cleans up well
Kayaking across Boca Ciega bay on a calm, balmy morning stirred images of what the pioneers saw when they discovered Treasure Island in Florida. Back then schools of mullet filled the bays, manatees floated and frolicked alongside dancing dolphins, sunsets shimmered like gold medallions on the gulf, flocks of birds donned their finest plumage along the shorelines, and the endless tropical beaches were loaded with a variety of shells — the "real" treasures of the island!
It is apparent to me, based on what I witnessed at a Saturday morning cleanup on Elnor Island, that the mayor and council members of Treasure Island are firmly grounded in where the real treasures of Treasure Island are. One by one they emerged from the thick island carrying armfuls of lumber and debris. Mayor Mary Maloof, mostly covered in mud, casually poked her head out momentarily for a water break. She didn't even mind the mangrove crab perched on her knee. Other locals like Bob Dowling, from Treasure Island's Beach Steward Society, handily loaded countless bags and boards onto a boat and recounted childhood stories of shenanigans and sightings of nesting birds on the island. Greg McIntosh, from Nature Matters, conducted a clinic on how to remove big items from the mangroves. If ever in need of manpower for protecting nature, call in a McIntosh!
Nearly 30 people stood side by side for three hours picking up and passing debris to waiting barges and boats for proper disposal. With the passing of every load, the smiles and laughter grew and the island regained its glory.
Residents of Treasure Island, be proud of your leaders. They not only talk the talk, but they walk the walk, even in the harshest places in an effort to protect and preserve your natural treasures!
Kurt Zuelsdorf, Gulfport
Improving the Pier
Don't overhaul Pier
For St, Petersburg to spend $50-million to improve the Pier in order to once again bring in more patronage does not seem to be the wisest of all ambitions right now.
Until there is a marked improvement in our overall economy, there doesn't seem to be much sense in such an overhaul.
With our incredibly weakened dollar, our only hope for successful commerce lies with foreign tourists, but how many foreign tourists coming to Florida actually make a beeline to the Pier? Maybe more restaurants there would do the trick, but even that's not a sure thing.
People come to St. Petersburg primarily for the beautiful beaches. Of course I realize the city is changing its entire face, but still …
I'm really feeling pretty skeptical that $50-million spent renovating the Pier would be a $50-million (and more) gain for the city. I would hope so, but it's a hope that I just cannot believe in right now or in the near future.
Anne Marie Jorgensen, St. Petersburg
Reuse the 'peanuts'
With our combined efforts to conserve and recycle, I feel fortunate to live near a site where I can take cans, bottles, newspapers, plastic containers, junk mail, foam containers and cardboard. However, during spring cleaning, I pondered what to do with the growing mountain of peanut packing material that had come with mail orders.
A call to the local sanitation department produced a perfect answer! Take them to places that ship items so they can be reused there. They can be used as is, saving money for the shipping company and lessening the load of nonbiodegradable trash.
A local UPS facility at Office Depot gratefully received several bags of the material. I'd like to pass along the idea to others who may not know about this great alternative. I suggest first calling the store to offer the material. Possibly, they never thought of reusing it either.
Ann Parrish, St. Petersburg
The other day it was necessary to call one of my doctors to change my appointment since we had a conflict for that day. There are two doctors in this office, about four office employees who are all in one room, and one or two nurses.
When I called, I got one of these answering machines that told me to "push 1, push 2, push 3, etc." depending upon the reason for my call. Can you believe that in a small office like that, somebody couldn't be designated to answer the phone and take care of the reason for my call or tell the person who would be within speaking distance that the call was for her or him?
I was so upset with this way of treating their patients that it took me a minute or so to finally "push 1." Then a live person answered and I told her what a terrible way they have of treating their patients when they have to know why we are calling before they will answer the phone. She was nice and agreed with me but can't do anything about it.
After all, the doctor's patients are the ones who are paying for his office staff, his beautiful home and his beautiful car and putting his children through college. I should think that they would respect us instead of treating us like an inconvenience.
Of course this type of phone service is upsetting enough with me when I get it from large or small offices but especially from small offices. I wish it would be done away with.
Robert N. Cooper, Seminole
49th Street danger
We have a very dangerous road situation on 49th Street N in Pinellas Park! Where 49th Street N passes Freedom Lake Park going north, there is an access road off U.S. 19 coming out onto 49th Street. Hundreds of cars waiting to turn right on Lakes Boulevard need to be in the right lane to get into the Lakes or Mainlands. Cars on the access road are to yield, but few of them do, and they come speeding out onto 49th Street. How many accidents must happen before the Department of Transportation does something?
Ralph Beck, Pinellas Park