Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Monday, January 26, 2009
TRINITY — For most of last year, Nicholas Plank couldn't drive his cherry red, convertible BMW because his license was suspended.
On Thursday, the 21-year-old got it back.
Barely two days later, he was driving it in the darkness on State Road 54 when he collided head-on with another vehicle.
Plank died at the scene early Saturday morning, as did his friend and passenger, Derek Giles, 17. Both were from Palm Harbor.
The driver of the other vehicle, a Jeep Cherokee, also died. Dorly Kelly, 36, of New Port Richey, was wearing a medical uniform, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
Kelly's husband, Edward, answered their home phone crying. He is 70 years old.
"I thought I would have been gone first," he said, sobbing, and hung up the phone.
Plank was traveling above the posted speed limit of 55 mph heading west toward Duck Slough Boulevard when he lost control of the BMW, troopers said.
Investigators concluded he swerved to the right and then overcorrected, veering left before crashing over the median and into the path of the Jeep going the opposite direction.
They hit head-on. It was 5 a.m.
"Even if he's going speed limit, that's a 110-mile an hour impact," said Highway Patrol Sgt. Steve Gaskins about the deadly collision. "That kind of speed and that kind of impact, there's not a lot you can do."
As the sun rose, troopers found skid marks stretching hundreds of feet.
Troopers were investigating what caused Plank to lose control. They believe the BMW's excessive speed was a chief factor, Gaskins said.
Blood from both drivers was being tested for alcohol and drugs, as is routine fatal accidents. The road condition was clear, he said, with very little other traffic, if any at all.
Kelly was wearing a seat belt and going the speed limit, Gaskins said. Plank and Giles were not buckled up.
Plank's license was suspended in April for financial responsibility, which usually indicates a problem with car insurance, Gaskins said. Records show it was reinstated on Thursday.
Plank has received several traffic citations, including speeding and driving with a suspended license. He got a ticket in 2006 for going 46 mph in a 30 mph zone. In 2007, he was cited for going 57 mph in a 40 mph zone.
Troopers were still trying to determine Saturday where the victims had been before the crash and where they were headed.
Gaskins said troopers presumed Kelly was on her way to work because of her dress.
Friends said they didn't know what the young men were doing Saturday morning. But on Friday night, Giles had sent a text message to a friend and her cousin Aliesha Aguilar, 19. He said he was bored and wanted to see them.
But they were at the Pier in St. Petersburg, and didn't want to drive to Palm Harbor to pick him up.
"This morning I just keep thinking, I would have made sure he got home safe," said Aguilar, a senior who went to school with him at Pinellas Park High.
Giles was looking forward to enlisting in the Army as soon as he graduated this spring, friends said. He had already completed some training, his friends said. He loved to say he was "Army strong."
"He walked with his head up high. He was so proud of what he did," Aguilar said.
She said he acted like a protective older brother to his friends and urged them to stay in school.
Giles knew Plank through mutual friends at Publix, where Plank worked in the deli, said co-worker and friend Mike Wiseley, 21, of Palm Harbor.
Plank, whom Wiseley described as honest and hard working, had just started driving the BMW again. He had repairs done and worked out problems with his license, Wiseley said.
"He bought that thing himself," Wiseley said. "He was way proud of that car. He loved it."
I can't say Derek was a bad kid. A bit of a handful and disruptive at times, but generally made me laugh. When I went back to cover the Trig class he was in, I met a more mature, more serious Derek. He was in his Army camouflage that day and I have to admit, I was impressed. I really didn't know him for long, but it was long enough to get to know him and watch him grow. I sort of feel like I lost a good friend or like I lost my own kid.
I'm not looking to mod it, it's going to be more of a driver. Even at that point, I'm going to be more likely to bike to work. At least I'll be able to enjoy the nightlife again. And be able to more efficiently get to places that are not work. I'm not going racing with it. I might do some minor body mods and maybe change the stereo.
I will be looking specifically at buy here-pay here type dealerships as my credit is about shot. I actually want to buy one from a dealer instead of a private seller because that will help my credit.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
To Whom it May Concern
This current economy has been hard on everyone and has greatly affected me as of late. In recent months the fare for the buses that take me to work have increased and my bicycle has become increasingly more expensive to maintain with the number of miles that are being put on it. The daily commute also consumes a great deal of my time. Time that can be better spent on more productive endeavours. My transportation concerns coupled with an increased cost of living have forced me to make a few adjustments and some very harsh decisions. A reduction in supporting staff, related limitations in the service level that I can offer, and a “be thankful that you still have a job” attitude from the management have all forced me to make this hard decision. I have taken steps to reduce the cost in dollars and time. These steps include securing employment that better meets these needs.
