Re: New school superintendent
Blavatt good pick as a school chief
I had the chance to work with Bryan Blavatt on numerous occasions professionally (government affairs director for the local home builders association and when I worked for the Boone County government as community development director) and in a parent capacity. My daughter is now a fourth-grader in the Boone County School District.
You all will find Bryan to be a tireless advocate when it comes to the kids and issues regarding parity in funding, curriculum and teacher/administrator accountability.
With Bryan you always knew where he stood (for better or worse). He is forthright, smart, aggressive and also has a great sense of humor and is a good guy to work with and call a friend.
The Hernando County School District is lucky to rouse him out of retirement, and if anyone can prepare a successor for a large school district leadership position, it is definitely Bryan.
Shawn Cox, Florence, Ky.
Board ignored local talent
It has become increasingly more difficult to understand why, time and again, the School Board continues to shun our local talent, preferring an outsider without real ties to the community he is about to serve, rather than the available, highly experienced, capable local talent already familiar with our community, the children and their parents as well as its idiosyncrasies, and be knowingly committed to the community they live in.
Past experience has shown that unfamiliar outsiders may come and start playing chess with school personnel, experimenting with different moves in order to find out what their next move will be. Either one of the two local finalists, Ken Pritz or Sonya Jackson, would have been a better pick, based on education, experience and commitment, as well as community roots.
However, perhaps they did not make you laugh as much, or they failed to charm you enough. If that's what they wanted, Jay Leno would have been a better pick. I'm just hopeful that the newcomer does a much better job (for our kids' sake) than his predecessor. And I further hope that both Ms. Jackson and Mr. Pritz forgive the board.
Carmelo Delgado, Brooksville
Crummy public works managers had to go | Jan. 24 editoral
Manager's firing was unfair
Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary defines "crummy'' in this way: Miserable, filthy, cheap, worthless.
What a poor choice of words for an editor to use to describe two men who belong to a profession that the editor knows nothing about.
I can't speak for Mr. Mixson and maybe he got what he deserved. But we really know Gregg Sutton, who served his country in the U.S. Coast Guard and rose to the rank of captain, his next promotion would have been to the rank of admiral. Was Sutton given a chance to run the Public Works Department? Was he ever asked how he would get the pending jobs done? Did County Administrator David Hamilton expect Sutton to circumvent his boss and overrule Mixson on pending projects?
Sutton's overall worth to the county is lost. I'm glad the U.S. Coast Guard had more sense.
Nick Morana, Spring Hill
Make kids walk a mile to bus stop
If the kids who live within one mile of their school have to walk, then why don't the kids who ride a bus have to walk about a mile to their bus stop? Buses stop every block or two for just one or two kids to board or unload.
If the School Board really wants to save money, then initiate central bus stop locations. If one group of kids has to walk, then all kids should walk.
Ron Davis, Spring Hill
Use stimulus to build turn lanes
With all the federal money allowed to Hernando County for road improvements, I was wondering if Hernando County will review the need for adding a right turn lane at the intersection of westbound Forest Oaks and Commercial Way in Spring Hill.
For some reason there is (on the east-bound area) a left turn, a through lane, and a right turn allowed, but on the west-bound side, only a left turn and a combination through and right-turn lane. With the high cost of gasoline as well as the heavy normal flow of traffic plus the seasonal influx of snow birds and visiting traffic, this intersection comes to a crawl. I'm guessing that can be frustrating to a great deal of residents of this area. I noticed the county added what I'll call popsicles sticks to prevent people from making a right turn before the traffic light changes.
As a lay person, it appears to me that by reducing the dividing center island by three or four feet (may have to also move or remove a street light, as there are two in the island approximately 30-40 feet apart) and then reline the left-only lane line as well as the through lane line to the left, then maybe a right-turn lane can be added. There also appears to be an area that can be paved and added to the right-turn lane; by so doing the added paving could be as close as 1 ½ feet to the sidewalk. I don't think this would be a problem as the county just added a right turn lane at the intersection of Mariner and Northcliffe boulevards and it looks to be 1 ½ feet from the sidewalk.
I would certainly hope that the professional highway staff of Hernando County would be able to accomplish this with the minimum of expense using the stimulus funds available.
Gabriel G. Ramant, Spring Hill
Swine flu shot can save your life
I am writing to urge people to take advantage of the now readily available H1N1 swine flu vaccine. Although many have expressed a lack of urgency due to an overall reduction of cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) predicted on Jan. 22 a long flu season ahead.
Close to 4,000 Americans have already died from this novel flu and I could have been one of them. Before the vaccine was distributed, I somehow contracted this flu. The care I received at Oak Hill Hospital ICU was outstanding yet, after six days, my status declined to such a degree that I was Bayflighted to Tampa General Hospital. After one full month, some of that time in a coma, I began on the long road of physical rehabilitation to regain lost muscle strength.
The Hernando County Health Department is offering free flu shots and many local physician offices also can administer the vaccine for a small fee.
Please take advantage of this preventive measure. Do not be complacent. This flu can be a killer.
Charles C. Sullivan, M.D., MBA , Spring Hill
DeWitt column triggers memories
Dan DeWitt's recent column on the Brooksville Raid was excellent.
My memories through family stories of the Civil War are nothing to celebrate; they are more the stuff of nightmares.
They lived in Tennessee. My great-great-grandfather supported the Union and his twin sons were Union soldiers. One died at Shiloh. My great-grandfather was 9 years old and remembered hiding in the woods while the demented Jack Hinson and his followers raided their farm. This was after the twins, Aaron and John, joined the Union Army.
Another great-grandfather's grave is at Round Lake. He served four years in the Union Army. His family was from Illinois and against slavery extending to the western part of the United States.
Some of my dearest childhood friends were the Blaine family who lived on my parents' farm in Stewart County, Tennessee. They were there when my father bought the farm in 1937 and were there on the 1900 census. The farm should have belonged to them. When they moved so the grandchildren could go to school in another county, it was like a death in the family. My mother's pleas to the School Board to allow the children fell on deaf ears. Black children in a white school — no way! The black school was closed because there were too few pupils in the 1940s.
My heart aches to think of it all; so, no, I do not want to go to the Brooksville Raid.
Doris Taylor, Brooksville