THE Bus needs better hours
Recently I put 5 gallons of gas in my car at a cost of $16 and change. I'll be able to go about four work days before I'm back at the pumps, and who knows what 5 gallons will cost me then?
I would love to be able to take THE Bus to work. If I rode THE Bus to work my monthly travel expenses would be less than the cost of a single, 5-gallon gas purchase. At the current bus pass price of $15 a month, getting to work for a full 12 months would cost me $180. Those same 12 months in my car will run me around $1,350, and that's ONLY if gas prices don't rise, I don't drive anywhere but work, and I don't have any automotive maintenance or replacement costs.
So, why don't I ride THE Bus? I live in Brooksville and I work for a retail business located on U.S. 19. The current trip schedule is centered on an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. day. That means I can't get to work on time if I'm opening (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.), or I can't get home if I'm closing (noon to 9 p.m.). I also work on weekends and THE Bus doesn't run on weekends.
So, there I am, at the pumps, every four days.
I have heard that some of our county commissioners would like to do away with THE Bus, that it's not being used enough to justify the expense. I believe more realistic hours and expanded routes, coupled with rising gas prices, would go a long way toward putting more people in the seats. Government hours may be 8 to 5, Monday through Friday; retail, entertainment and service hours are not. Make it usable and it will be used.
Liz Hamilton, Brooksville
Re: Don't let 'free lunch' sway you on health care options, April 2, guest column
Column full of most helpful info
Diana Brijbag's column about what Medicare recipients should be conscious of is the best information on that subject I've seen.
As a public health nurse, I deal with the dilemma daily. It appears most seniors aren't aware that when they sign away their Medicare membership to an HMO, it takes their medicare escrow account and determines, for the most part, how it will be spent.
I'm sure there are many folks satisfied with their HMO, but initially they should question each one carefully before they sign up, as she warns. In some cases, some seniors may be better off to stay on Medicare alone.
It behooves each of us to study it carefully and not be hoodwinked by an overzealous salesperson.
Her reminder that this is your health is a good guideline.
New Port Richey
Volunteering good for everyone
For those seeking a way to make new friends, promote their careers and positively contribute to their communities, I have one simple suggestion: reach out and volunteer.
Volunteers have the ability to change the lives of those around them. Whether they are improving the environment, coaching youth sports, providing respite care for the elderly, mentoring students or assisting with disaster response and recovery, volunteers strengthen entire communities while improving the quality of life for everyone.
I can personally tell you from the many years I have spent as a volunteer, that volunteering provides a multitude of benefits to the volunteer. From meeting new people who share common interests, to gaining skills that can be transferred to the work environment, to improved self-esteem, volunteers gain just as much as those they are helping.
Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet have declared April to be Florida Volunteer Month. This month, Floridians have a special reason to contact a local school, community or faith-based organization, environmental cause, volunteer center or charity to offer their time as a volunteer. For those looking for a place to start, United Way of Hernando County's Volunteer Hernando has many agencies for volunteer opportunities.
Please, give the gift of your time and talents to help change lives and strengthen our community!
Kathy Jones, executive director, United Way of Hernando County
Re: Protest lives lost through abortion | March 31, letter
Soul fight isn't
up to Congress
Jeanne Whitely "hopes and prays that we realize peace begins in the womb." The Pope agrees. Life, meaning a spiritual life (soul), begins at conception and goes on for eternity to live in heaven or hell.
Of course, not all religions believe life (the soul) begins at conception. Calling a fetus an "unborn baby" is similar to calling a cup of flour an unbaked cake; i.e., we have implied characteristics to the fetus it does not have, including a soul. But the soul is not empirical; it is a spiritual concept that, although real to a very large majority of people, may not exist at all, or at least at the time of conception. And, if a newly fertilized egg has no soul, then a human fetus is little different from an animal fetus and no "murder" is committed. To quote Linus Pauling: "An egg is not a chicken."
Of course, women who believe as the Pope does will not have a problem with this; they will not have abortions. But, they should not prod the government into forcing other women to bear children that may cause hardship (and war). Indeed, overpopulation and the competition for resources (oil?) will play a bigger and bigger part in future wars, and abortion is the most common method of population control.
The real concern here is not for the "unborn baby." What these fundamentalists really want, whether they know it or not, is for the government to step in and verify a basic concept for their religion: The soul.
When the government allows a woman to abort a fetus, it essentially is saying: "There may be no such thing as a soul at conception." So, in reality, we are simply asking Congress to pass laws that are "respecting the establishment of a religion."
John Dorgan, Spring Hill