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Small traffic sign near Oldsmar school may cost you $141

Tiny traffic sign may cost you $141

It just cost me $141 to drop my daughter off at Forest Lakes Elementary School in Oldsmar. There were many law enforcement officers in front of the school today. I happily assumed they were catching people speeding through a school zone.

Unfortunately, I was very wrong. The second I pulled out of the parking lot to cross the road at the four-way stop, I was pulled over. What was my crime? They put up a new sign at the school exit stating that you may only turn right during school hours. It is a small sign in the middle of other signs that have been posted for years.

I have been taking her to school for three years. I've seen the same signs over and over. Why would I keep reading them and notice a new small white sign? I was busy watching traffic so I could exit safely.

Never mind the fact that you have to go down the road now and make a U-turn somewhere or go 2 miles out of your way to get home. That's another letter.

I expected a warning, okay? No, instead I got a $141 ticket, as I assume all the other parents who didn't see the sign did. There were at least 15 of them when I was stopped.

They said they put the sign there to avoid accidents at the four-way stop. I haven't seen an accident there in the three years I've been taking my daughter to school and picking her up.

They said they have given warnings. Do they really think that if we had been warned, we would have been stupid enough to go straight or turn left in front of them? Couldn't the school have sent a note home about the sign if they were so worried about preventing accidents?

The officer that ticketed me obviously felt very bad about the situation. He said he didn't normally work in Oldsmar but was sent there to help out. He said he had to follow orders and give me a ticket. What a waste of our police force. I'm sure they enjoyed ticketing law-abiding parents just trying to drop their kids off at school.

Probably didn't even have time to notice the drivers speeding through the school zone.

By the way, this is my first ticket since 1992.

Dawn Powell, Oldsmar

Re: Bald eagles found on proposed Wal-Mart site in Tarpon Springs

Effort needed to save bald eagles

The bald eagle management plan provides clear and well-defined methods for sustaining bald eagle territories. Being the first nesting season after de-listing of the bald eagle, local efforts such as bald eagle ordinances or critical area ordinances to protect eagles are reasonable and justified. A cart-before-the-horse approach simply won't work.

Preventing encroachment of bald eagle territories locally by ordinance may prevent a re-listing effort later. Failing to implement measures to protect bald eagles within Pinellas County would set a poor regional standard.

Conversely, assuring that state goals are well supported within Pinellas County sets a superior regional standard and helps to define what our state will look like by the year 2060. See the Web site

Smart and responsible growth management is achievable and enforceable. The city of Tarpon Springs has earned an award as a green city, but it is up to the city to keep that award meaningful. At our current rate of growth, bald eagles could lose as much as 1.9-million acres between now and 2060. Gopher tortoises could lose up to 700,000 acres.

Northern Pinellas experienced an increased level of bald eagle nesting failures last year, as did the west coast of Florida. The cause is still undetermined.

The presence of protected bald eagles, endangered wood storks, threatened sandhill cranes, declining clapper rails, declining ground doves and threatened gopher tortoises are indicators of the environmental sensitivity of Wal-Mart's property.

Saving a bald eagle territory and all the creatures within its recommended buffer zone and avoiding the impact of a supercenter on Pinellas County's historical Anclote River is the greenest thing the city of Tarpon Springs could do and is consistent with their plans. The city of Tarpon Springs has an excellent comprehensive plan as well as two strong ordinances that can be used to deny any site plan that is not protective of bald eagles and does not meet the state recommendations.

Wal-Mart is a partner in many green initiatives, including the Mayors Climate Protection Agreement, and it would be inconsistent — hypocritical, actually — for Wal-Mart to present any site plan that is not protective of the bald eagles or the Anclote River.

Barbara Walker, Palm Harbor

Re: Trip to bathroom saves man's life | story, Nov. 16

Did injuries need medical chopper?

Why does it not amaze me that with Mease Hospital Dunedin less than 3 miles away, they had to transport the person injured in this accident to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa with injuries that are not considered to be life threatening.

You think it might have something to do with Medicaid? I think sometimes they use the medical helicopter a little too much. I would sure like to know who winds up footing the bill for that transport.

R.H. Tarbox, Clearwater

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Small traffic sign near Oldsmar school may cost you $141 11/18/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, November 19, 2008 8:05pm]
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