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Honoring students for good grades is vital to education

Re: School honors win support, May 24. I'd like to congratulate the administrators and students who recently voted to continue to designate a valedictorian and salutatorian.

I believe half the blame for the breakdown of education in America began when schools started catering to the failures at the expense of the achievers. The other half lies with society, including individual homes, who somehow lost sight of the value and respect for education.

Barbara Wood,

Tarpon Springs

Pet responsibility urged

Re: Shelters lack space, options, May 28.

The animal abuse that goes on in this country is disgusting. People must take responsibility for the pets they bring into their homes, or not bring them in. More thought must be put into the acquisition of a pet, as when having a child. Can I make and fulfill a commitment to give quality care to a pet long-term? If the answer is not an absolute yes, you probably have no business acquiring a pet. So don't, give these poor animals a break.

One option to relieve this situation might be for some of the veterinarians in our community to get together and plan a rotating schedule where each participating vet gives spaying/neutering and general care free for his scheduled day, i.e. 40 vets average 20 business days a month, with each vet giving once bi-monthly, or six unpaid days per year plus expenses and advertising. I personally think this would be a worthwhile project and so do all the animals I know. Pets take so little and give so much.

Jane L. Bruner, Clearwater

Veteran recalls area during World War II

Re: Celebration will honor Maritime vets, May 21, Betty Jean Miller.

In St. Petersburg during World War II, the U.S. Army selected a few graduates of the U.S. Maritime Service to serve in a civilian capacity as officers of U.S. Army vessels. The Army established its Transportation Corps Marine Officers' Cadet School in St. Petersburg.

I attended at the Concord Hotel from January to early April 1944. Deck officers were housed and schooled at the Concord, with the engine officers at the Colonial Hotel. Both ate meals at the Soreno. Formations were held in the street (Second Avenue N). Drills were held in Straub Park.

We were six to a single room _ three double bunks. We scrubbed our room floors with household bleach and left our shoes outside the door. During inspections, white gloves wiped both sides of the roll-up window blinds. Barbers were brought in to the hotel. There was a two-hour mandatory study period each evening.

We were not allowed out in the city until graduation weekend after 10 weeks of intensive training. Graduates were transferred to the U.S. Army Port of Embarkation, New Orleans. Ours, too, was Maritime service.

A bit of Merchant Marine history.

Ray Yazell, St. Petersburg

Cutbacks in police service are criticized

Re: Police to cut back dispatches, May 30.

Wave that flag, folks. While that burglar is stealing everything out of your car, the police are busy with "community-based policing," whatever that is. Run that red light. Cause a wreck. The police won't respond. Let the insurance companies handle traffic court. Watch the insurance rates rocket up. While you're busy waving the flag for the valiant conquerors of a third-rate country in a four-day war, a husband fights to keep his wife alive and the hospital wants the bed. While you're wrapping yourself in the flag and saving the Bible over the poor gays, the police let a fraud suspect get away, because she knew in advance that she was going to be arrested. Of course, there's the guy in Gulfport who added to his house without saying, "Mother, may I?" Does zoning there allow the addition? Who knows; he didn't get a permit! So the government will tear half his house down, and just take the rest. And then there's the Krewe. Now they can have black macho males to get drunk with the white macho males during the Gasparilla bash. Sexist is okay, as long as it's not racist, right? I spent 20 years in the military for what I thought was the finest country in the world. Now I'm not so sure. Wave that flag. I won't.

Dewey G. Pittman,

St. Petersburg Beach

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