Thursday, June 21, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Letters: Let church build in industrial park

Oh! You meant the county sheriff

I saw the Feb. 2 Dan DeWitt column headline Shroud of secrecy augments problem and the column advocated for openness, transparency, a dose of good old government sunshine, an end to his habit of holding back as much information as he legally can for as long as he can.

I was about to send Dan a letter when I realized he was not speaking of the president of the United States, but about the sheriff of Hernando County. On the bright side, I saved myself an envelope and a stamp.

Gene Huber, Brooksville

Does WREC have no decency?

Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative, which serves approximately 201,000 west central Florida customers, has once again implemented a customer charge increase. It's become an unwelcome annual event for General Manager Billy E. Brown, and his WREC board, who can independently implement increases, absent oversight from the Public Service Commission.

The most recent customer charge increase of approximately 40 percent is financially offensive, given that in the past five years the monthly customer charge has increased from $11.50 to $25, an increase of more than 117 percent.

A significant number of the WREC customers are senior citizens living on fixed Social Security incomes, averaging approximately $1,200 a month. Their cost of living increase for 2014 was 1.5 percent, $18 per month. It will take 40 percent of their Social Security increase to pay WREC's $7 per month increase in the customer charge. Does WREC have no decency?

I'm wondering what the reaction of Mr. Brown and his WREC board would be if they were assessed a customer charge every time they shopped for groceries, went to the movies, or filled their vehicle with gas. I suspect they would be seeking out other options. But, 201,000 WREC customers have no viable options.

With teachers, firefighters, law enforcement officers, retirees, and a host of others getting paltry or no raises, WREC implements a customer charge increase of approximately 40 percent that sucks more than $1.4 million a month out of local main street economies at a most inopportune time.

James Gries, Weeki Wachee

Christmas House auction, Jan. 29 article

Opinion was way off base

As the owner of the Christmas House property, I should have been the one to discuss the upcoming auction, not George Rodriguez, who had no ownership in it and never has. Mr. Rodriguez did not buy the property from the family, he executed a contract to do so but never followed through. He did purchase the inventory from the court after the original buyer defaulted, and when we allowed the Rogers Christmas House Inc. name to lapse Mr. Rodriguez registered it with the Division of Corporations as his.

I think his statement that a million dollars would be required to repair the property is way off base.

The property will require a substantial investment. There is some water damage resulting from a couple of leaking flat roofs, but the roofs have been repaired. I am not aware of any termite damage, but there is evidence of what I think is dry wood termites, which take a long time to cause damage.

The statement that I seemed to have little interest in the property after Rodriguez closed the doors isn't totally true. Unfortunately, I was left with five empty buildings which had not been well maintained, no inventory or equipment, and I'm sure our long, excellent relationship with vendors no longer existed. Unfortunately, I did not have the financial ability to start over.

We attempted to sell the property for some time, constantly reducing the price. Obviously, we were not successful. Consequently, we have had to resort to an auction. Hopefully, someone with fresh ideas and the ability to put things right will purchase the buildings and bring a new enterprise to the area which Brooksville can be proud of.

Weiland Rogers, Brooksville

A word to parents whose teens drink

Alcohol is the leading drug problem among young people, and each day approximately 8,000 youth across the nation will take their first drink. Underage drinking is strongly linked to delinquent behaviors, including stealing, illicit drug use and problems at home and at school. It also plays a significant role in increased sexual behavior, including unwanted, unintended and unprotected sexual activity, sex with multiple partners and teenage pregnancy.

Youths who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence or abuse alcohol later in life than those who begin drinking at or after age 21. Additionally, heavy alcohol use by adolescents has long-term effects on brain development. These health and safety risks have real consequences that most parents try to protect their children from. Yet 31 percent of youth report obtaining alcohol from their parents while another 27 percent say they got it from other adults.

The Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition, the Hernando County Sheriff's Office and Springstead High School are partnering to encourage parents, educators, businesses, community organizations and others to learn more about the health, safety and legal risks of allowing underage drinking.

