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  1. Archive

Divided benches afflict comfortable, homeless

Re: Benches divided to prevent homeless from lying down, Sept. 1 story.

It isn't easy to sleep on a bench that has wooden separations bolted onto the seat. I'm not a bleeding heart liberal and I'm also not a cold conservative, but that action really struck me and I'm not sure how I feel about it.

One side of me feels as though it's a pretty creepy, underhanded thing to do. It's another way of moving the homeless somewhere else and sweeping these people under the rug. I can't help but think that with the money Clearwater used buying new benches and stuff to deter homeless people, couldn't the city have spent the money to help them in some way?

Then the other side of me thinks about how I go to the library every morning and see at least 10 homeless people living all over Coachman Park. Some mornings it's like they have their own little hobo village down there, where you feel like an outsider because you're freshly showered and shaved and wearing clean clothes.

I've seen some of them leer and make comments to women as they walk by, bathe in drinking fountains, gather used cigarette butts off the ground, ask for money, and even start trouble.

I wonder what these people think of the new modesty benches. I'm sure they know the real deal and are upset. I've watched them a lot in the mornings and I've noticed a few things about them.

One thing I'm sure of is that many of them are where they are either because they are mentally ill or because that's exactly where they want to be. If they wanted help, they wouldn't be at the library, they would be down the street at the Salvation Army, which helps them get back on their feet.

So what do you do with these people? Maybe our society works because we are forced to see these people. They make us "haves" feel uncomfortable when they flaunt their "have-not-ness" in our faces, and maybe that's why we get up in the morning and drag ourselves into work, pay our bills, vote in elections and pay taxes. I don't know, but I know that those separations have really got me thinking, and I don't know whether they're good or bad.

Scott Wachtler, Dunedin

Cancer survivor provides

great example to youth

Re: Gifts helping 8 lives blossom, Sept. 6 story.

Thanks for the great article about Scott Levey and his fellow collegiate cancer survivors.

Scott volunteered in my preschool camp class several summers ago. The heat was rough on him, yet he gave it a go every day, to the point of making himself sick a few times.

The preschoolers loved Scott's gentle, quiet way. The youth volunteers had a huge reality check through him. I have felt blessed to have Scott touch my life several times over the years.

The very best to you, Scott, and the others. You are all far more complex people than those much older than you.

Denise Emerick Hayes, Palm Harbor

Compare spending on creeks with renourishing of beaches

Re: Creek riddle: Preserve it or control it?, Sept. 3 story, and Scientists track fates of turtles, Sept. 4 story.

In your reporting on creek flooding and erosion, I read that taxpayers have spent more than $50-million in the past 10 years just on major repairs, with millions more on routine improvements and maintenance around the creeks.

I don't write to complain about the amount or purpose for that spending, but rather to give context to the mention in your next day's story on the turtles of the estimated $60-million spent on beach renourishment in Pinellas County since the first project in the 1960s.

Let's go over that again: $60-million on (public) beach renourishment in four decades, and $50-million on creek flooding and erosion in one decade. It just seems like a comparison that needs to be made in light of fairly consistent innuendo in the Times (and in other media) about the wisdom and equity of beach renourishment.

John Doran, Clearwater

Bicyclists need bells, horns or "hello' to alert those they pass

Regarding the discussion about bicyclists and pedestrians: As a bus patron, I spend a lot of time standing on the sidewalk waiting, and more than once have had a quiet youngster pedal up from behind on a bicycle and pass me without my being aware of his presence.

Now, my father taught me years ago about the dangers of sneaking up behind someone, and I know from experience it's always been a good rule of the road to let someone know you're there before you pass them.

My worry is that I may turn, or move an inch or so one way or another and accidentally knock some child into Seminole Boulevard traffic, God forbid. One young man did stop one day and call out "Hello!" to get my attention before he approached me.

If bikes don't have horns or bells nowadays, it would be nice if the youngsters would just give me a heads-up somehow before coming that close to a real mishap.

Carolyn A. Clark, Seminole

Car's directional signals should be exercised: push up and down

In driving around the Clearwater area, have you noticed how many people do not use their cars' directional signals in making a turn? The next time you are at a light, count those who do not. You'll be surprised.

It's too bad that there isn't a law that states, "If you don't signal, you can't turn."

There must be a great number of lazy drivers who cannot move their left hand (which should be on their steering wheel) just a few inches to move their directional lever to signal that they are going to turn. The signals come with the car and they are there, so let's all use them.

Richard L. Sadler, Clearwater

Hospice Thrift Shop is not a dump site for dirty clothes

I am a volunteer at a Hospice Thrift Shop and am totally appalled at the things people drop off at our store for sale.

Although we rely on public donations for our revenue, it seems that some people use us as a place to dump off clothing and articles that are filthy. Those of us who sort these things spend a lot of volunteer hours, and it is very disconcerting to have to plow through dirty clothes.

After the store is closed on Sunday, we find when we arrive at the store on Monday morning we have been used as the city dump, with all kinds of items _ sofas, clothes, old tools, etc. _ just dropped off in our parking area. This mess is an eyesore to everyone and we have to wait until the city is able to pick up these things which, with the rains, are usually in sopping condition.

This past week, I unpacked a large cardboard box full of stained men's underwear. I cannot fathom how anyone would think that hospice could use these, and I resent having to waste my time going through these.

Eileen McKown, Clearwater