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That Rowe Stamp of Quality
With Sean Rowe's departure (Undercurrents, January 28), we are losing one of the most thorough reporters and skilled writers in South Florida. He is also one of the best people you'll ever meet. Whenever I saw his name on a story, I knew I was assured of quality. I am going to miss his attention to detail and fairness, as well as his ability to tell a compelling story. He is a journalist's journalist, and I wish him well in his recovery.

Adam Matza

Jumping Out of Airplanes Is Safe
I really object to the way Paul Belden's article ("Chute to Kill," January 21) viewed skydiving. It is a fun and safe sport that unfortunately involves risks. Risks that every single jumper, from the moment they decide to take the plunge, knows. Even non-jumpers know the risk of injury or death. But every person with a driver's license knows the risk of getting into a car and driving, which by the way is statistically more dangerous than jumping. Yet, if we need a gallon of milk or a pack of cigarettes, we jump into a two-thousand pound lethal weapon and drive ourselves to the corner store to make our purchase. It is people like Belden who take the unfortunate tragedies that happen and turn them into a crusade to end the sport that millions worldwide love so much. There were many misconstrued statements in the article that I will spare you [an examination] of. But the fact that McDonald and his friend would stay the whole weekend and jump on a normal basis should go to prove that the owner was not looking to make a quick buck.

Brian Smith
via the Internet

New Times' Gestapo-With-Pens Program
Start rifling through desk drawers for that long wooden ruler, because you are going to need it to apply a whack upside the head of whoever wrote the blurb on the bicycle registration (Undercurrents, January 21). It appears that he/she/it did not bother to check with the police department -- perhaps preferring to rely on the secondhand version of another reporter, informant, or some other uninformed source.

When I first read about the program, I experienced a minor "arghhh," but then I made use of that little beige box on my desk and I called one of the resource numbers and asked the simple question, "What do I need to bring with me to register the bike, because I have no clue where the receipt is located?" I was told that if I didn't have the receipt, I could sign an affidavit of ownership. I registered both bikes, paid my money, and went on my way.

The "gestapo-on-wheels program" reference was really childish, and I expect better of New Times writers. This blurb could actually have been more useful if the writer had bothered to check, or, I don't know -- how about this novel approach -- ask [someone] a question. And the registration process... duh, it will actually help you get your bike back if it is found.

Saddle-sore-butt wishes to your writer.
Pat Taylor
via the Internet

Editor's note: The mandatory registration program does allow a person to sign a sworn affidavit in lieu of a bill of sale, but this concept is also flawed. The affidavit is only a promise and is all the authorities will have to verify the ownership of a bicycle. So apparently anyone with a stolen bicycle can tell the police they own it, and the city will register the bike, thereby giving the thievery legitimacy.

Don't You Mean "Condom-Mania"?
Come on, fellas! What kind of a headline was that: "Condomania" (Paul Demko, January 14)? I jumped right into the story thinking I'd read some salacious gossip about a bunch of old geezers on Viagra fighting over a limited supply of condoms. But what did I find -- a bunch of old geezers fighting over a condominium. Phooey! Haven't you guys ever heard of the hyphen? It goes like this: "Condo-Mania"! A better headline would have read "Condolunacy," which tells the reader what to expect without being misleading. This complaint notwithstanding, I think you're doing a pretty good job.

Dick Schauffert
Fort Lauderdale

Finally, a Restaurateur Who Responds to a Review by Promising to Improve!
It is not with much pleasure that I read Jen Karetnick's evaluation of our restaurant in the December 31 issue of New Times ("A Lukewarm Reception"), but I will agree with most of what she wrote.

A restaurant is like most operations that require a great number of participants to work together. Whether it is a symphonic orchestra, a football team, or a battalion in the army, it takes training and a lot of practice to have it operate flawlessly.

Our building was not ready as planned in early October, and we started operating the day before Thanksgiving, which in itself is suicidal. As we were late in opening, we lost the opportunity to hire good waiters or cooks and had to start with a skeleton of skilled employees.

After 50 years in this business, I knew how humbling it can be at times. What experience has taught me is that hard work, dedication, and tenacity will eventually make Benvenuto a prime destination in our area.

Please give us a little time.
Bernard Perron
Boynton Beach

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