Responses to Trevor Aaronson's recent cover story about the Albert Whitted Airport dilemma in St. Pete, Mitch Perry's story on Hepatitis C and Fawn Germer's departure from the Planet.
****************************************** Fly Guys (and Gal)
Re: "Airport Insecurity" by Trevor Aaronson (May 22-28)
As a guy who buys used cars of the Honda Civic variety to free up some cash to fly, I and many others can dispel the notion that flying is done by a bunch of rich guys; it just ain't true, although yes, there are some who fly who are blessed with wealth.
On a recent trip to Dunedin to visit with family, I read the St. Petersburg Times editorial that raised the prospect of the city's backing out of its agreement with the FAA covering a 20-year commitment.
I was struck by the absence of integrity being displayed by a major city newspaper and opinion maker. I found your article balanced and an apparently straightforward presentation of what is going on.
It is nothing short of appalling to see a major city's newspaper take a stand that advocates ignoring a legally recognized and binding agreement.
Small airports are the essential but often overlooked part of the national airspace system. Much of the day to day business that isn't noticed occurs at the airports like Whitted, Clearwater Executive and Peter O. Knight. Air charters, air ambulances, law enforcement, search and rescue and many other services prefer the smaller airports to avoid the congestion and expense of the large air carrier airports. While some would say that Whitted airport is nothing more than a playground for the wealthy, it is very important to note that general aviation is the workhorse of American aviation.
It is also excellent to note that an airport next to a downtown is a rarity and a commodity not to be overlooked or ignored by the city of St. Petersburg. They would be much better served in "selling" their airport to businesses who may want to use it, rather than sell it to developers who'll tear it down.
Many of us have been feeling very powerless with the St. Pete Times having an agenda well beyond the limits ofethical journalism. Your article was a fair and thorough summation of the situation.
The only way that truth can rise to the surface from the drowning it gets from an incredibly biased organization that buys ink by the barrel, is through the help of others who buy wholesale too!
I applaud your efforts!
WOW! Your coverage/article on the
Albert Whitted Airport is BY FAR the best researched, most comprehensive, anddownright HONEST treatment of this issue I have encountered. THANK YOU. I live in and love St. Petersburg — to me, this whole debate boils down to a "quality of life" perspective. Like the roar of the fans rising from Al Lang Field, the acres of pristine Florida at Boyd Hill, the incredible rain forest that is our own Sunken Gardens, the architectural wonders of our downtown buildings, the vast beauty of Tampa Bay, and the sweep of sailboats off the Pier — looking up to watch a biplane sweep overhead will forever be a thrill. Solid condos,concrete and cars are not my idea of a beautiful, unique city. It is merely a reflection of a few shortsighted, greedy people who will move on to their next moneymaking project as soon as the check clears. St. Petersburg and its citizens of today and the future deserve better!
Hip to Hep C
Re: Harnessing Hep C" by Mitch E. Perry (May 22-28)
I read with great interest and satisfaction the article on Hep C/HCV. I have it, and I'm on the waiting list for a transplant. Some things that weren't mentioned: There hasn't been a proven connection between sexual activity, but as with nasal drug use, when blood becomes involved with over abuse of drugs or sex, or in general, this is the royal road to infection, as with tattoos. (This might including snorting drug partners with bloody noses, common among addicts; women during menstruation; men rubbed raw by overindulgence, or gay/anal sex, etc., fills the gaps in the mysteries of infection.) I had no idea this HCV had been around so long, I was under the impress that like HIV it was discovered shortly after its symptoms were discovered.
Let us also hope that while HCV has been less devastating than AIDS, with a longer disease rate, coming due for millions, and the option of transplant for survival, this less complex disease should be more curable than the complex and ever-changing HIV, once the necessary funding has been arranged.
John D. Ayers
Re: "So Long, Folks" by Fawn Germer (May 22-28)
I have to admit I kind of enjoyed Ms. Germer's column when I had time to read it. There is one thing that bothered me: Girlfriend is quitting because this planet is too weird and the truth leaves a bad taste in her mouth. Fawn should do what all the great writers do when reality has gotten them down — you know the Hemingways, the Kerouacs: Drink. No, I mean DRINK. On behalf of everyone who spends workdays and out-of-work days at the Hub, we will miss you.
You make me fall in love with you and then leave me begging for more. What a tease! Seriously, I'm just glad we had you for this long. I will really miss all of your sarcasm and insight. You leave us with that same tired group of columnists who have nothing to say.
You weren't being "mean" when you crucified people in your column. You were being insightful and saying what the rest of us apathetic bastards were thinking. Holding the filthy feet of our power elite to the hot fire. What a disappointment that you are packing up and leaving to do something else. How will we survive the gubernatorial race without your perspective to make us laugh at the absurdity of it all? Gee, it seems like you just got here. I sure hope the Planet doesn't use your departure as an excuse to slide back into force-feeding us sour opinions built more on arrogance, than fact.
In the May 26-June 4 cover story, "The Putrefied Forest," Janet Kovach's name was misspelled and her occupation was incorrectly stated. She is a community affairs specialist for CF Industries Inc.
In a May 15-21 story on pool crashing, the Sheraton Hotel on Cypress Street was misidentified as Embassy Suites. We apologize to anyone who tried to crash the Embassy Suites and did not find the lovely scene we described in the story. Also, we have been advised that security has been beefed up at hotels in the area as a result of our story and that trespassers could be charged with a misdemeanor.