Gardens will be a Pinellas asset for years to come

Published March 1, 2001|Updated Sept. 9, 2005

Re: Penny-fed, Pinellas' garden grew, Feb. 22.

Florida Botanical Gardens will showcase Pinellas County. It will be the highlight of a county already nationally recognized for its natural beauty with the many county and city parks and its spectacular beaches. Funding for this project should be continued through 2002, as planned.

One hundred years from now, Pinellas residents and commissioners will continue to receive lavish praise for their foresight in providing a 182-acre area. The gardens will be an educational asset, too, with complete environmental identification of all plantings; with historical knowledge to be gained at the lovely, quaint Heritage Village; and with the wide variations of all forms of art at the new Gulf Coast Art Museum.

Alice Frame, Largo

Gardens have community support

Re: Penny-fed, Pinellas' garden grew.

Thank you for bringing to the public's attention the fact that they have a botanical garden in their own backyard! Your article was very informative concerning cost, but I do not agree that it "is a classic example of how the county government overcommitted Penny tax revenues" You failed to mention that while there was a cost, all the moneys were budgeted.

That the gardens have not exceeded their budget, as have many other Penny projects, is commendable. Many of the high-cost items are earmarked for reimbursement from private donors as naming opportunities.

The Friends of the Florida Botanical Gardens, a non-profit organization with more than 500 members, is a diversified group of volunteers representing many aspects of our community, including horticulture. Its board of directors has already raised more than $1.7-million to help in the cost of the gardens. Now, that is truly community support!

Our county commissioners should be applauded for their foresight and dedication to the gardens, considering the projected jobs and revenues the gardens will bring in. I am sure all the Pinellas County residents will be proud to bring their families and visitors to the gardens. With their help, the Florida Botanical Gardens will truly be world-class.

Ruth M. Bordeaux, president, Friends of the Florida

Botanical Gardens, Largo

All of us will benefit

Re: Penny-fed, Pinellas' garden grew.

As a proud member of the Florida Botanical Gardens and a volunteer master gardener of the Pinellas County Cooperative Extension Service, I was particularly interested to read this article.

Pinewood Cultural Park is a unique area, encompassing the arts, history and the environment. This vision has materialized due to the county commissioners' allocation of Penny for Pinellas tax dollars.

As with all major projects, it takes a gigantic leap of faith to reach a goal such as this, which greatly enhances the environment and benefits all Pinellas residents and visitors to this county.

This is indeed a showcase for the millennium.

Janet Martin, St. Petersburg

Gardens are a wonderful legacy

Re: Penny-fed, Pinellas' garden grew, Feb. 22.

After reading about the Florida Botanical Gardens in your paper, we couldn't wait to see it. Let me say, we were not disappointed!

Each garden is unique with its own architectural layouts, utilizing the natural waterways along with lily ponds, beautiful fountains and sculptures.

We thoroughly enjoyed our visit and look forward to following its progress. It is a wonderful legacy for future generations.

Betty M. Weikel, Largo

It's more government overspending

Re: Penny-fed, Pinellas' garden grew.

Although there is no doubt in my mind that the Florida Botanical Gardens are beautiful and will be an asset to the area, I couldn't help but notice that the government overspent once again. And although I know, as former Administrator Fred Marquis pointed out, that concrete and sewers are "dull stuff," I'd be willing to bet that residents who live in the mysterious "unincorporated Pinellas County" wouldn't find them that dull at all. Oh, to have the modern convenience of city sewer and trash service!

Government officials are good at "justifying the expenses" no matter what happens. If I overspent my budget by 2,300 percent, I'd be in jail.

Leslie Ostergard, Clearwater

Nursing homes care is threatened

Please open your eyes. It is long time past due that the public become aware of what is happening to the nursing home industry. While the lawyers line their pockets with money, nurses, nursing aides, nursing home supportive staff and administrators are leaving the nursing home business because of lack of funds, high liability insurance rates and frustration.

The bottom line is that the nursing home business is crumbling. Those professional, caring people who desperately strive to take care of nursing home residents are becoming frustrated. People do not realize that the patients in nursing homes are the ones who are suffering when a lawyer wins a case against a nursing home. None of the money settlement goes back into the nursing home industry for in-service education or patient care. The lawyer's "win" robs the funds needed to help take care of the patients by raising fees for running the nursing home.

