Not much to sell to companies
I was ecstatic to read that major forces in Hernando County had come together to create a marketable image for Hernando. Then reality set in, and I felt sorry for Mike McHugh; his job is to convince companies that Hernando County is a great place to relocate, and here is what he can sell:
• A great chamber of commerce that is exclusive to this county.
• A County Commission that, while not great, will sometimes listen and may someday wake up.
• A tourist development agency that is worthless.
• Our school system, until three of the five members get their heads out of the sand and cut their losses with superintendent Wayne Alexander, and make us something of value instead of a laughingstock in the entire nation.
Reorganize the system. Otherwise, every company that we would want to attract will go somewhere else.
Richard Ross, Brooksville
Canadian flag violated no rights
As a board member of the Brookridge Country Club and Golf Association and a Korean War veteran, I take issue with Walter Fallica's action of cutting down the Canadian flag flying alongside the American flag in front of the Brookridge Country Club and Golf Association's clubhouse.
This past spring, a group of our Canadian members approached the Board of Directors of the Golf Association requesting permission to put up a flagpole in front of the clubhouse and fly their Canadian flag alongside the U.S. flag.
The Board of Directors investigated the protocol of flying a foreign flag and found that flags of friendly nations can be flown adjacent to the U.S. flag, but must be:
• Positioned to the left of the American flag (when standing in front of the clubhouse facing outward).
• Flown on separate poles of the same height.
• And of similar size as the American flag.
The Board of Directors, the elected representatives of the golf club, voted unanimously to approve the request.
On May 11, Mr. Walter Fallica cut down this Canadian flag, claiming that flying the flag was a disgrace, especially when we've got boys out there fighting in harm's way.
The question then becomes, whose freedoms were violated?
Does the flying of the Canadian flag next to the American flag violate any laws or any person's freedoms? No.
Were Mr. Fallica's rights or freedoms violated? No.
Were the rights of the Brookridge Country Club and Golf Association members violated? Absolutely, yes.
Freedom is not a one-way street. Freedom to me means that I can do anything as long as it doesn't interfere with the rights of others and does not violate any federal, state or local laws. Mr. Fallica needs to be reminded as to what freedom is all about.
Bruce Gethen, director, Brookridge Country Club and Golf Association
Economy slows, nature returns
When I arrived in October 1992, the wildlife in the area of Spring Hill where we chose to live was abundant. We enjoyed the irritation of the raccoons that found out how to tip over our garbage bins on bin day. Joining these animals were armadillos that burrowed under the foundation slab of the house, sandhill cranes that dug for lunch in our pristine lawn, gopher turtles that were, well, just gopher turtles slowly taking their time on their daily walk.
I remember seeing a possum now and again sauntering over the lawn. But the creature that gave me the most fascination and pleasure was the night call of the whip-poor-will bird. I would sit on my lanai just as night fell and listen to this fascinating bird clicking and whooping away with his unique voice. Coming from England I had never heard anything like it. This bird's name was to me the first line of an old song learned in childhood. It never occurred to us that it might be the name of a real piece of nature.
Then came the property boom and new construction was everywhere. Suddenly the pesky raccoon was gone; the armadillos disappeared seemingly overnight. Hardly ever saw a gopher turtle anymore. The sandhill cranes were around now and again. Our friends the vultures still kept the highways clean from roadkill.
But two weeks ago, sitting on my lanai as night fell, I suddenly heard the faint cry of an old friend. I pinched myself as I listened once more to the voice of the whip-poor-will.
It was faint but it was definitely there. The other night, he was back after all these years like an old and very much missed friend, his voice strong and loud. Such a joy to hear him once again.
I swear that he or more likely one of his descendents — I have no idea how long these amazing birds live — is definitely back on song. Nature is very resilient and who knows how long it will be before I see my friendly armadillo and the pesky raccoon back in my yard. Very soon, I hope.
So there is some good to come out of a bad economy. Less construction obviously means more nature. You can't have it both ways.
Gillian Maden, Spring Hill
More than three VPK options
Wake up, parents of 4-year-old children in Hernando County! Summer VPK (voluntary pre-kindergarten) is available to eligible children, and there are hardly any takers.
This is a free, state-funded kindergarten-readiness program, and the only requirements are that you must be a Florida resident with a child who will be 5 years old on or before Sept. 1 and who has not been in VPK previously.
School-year VPK is primarily given by private providers due to the lack of space in public schools, but is mandated by the state to be presented by school systems during the summer. Since our local Board of Education decided to close its schools during the month of July, they chose instead to contract out VPK to private providers. Sounds logical, except for the fact that not all VPK providers were considered.
When questioned, a Board of Education employee told me she personally "hand-picked" (to use her words) just three preschools with high readiness rates to contract VPK for the summer.
This hardly seems fair to the rest of us VPK providers who have school readiness rates that are high as well and are contracted with the state to provide summer VPK.
This situation makes it appear there are only three preschools offering summer VPK. Parents, you do have more options available. Our preschool is a highly qualified, contracted VPK center, and we teach Christian education as well. I invite you to call us or any of the other fine preschools in the county who are offering summer VPK, too. The choice is yours to make, not the School Board's.
VPK needs to be attended by all Hernando County children as the kindergarten curriculum picks up where VPK leaves off. If your child does not attend, he/she will be behind. Please take advantage of VPK, as it is a great start to your child's future education.
Geri Anderson, Spring Hill
St. Andrew's Preschool
Move market to courthouse lot
I love the Farmers Market on Main Street. I am there most every Saturday to buy locally grown produce.
I did sign the petition to keep the market going, but I also understand the issues for the local shops losing business because of the street closure. Why not set up the market in the Hernando County Courthouse parking lot? The lot is vacant on Saturday and there is plenty of room.
It's not as novel as closing the street down, but it could benefit all involved.
Deana Bailey, Brooksville