Re: Honeymoon Island listed for RV camp, story | June 25
Proposal for RVs simply intolerable
As I understand it, the tally on the state proposal for campsites at Honeymoon Island State Park seems to be this: Environmental groups; the community of Dunedin; residents and citizen groups across the county, state and country; legislators such as Sen. Mike Fasano, and even the RV Association are all in opposition.
The expedited process, limitations for public comment, poor timing of the proposal while many residents are away for summer, and the lack of transparency are all notable shortcomings.
The proposal itself will increase costs at various levels of government; privatize public lands; have an adverse impact on the park's wildlife, resources and rare habitat; negatively impact air and water quality; hurt businesses, and decrease public safety.
To make matters worse, similar plans are proposed at various parks all over the state, each with different challenges and issues.
This proposal and others like it represent unethical representation and poor leadership in Tallahassee and clearly show wanton disregard for natural Florida and for the people who live here. From a public standpoint the proposal is intolerable and amounts to thievery of investments the public has made in state parks.
Barb Walker, Palm Harbor
Re: Honeymoon Island listed for RV camp | story, June 25
Open camp sites at red-ink parks
As a citizen of Dunedin who frequents Honeymoon Island State Park and the Dunedin Causeway, I am strongly opposed to camping sites, especially those designated for recreational vehicles, at Honeymoon Island State Park.
As the most visited park in the Florida park system, Honeymoon Island State Park brings in revenue that far exceeds the expenses of the park. Those revenue dollars are shipped off to Tallahassee and reallocated throughout the park system based on the budgetary process.
The end result: Revenue collected at Honeymoon Island State Park doesn't stay in Honeymoon Island State Park. A significant portion of those dollars is sent off to other state parks that are underperforming and/or underutilized and, therefore, operating in the red.
A major concern is the negative impact that additional traffic into Honeymoon Island, especially large RVs, would have on the Dunedin Causeway.
Class A RVs frequently have diesel engines and commonly tow another vehicle, resulting in an overall length of over 50 feet. "Fifth Wheels" are almost always towed by diesel trucks and also have an overall length of over 50 feet. "Travel trailers" are towed by trucks (sometimes diesel powered) or SUVs; overall length frequently approaches 50 feet.
The additional vehicles generated by the plan would be sharing a single lane of a two-lane road across two bridges on the causeway for 13/4 miles from the east end of the drawbridge to the entrance to the park. Those who frequent the Dunedin Causeway know that the traffic already backs up all the way to Alt. U.S. 19 on very busy days.
These vehicles will cause additional noise and air pollution. Diesels are louder and shake more than gasoline engines, and burned diesel fuel smells much worse than burned gasoline. Diesel engine emissions of oxides of nitrogen and particulate matter exceed that of gasoline engines. Particulate matter causes the black soot emitted from diesel-vehicle tailpipes, and oxides of nitrogen are one of the components of smog.
I don't believe this plan would benefit the citizens of Dunedin or the surrounding communities and, in fact, would have a substantial negative impact on those who venture out on the Dunedin Causeway.
The additional revenue received by the Division of Recreation and Parks would be distributed throughout the park system as they are now, to the same underutilized and/or underperforming parks elsewhere in the state.
Who pays the price? All the area residents who live on the Dunedin Causeway and/or use its beaches and the extension of the Pinellas Trail for recreation.
Instead, why not enhance the parks that are operating in the red by adding camping facilities at their locations to help them move toward self-sufficiency?
Scott Hood, Dunedin
Re: Honeymoon Island listed for RV camp | story, June 25
Plan doesn't serve public interests
The first sentence in the mission statement of the state Department of Environmental Protection contains the commitment to "protect the air, water, and land." The government bureaucrats involved apparently feel that is best done on Honeymoon Island by sending 45 RVs across the two-lane Dunedin Causeway on a regular basis and enhancing the beautiful gulf landscape with utility hookups, restrooms, playgrounds, grills, concession buildings and, I am sure, lots of additional trash cans.
A primary purpose of this exercise, according to Donald Forgioni, director of the Florida Park Service, would be to generate additional revenue for the DEP. When asked to estimate how much would be generated, he didn't have any idea.
Sounds like typical state government forethought or planning. It certainly doesn't sound like the public will be served nearly as much as those working for the DEP.
Dave Loeffert, Dunedin
One way to win a war of words
I recently had occasion to sit in the Bardmoor Outpatient Center's reception area, where I was waiting for my wife, who was undergoing a medical procedure that would take several hours to complete.
The chairs there are arranged in a horseshoe shape facing a TV set. I chose a seat directly in front of the screen and prepared myself for the long wait. Newspaper, puzzles, coffee and a timer were provided by the staff.
Soon after I was settled, a young woman took the seat adjacent to me on my left. There was a small table between us. Almost immediately she produced a cell phone and proceeded to have a loud conversation with her caller.
The volume on the TV set there is understandably low and I found myself having trouble hearing it. However, I patiently waited for the distraction to end. Sixty-five minutes later she was still chatting with the same caller, and I was hoping the battery on her phone would die. No such luck.
I did not wish to confront her and cause a disturbance. What I did do was pick up the newspaper and I began reading aloud. Sort of a filibuster. Guess what? She became annoyed with me! After several mean looks, she took it outside. Turnabout, is fair play after all.
Orfeo Trombetta, Seminole
Thanks to those who saved my life
I am a very lucky and thankful person today. On June 17 I went to West Coast Radiology in Palm Harbor for a normal CT scan of my shoulder. For this scan I was injected with a contrast that contained a trace of iodine. The scan was completed and the technician came to me to let me know how I should be feeling.
I lost consciousness and required CPR from the staff. The two staff members, Dr. Paul Hahn and technician Joann Elliott, performed CPR on me until they got a pulse. This was done, to my understanding, for at least five minutes. Paramedics then arrived and I lost a pulse again. The paramedics also revived me after several minutes.
I want everyone to know how fortunate we are to live in an area where we have such trained professionals like Dr. Hahn and Joann and the paramedics who saved my life.
Unfortunately, I do not know the names of the paramedics, but I'm sure after doing this so many times and saving so many people they are very used to this and unfortunately, so underrated. I thank them so much.
As for Dr. Hahn and Joann, I will never be able to repay these professionals and want everyone to know they are my heroes. Thank you for saving my life.
Gordon Wysocki, Clearwater