Sunday, February 25, 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


Sunday’s letters: Slogans won’t ensure safety

LegislatureSafety requires more than slogansOn Wednesday, our Florida House passed House Bill 839 requiring all public schools to post the state motto, "In God We Trust," in a "conspicuous place." The day before, the same Florida House declined to ev...
Published: 02/24/18

Saturday’s letters: Preserve home rule in Florida

LegislaturePreserve home rule in FloridaOn behalf of the members of Business Watch, a trade association for government contractors, I would like to voice our dismay over the Legislature’s wholesale attack on home rule. As local government contractors...
Published: 02/23/18

Thursday’s letters: Second Amendment is outdated

Second AmendmentCongress can act on firearmsThe Second Amendment is outdated, since it is predicated on the need for a "well regulated militia." Militias are defined as civilian soldiers trained under the command of competent military leadership. The...
Published: 02/20/18
Updated: 02/22/18

Wednesday’s letters:

House Bill 21Opioid proposal merits supportIn 2016, Florida recorded 952 heroin-related and 1,390 fentanyl-related deaths. Four in five new heroin users began by misusing prescription pain medications, also known as opioids. Despite the widespread op...
Published: 02/20/18

Hernando Letter to the Editor for Feb. 23

Re: Hernando business leaders push to loosen development rules | Feb. 9; Re: Deny Brooksville mine expansion, planning commissioners say | Feb. 16Wish to register my opposition to both the draft of the new Hernando County Comprehensive Plan that elim...
Published: 02/20/18

Tuesday’s letters: Making politics personal is one way toward reasonable gun control

The Parkland shootingMake gun politics personalAs an educator of 32 years, it encourages me to see our young people engaged after the horror at Stoneman Douglas High School. The tragedy at Parkland has awakened the sleeping giant that is the millenni...
Published: 02/19/18

Sunday’s letters: Congress must act on firearms

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Congress must act on firearmsIt’s time for Congress to be counted.The failure of Congress to act to: (1) limit access to assault rifles and (2) require meaningful background checks for all gun purchases is appalling.Surel...
Published: 02/17/18

Monday’s letters: Call it by its name: terrorism

Deadly toll: 17 | Feb. 15Call it whatit is: terrorismLet’s just call it what it is. It’s terrorism. No school in the country is immune. They all have procedures for sheltering in place or emergency evacuation from a shooter. It’s prudent to be pr...
Published: 02/16/18

Saturday’s letters: Payoff to porn star not front-page news?

Lawyer: I personally paid porn star | Feb. 14Where we’re at: This is 4A newsOnly under the Trump presidency does a story about the president’s lawyer paying off a porn star to cover up an affair with the president show up on page 4A. Never mind t...
Published: 02/16/18

Friday’s letters: Water quality too important to gamble on

State to update water rules | Feb. 10Don’t gamble with water safetyI wondered whether this front-page article was an early April Fool’s joke. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection "updated" its pollution regulations in 2016, with str...
Published: 02/15/18