Program needed to help buy homes
Why can't Hernando County help out people with a home who have had bad credit? Everybody needs somewhere to live, why is there not a program for this kind of problem?
My husband and I had a home we built 15 years ago. We got a divorce and lost our house over it. Does anyone know how hard it is to recover from that kind of problem? Not to even mention how hard it was for our children who have had to change schools many times. It's very scary for children to have to worry if they will have a place to lay their head at night.
So, someone please help people get a home again. What we wouldn't do to have a house of our own just one more time. We would do anything it would take to keep it this time and to pass it on to our children. I would work three jobs to pay it off.
Please give good people one chance to do over.
Rhoda Phillips, Spring Hill
Never forget need for manatee care
In 2010, 767 manatees were documented to have died or been killed in Florida, with a significant number of deaths resulting from last winter's prolonged cold temperatures. These numbers are an all-time high, shattering the previous record of 429 set in 2009.
Recently, I watched a manatee barrel roll down the spring run at Blue Spring, on the St. Johns River, as the rising late morning temperatures and shining sun made it safer for manatees to venture into the cold river to feed. Last week, at Three Sisters Spring, on Florida's west coast, I observed manatees huddled in discretely marked sanctuaries, motionless for hours, resting and conserving energy beyond the reach of human visitors. Nearly every manatee I saw was scarred from previous boat collisions. The barrel-rolling Blue Spring manatee had a series of four propeller scars down the left side of his body, suggesting he may have been trying to roll away from the oncoming boat that struck him and left him permanently scarred. One of the manatees had the appearance of a mermaid — her paddle-shaped tail had been mutilated into a forked shape, again by a boat collision.
I often think about what it was like to be a manatee in Florida 100 years ago, how much different life was for them, how much quieter it was. To say that they have had to undergo a steep learning curve to adapt to our ditching, diking and draining of Florida, and the construction of megamarinas, seawalls, ports, and docks that have resulted from Florida's growth, would be the understatement of the century.
Save the Manatee Club is celebrating our 30th anniversary in 2011. For these last 30 years, this organization has been the voice of manatees. While groups like SMC and federal and state agencies have taken great strides to protect manatees, all I could think about as I watched the barrel-rolling manatee and his counterpart with the mermaid tail in Crystal River was how these manatees need our voices now more than ever to protect their warm-water habitat from aquifer overpumping and nutrient pollution; to safeguard sea grass beds from propeller scarring and oil spills; to educate boaters so fewer manatees suffer from boat collisions that leave them mutilated or dead; and to teach all of Florida's residents and visitors that our daily actions affect this species, even if we don't directly cross paths.
As we look ahead to the next 30 years, there's no doubt manatees will continue to need support from strong, caring voices to ensure their survival. We'll be here for them. Will you?
Director of Science and Conservation
Save the Manatee Club
Reports clarify sinkhole issues
Homeowners should take the time to review two reports at www.floir.com. This is the Office of Insurance Regulation website.
The first report is the Insurance Study of Sinkholes submitted to the state of Florida in April 2005. In 2004, the Florida Legislature requested a feasibility and cost/benefit study of a Florida Sinkhole Insurance Facility. The report contains a history of the many studies conducted since 1969 regarding the increase in sinkhole claims filed in Florida.
Prior to 2006, Florida did not have a central reporting agency for sinkhole claims and insurance companies were not required to perform geotechnical testing on reported sinkhole claims.
Additionally, the insurance adjuster decided whether or not a sinkhole existed, without testing, and the adjuster's decision was final. These practices were addressed in the Insurance Study of Sinkholes, and standardized testing and reporting became mandatory.
The second report is the Report on Review of the 2010 Sinkhole Data Call published by the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation on Nov. 8, 2010. The first full reporting year was 2007 as mandatory reporting began in October 2006. In Pasco County, 1,160 sinkhole claims were reported in 2007 and 1,147 claims were filed in 2008. (I believe this represents a decrease.) In 2009, there was an increase in claims, which may coincide with a legislative change that allowed insurance companies to totally drop sinkhole coverage in two Florida counties, and perhaps that caused homeowners to panic.
Although 2010 did not include a full reporting year, claims were down 7.2 percent. It is also reported that suspected fraudulent claims represent less than 1 percent of reported claims.
Finally, in response to the allegation that homeowners are not repairing their homes, the report does not clearly state if there was sufficient coverage to pay for remediation and structural repairs.
There is more information available, but these reports would help to educate everyone on a very real problem in Florida.
Melody Zehetner, New Port Richey
Rep. Nugent still humble servant
For 5th District U.S. Rep. Rich Nugent, it's a farewell to arms and a giant step into the halls of Congress for a hometown patriot protecting a burgeoning community for more than 20 years.
He goes to Washington from the ranks of the community, not so much because he was sheriff but because of his exemplary character raising a family of three sons who dedicated themselves to the military; his sharing a marriage in a unique partnership of support; and having a willing display of his faith with his congregation. We could see him standing in line with Wendy at the movies as just another couple in the community.
Duty calls one more time, this time to represent a broad base of constituents who depend on his fairness shaping policy.
In our conversations over the years dealing with veteran affairs, there became a mutual respect and some confidential considerations of family, community and commitment to the veterans of every branch of service.
We talked intimately of his prospect for congressional representation, and he was humbled by that prospect.
Deron Mikal, Brooksville