Don't deprive us of our principal
We use the familial term not in the spirit of friendship but in the spirit of the disrespect in which we have been treated. We awoke and learned from the newspaper that our principal, Steve Knobl, was being taken from us.
We are a very tight-knit staff and we have had to endure tremendous losses. Three of us have battled breast cancer. One of us was killed by an out-of-control driver. One of us lost her battle to a brain tumor. One of us is still battling uterine cancer. One of us is still battling lung cancer. These events have not occurred over the last five to 10 years. They have occurred since May 2006. Steve Knobl, our principal at Bayonet Point Middle School, was there to grieve with us and help us cope.
Unfortunately, we are a staff of professionals. The children's lunches will not be diminished; the bathrooms will not go uncleaned; and the teachers will not be showing movies for the remainder of the year. We are professionals and, as such; we will be carrying out our duties appropriately.
Can the same be said for Superintendent Heather Fiorentino? We ask that the heart of our school, Steve Knobl, not be ripped from us. We ask Fiorentino to reconsider this uninitiated transfer. Bayonet Point Middle School seems to be the training ground for administrators. We have had five different principals since 2001. Through this, we have continued to be an "A" school.
In the upcoming months, we will have to deal with the stress of continued illnesses and the possible cut in benefits and/or wages. The superintendent cannot help us with our health issues, but she certainly can reverse her decision to take our principal, Steve Knobl, away from us.
We need to heal. Steve Knobl has led us through this very emotional time. He has taken us from a building of staff and students to a place where we can all work together to support each other.
We ask again, please reconsider. We need stability, not continued change.
Joanne Giglio and Michael Overbeck, New Port Richey
Festival as it is
The Flapjack Festival needs to stay in Land O'Lakes! If that means it can't grow bigger, or if it means it needs to downsized, do it. Sometimes the history of your community is more important than bigger and better.
I have lived in Land O'Lakes since 1961, went to Sanders Elementary School then we were bused to Dade City. The reason I mention this is because back in the day, we were the outsiders. "Lakers," we were called in a derogatory manner, but in which we later took pride.
There were many arguments and fights, we would even schedule unorganized football games against each other, alternating between Land O'Lakes and Dade City. These games usually looked more like street brawls, but it was our way of making a name for ourselves. Dade City folks didn't like us and we surely did not like them!
I was a part of the first graduating class in Dade City when the high school moved to the hill outside of town in 1971. I can tell you that my last year of high school over there even the city police seemed to take exception to us. I seemed to get pulled over once a week, to check my license, or some other excuse, or maybe it was my VW van with the big yellow daisies on the side that bothered them the most.
You can ask any of the other "Lakers" who have lived, worked and raised families here, and I am going to guess most will follow in my sentiments. The Land O'Lakes Flapjack Festival needs to stay in Land O'Lakes. If it moves to Dade City, it will eventually be gobbled up by Dade City and/or Pasco County and be named The Pasco County Fairgrounds Flapjack Festival at Dade City. I don't care, I won't go.
Eddie Jenkins, Land O'Lakes
Court key to liberty, justice for all | May 7 guest column
Our court system needs an overhaul
Platitudes ring loud and clear in the first two paragraphs of Judge Tombrink Jr. opinion.
It is a self-promoting system badly broken, and in need of a complete overhaul and not more money. Judge Tombrink's thinly veiled plea for more funding is like all self-serving profits; Tombrink throws money at a broken system pronouncing this will fix the judicial system. He further intimates this system bails out the private lawyers from contributing to the public's access to the courts, and only public lawyers defend the public. Not so, Pro Bono work is an ongoing and contributing event by almost every lawyer in the judicial system.
An example of why the court system is broken can be found in the 2005 news accounts about James Henson, Ninth Circuit Court Judge of Orange County, who the Judicial Qualifications Commission determined should be removed from office. He continued to act as a criminal defense attorney while performing judicial duties in 2000 and later advised that same criminal defense client to leave the country in order to avoid prosecution.
Henson went on a paid leave of absence and received $84,966 from the taxpayers for doing nothing. In addition to having to pay Henson while the court decided whether or not he should remain in office, taxpayers paid about $50,000 to pay for replacement judges.
I could list many of such examples of foolish judicial costs and lawyer foul-ups which cost the taxpayers millions of dollars. Suffice to say the courts should clean up their own house before drinking at the public coffers.
James L. Wright
New Port Richey