Through the "Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don't be a Party to Teenage Drinking'' campaign, the partners seek to address the contributors to underage drinking including community norms, access and availability, media messages and policy and enforcement.

This program has a proven track record of success and we are excited to roll it out in our Hernando County.

It carries a universal message: It is illegal, unsafe and unhealthy for anyone under 21 to drink alcohol and there are significant risks for adults who provide alcohol to minors.

Parents Who Host, Lose The Most: Don't be a Party to Teenage Drinking campaign is a registered trademark of Drug Free Action Alliance, and is working in partnership with Florida's Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition.

More information is available at

Tresa J. Watson,

executive director, Hernando County Community Anti-Drug Coalition

Church won't hinder growth

As a resident of Hernando County for many years I find the topic of a church on industrial zoned land ludicrous.

In all my years in this county, I have not seen any industry knocking down our doors to move their business here.

If anything, having a church in the area, just as others have been planned in that same area, would bring more growth, not less.

With the state of our values in this county, you would think a church would be welcome to build a sanctuary. There is plenty of land in that area as well as by the airport to support all of those companies waiting in line to come to Hernando County. Leave the church alone and find something else that really matters to go after.

Stacey Smith, Spring Hill


Thursday’s letters: On immigration there has to be a better way

‘Zero tolerance’ ignites outrage | June 20Find better way on immigrationOver the years I’ve voted for candidates from both parties. My observation of the Trump administration’s policy on immigration is not about politics. It has to do with having...
Updated: 9 hours ago

Wednesday’s letters: Charters and traditional public schools each have their place

Public school as public good | Letter, June 17Both kinds of schools can workAs a mother and grandmother of children raised in both traditional public and charter schools in Pinellas County (and a 25-year supporting-services employee for public sc...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Keep programs that fight AIDS

For author Biden, it’s a father’s gift | June 6Keep programs that fight AIDSAfter former Vice President Joe Biden’s recent visit to St. Petersburg, I noticed an article that he co-wrote with former Sen. Bill Frist. It reminded everyone about the ...
Published: 06/18/18
Updated: 06/19/18

Is anyone watching the money?Hernando County’s budget shortfall is ever changing going from $6 million to $11.5 million to $14 million to what is assumed a final number of $12.6 million. Who knows the budget shortfall could change again.Who’s watchi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Re: County OKs solar zones | June 8Plea ignored at solar plant hearingThe Pasco County Commission on June 5 voted to identify a utility-sized solar electric plant as a "special exception" use on agricultural-zoned land in Pasco County. What thi...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

Monday’s letters: Skip those plastic bags and save the environment

To save our seas, overcome congressional apathy | Column, June 16Do your part and skip plastic bagsEvery day we read about the shame of our landfills and oceans filling up with plastic bags, yet most people don’t care. My wife and I always carry ...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/18/18

White House defends splitting up families as ‘biblical’ | June 15The suffering of the childrenI am a mother and attorney with more than 20 years of practice living in Tampa. For the past three years, I worked as a magistrate in a Unified Family C...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Saturday’s letters: Community-based care requires community involvement

Fix foster care, and do it quickly | Editorial, June 15Involve the community itselfWhile the detailed article about the scathing state review of Hillsborough County’s foster care problems touched on leadership, a critical point was not addressed....
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Friday’s letters: Freight trains are infrastructure that works in Tampa Bay

Railroads are infrastructure that worksFreight trains carry the loadCentral Florida is our state’s fastest-growing region. We’re on track to outpace South Florida’s growth 2-to-1 over the next several years. Great news for our local economy, but it n...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Thursday’s letters: Charter schools aren’t the enemy

Don’t plug your ears when schools ask for tax | May 20, columnCharter schools aren’t the enemyAs an educator, I am astounded when I hear claims from school board members that charter schools take away funding from the local public school system. ...
Published: 06/12/18
Updated: 06/14/18