1. Archive

Ex-letter carrier deserves a medal, not punishment

Re: Jury can't close case on stolen junk mail, Oct. 31.

Rather than prosecuting Pinellas Park letter carrier William Santiago for taking junk mail home, he should be given a medal!

Better yet, can we borrow him to come over here? We have tons of junk mail for him. It piles up on the floor when the trash can overflows. Mr. Santiago could start his own recycling operation!

Maybe the postal inspectors would help us clean up all this trashed junk mail. They would not need to set a trap, and they definitely would not need binoculars. They can wallow through it as the mail carrier does when he leaves for the day.

The Postal Service whines that they have to deliver this junk because they have a "contract with the sender." How do you have a contract with a sender who does not even address this junk? There is no addressee. There is no postal stamp. It is just stuffed into my mailbox. It is an invasion of my privacy. The supermarkets are the biggest violators and theirs all seems to arrive on Tuesday. Our memories may be slipping but we always know when it's Tuesday!

Yes, I've complained to the Postal Service and received their "Tough beans" replies. I stopped writing to them long ago. Meantime, the trash keeps overflowing and we slip and slide through it.

Viva Santiago!

John J. Osmar, Sun City Center

What right does a business have to send unrequested bulk junk mail? Would that my mail carrier removed it all before it ever reached my mailbox!

Laws and protocol perhaps were broken in this case. But William Santiago's trial was ridiculous! Why doesn't the U.S. Mail make it a crime to pass around _ unrequested _ people's names and addresses on some mail list?

I find this most brash and harassing _ it's legality; unbelievable.

Helen M. Naoumides, North Redington Beach

Let the inspectors sort junk mail

Years ago I worked as a rural carrier for a short time. I was informed that the magazines in the box under the counter were allowed to be taken as they were undeliverable and also could not be returned unless marked "Return Postage Guaranteed." Also magazines cannot be forwarded unless postage is also guaranteed.

The postal inspectors are in effect beating a dead horse when they insist that undeliverable mail must be delivered. However, I have a solution: Pack up all undeliverable mail and deliver it to the inspectors and have them deliver it. It would be interesting to find out how they would handle the problem.

This mail would be burned, buried or recycled, so how can the postal inspectors justify a charge of mail theft against William Santiago when all he did was take home some disposable garbage?

Henry W. Schuchardt, Brooksville

Abuse demands community response

Today I feel more outraged. It's 7:05 in the morning and I have just picked up the morning paper and read the headline Tampa boy, 2, dies after beating. Not only that, the article begins with the fact that five other Florida children have died of abuse within weeks. And, further, it reads that "the death again raises important questions about the role of Florida's Department of Children and Family Services in protecting vulnerable youngsters."

Hello, America! Wake up! How long will we continue to respond to these brutal acts in society with such insensitivity? We are called, each one of us human beings, to serve.

Each one of us is responsible for these ills of our society. Each one of us, not the Florida Department of Children and Family Services.

Please, "Wake up, America!" Please, not another child! Let us mobilize and respond to these heinous crimes with creative community responsibility and fervor never seen before.

Dr. Virginia B. Irving, executive director,

Happy Workers Day Nursery, St. Petersburg

Murder series resurrects a tragedy

Re: A story we can no longer bear to read, by Mary Jo Melone, Oct. 30.

Melone speaks of the anguish felt by a reader over news of children killed by abusive parents, saying, "She clearly could no longer stand it," and ends the column with these words of sympathy: "It hurts not just her. It hurts us all."

Murder, even in places like Tampa/St. Petersburg, where it occurs with numbing frequency, is a news event and, therefore, grist for the news mill. But, hey, guys, must you adorn it with heartbreaking pictures, report it endlessly _ and even serialize it long after it has ceased to be news?

I refer of course to your special seven-part series misnamed Angels & Demons, and ask myself what possible justification there can be for a newspaper of your stature to resurrect in book-length the ghoulish, bestial rape and murder in Tampa Bay of an Ohio tourist and her two children. I was sickened by the news reports of this event at the time it happened, as many of your readers must surely have been also. Why must we now endure it all over again in even more grisly detail? Is the Angels & Demons serialization of benefit to the victims or those who mourn them? Will it serve to prevent another such unspeakable atrocity? Not likely. Or is it an exercise in pandering to the prurient interests of people to increase the paper's circulation?