As of two weeks from the date of my writing this, the morning of 02/02/09, I will be terminating Embassy Suites – Downtown Tampa Convention Center as my employer. I do wish the hotel and it's staff luck and prosperity in the future.
Monday, January 19, 2009
Yesterday morning I got a call from one of my former co-workers at the Holiday Inn. They do want me back. And apparently I've been hired back with out my knowledge. Amusing, someone on the day shift not telling someone on the graveyard shift something really important. Some things never change.
I haven't said anything to my current boss yet. Figured I'd wait until I've talked with the old/new boss.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
I got what I thought was a pretty nice taillight. Well, I'll let the complaint to Serfas, the manufacturer tell the tale.
Today I purchased a Serfas TL-1000 taillight for my bike. I just got home and attempted to install it. As I was tightening the seat post bracket, the bracket snapped. The other bracket that came with the light is useless as it does not fit on the rear triangle or on any other part of my bike. Also the batteries that were supplied were nearly dead.
I'm more than just dissatisfied. I need to have a taillight on my bike, it is required by law. I ride my bike to work nearly every night. Not having a taillight puts me at a legal risk as well as a safety risk. I broke the cheap light I had and purchased your product to replace it thinking it was better. Now I am right back to where I was, minus $15.99 + tax.
I have to say, I'm rather pissed. I'm taking it back to the shop tomorrow morning. I hope I don't get a ticket tonight. Yes cops around here pull you over and write you tickets for that.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
The question now comes to whether or not she will call me back and if there is an opening.
Honestly, I worked pretty damn hard when I was there and she did fight to keep me there the first time I tried to leave and go to another hotel. When I left I think it was more that she didn't think she could stop me this time. There's too many people there that remember me. People that know what I'm capable of.
One thing I will say about the boss I had when I was at the Holiday Inn - she did make me feel appreciated. Sadly after busting my ass all night my boss at the Embassy Suites made a remark about my haircut. My haircut is the least of that places problems. No thanks from him or anything like that. I really want to leave now. Seriously.
I might have been able to get a ride home in the morning from my neighbor. But I declined. I have a feeling I'm going to be mad enough when it's time for me to leave that I'm going to need the bike ride to calm down.
I was pissed off about tonight a week ago when I found out I was working. When the sign-up sheet for the holidays was going around I only asked for new years eve off. Even put down that I would work every other holiday. They gave me Christmas off. And while that's nice that I got to spend it with my mother, I would have found time to do that anyway. I don't celebrate it really. Yeah I get into the whole giving thing, but that's about it. I'm an atheist. I have my doubts if Jesus Christ was even a real person.
So here's an account of my night as it happens. I started typing this just before midnight. It's 00:09 right now. I'm typing in between guests.
I clocked in was breifed by my manager on the evening. 4 arrivals left and every one of them was to be walked as all rooms were occupied. Shortly after we were down to 3 to come in and get told they would be staying elsewhere. Manager had to do his nightly property walk so that left me at the desk alone.
Got my first walk. A young lady and her boyfriend or husband, not sure what he was. She was nearly in tears when I told her. Been waiting a month for this. Worst part is the hotel that we are sending people to is right by where she lives.
Second walk. Guest was pissed.Demanded manager. So I got him. He proceded to spenmd the next 15 minutes screaming, shouting and arguing. All the good it did him, didn't make any rooms magically appear. I got to give my boss credit though. Man's got some serious patience.
Just after 23:00
I'm by myself again and the desk gets totally swarmed. Was able to get my manager to come up from the back office.
Happy new year! Was actually quiet at that point until the fireworks started. Shortly after the phones lit up. People looking for food, cabs, wake up calls. I had run up to a room to unclog a sink by releasing the stopper. Both myself and the security guard were busy running items up to rooms. I was getting a lot of complaints about things not being done or not being delivered when the guests first called hours ago. I can't get through to the cabs.
Someone called looking for breakfast type foods, I suggested Denny's.
All the valets went home except for the one. He's not enough at the moment. Now I'm helping him.
At this point I've kinda given up providing any kind of accurate log. I've been busy taking care of running more items to rooms, making ill-fated attemps at calling cabs, assisted security a few times and valet a few more times. I'm holding up ok. I am getting quite the work out.
It's slowed down some. I did just have to send a guest across the street to the Marriot for matches because we do not have any.
At this point I'm folding an labeling the express checkouts. It's probly going to be quiet at the desk for an hour or 2 then pick back up.
I'll close with this. I'm calling the Holiday Inn that I used to work at and I'm going to see if I can get my old job back or something of about the same pay scale. I look at it this way, if they are going to run this place like it's a Holiday Inn I might as well save myself the trip across the bay.