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Sunday, May 20, 2018
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Letters to the editor: Unsung heroes

Unsung heroes

I want to thank the Haley VA hospital’s ER surgeons, doctors, nurses and other medical staff for providing the best humanistic, surgical care anywhere for an acute critical medical condition on Aug. 14. They were just above and beyond.

The VA has been severely berated for a variety of systemic problems which unfortunately has been deserved at certain facilities. In spite of this, a few VA medical folk, for years, have continued their devoted, selfless medical service to veterans. The battle-hardened veteran is keenly aware and appreciative of the few unsung heroes of his active service days.

The VA hospital organization has more than its fair share of these few unsung, long-term medical staff heroes who have kept it going. These folks deserve our wholehearted admiration.

Dan Schaubert


Praying for a miracle

A nice article Joe Henderson wrote: “A gem of the city is repolished” (Aug. 13).

I just wish you could have looked a little farther east to the corner of Palm and Florida avenues and mentioned where the crown jewel stands unattended and unadorned, except for a few loyal believers who hold out hope that someday some of the same Tampa Heights visionaries will “pay” the same attention and detail into restoring Palm Avenue Baptist Church back to its once glorious and regal majesty. At one time, it was the center of that aspiring community, but a lightning strike closed the doors to its main sanctuary, and the costs of repairs are not available with such a small congregation that meets next door praying for a miracle to come our way.

We want to be a part of this new vision for Tampa Heights, but we need help, too, and not just God’s.

Maybe this letter will muster some interest to some of the benevolent movers and shakers in the higher circles to possibly lend us a hand in repolishing Palm Avenue Baptist Church’s image, too. We’re still in the business of saving souls. See you in church Sunday and maybe at a church picnic down at Water Works Park afterward. God bless.

Raymond Brown


Forget the trains

My reaction upon reading Tom Jackson’s “The Right Stuff” column (“Driverless cars could derail Greenlight’s antiquated train idea,” Aug. 17) was that somebody actually gets it. By that I mean how a rapid transit system should function.

I am a transplant from the Chicago suburbs. It has a pretty robust transportation infrastructure, including Metra and CTA. The problem is it functions well only if you want to go from anywhere in the outlying suburbs to downtown Chicago. Heaven help you if you want to get off anywhere in between.

The problem was I did.

I worked for over two years trying to figure out how to eliminate the 5-mile walks each way because the north/south bus routes off the east/west train routes were extremely limited. Either they did not exist, or their times did not coincide with my work schedule, which was a normal shift. Here was my final solution: I rented an overnight parking slot near the train station on my eastern terminus. The car I left there — you needed two cars to really make this work — I drove from the overnight spot to work and back to catch the train. On the other end, I either hoofed it home two miles and back in the morning or, if lucky, had my wife pick me up from the station. Chicago’s winters, and rain in the summer, could make this a daunting task.

Oh, there were several other risks. If I was late in leaving the overnight parking spot I risked a parking ticket and potential towing. If I missed the train, that could mean hours lost waiting for the next train, especially since each train stopped at different stations. What I would have given for a bus route all the way. None existed like the system Tom describes in the fifth paragraph of his article. Forget the driverless cars, for now. A bus system like the one Tom describes is the way to go. Forget the trains!

William Gamlin

Spring Hill

A perfect storm

Before we start planning around the success of automatically driven cars, as Tom Jackson prophesizes, we should be reminded of the $1.2 billion judgment against Toyota. The spark for this class-action suit, brought against Toyota by the feds, who owned GM at the time, was an unintended acceleration due to a newer type of electronic board accelerator. Innocent drivers, experts claimed, simply and randomly accelerated forward. Hundreds of lawyers and thousands of litigants were lined up for the law lottery. There’s nothing like blaming the machine for operator error. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration never found any defects in the electronics or software in Toyota cars. So it became floor mats and loss of resale value, caused by the baseless lawsuit, that enriched lawyers, provided litigants with a coupon, and would have put a lesser company out of business.

Now, the USA is going full throttle on automatically driven cars, chock full of electronics and driven without any human interface, at least in theory.

This scenario is a perfect storm and offers unimaginable possibilities — for lawyers that is. If ever technology and law were to advance together, now is that time.

Tom West

New Port Richey

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