1. Archive

New reef could be named to honor veterans

On Aug. 3, construction of our long-awaited artificial reef in North Pinellas waters got started. Twelve miles west of Dunedin's Hurricane Pass in 43 feet of water, a sanitized work barge was pumped full of seawater and sunk. In the months ahead, additional barges, solid waste, culverts and specially constructed fish houses will form a reef a mile in length and about a quarter-mile wide. Using these materials will give relief to our county landfill and provide marine habitat for grouper, migrating kingfish and a plethora of bottom dwellers.

Over 3{ years ago, members of the Palm Harbor Hurricane Pass Anglers Club initiated the project with a petition drive. We gathered more than 3,000 signatures from anglers, charter boat captains, divers, environmentalists and conservationists. Then-Gov. Lawton Chiles, state Sen. Jack Latvala and state Rep. Sandy Safley were quite supportive, as well as the Tarpon Springs, Palm Harbor and Dunedin chambers of commerce.

It has taken a great deal of effort by our fishing club members to keep the project prioritized, but it's been well worth the effort. We would like to express our appreciation to everyone who supported this worthwhile initiative.

Many of the 3,000 signatories to the petition were military veterans, members of the VFW and American Legion posts. We would appreciate the new local reef being named Veterans' Reef. It could be a place where cremated remains could be sunk or scattered, a place of honor and remembrance as well as a sanctuary for our marine life. The coordinates of the reef are GPS 2803.002 and 083.00727, or Loran 1422345 and 4493500, marked by a yellow buoy.

Jim Pochurek, Palm Harbor

Compassion sometimes misplaced

Re: Making sport of dinnertime, story, Aug. 3, and 2 cats are one too many for home in Shangri-La, story, Aug. 5.

These two items provide a look into today's mentality that is disturbing. The Aug. 3 story was by a writer who saw the decline of civilization in the torturing of lobsters at a noted seafood restaurant because patrons attempt to pull them out of a tank with a crane device, for $2 a crack.

This woman cannot stand cruelty to animals, yet she went to a seafood restaurant presumably to eat seafood. Some aquatic animal was going to have to die, but at least it wouldn't have been tortured by having her lift it out of a tank.

The story on Aug. 5 dealt with the mobile home park that made an 80-year-old resident give up one of her two cats because a rule states she could have only one. The park authorities showed their mentality by enforcing a rule that ought not to exist in the first place. Indoor cats disturb nobody outside the home.

The authorities demonstrated an attitude of "We've got this awesome power, so we're going to use it." Do people really have nothing better to do than look in other people's windows to count their cats? Shouldn't these folks have a life?

These two stories show the opposite uses of compassion. The first demonstrates compassion for an animal that doesn't need it. The second demonstrates a lack of compassion for a person who does need it.

Ed King, Largo

Officer's death deserved coverage

I cannot express how disappointed I am with the Times. I am truly appalled that you did not run a story last week on the passing of retired Clearwater police Major Don Weaver.

It is my understanding that the Clearwater Police Department requested a story, but none was written. Don served 20 years on the Clearwater Police Department and was one of the best ever. Not only did Don serve this community, but all three of his sons followed him into this public service profession, and two of them still serve in the Clearwater Police Department and Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

If an officer slips, you are more than eager to print the story on the front of the paper. But when a fine man like Don passes, you do not have the decency to report it. Don Weaver was a great man, husband, father, police officer, and deserved to be recognized upon his untimely death. We will miss you, Don, and unfortunately many citizens who did not know about your passing did not get a chance to say goodbye.

Ken Davenport, Clearwater

Right turns on red lights are hazards

Observing the goings-on at any intersection on U.S. 19, I could easily see that stopping right turns at red lights would save many lives. The expense would be minimal: only the cost of a few signs plus installation.

By preventing right turns, pedestrians and cyclists would be able to cross (at least halfway). Autos making left turns would not be driving into the right turners. It's at least something to think about.

I also feel that making U-turns should be limited to traffic lights. Maybe shortening the green light to a reasonable time in all directions might slow the traffic flow a bit. If the speedsters who must get to work at a specific hour would arise just a few minutes earlier, they would arrive alive, and then all we would have to contend with would be the murderous road ragers.

Hopefully we all will make it to see the outcome of Y2K computer problems!

Patsy Russo, Safety Harbor

Lane rules don't apply to U.S. 19

Re: More unmarked police cruisers would deter violators on U.S. 19, letter, Aug. 5.

I learned in driver's education that right lane/left lane, slow lane/fast lane was meant for Interstate driving, where the only way off the road is on the right side. I don't see where U.S. 19 fits that description.

Has it occurred to the writer that left laners are going to make a left turn? Or would he rather they stayed in the right lane and then try to cross three lanes of traffic in front of people like him to get to the other side? Then he'd be yapping about that.

I stay in the lane I'll be using for a turn so I don't have to play dodge cars or Frogger (old video game) to get to the other side. It's not the road that's dangerous; it's the people on it.

I see it every day. People in too big a hurry to use signals, changing lanes like maniacs, in too big a hurry to wait for a big enough break in traffic to pull out safely even if it takes a few more minutes. Then there are the drivers who think the road is all theirs, like the letter writer who thinks interstate etiquette belongs on U.S. 19. (I'm in his lane, so I'm wrong).

Can anyone please tell me what is so important that you have to risk my life, your life or a little child's life just to be some place at a certain time?

Marlene Harrison, Tarpon Springs