School, not board, needs security
The Hernando School Board is asking for security at public meetings, in light of the incidents that have taken place in Tucson and Panama City. Not one single incident (to my knowledge) has taken place at 919 N Broad St. I guess the board wants to be proactive and not reactive.
In 2008, our then-superintendent Wayne Alexander eliminated the school resource officer (SRO) at Challenger K-8. During this time, principal Sue Stoops was trying to have an SRO reassigned to the school. Since the departure of an SRO at Challenger, the 2008-09 school year middle school disciplines increased 69.4 percent. Within the first 13 weeks of 2010-11, disciplinary actions had already surpassed half of the total for the entire 2007-08 school year.
Challenger is the only middle school in the county that does not have an SRO. One must commend Deputy Bryan Faulkingham, the former SRO, for his dedication not only to the middle school but to the elementary school as well. It only seems logical that Deputy Faulkingham's presence and involvement with the student population certainly defused a lot of situations.
For our superintendent and School Board I have two questions: Do district budget expenses supersede expenditures for a local school? Does your concern for safety only apply to yourselves?
It's my understanding based on statements you've often made at School Board meetings that the kids come first.
Maria Laskoski, Spring Hill
Fund is for land buys, not parks
Commissioner David Russell still wrongheadedly wants to raid the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Fund to pay for upkeep of public parks. The money in this fund is intended to protect and preserve, by outright purchase or purchase of development rights, as much as possible of the still-wild land in private ownership in Hernando County.
Using the money to clean toilets and mow grass instead would be a slap in the face of the voting public, who approved the tax to support the fund. I applaud the other commissioners who are standing firm to oppose this money grab.
George Foster, Bayport
Stage West show is delightful treat
Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending Stage West Community Playhouse on Forest Oaks Boulevard in Spring Hill and seeing the production of Man of La Mancha.
This was theater at its best and showed how a group of people from all walks of life can come together in a community and pay tribute to the arts. Stage West, a nonprofit organization, dedicates itself to providing the best entertainment possible and also nurtures along the youth of our community in the art of theater.
If you have never been to this beautiful theater, this would be the time to go. Today is the last performance and the show is great.
John Masterson, Spring Hilll
Selling state's planes is about flash, not cash Guest column, Jan. 12
Grounding fleet is a good first step
Sometimes, it's helpful to have some flash to light up the place so we can more clearly perceive how our public treasury is being administered. And while the politicians and bureaucrats may be inconvenienced because of the grounding of state aircraft, they can take comfort in the realization that other means including teleconferencing, Internet communications and closed-circuit television meetings are available for them to carry out the business at hand.
For quite some time now, politicians and bureaucrats have been very adept at engaging in expensive junkets which are camouflaged to look like public business trips. They have been getting away far too long with squandering and raiding the public treasury for frivolous and capricious endeavors. The time has long since elapsed for these practices to be reined in.
The profligate usage of government aircraft is but one example. It has recently been chronicled that former Lt. Gov. Jeff Kottkamp was rather lavish in his travel and security expenses, including usage of state aircraft, during his tenure in office. Nancy Pelosi, in the style of a modern-day Marie Antoinette, had no reservations about demanding that a long-range Air Force luxury jet should be made available at her beck and call to haul her and her entourage across the country in comfort. President Barack Obama thinks nothing of ordering up Air Force One to run him to places where he can have a photo opportunity and deliver speeches which are laced with self-serving political messages.
When considering that the national debt is on the brink of overtaking and eclipsing the gross domestic product, and that many of our states, including California and Illinois, are on the brink of bankruptcy due to wasteful spending, the grounding of the aircraft by Gov. Rick Scott is a refreshing signal that steps are being taken, albeit on a measured basis, to bring spending under control. The journey of a thousand miles requires a first step, and the grounding of state aircraft is a step in the right direction.
Jack B. McPherson, New Port Richey
Fire department is great resource
On the evening of Dec. 30, my wife was having difficulty breathing and was gasping for air. I called 911 and in minutes a fire truck and ambulance arrived at our home. My wife was immediately attended to by EMT and fire rescuers who stabilized and calmed her. She was safely transported to a nearby hospital and admitted.
This experience was new to us and revealed the valuable resource we have in this community — our fire department. It has trained and skilled individuals. Be grateful they will always be there for the community.
James Caputo, Spring Hill