Magnet support is election-driven
I am completely flabbergasted by the school administration's sudden interest in magnet schools and in giving parents options.
During this tough economy that superintendent Heather Fiorentino continues to hide behind, Hernando County schools managed to build a couple of K-8 schools and a new magnet school. Perhaps readers noted the magnitude of the difference between us and other counties on magnet schools.
I used to sit at the superintendent's staff meetings so I have some firsthand knowledge of what was discussed. Repeatedly, I brought to her attention the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation and the experimentation being done with small schools and redesigning America's antiquated high schools; not because I thought we should jump in head first, but because I thought a little experimentation might be a good idea. All to no avail. I was rebuffed at every turn.
School Board members and I visited the Nature Coast Technical Center in Hernando and a K-8 school where we heard accolades from parents, teachers and administrators alike. It was amazing watching how middle schoolers assisted their younger siblings before and after school and how the building design provided age appropriate separation during the school day. Again, at staff meetings K-8's were dismissed as an idea built on convenience and with no positive value. I asked about a magnet school but was told that was just a gimmick for bringing middle- and high-income kids into low-income neighborhoods.
We have a couple career academies that seem to be making some good progress but they remain unavailable to kids across the county. Nor do we have anything that remotely approximates some of the magnet schools you will find in the Tampa Bay area such as the East Lake High School Engineering Academy. We have had the capital and intellectual resources to explore these options for years but have done very little.
Now, we have an election looming and suddenly the superintendent realizes parents want to be heard and want options for their children. Our relationship to parents is a very important dynamic that should be nurtured on a daily basis. It is a dynamic that involves listening, educating and mutual respect. It is not something that should only happen eight months before a political primary.
Ray Gadd, Land O'Lakes
New pain for those who need pains pills | Feb. 12 article
Pain pill buyers should have proof
I was very surprised to read that someone was able to pick up someone's medications without having to provide identification and proof that they were authorized to do so. If I have ever had to have someone else pick up my medications, I have always given them my ID, a note, and I called the pharmacy to let them know someone else was picking it up and that they would present proof of that.
I have never had a problem and I think that it should be a standard policy of every pharmacy to require proof of who you are and who you are picking up for by requiring ID if possible and/or written instructions.
An added precaution would be to have a form that the person signs like you do already for insurance purposes. Simple and easy, although it does mean some extra steps for pharmacy personnel. It will save time, money and possible lawsuits in the long run and no one will have to do without their medication.
Rachel E. Wright, Zephyrhills
Drug raid finds gun stockpile | Feb. 11 article
Firearms cache is tip of the iceberg
No one who lives in this part of Florida should be surprised when law enforcement finds numbers of non-sporting weapon associated with the drug trade for sale.
It's going to get much worse. In October 2010 the NRA/Republican Firearms Preemptions law Florida Statute 970.33, voted for by every Republican senator and state representative, became law. This law made it illegal for any local government to ever again pass any controls on firearms. The destruction of all gun control laws has been a goal of the NRA and their Republican supporters since 1987.
The backlash has been swift and vocal all over Florida by individual, local governments and even law enforcement that local government should have the right to pass gun violence prevention laws to protect public safety.
My organization is working with dozens of angry citizens, property organizations and farmers that can no longer post or control firearms on or near their lands or communities, and they are mad and willing to fight this law. In Hernando County , commissioners felt they had to let a kitchen table gun dealer set up in a residential area regardless of zoning restriction or they would be in violation of this new NRA law. This has opened the floodgates for anyone to ignore zoning law and sell guns out of their home.
Arthur C. Hayhoe, Director
Florida Coalition to Stop Gun Violence Inc.
Ticket puts crimp on food budget | Feb. 9 letter
Traffic light timing is unfair
I agree with the letter writer about these practices.
I had to pay a ticket myself on Dec. 30 for $162 that took place at the very notorious U.S. 19 and Gulf Drive, New Port Richey
I have read articles about this intersection. It appears that the timing of those lights is poorly set up, in favor of New Port Richey, of course.
You can fight it, but if you are still found guilty, which would probably the case, then the fine goes to $240.
I would like to see them give all that money back to the people, especially the ones ticketed at U.S. 19 and Gulf Drive.
Michael Cabral, Holiday
Ticket puts crimp on food budget | Feb. 9 letter
Traffic ticket was writer's own fault
To the letter writer who can't buy food because she had to pay a ticket, what a crock.
She blew through a red light. Stop whining. Own up and pay.
I, too, am on Social Security. What is the big rush? She should have enough common sense, at her age, to obey the laws of this country.
Tom Hobbie, Holiday