The trail at 20 | story, Nov. 28
Trail should stay open at night
The Pinellas Trail has been a huge success and benefit to the residents and guests of our county. With Florida regrettably having one of the highest pedestrian and cyclist fatality rates in our country, this trail has been quite literally a lifesaver for many. As noted in your article, the trail has evolved from solely recreational use to that of an alternative commuter transportation facility. I, along with many others, ride the trail frequently, and due to my work schedule and to avoid the summer heat, quite often enjoy riding the trail at night.
On a recent Friday evening, while cycling on the trail with lights and a helmet, I was stopped in Palm Harbor by a deputy parked at a quiet side street just off the trail. She informed me it's illegal to ride the trail after dark and that I would have to continue home riding on the road. She stated the trail is closed after dark to prevent crime.
Your article states the very limited crime occurring on the trail is related primarily to the region that the trail crosses, and not to the use of the trail itself. In other words, as a pedestrian or cyclist, there are crime-ridden areas in our county that we should avoid, whether we use the trail, the sidewalks or the road.
Do we really have such a surplus of law enforcement resources that we can park deputies along the trail solely to chase away cyclists and pedestrians? Why not direct those deputies to focus their attention rightly to our crime-ridden areas, and let the pedestrians and cyclists go about their business at night rather than forcing them to put their lives at risk on our killing roads?
Based on the facts in your article, it makes absolutely no sense to prohibit use of this much-needed alternative commuter transportation facility to cyclists and pedestrians at the very time when they would benefit the most from the safety of the trail.
It is my strong recommendation to the governing body that regulates the trail to change this policy and open the trail for our use at all hours, day or night. With our region having 10 cyclists killed in the last three months by automobiles on our roads, statistics show we're more safe on the trail, even in the dark.
Craig Williams, Clearwater
Now we have to secure flags?
Here at our condominium complex, Villas de Golf in Largo, we proudly fly an American flag at our entrance. The flag is a large one that flew on an American warship. It is flown night and day every day of the week and lit at night.
The other day on a morning walk, I noticed the flag was missing. It was stolen during the night. We have been flying a smaller flag until we can get a suitable replacement and figure out how to secure it. Is nothing sacred anymore?
Skip Parminter, Largo
Orchestra is asset to community
When you think of the Boston Pops and their wonderful music, think of the Suncoast Symphony Orchestra, because they are right here in Pinellas County.
The Suncoast Symphony Orchestra began as the Clearwater Symphony Orchestra, which was founded in 1984 by a small group of musicians and educators wishing to provide an outlet for the performance of symphonic music in the community. Near the end of the 1993-1994 season, the orchestra changed its name to the Suncoast Symphony to embrace the Tampa Bay community, and we are all richer because of it.
On Dec. 15, a packed auditorium at North Bay Community Church was rewarded with the sound of Christmas music with arrangements by well known composers like Leroy Anderson and Aaron Copland. The songs were so familiar we were tempted to sing along.
The wonderful evening was sponsored in part by the state of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. A donation was collected to help defray the expenses, but the donations could never cover the full cost. We should all appreciate our taxes being used in such a positive way for our community.
A special thank you to Dr. Theodore DeCorso and all of the members of the orchestra who volunteer time and efforts to provide this beautiful program.
Margaret Hyde, Clearwater