Park service cuts will be apparent
For the third year in a row, it seems Pasco County Parks Department is again downsizing its personnel. According to public records, over the last three years the Parks Department has laid off a total of 48 people. I wonder if the public knows how this will directly affect the maintenance and safety of our parks?
Again this year, the parks director is taking staff from some of the largest parks in the county. These parks are utilized by some of the largest youth leagues and general public in the county. He has chosen to put these parks on a "roving crew," which means if they can get there they will. The grass will be cut, garbage will be picked up, the bathrooms will be cleaned and safety matters will only be handled when they can get there, instead of every day as it is now. Since this will directly affect the safety of our kids who utilize the playgrounds as well as the numerous sports teams that use the parks, the public should be aware of these major job cuts.
It seems there must be other jobs behind the scenes they could cut that would not directly affect the safety and maintenance of these facilities or the efficiency of the parks department. I take my small grandchildren to the parks all the time, and in the last year I have paid my $2 to visit several Pasco County parks. I didn't mind the extra fee if it would save jobs and keep the parks personnel maintaining the parks for my grandchildren's safety.
The next time you take your family to any of these parks, before your 5-year-old climbs onto that swing or climbs up the slide, or before your child's Little League or soccer team plays on the ball fields or in the grass, you better hope it is a day that the "roving crew" made it there before you did.
Gioia Martin, Port Richey
Joint effort will benefit homeless
I want to commend the St. Petersburg Times on the excellent article about Joining Hands Community Mission Inc. and Metropolitan Ministries merging to become one entity that assists the homeless in Pasco County. This merger will be extremely helpful to further the efforts that have been taken in this community to help end homelessness. Metropolitan Ministries has long been a respected faith-based organization that is known for helping those who need it most. In these tough economic times, the homeless population is growing at an alarming rate.
For the people this organization will be able to help, especially our schoolchildren who are homeless, I am very pleased that Metropolitan Ministries has stepped up to the challenge. I have no doubt that they will do an excellent job along with Joining Hands. I truly believe that this newly merged organization will help members of our homeless population to stand on their own feet and become self-sufficient.
Congratulations to the Rev. Dan Campbell, who, along with many other community leaders and volunteers, has done an outstanding job helping Pasco's homeless. I am certain we will see the homeless population decrease in size now that these two fine groups have merged to serve an important, yet often unseen, part of our community.
Sen. Mike Fasano
Florida Senate, District 11
New Port Richey
Scanga's remarks were appalling
In reference to the recent article regarding the removal of Jill Middleton as principal at Gulf Highlands Elementary, for a school to receive an F is of considerable concern for all.
However, the comments by assistant superintendent Dave Scanga, directed at Mrs. Middleton, were appalling and very condescending. He said, "I think she can work with (Schrader principal) Tammy Berryhill to think about her administrative skills and work on those. We are not going to give up on Jill."
This is the way you would speak to a misbehaving child and then send her to timeout. In August, Mrs. Middleton will face her new faculty, staff, students and parents. Hopefully, they will give her a warm welcome and not be influenced by Mr. Scanga.
I worked with Mrs. Middleton for several years, at Sanders Elementary. We were an "A" school. Schrader Elementary is fortunate to be getting her. Mr. Scanga owes Mrs. Middleton an apology.
Cathy Brown, New Port Richey
Thanks to EMS for saving life
On Sunday, July 10, I woke up with bad chest pain. I thought it would pass, but after an hour it had not stopped. My wife called 911 and in less than five minutes they were in my driveway.
Right away they assured me things would be fine. On the way to the hospital, they kept me calm and comfortable. Sure enough I had a heart attack. I believe if it had not been for Pasco Fire and Rescue I would not be sending this letter. My thanks and God bless you.
John Whiddon, Land O'Lakes