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Lightly loaded buses put a strain on roads, taxpayers

Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that no one seems to be riding the mammoth PSTA buses in and around Pinellas County? I have been a resident since 1980 and don't recall ever seeing more than a few passengers on the buses at any given time. It appears that much of the time, the buses drive around completely empty.

Now I'm a sensitive guy and understand that we must provide some transportation for non-drivers and carless people. But couldn't we use vans instead?

Surely this would be much more cost effective for county taxpayers and less of a strain on roads and air quality.

Michael A. Pusatera, Tarpon Springs

Excellent service prompts

hats off to Largo restaurant

Re: Pappas' to close for big facelift, story, April 22.

George and Ginny Pappas' restaurant in Largo was never "a one-arm hash house" as former commissioner Jim Miles said. It was small, yes, but food and service were excellent.

I met George and Ginny when they opened their doors. Their children were very young then. My hat's off to them and their family for their present restaurant and the future.

Ginny Townsend, Largo

Largo woman thanks stranger for his random act of kindness

I would like to thank the very kind gentleman who stopped on Eighth Avenue SW in Largo on April 28 and performed a random act of kindness for this 77-year-old grandma. I fell over debris left by Florida Power at our mailbox and sidewalk. Due to neuropathy in my feet and arthritis in my legs and arms, I find it difficult to get to my feet without help.

Thank you, kind sir, and God bless.

Lorraine Tiedeman, Largo

Focus on bad words overlooks public official's good deeds

Re: Official punished for words at work, story, May 5.

That the Times would bother to make a big story over words used in school playgrounds each day is disturbing. That your reporter sought out the town scofflaw to quote makes it worse. Mike Nadeau, building official, has done many great things for this town _ millions of dollars in grants for parks and beautification. John Susor has violated town ordinances and constantly appears before and is fined by our citizen Code Enforcement Board; he has sued the town twice and is preparing another suit. His lawsuits usually fail.

Where was the Times during the great events of the town's 50th anniversary? When it hosted a statewide Florida innovations meeting on how to get grants? When our civic associations donate to our parks? When groups from all over the area come to use our public facilities at no charge? When Indian Shores voters consistently turn out in a larger percentage than other cities?

It's bad enough that the Times doesn't seem to have the staff or inclination to cover the news in our area, but we have to read about areas well to the north and east in our Largo section. You seem capable of writing of the good things that happen there. Why not here?

Bob McEwen, Indian Shores

Boosting senior center funding would help quality of life

I am writing in support of the effort to place on the ballot the ad valorem tax question to support the Palm Harbor Senior Activity Center. I support this effort as a homeowner in Palm Harbor.

This center simply adds to the quality of life in our community, but will not reach its potential audience of all senior residents without additional funding. I speak of this from personal experience. I was to teach a Senior Health and Wellness class for the center this spring, but it was canceled because of insufficient enrollment; I suspect the enrollment fee played a part.

Reducing fees, a possibility if additional funding is secured through the ad valorem tax, will assure greater participation by seniors from throughout the community.

Charles C. Boardman, Palm Harbor

Role of High Point Neighbors neglected in Head Start article

Re: Program to offer a jump on life, story, May 13.

The Times' articles on High Point are always one question away from telling the real story.

When Wind Tree Village was singled out for our condition and poverty, the residents surveyed asked for two things: a pool and child care. Instead of leading the story with the YMCA's support, the reporter should have asked the YMCA this question: When Pinellas County Community Development put the YMCA in Wind Tree Village, why was a Head Start not put in the YMCA?

I was additionally offended because there was no acknowledgement that Head Start would be on the property _ the only property _ of High Point Neighbors. High Point Neighbors is a grassroots, resident-run organization of meager means. I was bothered because I supported High Point Neighbors in giving up their only property to Head Start because we felt it was the right thing to do. Yes, the group will share space with Head Start. But they have given badly needed space to help the children, families and community of High Point.

The article, leading with the gratuitous input of the YMCA and omitting the contribution of High Point Neighbors, continues the Times' support of agencies and neglect of grassroots groups. I am trying to remember the last time that I read a Times article about my community that sounded like the experience I am living.

Nancy Ann Seiler, High Point

Sex controversy points to double standard in Largo

Re: Largo residents deserve answers, editorial, May 10.

In just a few short weeks, Largo's newly elected City Commission has proven to be a major embarrassment. Is it too late for a recount?

Last I heard, there was a law against engaging in sex with a child. Oh, and it also has mandatory jail time. Guess some people somewhere thought it was a pretty serious thing, apparently some place other than Largo. Police officers in the "City of Regress" get a special dispensation (and Largo worried it didn't offer enough perks to attract quality personnel).

Largo is facing a serious black eye with the current controversy surrounding its Police Department. I had hoped all the allegations would prove false but since they haven't, it exposes a serious problem of leadership, organization and attitude that must be addressed. Once again, the citizens will be watching to see if there is a double standard for behavior and correction.

Ross Herman, Largo

Woman with front-seat view cheers Gulf Boulevard planners

I want to congratulate everyone who has been involved in planning or executing the widening of Gulf Boulevard on Sand Key and installing new utilities. I live in one of the condos overlooking Gulf Boulevard, so I have had a front-seat view of the work for the past months.

I have been impressed with how well-organized the work has been. Supplies were delivered in advance to locations near where they would be used, and the new utilities were installed before the road above them was finished. Alternate lanes were provided before the main roadway was blockaded. Cuts across the roadway that actually closed down lanes were performed late at night when there would be less traffic.

I want to thank everyone who has been involved in planning the project, overseeing the work or actually running the machinery for the wonderful job they have done. We look forward to having a wider Gulf Boulevard, turn lanes and new landscaping when the job is finished.

Judy Simmons, Clearwater

Wisconsin vacationers leave Clearwater with list of pluses

We spent a week-and-a-half vacationing in Clearwater. It was our first visit to the area, and we want to let you know what we and our four boys really liked:

The beach is beautiful. Our kids really loved playing at the Pier 60 park.

The police officers were especially friendly and helpful as we drove around.

It was fun to walk around the fountain area after eating at Bob Heileman's in the evening.

The pirate ship was our kids' favorite.

We can't wait to come back for the sunshine next year.

Greg and Pam Sather, Beaver Dam, Wis.

Rec center at Forest Lakes

is for private, not public use

Re: Survey will help shape parks plan for Oldsmar, story, May 14.

A map (with the referenced story) included the Forest Lakes area as a recreational center. As president of the Forest Lakes Homeowners Association, I must draw your attention to the fact that our recreation center is a private park paid for by the fees of Forest Lakes homeowners and is not in any way subsidized by the city of Oldsmar.

We take pride in being able to maintain and use this park without any outside grants. It is important that we let this be known so that the residents of the city are aware that our facility is private and not for public use.

It is hoped that the residents not living in Forest Lakes will understand the purpose behind this letter and know that the association is protecting its property and privacy.

Jerry Walters, Oldsmar

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