Re: Suddenly, 'a total loss,' story, June 9
Thanks to those who fought fire
Three cheers for the brave and capable firefighters, sheriff's deputies, EMS personnel and volunteer Explorers who worked the raging building blaze on Bayshore Boulevard in Dunedin on June 8.
Special thanks to the Dunedin Fire Department and all the cities and towns that sent fire equipment and personnel to assist with the fire at the antique mall known as Knot On Main Street.
A "shout out" also goes to the volunteer Explorers, who ran bottles of Gatorade to and fro, assisting with the firefighters' efforts — a task of extreme importance for those working under extreme conditions.
As the owner of the adjoining building, I must express my heartfelt appreciation to everyone who worked tirelessly in the late afternoon heat for several hours to wrangle those huge flames under control. Your efforts certainly saved my building and the tenant businesses within — in fact, all my tenants had electric power restored by the following morning and are back in business, thanks most certainly to your expertise.
At the same time, my wife, Anna, and I certainly want to express our empathy over the loss of the many small businesses located within the antique mall, and most especially to the building owners, our friends Bob and Barbara O'Connell.
We are blessed with capable and caring emergency responders here in Dunedin and Pinellas County overall. Thank you.
Bill and Anna Sweetnam, Palm Harbor
Re: Budget proposal reduces tax rate | story, June 8
Arts center is a community asset
The article referred to the city's intent to support "new art, cultural and social service groups" in Dunedin, while pushing for current groups such as the Dunedin Fine Art Center to become "self-sufficient."
Why does the city want to split its resources? That will only dilute the quality of services these organizations now faithfully provide to Dunedin citizens.
The Dunedin Fine Art Center is a leading county arts institution. It features touring and local exhibitions based on the excellence of the work and is not run as a commercial gallery.
Making money is not the justification for a cultural organization. Commitment to providing quality cultural services and education to the public is, and the city would well serve its citizens by maintaining support for the Fine Art Center.
Joe Weinzettle, Tarpon Springs
Give graduates equal treatment
The graduation of students is a time of celebration for the hard work and dedication of students, their families and educators. Graduates of all schools should be celebrated equally for the accomplishment of reaching high school graduation.
The Clearwater and North Pinellas Times section on Sunday recognized these accomplishments in an unbalanced manner. The graduation ceremonies of most of the schools were highlighted by naming valedictorians, salutatorians, principals and even including quotes from students. Each of these schools also had a color photo that displayed the celebration. It was wonderful to see the highlights of each school's graduation.
Then on the following page, the students who attend exceptional centers and dropout-prevention programs were "fit in." These schools received limited page space, black and white photographs and minimal information about their graduation ceremonies. Do the accomplishments of these students mean less? No. The students, families and educators of these schools work hard to reach graduation and should be celebrated with the same level of recognition as all graduates.
I would like to extend congratulations to all 2011 graduates and especially the 131 students who represent Bayside High, Calvin Hunsinger School, Paul B. Stephens and the Life Skills Center Pinellas, North Clearwater.
Holly Del Duca, Palm Harbor
Taking the time to show humanity
After enjoying dessert at Steak 'n Shake on State Road 580 in Clearwater, I heard dogs barking in the truck next to me. Peeking in, I saw three very small dogs barking their heads off and one larger dog lying on the back seat panting. The windows were cracked about 2 inches and it was about 8:30 p.m.
Checking the temperature outside on my cell phone, it read 87 degrees. Not knowing how hot it could be in that truck, I walked back in to see if I could find out whom it belonged to. No one would own up to owning the truck.
I then came outside with my friend and called the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office to see if they would send a car to check on the welfare of these dogs. They came as requested but said that the owner of the truck was within the law.
My question is who, if not a private citizen, is going to make sure that the welfare of pets, babies, children and the elderly is taken care of? When is hot too hot?
I hope more citizens will do what I did, because it may just be the time that a pet or fellow citizen will be saved because we did not mind our own business.
Kathleen Ramsey, Dunedin