Referendum will benefit park land
In 1988 the voters of Hernando County voted to fund the Environmentally Sensitive Lands Program to give the county the ability to protect lands that have special value. A committee of dedicated specialists and county employees with input from the public have been overseeing the program ever since.
The sensitive lands program protects areas that define the Nature Coast such as the Fickett Hammock Preserve which has some of the best remaining Annutteliga Hammock forest, much of which has been lost to mining and development. The properties are not locked away but are available for everyone to use. There is a modest staff to maintain the properties in good condition and modify them for public use.
In 2011 the County Commission eliminated funding for the program and used the same amount to pay for mosquito spraying. At the same time, they added the maintenance costs for county parks such as Jenkins Creek and Lake Townsend to be paid for by the environmental lands program. This kept these properties open to the public and took advantage of money the program has saved. Of course, when the money runs out, the future of these parks and preserves is uncertain.
The commission was nice enough, however, to give the citizens an opportunity to affirm the Sensitive Lands Program. In the coming election voters will be able to approve a referendum that could give a certain future back to Fickett Hammock, Jenkins Creek, Townsend Park and other beautiful Nature Coast places. Approving this referendum will keep these parks/preserves open to the public, keep them clean, and possibly make Hernando County a better place to live.
Vincent Morris, Brooksville
Bus decision puts children in danger
I am a mother of an elementary student forced to walk to and from school because the School Board decided cutting bus pickup and dropoff routes to students within 2 miles of the school was the best thing to cut in the budget.
I am very upset and completely shocked at this decision. I always thought the School Board was there to make sure children get the proper education and are safe and not in harm's way while in school. Where I live there are no sidewalks or warning signs about children walking to and from school until right before the school property.
It is going to take a child getting seriously injured or killed before the School Board sees that there is a problem with this decision.
I think parents affected by this should picket and protest this decision. This is wrong and our children's lives are at risk.
Shannan Saunders, Brooksville
Fee responsibility not with students
I am horrified, disgusted and outraged by the 250 to 300 students held hostage in the auditorium at Central High School by principal Joe Clifford and eight staff members to collect activity fees and books that have not been returned.
How dare a principal hold kids up among their peers and bully, intimidate, harass and embarrass students and force them to make promises to return text books by a certain date. These students are minors and not responsible for their school's fees. This obligation is for the parents and guardians of these students.
Students at Springstead High with unmet obligations are not able to participate in prom or be issued a parking tag. Principal Susan Duval stated, "if you're going to attend those events and spend money buying tickets, at least you could pay us back." As a grandmother, it is not my financial obligation to pay my grandchildren's school fees. However, if I want to purchase a ticket so they can attend their prom, what right does the school have to say they can't attend?
This is so absurd and ludicrous and I feel angry and disappointed with the school's method of collecting fees and books. Why not send letters to the parents asking permission for their child to participate in fund-raising events to help pay for these fees?
We don't allow children to bully other children, but we are allowing the principal and staff members to bully, intimidate and threaten our children. What's wrong with this picture?
Leah Hayward, Spring Hill