Mass transit only helps Hernando
Hernando County needs effective mass transit. If we are going to redevelop our local economy to attract educational facilities like branch campuses of universities or high-wage employers who look for communities that provide quality services to residents, we need effective mass transit.
Hernando County has been basing our planning and economic development far too long on a model of traditional subdivisions and cars. That model won't work going forward. If we want to attract high-end jobs and home buyers looking for them, we need to create a well-planned county with the natural and community resources that attract diverse employers.
Effective mass transit that can move folks looking to spend money on goods and services, or get to work or school, across the county and the region, is the way of the future. We can plan and implement it now, or we can play catch-up as surrounding counties grab the next wave of high-tech or high-wages businesses.
It is the right thing to do as a moral community, as we are subject to one another and must ensure that those lacking transportation can get to work or can have access to essential goods and services. A community, through its government, that seeks to serve those in need is one that all of us should strive for.
It is the right thing to do for local businesses that rely on their customers being able to travel to and from their place of business to purchase goods and services. As some segments of our population age, is it right that they, or the businesses they frequent, should suffer because they can no longer drive?
THE Bus needs to have more buses, better routes and hours, and needs to be expanded to serve the thousands of Hernando County residents who live east of Brooksville. We pay taxes, we vote, and we want a better and more just community.
In these challenging times in which we live, we cannot abandon our faith that our future depends on investing now in what is right, and in what will provide for a more robust economy and community in the future. Effective mass transit will make Hernando County a better community, and will help us build a strong economy.
Joe Murphy, Ridge Manor
There has to be a much better idea
Of course there are money problems at the state level and the easiest way to fix them is to cut state aid to libraries. Who cares and who reads books anyway? Evidently, that's the opinion of our legislators.
Hernando County is slated to receive $628,118 in grant funding. On March 10, the appropriations committees in the House and Senate proposed eliminating all funding for Florida's State Aid to Public Libraries program. Is this the best you people can come up with?
In these times of high unemployment, our libraries are often a last haven for these folks, both for books and access to computers. Our Hernando County libraries have already made many cuts in hours and staff.
Surely these so-called experts in Tallahassee can find other ways to meet budget demands. No, it won't be an easy task, but by putting your collective heads together you should be able to do it. You're there to serve the people — just like our libraries are.
Barbara Cleversey, Brooksville
Keep politics out of classrooms
A recent newspaper article stated a state legislator is proposing that half of our teachers' salaries be based on the results of their students' test scores. I find it hard to believe that the people of this state could elect someone with such limited mentality.
Does this person actually believe that all students' test scores are a result of a teacher's ability? Our schools will not solve their problems until the politicians keep their noses out of subjects about which they know nothing. Our kids are all individuals with their own capabilities.
If this legislator is an example of what we have in Tallahassee, we are in big trouble. I would like to propose that his pay be based on an IQ test.
Philip Strmensky, Brooksville
Now's the time to reform Congress
Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The founding fathers envisioned citizen legislators to serve term(s), then go home and back to work. With this in mind, U.S. Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite should introduce the following legislation in the House as soon as possible. It is hoped that Senator LeMieux will introduce a companion bill in the Senate.
• Limit terms to 12 years in total. No tenure and no pension, because a member of Congress should collect a salary while in office, but no pay when they leave.
• Members of Congress (past, present and future) should participate in Social Security just like the American people. All funds in the Congressional Retirement Fund would move to the Social Security system immediately. Members of Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans.
• Members of Congress can no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Limit congressional pay raises to the lower of the Consumer Price Index or 2 percent.
• Congress loses its current health care system and participates in the same system as the American people.
• Congress must equally abide by all laws it imposes on the American people.
If there is some reason that Brown-Waite can not or will not introduce this legislation, she should explain why to the voters of the 5th District.
Michael Cleary, New Port Richey
Take the time to learn about TB
World Tuberculosis Day is today. The Hernando County Health Department would like to use this opportunity to educate area residents on the disease, the effects it has on those infected and how it can be stopped.
Contrary to popular belief, tuberculosis is a not a disease of the past. As a matter of fact, among infectious diseases, tuberculosis (TB) remains the second-leading killer of adults in the world, with more than 2 million related deaths each year. Although active cases are at an all-time low in the United States, there are between 9 million and 14 million persons in the United States infected with mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria that causes TB.
The bacteria usually attacks the lungs, but can attack any part of the body such as the kidney, spine and brain and if not treated properly, TB disease can be fatal. TB is spread through the air from one person to another when a person with active TB coughs, sneezes, speaks or sings and others breathe in the bacteria.
People with weakened immune systems are at greater risk for getting sick from TB. Weakened immune systems are often the result of chronic disease, low body weight, certain medical treatments or substance abuse. Symptoms of TB may include a bad cough that lasts three weeks or longer; pain in the chest; coughing up blood; weakness or fatigue; weight loss; chills, fever and/or night sweats.
Not everyone infected with TB bacteria becomes sick. As a result, two TB related conditions have been identified: latent TB infection (not contagious) and active TB disease (contagious). In some cases, latent TB can result in active TB disease. Therefore, treatment is recommended for both conditions. Both latent TB infection and active TB disease can usually be treated and cured with medicine if taken as directed.
The number of cases of TB has been declining in the United States for the past 16 years, but the rate of decline has slowed. Public heath professionals continue to take steps to eliminate TB by strengthening current TB control, treatment and prevention systems, educating communities and monitoring progress. TB elimination is an achievable goal.
For more information on tuberculosis, visit www.cdc.gov/tb or call the Hernando County Health Department, (352) 540-6800, ext. 82179.
Aliene Weisenburg, senior community health nurse, Hernando County Health Department