Watch out for bicyclists
My wife and I recently relocated to New Smyrna Beach. I am an avid cyclist and was excited to see so many people on bicycles. Naturally, I assumed there was a cycling culture here and people were aware of the bicycles all around them. What I found instead was that it is the locals (not the tourists) who have caused so many of my "close calls." Many are not even while I'm on the bike. They can occur when I'm dismounted and trying to cross an intersection.
It is up to all of us to understand the laws and to share the road. If we can do that on both sides, we'll all get to our destination safely.
In response to: 'Where is the customer service?'
Oh please, older readers, let's not shoot ourselves in the public relations foot by making negative generalizations about our generation. There are enough negative depictions of older people out there. We don't need to reinforce misperceptions by what we say about ourselves.
The writer objected to the fact that some stores expect customers to lift their groceries from the counter and place them in a cart, rather than the cashier doing it. The writer has a bad back and finds this difficult. I sympathize. In my forties, I hurt my back and could barely walk; I'm sure I must have asked for help at the grocery store. People of any age can have a disability or health issue that makes movement difficult.
The problem is the writer's sentence, "I am 66 years old and have a bad back." The reason the writer is complaining about the counter-to-cart procedure is his/her back problem. However, to say, "I am 66 and have a bad back," implies that being 66 is part of the problem. A link is made between age and having difficulty lifting a bag of groceries. Many people in their 60s, 70s and 80s garden, swim, play tennis, hike, ride horseback, even carry groceries to the car without a cart. Being 66 is not part of the writer's problem; having a painful back condition is the problem.
When a young grocery bagger asks me if I want help with my groceries, I am always a little bit insulted. Is it because of my age? Do I look to this young person as if I can't push the cart myself? Younger people, not being there yet, sometimes don't really understand what older people of reasonable health can do. We can't blame them for that, but we can stop confusing them by automatically linking age to disability. Older people, let's watch what we say about ourselves.
In response to: 'Where is the customer service?'
I am elderly too and all you have to do is tell the cashier you need help, and they will be glad to help you. Speak up.
Don't like noise? Don't move next to airport
I have been seeing these expensive billboards all over New Smyrna Beach wanting the small airport removed. I have to wonder who is behind all of this? I don't live in New Smyrna Beach, but do live near it.
The way I see it, is if the people behind this are people who have moved to the area after the airport I would like to say, you really have some nerve. If you moved to the area after the airport, and you didn't do your research to know if there is a nearby airport, then you have only yourself to blame.
I have experienced this type of property bullying in other places also. You get a group of people who move to an area because they like the atmosphere or whatever, then they want to change everything. If you moved to the area after the airport, and you were too lazy to find out that all those airplanes that were flying overhead weren't close by, then please explain to me and possibly some others what makes your desires more important than the desires of the people who are fortunate enough to afford their own private plane, or companies that teach flying?
How would you feel if your kids had a loud rock band and they practiced every day, and someone new moved into the neighborhood who didn't like the "noise." How would you feel if you are suddenly told that you can no longer let your kids practice because someone who thinks his or her rights are more important wants you to stop.
Please respect the flag
Something that has been bothering me since the Christmas parade is the way I witnessed the National Colors being displayed. Now, I can forgive some ignorance on the part of the average citizen in the name of patriotism, so long as the flag is not being disrespected. However, there is no excuse for the Scouts (particularly their leader) to incur violations to the U.S. Flag Code.
In this particular instance I saw an unguarded flag being swung around at one point, even drug on the ground. Consider this:
When I was a Scout, we spent an entire week learning proper flag protocol. Marching bands, Scout Troops, fire, police, and military units have absolutely zero excuses.
