Veterans office fills vital role
As the person who opened the first Veterans Service Office in the county building in west Pasco, I find it hard to believe the veterans organizations would not be encouraging veterans to use this important office.
The office is the closest most veterans can get to the government's regional office and the people who make the decisions affecting their problems. When I was service officer for the county, I made trips weekly to the regional office and to Bay Pines Hospital to keep up with the claims I had placed.
I opened the office in 1964 and had to retire because of my service-connected disability. One of my last duties was when I was called to appear before the subcommittee on Veterans Affairs as to what changes would make the office more effective for the veterans. One of the things I suggested was that the word "may" be changed to "shall." I was informed that the counties were required to maintain a veterans office. Those counties that were too small could share time with the next county. I don't know if that is still true.
I do hope the veterans organizations will work to keep this most important office open.
Frank Klausch, New Port Richey
Wildlife enjoys idle hammers
When I arrived in October 1992, the wildlife in the area of Spring Hill where we chose to live was abundant. We enjoyed the irritation of the raccoons that found out how to tip over our garbage bins on bin day. Joining these animals were armadillos that burrowed under the foundation slab of the house, sand hill cranes that dug for lunch in our pristine lawn, gopher turtles that were, well, just gopher turtles slowly taking their time on their daily walk.
I remember seeing a possum now and again sauntering over the lawn. But the creature that gave me the most fascination and pleasure was the night call of the whip-poor-will bird. I would sit on my lanai just as night fell and listen to this fascinating bird clicking and whooping away with its unique voice. Coming from England I had never heard anything like it. This bird's name was to me the first line of an old song learned in childhood. It never occurred to us that it might be the name of a real piece of nature.
Then came the property boom and new construction was everywhere. Suddenly the pesky raccoon was gone; the armadillos disappeared seemingly overnight. Hardly ever saw a gopher turtle anymore. The sand hill cranes were around now and again. Our friends the vultures still kept the highways clean from roadkill.
But two weeks ago, sitting on my lanai as night fell, I suddenly heard the faint cry of an old friend. I pinched myself as I listened once more to the voice of the whip-poor-will. It was faint but it was definitely there. The other night, he was back after all these years like an old and very much missed friend, his voice strong and loud. Such a joy to hear him once again.
I swear that he or more likely one of his descendents — I have no idea how long these amazing birds live — is definitely back on song. Nature is very resilient and who knows how long it will be before I see my friendly armadillo and the pesky raccoon back in my yard. Very soon, I hope.
So there is some good to come out of a bad economy. Less construction means more nature. You can't have it both ways.
Gillian Maden, Spring Hill
Stop pumping from low lakes
Most of the lakes in Land O'Lakes are tied to our underground aquifer. Longtime residents have never seen it so bad. Our ski lake is at least 4 feet below normal.
Please pull the pump from your lake and water only when necessary. You are contributing to the problem.
Jim Tucker, Land O'Lakes
Thank you for donating food
Another food drive has successfully ended for the letter carriers and the local communities. As of May 15, we in Zephyrhills had collected 54,096 pounds of food.
The Neighborhood Care Center, located at 5140 Sixth St., Zephyrhills, received the food collected by the Zephyrhills and Wesley Chapel carriers. The center is open different hours during the work week for those who are in needs of assistance with helping to feed their families. If you know of anyone who has suffered economically and needs help, but doesn't know where to turn, or perhaps is too embarrassed to ask, please tell them abut the Neighborhood Care Center. The name speaks for itself.
In addition to the postal customers who left food for the carriers, I also would like to thank the employees of the Zephyrhills Post Office who participated in the drive. Thanks to McDonald's and Burger King for helping out also.
We could not do this without all of you. We do this once a year and it is one of our charitable events of which I am most proud.
Kathy Sullivan, food drive coordinator, Zephyrhills