Show patriotism in everyday lives
I was deeply saddened when I heard news of the death of U.S. Army Spc. Justin Coleman. I forwarded the grim message along to other veterans. It felt as if I lost a brother. Not a brother by blood, but a member of a brotherhood.
We lost one of our own here in Hernando County. We lost a young man on foreign soil. Heroes who live in lavish luxury, like pop music stars, shouldn't be hailed as heroes. The men and women serving in our armed forces should be.
When Sept. 11 occurred, we, as Americans, seemed shocked. After the initial shock was over, we stood tall. We had flags on our cars. We flew flags in our front yards. We stood ready. We lost almost 3,000 Americans that day. Many joined the armed forces to right the wrong. We've lost over 5,000 service men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan. Where did all the flags go? Why aren't we standing as tall? Where are the yellow ribbons? Have we forgotten?
If you don't have an American flag waving proudly in your front yard, standing tall, then get one. The next time you're at the store, buy some yellow ribbon and tie it around a tree in your front yard. Wear a red shirt on Fridays. The next time you see an elderly man at the store with a World War II hat on, take a moment and shake his hand to thank him. The same for those who served in Korea, or Vietnam, or in Iraq during Desert Storm and every conflict in between. How can that possibly make a difference? Because that man may have lost his brothers, and in a small way you are honoring their sacrifices through him. We are free today because of our veterans, and for those who wear the uniforms today.
In 2007, we lost Spc. Cody Grater in Iraq. I stood on Mariner Boulevard with my family as the hearse passed us. The showing of patriotism that day was indescribable. I started the "Military Appreciation Show" on WWJB-AM 1450 in January 2008 because of Spc. Grater. It should not take the death of a service member for us to show our patriotism and pride in being Americans. Visit http://NeverEndingSupport.org for information.
Thank you, Spc. Justin Coleman. May you rest in peace. Please know that your sacrifice will never be forgotten.
William Pierson, Spring Hill
Ticket woes show double standard
Over the past few weeks I have been reading many letters to the editor regarding red light cameras, loud music, illegal parking and death by auto.
I read about double standards. About a person who got a ticket and the officer gave bad information, so the poor mom had to pay for it because the letter writer couldn't. Or about a driver who is only 16 and he didn't steal the car — he only took it without permission.
If you go through a red light or roll over a stop line, you broke the law and you deserve a ticket. If you are playing your sound system for everyone outside your vehicle to enjoy, you broke the law and you deserve a ticket. If you park in a handicap area and you don't have a placard or you are not the person the placard is registered to, you broke the law and you deserve a ticket. If you take something without permission, that is theft and if someone dies during the commission of this theft you should be punished as such by law whether you are 16 or not.
If you steal a gun and hold up a store clerk and kill him, it's not an accident, it's murder.
If you can't do the time or you can't pay the fine, don't do the crime.
Bruce Schmitt, Spring Hill
Re: Stimulus dollars
Finish current road projects first
Whereas I think it is great that there are road improvements, I feel the improvements that have already been started need to be completed. The street in front of and some around my home have had their cracks filled since May. It seems that this project has been put on hold, because of where the tarring has stopped.
I am hoping that this is not the end of the road improvements around me because every afternoon as it gets hotter, the tar melts and is now on my driveway, in my garage and in my house. I thought this was the start of resurfacing. If so, please finish this resurfacing project before starting all the ones I read about in the paper.
That will surely keep the Public Works Department busy and save the county the money it referred to by not having to completely reconstruct my road, but by resurfacing instead.
Sherry Malone, Spring Hill
'Big-boxes' don't belong on Barclay
Dan DeWitt's July 31 column made an amusing argument that Wal-Mart also tried to make unsuccessfully two years ago. For the record, the community opposition was never about Wal-Mart vs. Target or a bias favoring one store over another. It was about unconditional opposition to any big-box retail operation on Barclay Avenue.
The proposed Barclay Avenue site was 1,500 feet from Powell Middle School. By Wal-Mart's own estimations, a big-box on the Barclay Avenue site would have brought an additional 15,000 vehicles daily. Hernando County's Comprehensive Plan has very specific language and guidelines identifying the proper location and proximity to major commercial routes where large-scale retail operations belong. That's why such businesses are found on U.S. 19, U.S. 41 and State Road 50.
The plan also states that it is the county's policy (101.H, pp.12) "to protect existing and future residential areas from encroachment of incompatible uses that are destructive to the character and integrity of the residential environment."
The residents who live in the community that would have been severely impacted rightfully asked the county commissioners to enforce the county's comprehensive plan. Without that protection we cannot effectively manage growth, and instead, growth manages us. It should be noted, too, that after remaining inexplicably silent on the subject, school representatives stepped up at the hearing before the county commissioners to express opposition to the site due to their safety concerns for the students who attend Powell. Additionally, while the primary issue was always the traffic and safety impact on the community, there were significant other issues, i.e., environmental impact, water use and the inordinate volume of calls to police at existing Wal-Mart locations in Hernando County that were well-documented.
While it is encouraging now to read that Wal-Mart's employees do community work and the company donates to worthy causes, our experience with Wal-Mart and/or their legal representatives was regrettable. They were indifferent and dismissive toward the concerns of community residents.
Ultimately, the commissioners voted for the public good and the outcome was the right one not only for the communities nearest Barclay Avenue but for all Hernando County residents.
Gregg Laskoski, Spring Hill
Simple shelter fix could save pets
Hernando County Animal Services says a paperwork mixup led to the mistake of putting to death the Velez family cat.
They said they are brainstorming several ideas to improve the system, including a checklist and having just one staff member handle quarantined animals. But what if the staff member doesn't do the job correctly or is off and another worker doesn't know what's going on?
There is a simple solution. Do like the hospitals, which put a bracelet on newborns. You can't put a bracelet on an animal, but you can put a tag on its cage. If there is no tag, you can't tell if the animal is somebody's pet or up for adoption.
If it is an owned animal, Animals Services should attach a tag to the cage door that reads something like: "Buddy. Owned by Velez family. Will be picked up. Do not adopt, do not euthanize.''
Barbara Stierle, Spring Hill