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Post-graduation party planners earn high marks

Editor: As an employee of the Long Center in Clearwater, I would like to publicly thank the committee for Project Graduation of Clearwater High School for utilizing our facility to host a truly enjoyable event.

In the last six to eight months of meeting after meeting, this committee put together an incredibly well-planned and beautifully executed event. The 200-plus graduated seniors who attended had a wonderful evening they will remember for the rest of their lives.

This was the whole point of the event _ that there was a "rest of their lives." The Long Center staff feels that if even one life was saved through the hard work and contributions of all those involved in Project Graduation, it was well worth the effort.

Project Graduation was a drug- and alcohol-free event scheduled from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. (after the graduation ceremony). The activities included rubber-raft races, Velcro-wall, country line dancing lessons, a rap concert, gaming tables, billiards, karaoke and carnival games.

A very big congratulations to the 1993 graduates for being one of the most enjoyable, courteous and fun groups our facility has ever hosted. We were very impressed with each and every one of you. We wish you the best with your endeavors.

A hearty thank you to the hard-working parent volunteers who did everything from carrying in mountains of food and running the games to carrying out even larger mountains of trash.

Many thanks to Officer Brooks of the Clearwater police and his sharp auxiliary police force. Their low-key but visible presence assured a safe evening free of any incidents.

The entire evening was made available to students through the generous contributions of many of the area's businesses and organizations. The donated food included everything from wings to fresh fruit platters to trays of brownies and, unbelievable as it may seem, more pizza than could be eaten. The door prizes included two cars, dozens of pieces of audio and electronic equipment, gold jewelry and gift certificates good for many other wonderful products and services. Thank you so much to all contributors for making the evening a 100 percent success.

Once again, many thanks to the Project Graduation Committee for choosing the Long Center as your place for fun, fitness and personal growth. We will be eagerly looking forward to next year.

Annie F. Allen, recreation specialist

The Long Center, Clearwater

Public lots should not be near homes

Editor: Residents of Belleair Beach, I appeal to you to attend City Council meetings as well as Planning Board meetings if you are concerned about the status of your city becoming changed or destroyed.

Vacant city lots along Gulf Boulevard are under consideration for public parking. Public parking lots on the east side of Gulf Boulevard can be as dangerous to residents as storm damage can be to condo residents on the west side of Gulf Boulevard. Storms are few and far between, but public parking lots are a daily threat to the homes bordering them. Serious threats are environmental impacts such as carbon monoxide, fire hazard, personal safety and noise factor.

There are several options on the west side of Gulf Boulevard for public parking that are reasonable; these options will give more parking spaces and access to the beach without crossing Gulf Boulevard. Residents do not want residential lots rezoned to commercial lots.

Audrey Hughes,

Belleair Beach

Police faulted in arson investigation

Editor: Re: Amelia Davis' June 14 article, "Fire widens rift in Belleair Beach."

I think a few subjects need to be clarified. It is my understanding that our Constitution dictates laws that govern our society. We are innocent until proven guilty. That was not the case in this arson situation; as a matter of fact, it was quite the opposite.

Yes, we became very upset because the culprits were not apprehended, but more so by the lack of candor and ability of police Chief Heathcote and the mayor.

The following are documented in the internal affairs report. Witnesses were labeled not credible; leads were not being followed up; the crime scene was allowed to be violated; evidence was not confiscated but rather left behind and made useless after five weeks; existing evidence was lost or forgotten about and never processed until two months later; plus, there was extensive record of record-keeping failure, violations of confidentiality in a criminal investigation, lack of command authority, poor communication, lack of motivation and ambition, discrepancies in questioning, and failure to utilize all legal resources despite help rendered by several arson authorities the week following the fire.

These are not claims but hard cold facts which substantiate merit contrary to Mayor William Atteberry's beliefs.

Our council, except for one member, has done everything possible to be fair and to act in the best interest of the citizens regarding this situation. They have taken up the slack that Mr. Atteberry refuses to deal with because of his poor choice in appointing Chief Heathcote.

Mr. and Mrs. Peter Mazzone,

Belleair Beach

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