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U.S. 19 needs changes to become safer

Editor: It seems to me that the state is determined to keep throwing money at U.S. 19 in Pasco County. The $8- to $10-million for the proposed computerized signal timing system will not make the highway any safer.

This should be the prime concern in any upgrading of this highway. The basic problems are people making left and U-turns at unprotected cutouts. The only safe solution is to put up 24- or 36-inch concrete barriers down the middle of the road from Little Road to the Pasco-Pinellas line. Then, left turns and U-turns would be made only at traffic-light-controlled intersections.

Grass medians and 6-inch barriers are not safe on a 50- to 60-mph highway. In a high-speed crash, vehicles can become airborne and enter the opposite lane. Cars backing up the left-hand lane waiting to make left turns is a very dangerous situation. A high cement barrier is in common use in highways of this type, and they increase the flow of traffic. This type of barrier already exists on U.S. 19 in parts of Pinellas County. The elimination of the grass medians will provide more space for a fourth lane.

I have not seen any suggestions for the section of U.S. 19 in Hudson where the Wal-Mart Supercenter will be. The light at Beacon Woods would be useless to control southbound traffic entering this store. What needs to be built is an underpass or overpass to eliminate left turns at this point. Pedestrian walkways and an elevator for the handicapped will have to be provided. Also, two lanes should be added to handle the traffic in both the north and southbound lanes.

Who would pay for this? Some have suggested that business should pay for highway improvements.

Art Wilkins, New Port Richey

Beacon Woods residents will shop new Wal-Mart

Editor: I am so sick of people complaining about Wal-Mart.

I am a resident of Beacon Woods, and I am in favor of the supercenter. Every one of those people against Wal-Mart does his or her shopping at Wal-Mart. All those Beacon Woods residents will be there for the grand opening. Why? Because of the low prices, of course! Beacon Woods residents shop at Wal-Mart, they just don't want it in their back yard!

If you hate Wal-Mart then don't shop there. If millions of people really hate Wal-Mart like they say they do then why is it the largest retailer in the world? We consumers made Wal-Mart what it is today, and we only have ourselves to blame.

Kmart is financially troubled. It didn't happen overnight. The consumer made it happen by choosing Wal-Mart over Kmart.

So, Beacon Woods residents, you reap what you sow.

Michelle Barnes, Hudson

Quality of life in county can and must improve

Editor: Has everyone lost sight of the fact that this penny sales tax referendum is a citizen's initiative for over three years!

We're ordinary people who have seen our quality of life erode through not just new development, but a change in the population makeup of our communities. Children at school are eating lunch at 10 a.m. and can't find an unoccupied bathroom between classes. Our older roads are no longer safe _ Pasco's accident rate is twice the state average. Our open vistas are disappearing, and this threatens the availability and health of our drinking water.

Citizens initiated studies and surveys and polls and research and presented all of it to the county. We worked on the ballot language. We helped write and critique the law that will be enacted, which guarantees we get what we asked for. This penny is ours. Yes, we'll pay for it, and we'll get 100 percent of it.

Terry Youngblood, Wesley Chapel

Let newcomers shoulder

costs related to growth

Re: Tax opponents use unreasonable math, Jan. 20 letter.

Editor: Unreasonable mathematics or not, there are a few items to consider.

My Social Security increased this year by 2.1 percent. Then, the government decided to take $7-plus back for Medicare. Now you want to take two-thirds of my monthly increase because too many people voted for a classroom size amendment and didn't think that it would cost money?

If more people want to move into our county (which can only mean lots of money for builders) then they should be made to pay for the expansion.

Donald R. Williamson, Hudson

EDITOR'S NOTE: The Penny for Pasco sales tax proceeds are not scheduled to build schools required by the class-size amendment.Deputies should catch criminals not help needy

Editor: It is ludicrous that deputies will offer necessities to the needy.

Professionals trained in law enforcement should offer necessities to all the scofflaws who utilize Pasco highways. Running red lights, stop signs, etc., is common practice.

Let the needy contact the appropriate agency that can help them, and let law enforcement officers do the job for which they are trained.

Peter Neustadt, New Port Richey

Put money into improving

education of children

Editor: I find it very interesting that the county government is looking for more tax money when it appears that they do not know what to do with the tax money that they have already collected.

If they have not spent the tax money properly in the past, what makes people think that if you give them more money, they will somehow start spending the tax money correctly?

How does adding a new roof to a school improve education? I understand that a poor roof is a safety risk, but how does it make the children learn better?

I have looked at multiple Web sites for county schools, and each of them states that with the new tax money, the school will get its roof fixed and the security systems will be improved. That is fine, but how does that make a child's education better? Let's do something to make a child's education better instead of making the child's educational facility better. An improved school is not an improved education.

Todd Prince, Holiday

Successful playhouse

ignored by arts writer

Editor: Come on Barbara Fredricksen, show you care!

John Timpanelli's Playhouse at the Jewish Community Center on Scenic Drive in Port Richey is on its way to being a new presence in the county. Such is the strength of John's talent, determination and resolve. Encouraging the success of this venture is important to the JCC, as well.

I am surprised that you remain uninterested. The weekend performances by "Liza and Judy" were well attended and enjoyed by all who came from near and far. As the Times writer who promotes arts and entertainment, you should show your support and appreciate what he is trying to accomplish.

Sandy Applefield, Port Richey

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