Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Letters to the Editor for Aug. 25

Please waive senior tuition Aug. 18

PHSC president would like to be able to waive tuition for seniors

Thank you, Ms. Young Clark, for responding to Dr. Musunuru's column that profiled Pasco-Hernando State College and the many opportunities offered to our diverse student population. Dr. Musunuru is not only a prolific guest columnist for the Tampa Bay Times, but a nearly 20-year member of the college's district board of trustees, currently serving a fourth term as board chair. He also is a philanthropist and generous PHSC Foundation benefactor, providing scholarships that continue to benefit many deserving students.

Ms. Young Clark, as an obviously proud PHSC alumna, with a nursing and associate's degree, followed by a degree from the University of South Florida, it seems that your higher education credentials support a long, successful career. We are proud of your accomplishments and appreciate that your experience at PHSC positively influenced your life.

While we have not been able to support free tuition for senior citizens, PHSC's continuing education program offers very affordable opportunities for all community members interested in personal enrichment classes. The nominal fees for these courses help support the modest income earned by instructors teaching the courses, many of whom teach for the sheer enjoyment of sharing knowledge of their favorite subject, whether it be photography, painting or computer technology.

Unfortunately, PHSC is among 28 Florida College System institutions that received a $30.2 million cut from the state's budget; PHSC had a $1.6 million reduction in funding. Our college supports more than 14,000 district students served by 500 faculty and staff at five beautiful, well-maintained campuses in Hernando and Pasco counties.

The cost of operations, equipment and technology have risen dramatically. Without an increase in five years, PHSC's tuition ranks among the lowest in the state and nation, even as we sustain high educational standards and keep the instructor-to-student ratio low, with class sizes ranging from eight to 48 students depending on the program and course. PHSC also waives out-of-state fees for eligible veterans, including vets and their families relocating to our district who qualify for special benefits that include an in-state tuition rate, a considerable savings. While the Pasco and Hernando county school districts support high school dual-enrollment costs, PHSC also waives fees so that students can simultaneously earn high school and college credit at little or no cost to their families. This program is so popular that our dual-enrollment numbers soared by approximately 25 percent since this time last year.

However, we would very much like to support your suggestion of providing class waivers to senior citizens, and I will take this challenge to my administrative team.

Thanks again, Ms. Young Clark, for expressing your appreciation for Dr. Musunuru and Pasco-Hernando State College. We hope to see you back at one of our campuses soon.

Timothy L. Beard, president, Pasco-Hernando State College

Beware of deed certifcation scam

Citizens routinely deal with deceptive junk mail, and we sympathize. Our mailboxes, too, are deluged with official-looking documents urging us to take action now. But beware: Some of these are notices from marketing companies that want to separate you from your hard-earned money.

One ongoing scheme involves a solicitation letter from companies offering to sell homeowners a certified copy of their deed. While these letters look authoritative — some even include "government" in the company's name — they are deceiving, offering copies at prices ranging from $50 to $100 per deed.

You don't want to spend more money than you have to. Obtained from the Clerk and Comptroller's Office, the true cost of a certified document is only $1 per recorded page and $2 for the certification. Moreover, deeds and other public records can be viewed and printed, as an unofficial copy, free at pascoclerk.com under the Online Services tab.

The letters are deceiving homeowners into paying an exorbitant amount of money for their public records. Our citizens need to be aware of the potential fraud to protect themselves from extortion.

The Clerk and Comptroller's Office is entrusted with the care and preservation of Pasco County's records. The Official Records Department provides copies for the public as prescribed by Florida Statutes. The department may be reached at (352) 521-4408 in Dade City and (727) 847-8086 in New Port Richey. The office also serves as the gateway to the judicial system. Deputy clerks assist citizens with court paperwork and payments. Additional phone numbers and contact information are provided on our website, pascoclerk.com.

If you are a victim of fraud or suspect fraudulent activity, contact the Pasco County Sheriff's Office by dialing (727) 844-7711 (non-emergency line).

Paula S. O'Neil, Pasco County clerk and comptroller

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I've lived in my current home for 26 years, off Livingston Road between County Line Road and State Road 54. The posted speed limit in the 1-mile section of Livingston Road is 30 mph; there are posted signs saying "NO TRUCKS ALLOWED." This road is extremely narrow and bumpy. For many years, I've seen speeds that appear to be varying from 40 mph to 55 mph, and large trucks — dump trucks, semitrailers, haulers, etc.

I've phoned the Sheriff's Office on four occasions in the past three years. I approached a deputy in his cruiser in Wesley Chapel while he was doing paperwork and explained the excessive speed on Livingston Road. Only one time has there been a deputy's presence as a result of my contact.

Sheriff Nocco, please have a posted deputy in this area on a regular basis to prevent a neighbor, friend, family member or me from being killed on this dangerous road by speeders and large trucks.

Robert Roberts, Lutz

Comments

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