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Advertising should end on Clearwater's benches

Editor: The Beautification Committee of the city of Clearwater is concerned with the appearance of the public benches on which advertising space has been leased. The lease agreement between the Metropolitan Systems Inc. (Metro), the city of Clearwater and the Clearwater Jaycees expires Feb. 25. It is now being considered for renewal March 1. The residents of Clearwater should be informed of the history of these benches. Metro entered into a contract with the city of Clearwater to place benches at transit stops and other places within the city and lease advertising space. The Clearwater Jaycees have sponsored this business as a civic project for the benefit and accommodation of the public.

The Beautification Committee has recommended to the City Commission that the bench signage be eliminated. Advertising is often out of date months after an event takes place _ i.e., Jazz Festival and Fun 'n Sun. The benches are generally unattractive and give our city a honky-tonk appearance.

Many benches have been placed in areas where they are not used. Metro could remove benches from transit stops if the agreement is not renewed. However, these benches could be replaced with city benches.

The City Commission will meet March 1 to discuss renewal of the agreement. If you would like the bench signage eliminated, please contact the mayor and city commissioners.

Help beautify our city and put the sparkle back in "Sparkling Clearwater!"

Phoebe Moss, chairperson,

Clearwater Beautification Committee.

Shameful politics in Safety Harbor

Editor: Now I am really starting to wonder about Safety Harbor "politics."

I should have known!

To urge citizens to vote for the deceased is obscene and frightening. What is our mayor, et al., trying to hide in our government?

It seems to me Linda Adkins must be on the right track if our city officials fear her so.

People of Safety Harbor _ think.

I admired the late Commissioner Margaret Harkey. My vote now goes to Ms. Adkins.

And shame on you, Mayor Art Levine. We all make mistakes. I made mine. I voted for you!!

Rose F. Suess, Safety Harbor

Editor: On Tuesday, Feb. 13, a moving editorial tribute to the late Margaret Harkey was published in the Times. Margaret earned that tribute with diligence, hard work, fairness and the love of Safety Harbor.

It seems ironic that a divine intervention will create a situation that Margaret would have abhorred. On March 13 the voters of Safety Harbor will go to the polls to vote for a city commissioner to fill Seat 1 and they will have no choice of candidates. Unless we, as voters, become aware of an alternative, the position will be awarded by default.

Timing does not make allowances for a new candidate to file for this vacant position, and Margaret Harkey's name will appear on the ballot. We can still vote for her. Margaret's victory could create a situation requiring a new election whereby one or more qualified people could file for the position, thereby giving the voters a choice of candidates.

Perhaps the situation is not so ironic, after all. A vote for Margaret Harkey on March 13 can still mean fairness and the fulfillment of due process, which Margaret would still be fighting for.

Her legacy will not end. The voters of Safety Harbor will have a free choice, in which she so strongly believed.

Betty Kimmel Milbourne, Safety Harbor

Turn signal needed at intersection

Editor: Re: Feb. 4 article, U.S. 19 is on the top of hit list.

If lottery numbers were as obvious as Pinellas County's traffic hot spots, we'd all be rich. Area residents live with congestion, construction and delay. Most of us have learned patience as efforts are made to catch up our highways with our growth.

But No. 11 on your list of the Top 20 cannot wait. The intersection at Hercules and Gulf-to-Bay needs a turn arrow immediatly. Clearwater High School sits at this intersection. The area overflows daily with young people, both pedestrians and newly licensed drivers.

These are not carelss drivers, mind you, but inexperienced. Pulling onto Gulf-to-Bay from Hercules across three lanes of traffic is a wish and a prayer for the most seasoned driver.

We need to protect our kids now _ before we say we wish we had. Installing a turn arrow at Hercules is a quick, inexpensive action that will make an immediate _ and important _ difference.

Janie Guilbault, Clearwater

Circus invades basketball games

Editor: Re: Kevin Thomas' Feb. 9 column, Good-time games need order around the court.

Move over, Kevin _ your soap box isn't big enough!

Your observations and personal feelings are well-founded. Today's high school basketball arena is not a pretty sight. To me, the game's on the floor, not in the stands.

While your experience base takes you back 15 years, mine runs closer to 30 years. The early '60s was an exciting period in Pinellas County basketball history.

I graduated from Dixie Hollins High School. The competitive environment at that time between schools like St. Pete, Bogie, Northeast and Clearwater in the old Western Conference was the ingredient that memories were made of.

The control by schools and administrative people let the memories created on the floor be the central emphasis, instead of the deplorable circus I see today in the stands. To clarify, it's not the entire stands, only a core group, who could be controlled if supervision by schools was tightened.

