or all of the differences in people, interests and ideas that make up Clearwater, one thing undeniably holds true: the cooperative efforts of a wide strata of groups and citizens make it a thriving, distinctive city.
The spirit of cooperation and help have been no more evident than in the wake of September 11. While terrorists struck hundreds of miles away, the response of citizens throughout Tampa Bay was spontaneous and overwhelmingly generous. As we cover in a feature story, more than 80 residents also put aside the demands of their everyday lives to help at the worst site of the attacks in New York.
Although life in America as we know it will never again be quite the same, the most important thing we can do is get on with our lives — with special attention to assuring a safe, bright future for our children and the generations beyond them.
There is no shortage of ways we can improve the quality of life in our city, and bring about that better future. Clearwater residents have been actively engaged in such efforts for years — their efforts visible throughout the city and also evident in the latest crime statistics showing Clearwater had the largest drop in crime in the state, decreasing by 10.3 percent in the first half of this year.
Ongoing efforts include physical improvements to our communities, from renovation and restoration of landmarks to the care of our parks and streets. We report on some of these projects in this issue of Clearwater Freedom, including the restoration of the landmark Fort Harrison Hotel.
But while physical improvements to our city are vital, planning for the future of Clearwater must also take into account the quality of life of all residents, and especially for the next generations — from career and job opportunities to education, social and health concerns.
Official reports on substance abuse in the state continue to show a serious level of illicit drug use. That and literacy levels of adults and youth cry out for effective solutions, some of which we feature inside.
We also examine in this issue an even grimmer subject, the continually unfolding story of abuse of children in the state’s foster care system — including evidence of overdrugging with powerful, psychiatric drugs.
Many individuals and organizations are committed to seeing that we will all experience a bright future. Their efforts, collectively, contribute to making Clearwater an even better, safer and friendlier place to live.
We look forward to redoubling our own part in those efforts.
And as always, we welcome your comments and questions.