Bus service cut puts kids at risk
And here we are again, at the budget crossroads, both the county and the schools. And then when the pinch really hits it seems one or both entities dips into a pot of reserve to bail out their own turkeys.
It seems the school will assume a liability of elementary or even high school students who have to walk within the 2 miles to their school. In areas of Royal Highlands, homes are scarce, no lighting, lime rock roads, and parents possibly on such a work schedule that they can't transport their children to school.
Did you ever see the parking nightmare at most schools when kids are dropped off or picked up by their parents?
No child should be put at risk.
Show up, taxpayers. Make your voices heard. They can squeeze their budgets in other line items, believe me.
Mary Scarff, Weeki Wachee
Those who didn't vote are real issue
I would be less than honest to not admit that it is sad for myself personally, and the faithful employees of Spring Hill Fire Rescue.
I can't fault the 26.58 percent who returned their ballots and I can't fault the 10,323 (53.37 percent) who voted No. They did just as me and the rest of the "yes'' voters did, exercise their Constitutional rights.
But where were the 73.42 percent of the voters who didn't bother to return a ballot? Do 73.42 percent of the people of Spring Hill not use the fire service at any time? Will the outcome not affect them? Truthfully it's symptomatic of the nation as a whole. Words like apathy, uninformed, unconcerned. Indifferent. Perhaps even selfish would be appropriate in many cases.
I often wonder if our rich heritage, given to us by the founders, were better taught and better known, would it make a difference? Perhaps.
Thumbing through the opening of the Declaration of Independence and glossing over these words;
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. — That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.''
God has given us a wonderful nation, has blessed us in every way but with each new election less and less seem to go to the polls.
Last week, at least in my mind, may very well come back to bite Spring Hill residents. But if that should one day prove true it won't be the fault of the 10,323 who voted ''no.'' It will fall on the shoulders of the 73.42 percent who didn't return their ballots. And I know of that number there are probably several with valid reasons why they weren't able to vote, but it's the ones who simply didn't for no reason in particular.
As we approach July 4th, I would ask everyone to consider the great cost that was paid to win for us the right to vote and regardless of whether you agree with me or not, use that right.
Jack Martin, Spring Hill
Voters don't trust Spring Hill board
One wonders what Spring Hill Fire Commissioner Ken Fagan is thinking when he wants "some local control" over the future Spring Hill portion of the county fire and rescue service? The voters of Spring Hill have voted we do not trust the fire board to collect a tax to run the Spring Hill Fire and Rescue Department.
Why would we want to trust them to continue meddling with the fire and rescue service at all? In addition, why would the county administration want another layer of management between the county and the fire service? The sooner the Spring Hill district is merged with the county, the better.
Sorry, but the Spring Hill Fire Commission did not do a good job. We need more professional management, not your squabbling group of amateurs.
Jon Knudson, Spring Hill
Exchange student is grateful to all
I am a 16-year-old exchange student from Europe and study at Central High School in Spring Hill. I arrived here in September and in less than a month I will be going back to Spain.
I am from the Bay of Vigo in Spain, a city of 300,000 inhabitants. I love water sports, especially windsurfing. I have achieved podium in various European and World Championships, and represented Spain in the Youth Olympic Games in Singapore 2010, finishing fifth.
In my exchange scholarship, I could have gone anywhere in the United States. I am so glad I came to this area where the conditions are excellent for water sports.
For sporting reasons, I have traveled to various countries in Europe and Asia since I was 11, so I am used to living with diverse cultures, languages and people. But possibly the greatest hit of my life has been finding a host family with the Barton family characteristics.
I think the Barton family is extraordinary. They have always shown me their support, always concerned about my well-being, sociable, communicative, friendly, outgoing, pleasant, hilarious and really fun to be with. I think it was the best family I could have gotten.
I also want to acknowledge the work the teachers at Central High School did to integrate the exchange students there. The system here is quite different from Spain. Going to school here has helped me see the world from different perspectives and to learn how to be myself.
I have met a lot of friends that I will not be able to forget. Many of them have changed my way of thinking and the way I see things. It was incredible to see how a bunch of strangers have become so indispensable in my life and I do not want to imagine how my life would be without them.
Thank you, Pat, and thank you, Steve, for making this year a perfect one. You really have made me feel at home. You are a wonderful family.
Lara Lagoa, Spring Hill
Archaic system asking for trouble
It was an interesting Dan DeWitt column about using an archaic system to record and transcribe deputies' reports in Hernando and Citrus counties. The author reports that a Brooksville businessman chided him about typing his, the author's, own stories.
The rest of the story, I suspect, was to explore whether said businessman sold the ARMS system to the Sheriffs' Offices. With laptops in each sector car, there is no earthly reason to call in and dictate reports to later be transcribed. Each retelling and transcription is an additional opportunity to introduce errors into the reports. Not to mention cost.
Let's suggest that the columnist complete this unfortunate report with an exploration of the history and origins of the ARMS system. Some readers and taxpayers will be surprised, I will not be at all surprised.
Roger Smith, Port Richey
Alzheimer's help for an emergency
The Atlantic hurricane basin is expected to see to 10 hurricanes this year. Families and caregivers of persons with memory disorders need to know how to address the special needs of a person with Alzheimer's during an emergency. In addition to normal hurricane preparation, caregivers need to take warning now and prepare.
The Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association has developed the following emergency preparedness guidelines to assist families and caregivers coping with Alzheimer's.
To prevent unneeded hospitalization or placement into nursing home facilities, families taking care of love ones with dementia must prepare now by: consulting with your physician and pharmacy about the continuity of care and prescription needs; knowing facility disaster plans if your loved one lives in a long-term care facility and ask if you will be responsible for evacuating your loved one; preparing an emergency kit; enrolling in MedicAlert® + Alzheimer's Association Safe Return®, a 24-hour nationwide emergency response service for individuals with Alzheimer's; and pre-registering at your county's special needs shelter.
Emergency kits should include clothes, medications, Velcro shoes, a back-up pair of eyeglasses, incontinence products, extra identification items, ID bracelet and clothing tags, copies of legal documents (such as power of attorney), medical documents, insurance and Social Security cards, physician's information and emergency numbers including contact information of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, and a recent picture. These should be in water-proof bags.
The Alzheimer's Association, Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, can help you prepare. We provide counseling, support and assist displaced families in finding care for their loved ones. To contact the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter, call toll-free 1-800-772-8672 or visit our website at www.alz.org/FlGulfCoast for evacuations, storm updates, and list of all shelters including pet and special needs shelters.
Gloria Smith, President and CEO of the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association