Basketball in Pinellas County has been prettier, as we can both attest. I see no reason it can't return to a mode of decency and excitement. Someone has to "dare to discipline." Thanks for the space on your soap box.

Ken Zopf Jr., Seminole

Editor: I found the article written about the skirmish that took place Feb. 6 in the Dunedin High School gym alarmingly inaccurate. The reporter wrote of the team spirit and excellent sportsmanship of the "good old days," in comparison to today's bad-mannered teams and fans of school sports activities.

The real story begins with a Countryside player yelling at Dunedin's Coach Mike Williams for telling him to be a good sport and to play fair on the court. The Countryside player's father then cut in and began to tell Coach Williams what to do with his advice.

In order to keep the father (in addition to the grandfather) from confronting Coach Williams, a Dunedin player held the father back. As a result, Dunedin fans came out of the stands to defend their schoolmates and teachers.

Only after the situation was under control and the father and grandfather again caused a violent disruption in the game were they politely dismissed from the gym.

Therefore, the story presented failed to convey the facts.

In retrospect, the actions of the parents (supposed role models of good sportsmanship) bring us to the forceful realization that they in fact caused and inflamed the problem.

Susan Aust,

Dunedin High School varsity cheerleader

Students' good deeds should be news

Editor: Frankly, we are very disappointed with the St. Petersburg Times and, with the exception of WTSP-Ch. 10, the Tampa Bay news media in general.

Why is it when a young person does something bad, like the recently reported rape at a St. Petersburg middle school or the shootings at Pinellas Park High School a few years ago, it is considered a front-page story for Section B, but when more than 230 sixth- through 12th-grade students spend long hours preparing for the Pinellas County Science Fair over the weekend of Feb. 9-11, it is considered an "as-space-is-available" item for just the regional sections of the paper?

It was particularly disturbing to note that the Largo-Seminole Times had been unable to provide coverage as of Feb. 14. This is the local edition that covers Seminole Middle School where the Best of Fair Winner in the junior division is a sixth-grader and Largo High School where the Best of the Fair Winner in the senior division is in 10th grade.

What kind of message is the media sending to our young people? Your newspaper has printed many editorials and news articles bemoaning the poor performance of our schoolchildren in academics, especially in the areas of science and math. Contrast this with the regular and timely publication of the achievements of local students in athletics.

It is not our intention to belittle athletic achievements. These accomplishments deserve the recognition they get. However, we are questioning why it is that academic achievements seem to be ignored.

Is this the message you really want to send? Do well in athletics and you will receive public attention, but do well in science and engineering and we'll publish your achievements only if we need a filler?

We feel very strongly that the name of every student who received an award should have been printed, not just the first-place winners and a few of the second-place winners. In addition, at the awards ceremony there were many special awards from the military, NASA and local businesses and organizations that were most generous in the prizes they donated. All of those organizations deserve to be recognized for their support of the science fair, and the names of all special award recipients should have been published, too.

Richard K. and Margarette Rosowski Hallmark,

Largo

Editor's note: Winners at events like the science fair are published in our Young Newsmakers column when the material is received.

Dunedin High band thanks supporters

Editor: On behalf of the Dunedin High School Scottish Highlanders and Principal John P. McLay, I wish to thank the citizens of Dunedin, Palm Harbor and Clearwater for their generous contributions to our recent Band Tag Day.

Tag Day contributions are used toward repair and replacement of uniforms and instruments. Without your contributions, only a small portion of this yearly need would be met.

It is indeed rewarding to realize the wonderful support being given our young people and their musical endeavors.

I hope you will join us at 8 p.m. Tuesday for our annual Tag Day Concert. Admission is free.

Alice R. Wright,

Director of Bands, Dunedin High School

"Safe Rides' program skirts real issue

In response to Diane Steinle's Jan. 29 column on "Safe Rides" for our teens who have had too much to drink, I felt as I was reading the article that I should feel grateful for a guaranteed safe driver for my child. If one can be assured his child will return home in one piece, then what could be the matter with such a wonderful plan?

This may all sound great to some parents, but this is skirting the real issue. The real problem begins when our "children" indulge in activities that are illegal. The message to our kids is crystal clear _ it's okay to drink, just be sure you have a safe ride home. Though I certainly would prefer that my child ride home with a non-drinker, my first wish would be that he doesn't drink at all. Our kids are victims of a society that condones drinking _ even by minors. They are bombarded with mixed messages every day. If parents don't unite in their fight to save this generation from a life of alcohol and drugs we will lose the fight.

Basic morals have fallen by the wayside. If we all merely respected ourselves and our lives then we would automatically care for the well being of others. This is a challenge that will require parents to invest more time in their kids, discipline when needed, but most of all just being there.

Mary Anne Fauber, Dunedin

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