Parents must take responsibility
I first want to say that my heart goes out to everyone who has been affected by the shooting in Connecticut. I think that what they have had to deal with is something I would never want to be in. I also think that the knee jerk reaction for gun bans is not the solution. I would like to see the statistics of how many of these school shootings were done by legally owned guns by the assailant. This kid who did the shootings had mental health issues, his mother knew it, he was seeing a doctor and mother had a gun in her home. Now, the family wants to sue the doctor because the family doesn't have the ability to understand they were the first line of defense. I know that is a cold harsh thing to say, but let's be honest. If parents would begin to parent and stop blaming everyone else for the problems their child has, things would be better. When a responsible parent or family sees that their child has issues you continue until you can find out the problem. Why is it that because some people cannot accept the responsibility for what their child has done, we are now going to try and ban guns again.
Dan is right on the mark
I think Dan Smith's article "The Roots of Random Murder in the U.S." is right on the mark.
The recent events involving guns are certainly upsetting, but the root causes lie not with the guns but with the people shooting them. I have to agree with Mr. Smith's assessment of the declining morals and the deteriorating family unit as being the most likely source of the terror that is consuming this country.
The time for blaming video games, TV, movies, toy guns and gun laws is over. Try some real and honest person-to-person communication.
Let's find a way to address this "sad flaw" to ensure a safe, happy and productive life for all people.
Show your gun
I have a suggestion that everyone in Florida who has a permit to carry a weapon should be allowed to open carry in the state. When I was an armed guard, people always changed their attitudes when they saw my gun.
Column is wrong
Dan Smith's column "The roots of random murder in the U.S." is wrong on so many levels I scarcely know where to begin.
He contends that control laws will "create a black market bonanza" for gun runners. However, most countries in the developed world have gun regulations that are enforced and they do not suffer black market bonanzas. More importantly, no other developed country suffers seeing its babies blown to bits at school. Mr. Smith's point does highlight the need for national regulations. It does no good for New York (for example) to enact reasonable gun regulations if runners can legally load up a utility truck at a Virginia gun show and drive their cargo north.
It's too late to take all those electronic registers, computers and too many other gadgets off today's market. Our children no longer have an opportunity to think for themselves. Today, rather than thinking out an answer, they press a key and get an answer. A computerized register will tell the cashier how much change to give out from a $10.50 purchase after $20.50 is given in payment. No thinking on the cashier's part. Just look at the screen and pay that amount back. Yes, we have become a lazy, non-thinking, unprofessional people.
If you are wondering what I mean by unprofessional, just take a good look at the average everyday person who waits on you. Salespeople seem uncaring, laid back with their ho-hum attitudes. Where do we go from here? As my other friends agree with me, we won't be advancing ourselves. Today, people are not hired because of their skills. Today people are not fired from their jobs because their superiors are so concerned with the public and governments reaction to their decisions. Today, people don't even appear in person for job interviews. Many interviews are done by e-mail.
At one time, I had applied for a job position I was highly qualified for. I was told to first send information on the computer. I was then told if I didn't have an e-mail address to forget the job. I asked if I could come in and introduce myself. They didn't want to see me. They just wanted me to apply online.
In response to: 'Don't waste your money on feral cats'
Thank you for your rant, but next time you may want to research the issue in which you are referring to. Your assumptions unfortunately are not yours alone. They are a big reason for the problem. Other reasons are irresponsible pet owners, and the fact cats reproduce very efficiently.
We have been "humanely euthanizing" free roaming cats for 100 years. Yet the population continues to grow -- more than 80,000 in Volusia County alone. Millions of dollars are spent killing cats. Trap and remove efforts have never worked due to the "vacuum effect." We simply do not have the resources to catch and kill all of the cats. That is impossible. Feeding bans do not work. People will feed the cats no matter what.
The only solution to the problem that has proven successful is TNR. Trap, Neuter, Return stops the reproduction and identifies and vaccinates the cats. Caretakers feed and care for the cats with their own resources. The average life span of a free roaming cat with a caretaker is between 4-7 years. Without reproduction, the colony of cats will eventually die of natural and outdoor causes.
