Paving would aid health, budget
In 2005 we moved from a home in Preston Hollow on three-fourths of an acre to a 10-acre tract in the El Pico area of Spring Hill, which is just west of Mariner Boulevard and County Line Road. County water is not available in this area, so we installed a well for nearly $4,000.
El Pico is a very small area compared to Royal Highlands and also mostly is unpaved. It is surrounded by subdivisions that are fully paved and serviced. Most people have 2 1/2- to 10-acre tracts. Whereas we had fully paved roads, good drainage, retention areas, water, fire hydrants, cable TV and Internet service at our previous home, we have none of those services in the current home. When we received our first tax notice after building our house in 2005, we were shocked to learn that we are paying the same tax millage rate that we paid on our previous home.
The problem of lime rock dust is about more than just having a dirty car. It also is about health and safety. Every school day, children in our neighborhood are subjected to the dust on their clothes and in their lungs while they wait for the bus, as cars drive by and as the bus pulls up. We have seen the school bus driving empty at a high rate of speed for the road conditions, kicking up a cloud of dust so thick you cannot see a vehicle behind it, much less people or animals in the road.
In one series of articles, it was clear the county has not fully evaluated the health implications of inhaling silicon for people living on lime rock roads. If you simply search the Wikipedia Web site regarding silicon dioxide, it says, "Inhaling finely divided silica dust in very small quantities over time can lead to silicosis, bronchitis or cancer, as the dust becomes lodged in the lungs and continuously irritates them, reducing lung capacities (silica does not dissolve over time) … children, asthmatics of any age, allergy sufferers and the elderly, all of whom have reduced lung capacity, can be affected in much shorter periods of time."
Some of our neighbors have paved parts of our road on their own. It is not of the same quality as roads paved by the county, but we applaud their efforts to try to reduce the dust. Unfortunately for us, our closest neighbors cannot afford to take on this expense. Until they can, we are stuck with lime rock roads, since the county requires 70 percent of the folks in the area to agree to the paving.
In the meantime, the county wastes money regularly by throwing more lime rock down on these roads. Very often a heavy rain washes it away within a day or two. In one article, a commissioner said the cost of paving would be equal to the five-year cost of keeping up the lime rock roads. The commissioners should consider that the cost of keeping up the lime rock roads is going to increase over time, will still be there in five years unless these roads are paved, and the taxpayers will still be left with the eventual cost of paving the roads. Why not get it done now?
Dr. Mary T. Newport,
Re: Don't let free lunch sway you on health care options April 2 guest column
Free insurance advice available
Diana Brijbag's column is right on target. I would like to add just one suggestion to readers.
The SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) program counselors are always ready to help with unbiased advice about Medicare plan options, Medicaid, medication assistance and long-term care. SHINE is a program that is federally funded, administered under the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and staffed in Hernando County by trained volunteers. We have three counseling sites open for walk-ins:
• Spring Hill Enrichment Center (behind Oak Hill Hospital), from 11 a.m. to noon Thursdays.
• Brooksville Enrichment Center, from 11 a.m. to noon Tuesdays.
• East Hernando Branch Library in Ridge Manor West, from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesdays.
For anyone who cannot get to a site, or who wants further information, call the Elder Hotline toll-free at 1-800-963-5337.
Dr. Beatrice S. Braun,