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Education better than more jails

Re: Armed intruder is KO'd with door by motel owner, story, April 8.

Many thanks to the Times for placing this story on Page 1 of the Largo Times edition. It really should have been on Page 1 of the entire paper, to assure an even greater notice by all readers of your fine paper.

Crime is ever with us, but it is particularly disturbing when committed by the younger members of the community. Fortunately, for the sake of society, the accused woman is 21 years of age and will certainly be tried as an adult; and having used a gun in the commission of this foolish act, she will be charged with using a deadly weapon. That she attempted to rob an elderly woman should also go against her.

How and where are youngsters learning such things? It is a failure of our society to inculcate a sense of community spirit and a knowledge of right and wrong?

I would hope that the judge who hears this case will ask some very important questions before slamming the door on this very "stupid girl" (to quote the victims of this failed armed robbery). The day is soon approaching when society will start coming down even harder on such "stupid" people.

We must do much better to educate our children, lest more of them fail to become good citizens. In the meantime, we can only build more jails and suffer the expenses of keeping them off the streets. Jail time is not the answer, but allowing them to roam our city also is not the answer.

Did I not read recently that the United States needs to construct and maintain an additional 100,000 prison beds, each and every year, just to keep even with crime? How many good schools and youth programs would that money sponsor? How many young lives would that guide in the proper way to live?

William Bell, St. Petersburg

Will anyone stand and fight uglification of Clearwater?

We helplessly stand by as engineers decimate our area in Countryside by an unsightly overpass. We helplessly stand by as engineers make McMullen-Booth Road a three-lane speedway each way for those who live in East Lake and Pasco County to pass through our neighborhood in Countryside on their way to work or to shop.

And to add insult to injury, they are happily planning to decimate the beautiful entrance into Clearwater Beach so the gas-gluttons can drive their sport utility vehicles quickly into the beach area. Is anyone going to stand up and say, "Enough already, no more traffic in my neighborhood"?

The paper mentioned the dangerous intersection at Drew Street and U.S. 19. Has anyone driven down Drew between U.S. 19 and McMullen-Booth and had a look at the construction there? Well, do so. An already unattractive area has now become more so. But wait, there is an overpass coming, which will surely add to the desolate look.

Are we willing to stand by for the uglification of Clearwater altogether? If we are not, contact your engineers, city manager and mayor _ unless, of course, you are a developer or someone who doesn't live in the area, and then I am sure you will pass on this.

Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater

It appears editorial writer has agenda against Putnam

Re: County's response lacks urgency, outrage, editorial, April 17.

Because the editorial writer did not have the courage to sign the editorial, I do not know what conflict of interest or aspiration the writer has, or what hidden agenda is being forwarded. However, it is quite apparent that the editorial writer has an agenda against Steve Putnam, who is the Community Services Agency chairman.

The faulting of this agency by a County Commission audit seemed in itself to be lacking in urgency. In fact, the audit seemed to be searching for something to criticize. There was no hint of financial malfeasance and no funds are missing.

The Community Services Agency and the Recreation League contribute to this community and its families in a very important way. What we have is a group of dedicated volunteers who are giving their time and effort. All of us benefit, whether we utilize the excellent library or participate in the comprehensive recreation program.

The outrage on my part is against the editorial writer. Why doesn't he contribute to these programs rather than throw false accusations and innuendos? This community needs more of the Steve Putnams of this world and less of those who write in anonymity with their own self-serving agendas.

Linda de Bottari, Palm Harbor

Further study and tests needed on desalination plant

After attending the Safety Harbor special meeting on Monday, April 13, and reading your April 15 article Residents voice their fears about desalination plant, I would like to respond. I believe the West Coast Regional Water Supply Authority and Florida Progress need to do some homework. Many good questions were raised by members of the council and audience that could not be answered.

Everyone is in agreement on the need for more water. What is the best method? Based on what I heard, I believe Florida Progress must find a new site for desalination.

First, there is not enough room for this plant on the Higgins Power Plant site. We are not certain if a bay this size can recharge itself after massive discharges of brine.

Second, if the bay is environmentally impacted by the discharge, the people of Safety Harbor will suffer. They will no longer live on the water they chose to be near.

Finally, the plants and animals in the bay may suffer. The high concentration of salts will definitely affect all levels of the ecosystem.

For all these reasons, I believe further study and tests need to be conducted before the experts continue this plan. We need to know the impact before we destroy our environment.

Keith Kollenbaum, Palm Harbor

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