It costs five times less to "fix" a cat than to "catch and kill it." Your taxes would not go up, they should go down. Perhaps you will research the subject and realize you can help. You could talk to the people feeding the cats and convince them to spay/neuter the colony. Then the nuisance behaviors you are so mad about will go away.
Please visit these sites for more information and thanks for bringing up this issue. http://www.alleycat.org/ http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/feral_cats/
One of the 'idiots'
I am one of the 'idiots" referenced in last week's editorial on feral cats. When I moved to Florida Shores 25 years ago, there were no feral cats. Where did they come from? It is obvious that irresponsible pet owners created the problem. Many streets in the Shores have a feral cat colony. No homeowner wanted or asked for this problem, but we are facing one now.
Sure there are laws penalizing people for feeding these hungry animals, there are also laws against animal abuse. I believe starving animals constitute a form of animal abuse. So, I feed some of the feral cats in my neighborhood. This does not make me a criminal, nor am I an idiot.
Edgewater spent thousands of dollars on a dog park last year, but nothing on controlling the feral cat population. I think if every Edgewater homeowner and business paid the grand sum of one dollar on their yearly taxes, it would cover the spay and neuter costs for these animals. Many compassionate people will continue to feed these animals. If we spay and neuter all the ferals, it will only take a few years for the population to significantly reduce itself as the average life expectancy of an outside cat is two years.
New Smyrna Beach has a business that sponsors the Black Cat Ball to raise money to spay and neuter the feral cats on the beachside. Port Orange, South Daytona and DeLand all have spay and neuter programs.
There is a feral cat problem in Edgewater, and it will only continue to grow. Let's develop a spay and neuter program to humanely end this problem.
Feral cat answer
There is an answer for the reader who is upset with feral cats. First, I would like to say the cats did not ask to be born wild or be turned out by an owner that could no longer afford to feed them, thus spending their lives trying not to starve. The humane way to handle this problem is for the city of Edgewater and New Smyrna Beach to have a trap/neuter/release program. The city of Port Orange has conducted a pilot program and found it not only works, but also is less expensive than having animal control catch the cats and have them put to death. The city of Jacksonville saved $160,000 between 2007 and 2010 with this program.
The trap/neuter/release program involves the city buying traps, trapping the cats (along with volunteers), paying to have the cats neutered and releasing them back into the wild. Volunteers then set up feeding stations away from private homes and businesses and agree to keep the cats fed. These cats would be the last generation of feral cats. It sounds to me like the people who are presently feeding these cats might be the perfect volunteers for this program. I should mention that I feed feral cats in New Smyrna Beach because of two very special people who came into my life about a year ago. They too feed feral cats and have for several years. But the really special part of what they do is trap cats with their own money and have them neutered and receive all necessary shots including a three-year rabies shot. They are then released back into the wild.
Clean up Port Orange
I have been a resident of Port Orange for more than 30 years. What I have noticed in the last several year's is that Port Orange was a clean city and people cared about it a lot. It seems to me there is no respect any more. There are boats in yards, parking on grass.
I don't know where code enforcement is. Port Orange calls itself this clean space. I did notice Holly Hill and Daytona Beach have started to clean up their area. They have done a good job. If you look at Port Orange, near Silver Sands Middle School and other areas, you will see 18-wheelers, boats. Port Orange code enforcement please clean up your act. Someone has to be responsible. Is it because people are in such bad shape? Get your act together for the sake of Port Orange.
Publix needs temp store
The temporary closing of Publix at Taylor Road and Williamson Avenue for expansion is going to inconvenience a lot of loyal customers on the Westside for six months. I suggest that Publix lease the old Food Lion on Clyde Morris Boulevard and Madeline Avenue for six months since it is not in use. This would be a good solution to a temporary problem.
Get rid of elephant
The so-called pink elephant on Williamson Boulevard and Madeline Avenue in Port Orange is a total disgrace to the community. Now with graffiti and F-bombs writing on it, only makes things worst. It is an embarrassment to our community and visitors. When is the mayor and city council going to act on this problem?