Editor: Just recently I read an article about the Pinellas County school system's intent to change the elementary students' starting time. This apparently is due to a lack of buses. In recent weeks I have read numerous articles about the proposed cutbacks in staff of the Pinellas schools. This is obviously due to a lack of funds. And how about the low teacher salaries? We hear about this constantly.
Isn't it amazing that the school system can be in that bad a shape and yet we pay out lottery jackpots of more than $100-million at a time?
In recent weeks, months and years, we have been constantly reminded of the dilemma of the finances of the local, state and federal governments. Sometimes I feel that this is merely a prelude to another increase in taxes.
It seems that about once a month we are absorbing the shock of another increase in a tax of some sort. Sure, they are all just a little at a time, but snowballs also start that way.
How about the giant smack on the side of the head we get from the Postal Service once every two years? They don't know what a small increase is. It's always 10 percent or more at a time. The last one was 16 percent and the one before that was almost 14 percent.
My favorite is the surcharge on rental cars in Florida. Renters are required to pay $2 per day and then the state has the audacity to charge us state sales tax on the surcharge. Isn't that taxing the tax? How can it be legal?
Well, I say this. Let's do what any self-respecting business would do for starters. Let's cut costs. How about looking at the possibility of operating our schools year-round? This would automatically provide us with an additional 25 percent in all facilities. Also, the teachers could have a year-round job and be compensated for it.
I am not suggesting that students go year-round. I am merely suggesting that we utilize the existing facilities and staff on a year-round basis. We could let the students attend in sessions and never change the amount of time they are in school.
Also, let's look at the situation of our governments as well as the Postal Service. Have they ever thought about cutting out some of those ridiculous benefits and holidays? I get irked every time I can't get my mail because it was George Washington's birthday.
Did anyone ever stop to consider that the businesses that take all of those holidays every year seem to be the ones in the most financial trouble? This includes the government, Postal Service and a number of banks.
Kriever columns stirred memories
Editor: Your two columns on the "Red Fox" were more than enjoyed by us. It brought many memories and especially how much Mr. (Hugh) Kriever cared for the Largo Packers and our son, Fred Wigley.
He gave Fred inspiration, a lot of support and awarded Fred a trophy, Hugh Kriever's first Coach Award at Largo High School.
Dr. Fred Wigley is chief rheumatologist at Johns Hopkins, Clinical Care Sir Francis Scott Key, Baltimore. He is also a professor and lecturer.
Please convey our congratulations to Mr. Kriever upon his retirement.
Kriever a great motivator
Editor: Hugh Kriever deserves every accolade he can get.
I was one of the parents from Longbow Lane who objected strongly to no avail when my sons were shuffled from Clearwater High to Pinellas Park.
We went kicking and screaming; but once we got there and encountered his leadership and the great Patriot exposure for our youngsters, it was a delightful experience.
He is a great leader and motivator of young and old alike.
Animal Control is recognized
Editor: Several years ago, you helped introduce Dr. Ken Mitchell, director of Pinellas County Animal Control, to the community and helped spread the word about special adoption programs, Project PUP (Pets Uplifting People) and the Pet Professor program. Through both the positive and negative news coverage, you have helped to convey the importance of responsible pet ownership.
This year, Pinellas County Animal Control has been named "Outstanding Animal Control Agency" in the United States by the National Animal Control Association. It received this prestigious recognition for its high-caliber, conscientious customer service and innovative public awareness campaigns.
But more than 1,300 cats are still being born every day in Pinellas County. For every human baby, 45 kittens are born! There were 10,400 births in Pinellas County in 1990, adding up to 468,000 cats!
In response, Animal Control is featuring half-price adoptions for June, the 16th annual National Adopt-A-Cat Month. For $10, individuals receive a spayed or neutered cat complete with license and shots.
We thank you and urge you to continue to spread the word about responsible pet ownership, which includes spaying, neutering and licensing. Please help us slow the flow of unwanted animals.
Director, Pinellas County
Public Service and Information
Story on couple heartwarming
Editor: Re: Love knows no age limits, your June 1 column.
Thank you for sharing the wonderful love story about the two 84-year-olds, Robert Poppe and Edna Pierson, who were married June 1. This story points out that love and relationships are not for just the young but also for the young at heart, contradicting the stereotypical belief that the elderly do not need or want romance, love or, dare we even say it, sex.
The compassion and understanding displayed by the owner of the adult congregate living facility, Beverly Mackin, and Edna's legal guardian, Marcia Gilliam, for not only allowing but encouraging the couple's relationship is to be commended.
In addition, the sensitive and humane administration of the guardianship law by Judge Thomas E. Penick Jr. and Hearing Master Elizabeth Mansfield should be recognized and applauded. Because of their efforts, the option of limited guardianship allowed Edna Pierson to obtain a new life and a new love.
The concept of limited guardianship in Florida is only 2 years old, the result of massive changes to the law that were enacted in 1989. Many, many hours and untold efforts have been expended by court officials and staff in working out the policies and procedures that made theory into reality.
Florida, and Pinellas County in particular, are looked at as among the leaders in the country in terms of progressive legislation. No other state has required guardian education as part of its guardianship law; here in Pinellas, however, guardians are required to complete 40 hours of instruction, and if they have two or more wards, to complete 20 hours of continuing education within a two-year period.
Because good news doesn't sell newspapers, it is not often that we are able to read "good guardian" stories in the St. Petersburg Times. Thank you again for providing such a heartwarming article.
U.S. 19 is a mess
Editor: Has it never occurred to the state highway department that U.S. 19 is a horrendous mess? The traffic, especially during rush hour, is death on wheels.
Why not construct the equivalent of a bridge (double deck) over U.S. 19 so that those commuters who wish to patronize the malls, hamburger joints and restaurants may do so while others who are intent on other matters may whiz past overhead without the impediment of stop lights and congestion?
And why in God's name wasn't this explosive growth of northern Pinellas foreseen? Previously, I lived near Hartford, Conn., and Springfield, Mass., where at least we had the benefit of Interstate 91.