The Nursing Home Task Force and the program Protect Our Patients are striving to keep patient care at the forefront. The patient is the most important issue here.

Those of us who devote our hearts and our lives to caring for nursing home residents are begging the public to stay informed and keep the nursing home industry alive and afloat.

Please, please call your local and state representatives and put a good word in for us so that the residents of nursing homes continue to have a place to live and be cared for.

Jeanne Bittman, LPN, CLTC, CWS, St. Petersburg

Good people live on 34th Street

Re: Looking for key to prison block, Feb. 20.

I currently live on the 400 block of 34th Street. I have lived here off and on for more than a year. My father has lived here steadily for more than the past year and off and on for four years.

Personally, I was a bit offended by the article. I am not now nor have I ever been a drug dealer or user, nor have I ever considered myself to be an alcoholic.

I, like my, father live in the New Plaza Motel out of choice. It has many great people who work and also steadily live there. There are always going to be a few bad people in any place, not just here.

Let me give you an example of the good here. My father is the office manager of one of the day labor halls that many of the residents of work at. He is a good man who came here four years ago to get a new start. When he was looking for a place to stay, he stayed at many of the establishments all along the 34th Street area, from 38th Avenue N all the way down to 22nd Avenue S. Listening to the stories he has told me, I know now why he chose this place to call home. My father makes a fairly good salary, and he has nothing holding him here but the privacy that people give each other here and the good friends he has made.

He is out at 5 a.m. every morning picking up people who want to work and he takes them to the office. I have taken this ride with him on many occasions just for the fun of it. At 5 in the morning there are so many people out who are trying to go to work, trying to stay clean, trying to get a grasp on their lives. These people don't need someone trying to come in here and rip from their grasp the one small bit of stability that they have left in their lives.

If we want to help the lower class, we shouldn't try to run them off. We need to embrace them, talk to them, listen to them and hear them. Maybe they are already living the lives want. Who says that the entire population of the world has to want more out of life? Who's to say that this life is not fulfilling to the people who live here?

As for the drugs that plague the local environment, let me say that I personally have never been offered any form of drug for as long as I have lived here (that has actually surprised even me).

I like the neighborhood I live in. I like the fact that regardless of its appearance I feel safe walking down the street to the gas station whenever I want. Perception is always going to be in the eye of the beholder, but until you come here and walk a mile in the shoes of any of the people who live here, I don't believe you have the right to criticize the area.

We the residents of the 400 block of 34th Street N ask that you come visit us. Come see what you have been so afraid of. We are just normal people. We are no different from any of you. We get up in the morning just like you, we put our pants on one leg at a time, just like you. And some of us want to raise a simple family, just like you.

Brian Morgan, St. Petersburg

Tears raise a gender question

Re: Defending his black staffers, Bush cries, Feb. 24.

If this is Gov. Jeb Bush's version of "Don't cry for me Argentina," I don't buy it. With all due respect to the governor, red flags would have emerged if a woman burst into tears at the podium. Remarks such as "too emotional," "unstable" and "not fit to hold office" would have been abundant. Perhaps Gov. Bush should take a tip from Scarlet O'Hara. After all, tomorrow is another day.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

A bid for black votes?

There can be little doubt that Gov. Jeb Bush is up and running for re-election. He tips his hand with his theatrical attempts to woo black voters. He was successful in doing so in his last election, getting enough support from that community to help him win.

Now after his tax cuts that necessitate state budget reductions in government services affecting white and black communities, he may not be as successful. These proposed budget reductions, One Florida, plus election problems leave the governor vulnerable. He is relying on a play from his previous winning campaign, when he got enough black votes to put him over the top. It will be interesting to see if it works a second time around.

Mary Cale, Bradenton

A bright future for Florida

The people of the state of Florida are well served by the energetic and enlightened administration of Gov. Jeb Bush and Lt. Gov. Frank Brogan. Our state has been put on a more business-like and pragmatic path. Government has been made more inclusive and citizen friendly. Education and business initiatives continue as a major focus. Tax reduction and sound fiscal management continue to be hallmarks of this administration.

To those who expect government to provide unlimited largesse, I say: Government can illuminate the path, but each of us must exercise our God-given ability to find and ignite that spark of individuality and achievement that is freedom and dignity in a civil society. Most people fear the future, having experienced the past. A bright future beacons for nation and state. Let us move forward and embrace it! Erwin W. Beck, Clearwater

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