Melone's Oct. 30 headline, together with her final sentence, says it all: a story we can no longer bear to read. It hurts us all.

Joseph H. Francis, St. Petersburg

Re: Angels & Demons, Oct. 26.

I find it hard to believe that the St. Petersburg Times is running a seven-part series on a tragedy, Angels & Demons. Whose bright idea was this?

I sure wouldn't want the same thing to happen to my family and my daughters' memory.

Shame on you! It's sick!

Thomas J. O'Neill, Gulfport

Re: Angels & Demons, Oct. 26.

Why, in the name of heaven, should your readers be subjected to a seven-part series of this tragedy? Isn't there enough terror and sorrow?

Linda B. Hope, Tampa

Reaching to the stars

I'm 84 years old. I am tremendously impressed with your Oct. 27 editorial, We reach to the stars, regarding our space program. As you say, "It is all too awesome and consequential to absorb." No doubt things infinitely more exciting are ahead.

Lowell Wilkin, Tampa

Your editorial We reach to the stars states that "Nature is not a function of a dice roll." However, in that branch of science known as quantum mechanics this is not necessarily the case. This theory's description of nature often includes probabilities, not certainties. It is these probabilistic concepts that caused Einstein to make his famous quote regarding God and dice playing.

Victor C. Woodworth, New Port Richey

Grateful for the compassion

Recently my parents, John and Dorothea Beaver of Treasure Island, died tragically together. I live in Ohio and was informed by our local police.

I want to thank and commend the Treasure Island Police Department for the way they handled this situation. First, my local police department was notified and they were requested to come to tell me in person, which they did.

The nurse, neighbors and friends who were on the scene have told me that the police officers acted professionally and were extremely kind to everyone. When my husband and I arrived, we went directly to the Treasure Island Police Department, where several members of the department met with us, answered our questions and shared in our grief.

My family and I are truly grateful for the courtesy and professionalism of the Treasure Island police.

I also want to thank the Times staff writer, Leanora Minai, for the caring and sensitive way she reported the death of my parents.

Joyce Hemenger, Treasure Island

Smoker's logic makes no sense

The concept of "smokers' rights" is ludicrous to me. Second-hand smoke is dangerous and offensive. Using smokers' logic, I should be allowed to sniff model airplane glue inside the local McDonald's, even if the "second-hand" vapors peel the yellow paint off the golden arches and cause the chain smoker at the next table to explode in a ball of fire! Smokers have no more right to expose me to their foul emanations than I have to expose them to toxic waste, raw sewage or bad breath. I can't complain about folks smoking privately, but public smoking should be banned.

George K. Foster, Bayport

Marriage tax is an albatross

Re: Saying "I don't' to the marriage tax, by Robyn E. Blumner, Oct. 26.

I'll drink to that, and I am not even a drinker.

The tax penalty goes a step further if a couple is in no position to obtain a divorce. They may have lived completely separate lives, with separate incomes and households, for the last 10 years; yet they must file "married, filing separate returns" and be penalized with even higher taxes than marrieds filing jointly. Does this make sense?

I am a self-supporting, middle-aged female. I have not chosen to live alone, and my cost of living is that of a single person. So why am I being burdened with this "married, filing separately" albatross?

Mary Williams, Clearwater

Leave the distressed alone

Re: Bushnell sisters "didn't stand a chance' in fire, Oct. 23, concerning the tragic fire which claimed the lives of two sisters.

This item contains the all-too-often-made statement, "Members of the girls' family, including their mother, were too distraught Wednesday to comment."

The pursuit of "comment" from the immediate family is a clearly unnecessary and distasteful imposition. I encourage you to discontinue this abhorrent policy.

Richard J. Lewis, Madeira Beach

Florida Orchestra in the outdoors

What a glorious fall evening in St. Petersburg for the Florida Orchestra's outstanding concert in the park!

Blessings on Helen Torres for making this unique family experience possible.

Curses on the smokers _ especially cigar-smokers _ who befouled the air.

Curses on the disruptive motorcycles on constant patrol along Beach Drive drowning out the music.

Blessings on the quiet, non-polluting pedal cabs waiting quietly to whisk pedestrians to and fro.

And the fireworks! The best ever!

Jane P. Sharp, St. Petersburg

Share your opinions

We invite readers to write to us. Letters for publication should be addressed to Letters to the Editor, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, 33731. They can be sent by e-mail to or they can be sent by fax to 893-8675.