1. Archive

Tax extension would benefit programs to assist seniors

I am writing in support of the extension of the current penny Pinellas County collects from each dollar of sales. This support is in recognition of the projects that have been completed and those proposed for the future with these funds.

One of the proposed projects is refurbishing and consolidating the two senior citizens' facilities in Palm Harbor now serving both active and less active residents. Both facilities are now limited in the space and type of program activities and meal service needed.

When my wife and I came to Palm Harbor over 16 years ago, the Adult Day Care Center on 16th Street and the Palm Harbor Senior Center were very active and received financial support from public funds. Shortly after that, those public support funds disappeared, or a trickle came through from appeals to the Legislature when a crisis arose. The consolidation of the two facilities on the 16th Street location will save in many ways in addition to increasing the programs and quality of service to our seniors.

The Northern Pinellas Community Action Council oversees the facility on 16th Street and is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation created originally to build and administer the unique concept of intergenerational day care. It has functioned successfully since its inception, and we believe it should do even better in the future.

The board of directors joins me in endorsing the extension of the Penny for Pinellas.

Jack E. Cox, Palm Harbor, president of the Northern Pinellas Community Action Council

County tax will reflect vote

An article on the Tiger Bay Club debate between County Administrator Fred Marquis and Indian Rocks Fire District Commissioner Tom McKeon presents a miscommunication. Mr. McKeon's opinion on Mr. Marquis' veracity has nothing to do with McKeon's representation of an unincorporated area of the fire district. I am assured that the district's elected commissioners have taken no such position.

Please be assured that all cities within the Indian Rocks Fire District are supportive of the extension of the Penny for Pinellas sales tax, as is every municipality in the county. Those with parochial axes to grind in unincorporated areas would be wise to examine their tax bills. I am grateful that our visitors along the beaches pay far more pennies than do we who pay ad valorem taxes.

I hope Mr. McKeon realizes that his county taxes will reflect whether or not he votes for the extension, as will those of his neighbors and those who elected him to the fire district.

Bob McEwen, mayor of Indian Shores

Bird sanctuary ruffles feathers

Re: Suncoast Seabird Sanctuary.

I am a resident owner of a unit in Beach Cottage II and am tired of hearing Ralph Heath's whining about the $90,000 he had to spend to hook up to the sewer system. In addition to having to hook up to the sewer, the sanctuary should have been fined for dumping 8,000 gallons of polluted water onto the beach and into the ecosystem over many years.

Heath seems to think he can do as he wants and then apply for a town permit when he receives a complaint. He would not have hooked up to the sewer without the complaints.

The sanctuary could save attorney and expert witness expenses if it would comply with the town rules. I would think the many donors expect their contributions to be used to feed and care for the sick and injured birds.

I also question the practice of the sanctuary workers feeding the healthy pelicans on the beach every day. Aren't we told taming and feeding wild birds and animals is not to their advantage?

Is there an occupancy rate for a sanctuary? Could 500 pelicans and additional other birds be considered overcrowding?

Most of the owners of Beach Cottage have contributed money to the sanctuary for the care of the injured birds. We are happy there is a sanctuary doing this good work and educating people so they can also protect the pelicans. We do object to the disregard of the town rules and the rights of their neighbors.

Audrey Nopper, Indian Shores

Commissioner grateful for votes

I want to thank the Largo voters who opted to return me to office in the March 11 election. It is my feeling that the majority of voters said they are happy with the manner in which the city is being governed. Taxes have remained consistently low, while progress has been made. A new park, cultural center and equipment for the police and fire departments have been obtained, for example.

I pledge to remain available and responsive to citizens who have a problem with the city, as I always have been in the past. I will continue to represent them and work toward improvements in the quality of life for all of the people of Largo.

James S. Miles, Largo city commissioner

Still waiting for sand

On the anniversary of the no-name storm of March 13, 1993, I wonder if we are ever going to get a beach. The Sand Key Phase IV Beach Renourishment Project originally had been scheduled to begin early in 1997. This was postponed to April 2. Because of questions raised by the Department of Environmental Protection, the program was delayed until May 2. Now I understand that the Army Corps of Engineers is pushing back the date to the end of May.

I have been washed out of my home three times in the past 3{ years. I recently returned to my condominium and am still getting my belongings in order. The kinks are not worked out from new construction, and some furniture has not yet arrived. Each time that I have rebuilt my home, I have done it with hopes that we will be getting a beach to protect us from the forces of nature.

After each storm the TV reporters who camped outside our ruins questioned why I keep moving back. Friends and family asked the same question. Invariably, I have answered, "It is my home, and we are going to get a beach."

However, it seems that our officials in Tallahassee have let this project slide to the back burner. Also, it appears that DEP is doing its best to stop renourishment of beaches in all of Florida. This would affect the state's largest source of income, tourism and its beaches. Don't they know that with every high tide, we, who are the victims of devastation, shudder with fear of further loss and wonder whether we will ever see that first shovel of sand placed in front of our homes?

Our federal government along with the state and county already have approved the project. Let us not delay any longer and bring back the beach.

Selma Kron, Belleair Beach

Family clarifies boy's comments

Re: Teen fights red tape for the hungry, story, March 1.

The article about 15-year-old David Levitt and his effort to feed the hungry, while accurate for the most part, was a bit misleading and omitted some important information that was asked to be included.

1. To quote a naive, idealistic and impatient 15-year-old on his feelings about the government was truly unnecessary and questionable. When he said the state politically "sucks" (a common teenage term used these days to simply mean "it stinks"), he was talking about the length of time it took to get things accomplished _ especially at the county level.

2. The placement of David's quote just before the information about Rep. Dennis Jones gave the appearance that the comment was directed toward Jones. We want to make it very clear that it simply is not the case. Jones has been most supportive, dedicated and hard-working to make David's legislation idea become a reality.

3. Information omitted in this article: David did not develop the school food donation program. David read an article about this program, Operation Food for Thought, developed by a man named Stan Curtis in Louisville, Ky. Curtis founded USA Harvest _ an all-volunteer transportation network whose mission is to feed the hungry without money. David learned that a chapter of USA Harvest, called Tampa Bay Harvest, exists here in Pinellas County, and he signed up to be a volunteer at age 11.

David asked TBH for information about Operation Food for Thought and then brought this information to the Pinellas County School Board, hoping it would donate excess cafeteria food to TBH for delivery. Without the Harvest volunteer network, this program would not be possible, and 189,000 pounds of food would not have made it to agencies that feed the hungry over the past two years.

Also, in the article's photograph, the transporter's name was misspelled; it should have read "Jack Milam."

David, like most kids, has been taught to express his feelings and tell the truth. Next time he is interviewed, he'll be sure to save himself some embarrassment by being more cautious with his wording. All we ask from the media is to do the same.

The Levitt family, Seminole