A board may track fire, EMS costs countywide | story, Feb. 21
Fire service setup is fine as it is
I believe this article and the subsequent release of the final Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability report do not accurately portray the true situation in Pinellas County.
As a fire service professional I am puzzled by the continued state legislative efforts to mandate something against the fundamental principle of home rule. It is not up to the Legislature or the county to dictate to the citizens of any municipality their level of fire service.
The statement that the current system is not sustainable is simply an opinion based on incomplete information. The residents of St. Petersburg have an internationally accredited, ISO-rated Class II fire department. Only the residents of St. Petersburg pay for that fire service. It should be their choice.
The statement that there are no cost efficiencies whatsoever is totally incorrect. For example, residents in several communities pay for a single engine company. However, should they have a structure fire, they receive a full response (two more engines and one truck) from neighboring communities at no additional cost. Functionally, fire service in Pinellas County is consolidated.
The fire chief's goal is saving lives and property in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. Responsible consolidation efforts need to look well beyond costs and control.
James D. Large, fire chief, St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue
Changes begin at Hopkins story, March 10
Involved parents are key to success
While law enforcement officials, racemongers seeking to make hay out of an educational disaster and extraordinarily ineffective bureaucrats were heard from, nobody seemed to have an interest in addressing the critical issue of parental involvement in, and parental commitment to, the education of their children at John Hopkins Middle School in St. Petersburg.
So long as the primary influences on student behavior are peer pressure and other insidious and destructive forces, shuffling students around to different schools will accomplish nothing.
Spending scarce dollars on so-called behavior experts evidences the inability of interested parties to effect actual change, because behavior experts are not a substitute for parental inculcation of a value system that places a high priority on academic achievement.
Jeffrey Meyer, Clearwater
Windblown eaglet rescued story, March 13
Rangers go above and beyond duty
As a volunteer rescue person for the Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary, I get many calls from the rangers at Honeymoon Island. They are the unsung heroes here and enough cannot be said about their concern and care for all the wildlife on and around Honeymoon Island.
This young eagle might have been killed by predators but for a ranger patrolling in the rain, checking the nest and spotting the bird on the ground. Although it eluded their efforts Thursday night, the rangers on duty Friday morning went out at first light in the pouring rain, searched the area, found and captured the eaglet. A coordinated effort got him to the Sanctuary, where the excellent, trained hospital staff knew how to treat and handle this very cold and stressed young eagle, who now has a chance to grow into his full magnificence.
We give heartfelt thanks and appreciation to the great rangers and staff at Honeymoon Island for their dedication and willingness to go above and beyond!
Barbara O'Brien, Dunedin
Feathers flying in Dunedin story, March 17
Don't like ducks? Move away, then
This is a letter to the residents of Dunedin's Lazy Lake, in particular to Clark Mattice. You're living in an area of natural beauty, with wildlife all around you. The ducks in your neighborhood are not unique to your area. These creatures of natural beauty have been here far longer than you have been alive and by no means intend to cause harm to you or anyone else.
If having wildlife near you is upsetting to you, then maybe you should consider moving to a place where you wouldn't feel burdened by animals. Perhaps you could move to New York City, where the only animals you would encounter are the ones that are mugging you!
David Feeney, Dunedin
Feathers flying in Dunedin story, March 17
See how Ocala handled nuisance
We had the same issue in Ocala. The darn ducks were everywhere pooping on everything. You should contact the Ocala Public Works director, Glenn Kerns, as to how the issue was handled. It is much better now.
David Hill, Belleview