Who is staying on this property?
I see that Hernando County has become the winter encampment for a large group of carnies. During the past six to eight weeks, close to 50 different pieces of equipment, including rides and living quarters (fifth wheels, travel trailers and motor homes) have and are occupying space on the county fairgrounds property off U.S. 41, within the Brooksville City limits.
I do not remember any news in our local papers of their arrival or any action by any government body authorizing this happening.
I can't seem to find anyone to explain this to me if the use of this property in this manner meets all local ordinances and codes. Are rent or lease payments being made to whom? With camping and travel gear being used, are they paying the local taxes that others are paying in private travel accommodations?
Whose palm has been greased? City? County? Or fair board personnel?
The local truck owners aren't extended the same services or deal.
Allan P. Tyler, Spring Hill
Re: Gulf Coast Conservancy says land swap would hurt black bears in Aripeka Feb. 8
Protect habitat of the black bear
Your article describing the SunWest Harbourtowne/Southwest Florida Water Management District land swap should concern any resident of Hernando County worried about wildlife or wise use of public funds.
Lands purchased with Florida Forever dollars are purchased for their environmental value. In the case of the land the district proposes to swap, land was purchased to protect essential habitat for the Chassahowitzka population of the threatened Florida black bear. Pasco County then purchased an adjacent tract of land making the land the district is willing to swap away to developers even more important.
Florida black bears are considered an umbrella species. This means that when you protect their habitat, you protect habitat for hundreds of other species that live where they live under their umbrella, so to speak.
Wetlands, pine forests, coastal hammocks and land for critters great and small all get protected when we ensure that our bears in the southern Nature Coast can survive.
The proposed land swap severs a critical wildlife corridor that is repeatedly used by bears as core habitat and for travel. The district funded a five-year study of the Chassahowitzka bears and knows this. The development that will occur as a result of the swap renders the land the district will acquire as unreachable and thus a significant loss of bear habitat. So little viable habitat is left for Florida black bears that a loss of this size poses a dire threat to their continued existence in our part of Florida.
The land the district will receive in this swap is land that has conservation value, but it is also land that would be extremely difficult for the developers to use as much of it is coastal wetlands. This type of swap sounds justifiable when only looked at in terms of numbers of acres but when you dig into the details and analyze it from a conservation perspective, you realize the developers end up with the much better end of the deal. The district's job is not to make sweetheart deals with developers. Their job is to protect public lands and natural systems.
Protecting land for Florida black bears ensures that all the species under their umbrella (bobcat, fox, deer, Northern bobwhite, swallowtail kites, etc.) survive. You can learn more about this by reading the new "Wildlife 2060: What's at Stake for Florida" report from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (www.floridaconservation.org/Wildlife2060/Docs/FWC2060.pdf).
We have enough empty homes, false promises and golf courses in our part of Florida. Let's do the right thing and protect our bears and all the other creatures that will benefit as a result. The land swap and the proposed SunWest Harbourtowne megadevelopment is bad the environment, the taxpayer, and is the last kind of development we need right on the coast. We should expect better from the Southwest Florida Water Management District.
Nancy Murphy, Brooksville
Re: It is time for our commissioners to earn their keep
Politicians should show some hustle
Have you ever thought what our county commissioners have done for the citizens of our county that is truly significant? They keep saying that they are looking after our best interest. But what have they done that has impacted us in a significant manner? Never mind going to leadership meetings conducted by the county administrator for his employees or making statements that it is going to be hard to get some of the trillions of dollars of stimulus money while sitting on their duffs.
Now is the time for our commissioners to earn their keep! This should be their most important endeavor while in office. So commissioners get off your cans and do some diligent work in this area. Get us some money! Let see you hustle for a change! All five of you should go to Tallahassee and lobby with all your energy. Grease some palms. Sell yourselves and the county to the politicians that will be shelling out the money. Make appointments with the governor and make appointments with the committee leaders in both the State House and Senate who will have a role in distributing the money. Even consider going to Washington if necessary.
You people are suppose to be politicians, so play the role and mix with the big boys and get us a piece of the pie.
If ever there was a chance to show your worth, now is the time. Don't be useless, because this will be remembered at the next election.
John J. Davis, Brooksville
Re: Seven arrested on drug charges in Spring Hill
Drug bust should have come sooner
For over a year residents have been contacting the police and Sheriff's Office to report the frequent, apparent drug activity at this location. At one point they were told an undercover operation was in progress, which must be so based on your article.
However, for neighbors in the vicinity who have watched the virtually nonstop traffic day and night, one has to be amazed that only seven people were arrested. I suspect if these activity had been just a few blocks over, in the Timber Pines region, a lot more would have been done a lot earlier.
For many years the area known as Weeki Wachee Acres was a safe and peaceful place for all. When my mother built her home in 1969, on the land my grandfather purchased in the early 1960s she was told that future mobile homes would not be allowed, except for those that fell under a "grandfather" clause. Yet properties have been peppered with them and the majority have brought nothing but rubble and trouble to the neighborhood. On a drive through the area one can see numerous properties that should be condemned and the land cleared.
When my sister established her home on former property of our great-great-aunt, a family emergency required her absence before the landscaping was complete. When she returned within a month, there were citations for not having sodded the front lawn.
Now one might ask how a government official could drive up Toucan Trail or Sea Lawn to deliver these numerous citations without noticing the aforementioned properties, and do something about them as well.
Kudos for the arrests that have been made. Hopefully this is a step in the direction of future improvements.
Linda Jo Fernandez, Naples
Don't make a bad situation worse
Screw up, get kicked … this is the way of justice in Hernando County if you stupidly get a DUI. No argument that justice must be done, but once sentenced, stick to the sentence and don't kick the offender when he is down.
Every week, the sheriff's deputies pick up "probation violators," many who narrowly miss terms of their probations, most commonly by nonpayment of county fees assessed involving their sentences. No excuse for nonpayment of fees for probation officers visits, but during these times of high unemployment, with no income for many offenders, it seems an easy way for a convicted offender to get three squares (his meals) and a bed at, I must say, taxpayer expense.
Many DUI cases are clearly more the result of social failure than of criminality. Rehabilitation is, hence, a goal rather than punishment. Besides, why toss some 19- or 50-year-old whose other previous greatest offense was public expectoration into the "learning center of petty crimes," the county jail, where he might gain unnecessary skills to be improperly, criminally utilized upon release.
Return to imprisonment is not the only "kick." Many families fund unemployeds' probation fees; hidden fees also financed are excessively mandated repeat "drug/alcohol" tests. Many DUIs are one-time occurrences with repeats not anticipated; is there any significant prevention of repeat offenses by monthly specimen in cup please, and pay $25?
Another kick: monstrous fees for purportedly "rehabilitative" driver's education classes. Almost all offenders get to go to such classes; cost is $25 a session, once a week for about 20 to 35 weeks. Ouch, nice kick. Number of classes are mandated by a therapist on his determined "need basis," for which he gets paid by the number in his class.
Oh, interestingly, at classes, the above therapist can decide to go for the specimen in cup.
Seems the flow of dollars is a big thing in the DUI industry. Some days the sheriff's Web page on arrests seems to have a good crop of newbie DUIs and failed probations. Comments and some histories would be interesting.
Paul A. Mencher, Spring Hill