School employees pulled together
We have lived in New Port Richey for 29 years and have never had to evacuate. This time, not knowing how bad the hurricane would be, we chose to evacuate to Longleaf Elementary. While staying at a shelter is not a fun experience, the people there were amazing. A super job was done by all the school employees (Longleaf's and district personnel), the Sheriff's Department and the National Guard. Everyone was so professional and friendly and tried to make it as comfortable as possible. I am very proud to be a school employee and it was great to see people pull together in a difficult situation.
Thanks to all who took care of the hundreds of people at Longleaf; you did a great job!
Paula Cohen, New Port Richey
Good work in shelters
Congratulations on the efforts of our school administrators, teachers, support personnel and volunteers who put aside their personal concerns while manning the hurricane shelters in our schools. Perhaps one of the outcomes of Irma will be for our legislators to realize the value of our public schools and to distribute funding between public and charter schools with this in mind.
Jim Podd, Valrico
Utility did the job
I wanted to let Tampa Electric know how appreciative I am of their service Monday morning. My power was out for only about three hours, and then an automated call came in to make sure my power was back on. Amazing work on restoring the power under very trying conditions.
Ralph McGee, Tampa
Negative into a positive
My husband and I made the decision on Saturday to evacuate our home because of possible flooding. Since we needed to take our cat, we went to the shelter at Fivay High School in Hudson.
This emergency was turned into a positive experience for us. Since this was our first evacuation, we did not know what to expect. We took what we thought was needed, per the Pasco website, along with some food. Accommodations were in the gym. Our cat was in the girls' locker room, which was comfortable, and we could visit all day until 10 p.m.
From the time we checked in to the time we checked out on Tuesday morning, all personnel — from the Sheriff's Department, the National Guard and the volunteers — were at their best. We did not know that meals would be provided by Publix (a big thank-you to them). Every person I came into contact with was pleasant and patient. If anything was needed, you just needed to ask a volunteer, deputy or guardsman and it was handled.
If another emergency situation arises in the future, we would not hesitate to leave our home for this shelter. Job well done!
Diane and Blase Manzo, Port Richey
Focus on the real problem
Gov. Rick Scott handled Hurricane Irma like a true leader. He calmly yet firmly urged residents to evacuate, and warmly reminded them that he would help replace their belongings but couldn't replace their lives.
Unfortunately, Scott, along with President Donald Trump and a other climate change deniers, avoid any acknowledgement or mention of the real problem — climate change. Specifically, the increasing ocean temperature is providing the fuel for unprecedented storms and other volatile weather events.
Believe what you want, but know that Mother Nature will have the last word.
Kimberly Gibbs, Dade City
For next time, tips on pets
Hurricanes Irma and Harvey are devastating reminders that disaster preparedness saves lives. American Humane is urging pet owners to take two simple yet essential steps to ensure you and your animal companions are ready before the next catastrophe strikes.
First, don't forget the basics: Pets should always wear collars and ID tags with their name, a cellphone number and any urgent medical needs. For added assurance, American Humane also recommends microchipping your pet. Remember, microchips aren't GPS devices or location trackers; the devices simply store emergency contact information, which animal owners are responsible for providing and keeping up to date.
Second, American Humane recommends developing a pet-specific disaster plan and evacuation kit, including: an extensive list of safe places that could house your pets during an emergency; a comfortable pet carrier or crate; a favorite toy or comfort item; one-week supplies of water, nonperishable pet food and medications; copies of veterinary records and vaccination history; and recent photos of you holding your pet, which can be used to help verify ownership in case of separation.
To protect your pets, be prepared.
Dr. Robin Ganzert, Washington, D.C.
The writer is president and CEO of American Humane.
No human being is illegal | Sept. 10, letter
Bright line: legal or not
I'll try and simplify it once and for all for all those bleeding heart liberals out there. If you're not in this country legally, then you must be in this country illegally. It's either; it can't be both. If you don't like using that term then change it to something else or better yet change the law. In the meantime, it is what it is.
John Waitman, Palm Harbor