for the passing along of such beauty to our future generations.
An evening like this one becomes the icing on the cake of life.
We all need to be uplifted and treated to cake and icing!
Renata Kuh Schwartz, Clearwater
Dancing toward the mainstream | June 1, story
Living without fear
Special thanks to the St. Petersburg Times for such a delightful and encouraging article on gay-straight alliances in our local high schools.
There are often angry responses to such stories by members of certain organizations dedicated to stopping the "scary and dangerous gay agenda."
The reality is that what we gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender citizens are asking for is to be left alone to live our lives without fear of discrimination and violence.
Back in 1969, during my senior year in high school, I took a lot of abuse. Back then I had no place to go; teachers and school counselors kept telling me it was my fault. I was told that I had to tone down the way I dressed. I was told that I acted too girly, and that if I wanted to stop being picked on, I needed to act more like a "normal boy." I was normal enough to be classified 1A in the draft and get sent to Vietnam.
I have no idea what a "gay agenda" is. I do know that seeing 200 LGBT high school kids here in Pinellas County have a safe place to dance and be "normal teenagers" is heartwarming. This is the American concept of freedom that I risked my life for in Vietnam back in 1970.
Janice Josephine Carney, Seminole