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Hernando County residents' involvement is refreshing

Editor: I wonder if Coca-Cola would mind if I borrowed their slogan, "The pause that refreshes"? That is exactly how I felt about noticing community involvement lately. Maybe it is because when I believe in one "cause" I become oblivious to everything else around me. But I have come to realize that things have a way of moving along regardless of my help, or in spite of it, whichever way you choose to believe.

These last few days I have looked up long enough to realize that all of a sudden the city was ribboned in blue and a tape was being made to send to our men overseas.

Then, right after that, I see Mary Jane Harrelson, Gene Bell, Linda Davis, Mo Fried, Norman, Jack H. and many, many more behind the scenes tying red ribbons all over the county. Hernando Informed Parents, Southern Bell and the Brooksville Elks Lodge are helping to make sure everyone is aware that our youth are important enough for us to fight against drug use. Tying red ribbons is an important statement, as are the blue ribbons.

I stood back and thought there are all kinds of good people within each community all over the nation, not just our small section. It gave me a very comfortable feeling. It is not all gloom and doom as we sometimes feel it is.

The Hernando Youth Association is alive and well, under the guidance of Bill Hill. Thanks to Richard Drankwalter, Sherry Pedoneri, Susan Cooper and some of our youth, a haunted house is being planned this month. Now I hear Holly Shamblin, Marilyn Clark and Joanna Moneyhan and their crew are getting an annual craft show ready for next month. As you can see, traditions are being built right here at home.

To all of you that go about doing so much in your quiet way, know that you are noticed and appreciated by so many of us. Don't ever stop doing. What would this community do without you?

Now I will go back to my "cause" that has kept me from looking around at the total picture. Bear with me one more time. Vote yes for Proposition 1 so we finally can have those much-needed recreation centers.

Julia Jinkens

Brooksville

Moral education needed, too

Editor: This is an open letter to the candidates for the Hernando County School Board. Are any of you familiar with the Program of Character Education approved by the school board in April 1987?

I attended a candidates' night meeting Oct. 16 at which the hopefuls spoke of their qualifications and thoughts on the usual school problems but nothing on character education.

This character education also is known as character literacy, code of conduct, teaching value, standards of behavior and vice vs. virtue. Give it whatever title you wish, but I have been told on good authority that this program has not been, and is not being properly implemented in our schools.

The media noticeably has given out little data on this program since it started in the 1987-88 school year. This teaching of behavior was to follow the American Institute for Character Education (AICE) plan, widely used from 1981 to 1987. In that time, 29,000 classrooms in 45 states were using the plan, including counties and cities in Florida. This AICE program comes from the institute in Texas.

The plan ties in with children learning values and behavior, including the benefits to our society when we treat others as we would like to be treated. Many people firmly believe this AICE program is more important than anything else being taught in our schools, because learning standard school subjects without learning right from wrong is counter-productive.

Candidates for federal, state and county government seem to be screaming about the importance of promoting ethics reforms. Not too many years ago, when students were thought to be lying or cheating, they were sent to the principal's office. As time went on, this improper behavior seemed to be ignored by our educators.

Now we find ourselves several more steps down the road toward moral bankruptcy, where deceitful behavior is not only permitted but is promoted.

It seems to me if school boards would pursue the use of this Character Education Program adamantly, we could get double benefit from our tax dollars, as the teachers also might begin practicing and believing what they would be teaching.

We don't want to have a goal of graduating more students with high marks if they are being taught to think only of themselves.

They may end up being like so many of our current crop of bankers, lawyers, accountants, businessmen and politicians, whose unwholesome and illegal behavior we continually read and hear about.

If our youths are not taught to believe in and practice proper conduct and thinking, then living conditions in this world will continue to deteriorate. Specifically, my question to candidates is, will you familiarize yourselves with this Character Education Program? Will you explore how it is progressing, and if, in fact, the program is not being properly run, find out who is responsible and what can be done?

Please dig into this and investigate. Our young people need your help and so do we.

Ken Brownlow

Spring Hill

Children's services supported

Editor: On behalf of the Statewide Health Council, I am writing to support the creation of Children's Services Councils in Pasco and Hernando counties. The Statewide Health Council advises state government on health planning issues.

Last February, the council sponsored an American Assembly on child health issues, titled "Healthy Children: Tomorrow Begins Today." This was a consensus building project, in which representatives of the public and private sectors debated the issues and developed recommendations. A significant one was to establish Children's Services Councils to improve local services to children.

Planning and appropriately funding children's services is a wise investment because they can reduce health and social problems in later life. A Children's Services Council could determine the needs and fund services at the local level without the burdens of a large bureaucracy.

Randy M. Kammer, president,

Statewide Health Council

Tallahassee

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