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IS ANOTHER BOX STORE WORTH LOSING EAGLES?

The eagles nesting on the site proposed for a new Wal-Mart in Tarpon Springs highlight a much bigger issue facing our county: How will we limit growth so our remaining natural areas are not consumed by development?

This is an urgent question for every community in light of recent landmark reports showing that: 1) 25 percent of mammals worldwide face extinction; and 2) many of the world's bird populations are declining rapidly. Are we willing to wipe out our fellow creatures to build more big box stores?

Is this the world we want to leave our children?

If not, we must act now to protect the natural areas that support a wide diversity of species before we lose any more creatures. These areas include our parks, preserves, waterfront land and bodies of water like Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico.

Elected leaders, it is your job to protect our communities for the long term, not to approve every new construction project that comes along.

Keep buying the undeveloped land that becomes available even though money is tight right now. Then safeguard that land from development. There is no better investment in the future of our county, our tourist industry and our planet.

Elizabeth Drayer, Clearwater

Dunedin should jump at chance to buy land

The City Commission of Dunedin voted unanimously on Oct. 2 to execute the documents required for the Weaver land purchase on Alt. U.S. 19 just north of downtown Dunedin.

At the same meeting, an announcement was made that the owners of 2.3 acres of undeveloped waterfront just north of Mediterranean Manors on Alt. U.S. 19 may be interested in selling their property. Commissioner Deborah Kynes described this property as "beautiful" and it could be used for picnicking and for canoe/kayak launching.

I agree with Commissioner Kynes that this waterfront property is beautiful. The property is next to the Pinellas Trail, with 400 feet of waterfront. As a park it would especially benefit the residents of Dunedin along with the county residents of Palm Harbor and Ozona.

Pinellas County over the last few years has been trying to purchase these types of properties that give the public access to the waterfront. I read that Pinellas County is considering providing the funds to buy this property. There is very little undeveloped waterfront property of any size left in all of Pinellas. I strongly urge Pinellas County to purchase this "beautiful" waterfront property.

Reggie Hall,Ozona

Property taxes wasted by idling school buses

It would be interesting to learn what the guidelines are for buses parking on library, post office and residential properties while not in the business of picking up students. I am seeing a lot of that, in north and mid county.

There are wonderful bus drivers that I know personally, who would never do those things. Perhaps it is okay to let buses run, lights flashing, while the driver smokes cigarettes outside of the bus on a side street outside a synagogue, for anywhere from 15 to 30 minutes.

How about it, school folks? There needs to be a recall on that referendum for a tax increase for schools if that is the way money is allocated.

What if the bus drivers were told not to waste gas idling for such a long time or gunning it to enter U.S. 19 and that money could replace the additional property tax we were made to spend because the referendum won?

Sour grapes? Maybe. Good sense, definitely. Referendums are generally bad if we are held up for more money, for whatever reason.

Mrs. Harriet P. Sherwood, Clearwater

your voice counts

You may submit a letter to the editor for possible publication through our Web site at www.tampabay.com/letters, or by faxing it to (727) 445-4119, or by mailing it to Letters, 710 Court St., Clearwater, FL 33756. You must include your name, address and phone number. Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

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