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FORECLOSURE IS PREVENTABLE

As an organization that promotes long-term home ownership, the Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services is distressed that Florida continues to be a leading state for foreclosure. What many homeowners don't realize is that foreclosure is preventable.

The first and most important step is to call for help. There are many HUD-certified housing organizations, including Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services, available to help those facing foreclosure. We offer one-on-one consumer counseling and education to help borrowers who think they may fall behind.

I also encourage homeowners facing foreclosure to utilize the HOPE foreclosure prevention hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673). This nationwide, toll-free hotline is facilitated by the nonprofit Homeownership Preservation Foundation and NeighborWorks America to preserve home ownership and prevent foreclosures.

The earlier homeowners seek help, the sooner they can become aware of what they are facing and learn the foreclosure prevention options available to them so they may keep their homes.

Isay Gulley,president/CEO, Clearwater Neighborhood Housing Services

Wal-Mart opponents, board show strength - editorial, Feb. 1

Not everyone is against Wal-Mart

In your editorial you state the options now available to Wal-Mart and note that the city has "endured three years of public criticism for having approved it in the first place."

I'd like to point out that while this may apply to some of our citizens, it most certainly does not apply to all. I, and others, believe the city made the correct decision (to allow construction of a Wal-Mart Supercenter) and we fully support that decision, though our views are not highly publicized.

Sandra Tracey,Tarpon Springs

Help elderly cross the street safely

The recent stories about the pedestrian accident on Missouri Avenue in Largo made me think about another recent occasion in which an elderly gentleman was killed and his wife injured when using the crosswalk with the lights at nearby Jasper Street and Missouri Avenue.

I don't believe in complaining about a situation unless I have an accompanying suggestion for fixing it, so here is my suggestion: That part of Missouri Avenue should be designated a senior pedestrian zone, with a lower speed limit and no turn on red allowed in that zone. Also, the walk lights could be adjusted to hold a little longer so elderly people who can't walk so fast can make it across with the light.

I drive in this area and I would certainly be willing to adapt myself to these small changes if it meant someone's life would be saved.

Sharon Lindsey, Largo

Generosity appreciated

I would like to offer my appreciation to all the members of the community who provided assistance to the RCS Food Bank during this past holiday season. Because of the many wonderful people in this community who opened their hearts and pocketbooks with donations of food, money and toys, we were able to provide food - including hams, chickens and turkeys - to an average of 98 families a day during November and to 107 families a day and toys for a total of 976 children during the month of December.

This past year, the RCS Food Bank experienced an unprecedented number of people coming for assistance with an average of 10 to 20 new families a day. As many of us have struggled to adjust budgets around rising costs, families who live on the edge financially have little room to adjust, and so they seek ways to supplement their resources. Accordingly, the RCS Food Bank has struggled to expand our resources to meet the growing demands of those most vulnerable in our community and, at times, our supplies have been dangerously low.

As word has gotten out into the community, however, the response has been heartwarming, especially during the holiday season. The constant outpouring of donations helped to restock the shelves in our warehouse so that we have some reserves to meet the growing demand.

I truly appreciate your support, even as I remind you that there are hungry people all year round, and their needs do not stop when the holiday season ends. Once again, thank you for all your support. I am very proud to be a part of a community that cares so much about those who are experiencing special need in their lives.

Kathi Trautwein,director, RCS Food Bank, Clearwater

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