Tuesday, February 20, 2018
Letters To The Editor

Pasco letters: In praise of coach Justin Kunick

Praise for coach Justin Kunick

I never had the pleasure of meeting the late Justin Kunick. I was introduced to his story and that of his baseball team just a few months ago, when they entered my company's annual uniform sponsorship contest. Several students at Fivay High School wrote nominations for Coach Kunick's Falcons, and the team easily made the final round. It was then that I came to know of Coach Kunick, through the words of his players, family and friends.

The support for the Fivay Falcons was overwhelming, logging more comments than any other contest entry. Everyone in my office was moved and inspired by the team and the town that came together in support of a beloved baseball coach.

I had the privilege of informing interim coach Matt Hayes of the Falcons' landslide victory last Thursday, and I couldn't wait to finally meet the man who had touched so many lives. A hush fell over my entire office the next morning when Coach Hayes called to inform me of Justin's passing. I was at a complete loss for words — the feeling was indescribable. How could I feel such pain of loss for a man I had never known? Then I realized: I had known Justin Kunick.

The essays written by his students told of his life, his struggle and, most of all, his gift for teaching. The contest video made by the team allowed me to meet players whose lives he changed for the better. The outpouring of community support for Coach Kunick and the Falcons allowed us a glimpse into the hearts of those who also might not have ever known him personally, but were touched by his selflessness and generosity. I did not have to shake his hand to know him or understand how he made a positive impact on countless lives.

I managed to ask Coach Hayes if he had been able to tell Justin that the Falcons had won our contest before he passed. He confirmed that Justin knew of the win, and was very proud of the team for seeing it through to the finish. The only thing that kept my office going last Friday was the thought that Coach Kunick left us on a win — a win for his team, his school and his community. We can all take comfort in the fact that he will now be with the Falcons forever, encouraging them to "rise above" from the best seat in the ballpark in the sky.

Carty Dougherty, Orlando

Closing primary is undemocratic | May 2 letter

Closed primary is a symptom

I'm a Democrat. I am listed as having no party affiliation. However, I have always voted for Democrats across the board whenever I have voted. I was not asked to be the write-in candidate by James Mathieu — I volunteered.

This may or may not affect Mike Fasano in winning the Republican primary. From what I understand, he isn't well-loved by the Republican Party, but that is not my issue.

I think those opposed to my write-in candidacy are missing the boat. You can't disenfranchise Democratic voters. If they really are Democrats, they won't vote for a Republican. Why are the Democrats not speaking up and putting pressure on their party to field a candidate?

If Democrats are so upset they can't vote for Mike Fasano, they should push him to switch parties and become a Democrat.

Joe Verola, Port Richey

A savings plan is part of retirement

I recently attended an AARP town hall meeting in Land O'Lakes. The focus of the meeting was to collect data from AARP members regarding Medicare and Social Security. I was surprised at how many attendees had a difficult time differentiating between these programs. I also noticed a somewhat generalized fear that, in the long term, these programs would not meet the needs of the attendees and certainly not of their children and grandchildren.

A strong feeling of "not in my back yard" permeated the meeting, meaning "Don't you dare touch these programs in my lifetime.'' Rather than the optimistic feeling that this is a great country and, working together, we can solve problems, a certain feeling of pessimism seemed to be present.

Many of those present did not seem to know that Social Security may be looked upon as a pay-as-you-go trust fund. Workers and their working colleagues make regular payments into the trust fund. At the end of one's working years the trust fund provides a financial safety net, not a retirement plan.

I felt if this group of seniors wished to help their children and grandchildren they should encourage a savings and investment plan that begins with the first dollar earned, continues with periodic investments and the lets the concept of compounding do the rest.

There are several reasons the Social Security Trust Fund is in the shape it is in. We are emerging from the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Although the employment numbers are improving a number of people who normally would be paying into the trust fund are unemployed. The political climate is such that austerity is the mantra even though, while in and coming out of a recession, spending at the governmental level is needed to support employment.

Working people spend money and that improves the economy, and they also contribute to the Social Security Trust Fund and Medicare.

Bob Bucklin, Land O'Lakes

Real traffic input falls on deaf ears

On Monday, April 30, representatives from Country Club Estates, Signal Cove and Leisure Beach had an audience with state Sen. Mike Fasano and District Department of Transportation Secretary Donald Skelton. We were again trying to get relief from the traffic mess that the Hudson Walmart and the new Walmart gas station have caused. Entering and exiting our communities has become increasingly dangerous.

We assumed that the community representatives were going to be able to present our concerns and discuss the recent DOT traffic study. Community residents stood next to DOT employees and counted cars with them on the second. A few examples of what we found: The entrance to Leisure Beach has 89 U-turns an hour at its intersection plus 140 autos entering and exiting. This is 229 vehicles per hour contending for this intersection. Almost 700 vehicles per hour enter Walmart at the U.S. 19 entrance alone, with no traffic light. We counted vehicles entering and exiting Signal Cove, Country Club Estates and all Walmart exits as well.

The meeting started with Fasano saying that there is no way we are going to get a traffic light in any of the entrances to our communities, Walmart is already there so we will live with it and no way will there be changes to the Beacon Woods light. When we asked for the results of the DOT traffic study, Secretary Skelton said, "We are still analyzing the numbers." DOT plans call for shutting off our ability to go north from Leisure Beach in order to facilitate Walmart customers' U-turns. Fasano's renegade Republican, for-the-people persona didn't really shine through in this meeting. It was obvious that Walmart is his priority and the surrounding communities are not.

Jack LaManna, Hudson

Many thanks for the firefighters

I would like to thank all of the firefighters for the excellent job they did and are still doing in containing and keeping the fire away from our homes April 30. It is a very scary experience to go through.

Much thanks also go to the Sheriff's Office deputies who were consistent in driving in our area and advising us to evacuate. Thank you all again for your efficiency.

Elizabeth Bridwell, Hudson


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...
Updated: 3 hours ago

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

Thursday’s letters: Bill protects pharmacy customers

House Bill 351Bill protects pharmacy customersWe all need the protections provided in Florida House Bill 351 to ensure pharmacy benefit managers, or PBMs, are transparently operating with patients. Currently, PBMs are not regulated by the state and o...
Published: 02/14/18

Wednesday’s letters: The ocean is no place for amateurs

Youthful dream sinks in two days | Feb. 12Ocean is no place for amateursFirst of all, let me say I am sorry this couple lost their boat and I do applaud their adventurous spirit. However, I have spent over 20 years at sea and would like to commen...
Published: 02/13/18

Pasco Letters to the Editor for Feb. 16

A vote against Pasco’s jail bond issueThere are two stories on the front page of the Feb. 9 Pasco Times that drew my attention.The top headline reports that the Pasco County commissioners are discussing submitting a $185 million bond issue to the vot...
Published: 02/13/18