Letters to the Editor

Asphalt ruiningRobinson Preserve

I read the April 22 article on the Robinson Preserve in the Herald’s Earth Day Special Section. I had to check the date and make sure it wasn’t April “1” again.

Seems like someone is fooling someone here in touting the praises of what has become of this beautiful, and once natural, ecological heaven at the west end of 17th Avenue Northwest.

Months ago, when it opened to the public, you could go and walk or bike the miles of dirt and shell paths. There were happy bridges and catwalks where needed. The observation tower afforded a Chamber-of-Commerce panoramic vista of Tampa Bay, the majestic Skyway Bridge, the tidal basin and estuaries, along with scampering, flying and swimming wildlife.

Fresh and clean sea air smelled of life. You could lose yourself in the abundant nature, all the while hearing sounds that most don’t even know exist. It was a joy to bring our dog. She would run free behind us as we pedalled our bikes for hours.

Yes, we carried the “responsible dog owner bags,” and used them, as did every dog owner we encountered. What a wonderful “Preserve.”

Well, now we see what the commissioners think a Preserve is! There were few regulations posted then, and all was fine. Now ... “No” this, “No” that, dog leashes, etc.

There is asphalt on paths! Why? To preserve them, I guess? Did we need to spend a half-million dollars or more on asphalt? Is this to satisfy the ADA? If so, then we might as well pave everything over.

I would almost wager that, had the public really known of the funding application and direction they were headed, the place might still be preserved.

I will translate the comments from our dog here.

She says that ... “non-pet people should be required to get their exercise and socialization in a fenced plot, and not be permitted to go to the beach for a run and a dip, and be tethered whenever outside.

“Cities all up the east coast are pet-friendly, allowing free run on beaches, outdoor dining, and other humane treatment, so why is Manatee County so nasty to us pets? We give unconditional love and get left out of every good thing this county has to offer.

“So, pooh-pooh on you, literally. I quit begging for treats, now I am begging to move away from here.”

John Levitsky & Summer, the dog Palmetto

Rules needed to drill

Although I understand both sides, I keep thinking about the Exxon Valdez spill.

Exxon, a company with billions in profits, did not clean up their mess; volunteers did. Exxon did not take responsibility and pay for the actual costs of cleanup; Alaska did. Exxon dragged it through the courts for 10 years and paid only a fraction of the actual costs in the end.

Do Floridians want to lose their main source of income if an accident happens and our white sand turns black? Will our birds look better black and glossy? How long before we see dolphins again?

Before we approve any drilling, there should be guidelines set up ahead and money put aside for quick response without legalities. I personally am ready for eco-friendly alternatives to oil.

Exxon’s current ads are trying to convince us that they care about the environment. There’s still some of us who remember that they don’t!

Debbie Wagner


Keep Manatee name

I grew up in Terre Haute, Ind., where there was once a school called Indiana State Teachers College. After the curriculum was expanded, it became Indiana State College. After it became even larger, it became Indiana State University. I don’t remember a big squabble over any of the changes.

Now we live in Bradenton, very near what has been Manatee Community College. Now that it has grown, there is only one logical new name: Manatee State College.

All the fuss about being fancy, and even including Sarasota in the name, is appalling.

It reminds me of the first time I flew into the local airport, eight years ago, and I noticed that there was more emphasis on Sarasota items than Bradenton items in the gift shop.

I thought it would be popular, and maybe even profitable, to produce T-shirts with the following message: Bradenton is Bedrock for Sassy Sarasota.

We are also much more than a suburb of the Shangri-la community of Lakewood Ranch, which is only interested in Bradenton residents who are good football players.

Bradenton is Bradenton is Bradenton. Manatee is Manatee is Manatee. We should be proud and willing to fight to keep them that way.

Bob Cork