Spending sets poor example
Our city of New Port Richey should be ashamed! We were unwilling to help complete The Main Street Landing project that would have brought into our downtown area residents, new businesses and tax dollars for our city. Instead, we purchase old buildings (needing repair) at top dollar financed with balloon mortgages.
Don't even get me started on the money that was spent on the Railroad Square project.
Now we are considering tearing down the Baptist Church on Orange Lake that had always so greatly complimented the beauty and charm of that area. We should have let the church sell to another buyer, perhaps another church needing a home, instead we now have a once-proud building covered in mold and boarded up, broken windows.
We criticize younger people for not being responsible, spending money they shouldn't, buying homes they can't afford, and we as a city do exactly that. Shame on us.
Deborah Sheehan, New Port Richey
Superintendent needs the latitude
The current situation where some Pasco School Board members are criticizing the superintendent of schools for personnel decisions shows how important it is for the position to remain elected as opposed to appointed by the school board.
If the superintendent was hired by the school board, he or she would not be able to freely exercise independent judgment to perform the job.
Joanne Hurley's proposed motion to rescind approval for the two positions now vacant by Superintendent Heather Fiorentino's personnel decisions was an attempt to use a back door approach for the board to control who should be placed in those positions, which is one of the responsibilities of the superintendent.
The school board may determine policy, but it is up to the superintendent to determine how to carry it out without the board trying to tell her how to do her job.
How would they like it if she told them about what policy decisions they should make and then publicly criticized them if they didn't do as she said?
Bill Bunting, Pasco County Republican Party state committeeman, Hudson
School 'direction' needs scrutiny
Having read many of the recent articles, blogs and editorials regarding the decision of Heather Fiorentino not to renew Ray Gadd's contract as assistant superintendent of support services, I am writing as a concerned citizen, who for over a decade has seen corruption run deep and costly within Orange County. When Fiorentino states that she is "going to go in a different direction," I am curious as to what that direction might entail. It is well-known that Pasco County Schools has had one of the most efficient and best-facilitated construction departments in the state under Gadd's leadership.
It has been pointed out repeatedly that Gadd is an intelligent and widely respected man who has been committed to his community as well as to the school district he serves. He has overseen the construction of 15 new schools, numerous new land purchases, boundary changes and many school building improvements. Most importantly, I have found him to be a man of integrity at a time when integrity does not flow freely through many other Florida school districts. For example, Orange County has had such severe documented problems in their school-construction office over the past 12 years that the State Attorney's Office has investigated department practices and separate reviews were conducted by the Auditor General's Office. It is disheartening to read of the very costly and "chronic problems ranging from shoddy paperwork to questionable bidding practices to overpayment of contractors'' in the June 12 Orlando Sentinel.
To the contrary, under Ray Gadd, Pasco schools have never been plagued with such problems. While recent news articles have broached Ray's dedication to Pasco County, what has not been mentioned is how strong his commitment has been and the rarity of such a quality.
Keep in mind that school districts are not so different from other businesses, which all too often are blighted by the desires of men to get ahead. We often hear of problems such as those in Orange County or of administrators, anxious to fast track their careers, readily move to different school districts seeking quick advancement.
Ray, on the other hand, has dedicated himself to Pasco County's school district solely, functioning with excellence in each position held during his 28-year tenure.
So again, what can "going in a different direction" mean when it involves removing a man of integrity, honesty, and dedicated service? If it is a political matter, as Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning has suggested, does this move Pasco County Schools forward in a better direction?
I suggest that, by not renewing Ray Gadd's contract, the best interests of Pasco County Schools, its tax-paying citizens, and its students would not be served!
Richard C. Stout, Orlando
Residents should have school pride
It really is a shame that the Pasco Times used last Saturday as the day to print the guest column that our Superintendent of Schools Heather Fiorentino wrote. The information that Superintendent Fiorentino provided to the readers of the column was news that should have been on Page 1.
The successes that Pasco schools have had in the past few years are things that all Pasco residents should take pride in. During this summer break, we should remember, our teachers, administrators and school board are working to make the 2009-10 school year even better.
Thanks to all who will help make this generation of Pasco youth the best.
Joan Shapiro, Hudson
Attitude is bane of golf courses
In reference to the closing of two golf courses in Spring Hill, Spring Hill Golf Course and Seven Hills Golf Course, it came later than expected. Their reasons for closing were not the economy but their attitude toward the paying public, their management problems and their inability to make the customer happy whenever possible without hurting the course in any way.
For instance, the use of the driving range was very inconvenient due to the fact that it was far from the clubhouse. But that could have been corrected by allowing the players to use a cart to get there. They would not allow this no matter what. After all, when players are waiting to tee off they should be allowed to pay for their cart and use it to get to the range.
The attitude in the pro shop was always "if you don't like it move on." Well, that is just what people did — they moved on. Too bad for the employees with the good attitudes who worked at these courses. I do hope the courses are sold, renovated and become successful to give the residents another place to play and help their home values increase instead of decrease.
Joe Fratto, Hudson
New traffic signal was badly needed
I would like to thank County Administrator John Gallagher and County Commissioner Michael Cox for following through on their promise to install a traffic light for the residents who use St. Lawrence Drive and Little Road as access to their communities.
This traffic light was needed desperately after we lost access to an adjacent traffic light in another community. Trying to cross Little Road without a traffic light was taking one's life in his or her hands daily and many accidents occurred at the intersection.
An added bonus is that the light has actually slowed down many of the speeders who fly down Little Road.
It's been a few days since the traffic light is up and running and it has been wonderful! I can say that this truly is progress as promised.
Michelle Leonick, New Port Richey
A new name, but the same services
What's in a name? Everything.
Reputation. Character. Memories. The hospice you have come to know as Hernando-Pasco Hospice over the last 25 years has made a change.
Our new name is HPH Hospice.
No, it's not that different, but it will take a little bit of getting used to, especially since we've had it since 1984.
We are still the same not-for-profit, community-based hospice that provides care, comfort and support to individuals affected by a life-limiting illness regardless of their ability to pay.
Our offices, Hospice Houses and Hospice Care Centers are in the same places throughout Pasco, Hernando and Citrus counties. And our patients and families can expect to see the same staff and volunteers today, tomorrow and the day after.
So, why the name change? It was time.
When HPH Hospice began serving Citrus County residents in 2005, leaving out that county's name just didn't seem right. Still, we wanted to retain a big part of our agency's past.
So, as many people have referred to us as HPH over the years, it seemed sensible to choose that abbreviation as our new name and add Hospice to it.
The candle has long been our hospice's symbol and the signature color was teal. Now, look for forest green and gold when you see HPH Hospice on literature, our Web site, signs and staff or volunteer badges.
As in the past, the candle is the "i" in hospice. When you see that trademark, you can be assured that you are connecting with your longtime neighbor, HPH Hospice.
We're still here, we're still growing and we're more committed than ever to being there when you need us most.
Thank you for allowing us to be of assistance to you and your loved ones in a time of great need over the past quarter of a century.
From being with you at the bedside to preparing a home-cooked meal, the privilege has and continues to be ours.
Tom Barb, HPH Hospice president and chief executive officer, Hudson