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Emergency planning poor

I live in Down Yonder Village Mobile Home Park in Largo. We were among those asleep when the order was given to evacuate Saturday night.

We woke up at 7:30 a.m. Sunday and turned to TV Channel 10. We heard that an evacuation order had been given at midnight (for Pinellas County mobile home residents).

We were cooking breakfast in the kitchen when we heard something outside. It seemed a distant siren with someone speaking. It sounded like it was coming from the TV.

We didn't see anything on TV that reflected that, so we called a neighbor who said that it was a Largo police officer who came through the park. I stepped outside and saw a patrol car going about 20 mph saying something about an evacuation.

It was already starting to rain and the wind was picking up. No shelters in Largo were listed on the TV.

We heard only about one in Tarpon Springs and a church in St. Petersburg _ we had no idea where to go and neither did our neighbors.

About 2 p.m. it really got bad. The power went off, the rain got really bad and so did the wind. I thought our roof was going to come off.

I got so scared that my husband, myself and the dog went into our walk-in closet for three hours.

We finally ventured out of the closet about 5:15. It still was windy but not as bad. Later we heard that in Largo gusts got up to 82 mph.

I think the county Emergency Operations Center needed a better plan, especially for seniors. Some of us are hard of hearing and could not hear the officer in the car going by.

Bad planning!

Diane Blakeslee, Largo

Cleanup crews deserve big thanks

Monday morning after Hurricane Jeanne, I drove County Road 1 from Sunset Point Road in Clearwater to First Avenue S in St. Petersburg as I usually do to work.

Thanks go to the Pinellas County crews that must have worked all night to clean up the debris so that County Road 1 would be open.

Robert L. Baker, Clearwater

Reference to disease was distasteful

Re: Hellish storm coming? Well, let's clean the fridge, guest column by Douglas Spangler, Sept. 23.

Douglas Spangler, schizophrenia is a neurobiological disease resulting from an imbalance of a neurotransmitter in the brain. Every five minutes someone in the United States is diagnosed with a form of schizophrenia. They are typically between the ages of 15 and 25. In this day the stigma of schizophrenia is still very powerful.

I understand that a secondary definition of schizophrenia is in relation to a situation or condition that results from the coexistence of disparate or antagonistic qualities, identities or activities.

However, I wanted to let you know that it is very offensive to the millions of individuals and their families struggling with mental illness when it is used out of context relating to this life-altering disease. Next month is National Mental Illness Awareness month, bringing to light the prejudice and injustice toward individuals with mental illness.

Mr. Spangler, I enjoyed your article, but I urge you to please find another colorful word to use in the future. Thank you.

Sandra Bowen, Clearwater

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