As chemicals spread, worries abound | April 19, story
Family must deal
with fear, anger
A few days ago I found out my neighborhood may have very harmful contaminants passing underneath. I discovered that by using my well to water my grass I may have inadvertently helped to pull up some of those contaminants and toxic chemicals. I found out that my city knew about this, my county knew about this, even my state knew about this and did not warn me or my family. The other day, I had my well water tested for poisons right under my house.
Then I had to test my little girl for three carcinogens known to cause harm in animals and humans. I had to sit idly by while she was poked and pricked, tears streaming down her puffy face. I had to wait on pins and needles while others determined how many chemicals are the minimum legal limit my toddler can be exposed to. Now I feel like a wet shirt rung out to dry, strung up on the clothesline just baking in the hot sun, bare and with no protection.
Talking with people at the supermarket, drugstore and home improvement store, I discovered awareness of the story, even sympathy. Yet underneath there was a common current of "Gee, we can be mad at the situation with you — just glad it wasn't in my back yard."
For-sale signs are sprouting each day on our streets, some from fear and others from a need to relocate due to jobs or retiring or moving to other climates. Yet who wants to buy in this neighborhood, when the brightest features, a wonderful playground and park (not to mention the exceptional elementary school and even preschool), may be tainted with a toxic plume running underneath and making its way to Boca Ciega Bay? While there are pollutants we all are exposed to daily, when it comes to spending on average $190,000 to buy a home, many may just think twice about it.
Now we need to move. My family has a chance to start our first business in another part of Florida. And we will need to announce by law that there is something lurking right under the foundation of our house. In a few days, my wife and I will get tested, pricked and poked. In the future, our chance may never come.
James Orr, St. Petersburg
We should avoid cutting park funds | April 13, letter
I read this letter comparing Florida to Delaware, and I must say it was full of inaccuracies.
I am also a Delaware transplant, who has been in Pinellas for 15 years. When I read the letter writer's claim that there are no parks in Delaware, I about fell out of my chair.
What about Rockford Park, Carpenter State Park, Cape Henlopen, Battery Park, Red Clay Creek, White Clay Creek State Park, Brandywine Valley, Montchannin, Valley Garden Park, etc.? These parks give great pleasure to thousands for free. How come the letter writer has never heard of them?
Delaware beaches do not compare to those of Florida, but like Florida's, most are free (with a few exceptions). Yes, you have to pay for a few of the beach parks in the southern part of the state (some, not most), but you also have to pay to enter Pinellas' Fort De Soto Park or Florida's Honeymoon Island State Park — twice, if you also want to go to Caladesi Island.
Florida is my adopted home and I love it here, but Delaware is certainly not the way it was portrayed.
Steven P. Harrison, Clearwater
It was over the top to be searched and stripped of even empty water bottles at the recent SPIFFS event in St. Petersburg. Even the airlines let you carry your empty bottle and chunky food items. My husband was so angered he nearly turned around to get his money back. It was demeaning and felt like an insidious loss of freedom. It is reminiscent of travel in East Germany back in 1967.
We tried to put our water bottles in a special place by the gate, but they were gone by the time we were finished. It was a bottle I have been carrying for years, and it could not be seen in the giant bin of unnecessarily discarded water bottles by the gate where everyone was being searched.
I would like to know whose decision that was. It is not like we have had any problems in this community. Or has the news of such incidences been suppressed? What kind of country are we becoming?
Nancy Ogden, St. Petersburg
Stacks of clothes
Thank you, St. Petersburg, for your overwhelming response to our plea for clothing for our patients who may have nothing to wear when they are discharged from our care.
One kind lady even sent us a shirt with an attached note of support in the mail. We estimate that we now have enough clothing to meet these needs for a year. We cannot receive any more clothing. Please take any contributions of clothing to other area agencies or thrift stores.
These generous gifts and the care with which they were given will bless many patients who leave Bayfront protected, healed, cleaned and dressed. Bayfront is the largest provider of health care for trauma and charity care in Pinellas County.
After learning of our community's response, one person said, "St. Petersburg is a wonderful place to live because so many generous people live here!" I certainly agree!
Doug Harrell, chaplain, Bayfront Medical Center, St. Petersburg
Revenue, not safety | April 16, letter
Price of speeding
Sounds like someone was speeding and had to donate to the so-called cash cow.
Too many drivers "gravitate" to whatever speed they feel is safe while exceeding posted limits and passing anyone in their way.
If they can afford the fines and live with the fact that speed endangers other drivers around them, then go for it. Just don't complain when you get caught!
Mark Lee, Seminole