Editor: I am writing in response to a May 10 letter from Ms. Helen Spivey of Crystal River. I would like to address some of the comments she made in her letter about U.S. Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala, and what he has done to help the weed problem in Citrus County. Stearns has been a leader in trying to solve this problem. He has traveled to Citrus County to see the problem first-hand, and he has sent people from his staff to see the problem and meet with those of us who are trying to solve it.
I don't think it is up to Stearns to tell us how to solve the weed problem. He really doesn't have to be involved in the problem at all, since it's a local issue. We should be grateful that he is involved and that he has taken such a leadership role in talking to all the interested parties and helping us study all the possible solutions.
Mrs. Spivey could have contacted the local Chamber of Commerce. There she would have found that other residents have been working on this problem. I suggest she contact Mr. Phil Price, former city council member. He will be able to give a thorough and complete update. It appears in Mrs. Spivey's letter to the editor that she is attempting to offset Dr. Joyce's letter on April 30 to Dr. Jesse White and the Crystal River Chamber of Commerce. It was never mentioned that the evaluation contributing to the growth of lyngbya in Kings Bay show that stormwater runoff contributes 524 pounds of phosphorus a year vs. Kings Bay springs naturally contributing 70,400 pounds a year.
Nor is it mentioned that, to quote Dr. Joyce, "Hydrilla naturally generates 1.5 metric tons per hectare of organic sediments more than non-hydrilla infested areas. The plant can also reduce water circulation and this allows for the accumulation of its own litter as well as reduce flushing of other natural and man-induced materials. Hydrilla is creating severe environmental and economic problems in Kings Bay."
It appears to me that Mrs. Spivey is more concerned that manatee food will disappear, thereby setting the stage for less manatee population. I think there should be a happy compromise between man and beast, but man having the deciding edge, always.
If Mrs. Spivey is looking to Stearns to solve our problems for us, she is walking away from her responsibility as a resident of our community. It's up to us to find an effective and fair solution to this problem, and if Stearns is kind enough to lend us a hand, then I want to thank him _ not criticize him.
Carl P. Hille
County should quit ball game
Editor: I attended a regularly scheduled meeting of the Homosassa Civic Association on June 3 when a remarkable thing occurred. Someone asked for a show of hands of all those in favor of county involvement in bringing organized baseball to Citrus County. There were some 50-60 people in attendance and not one hand was raised in favor!
If this is any indication of the feelings of the majority of the residents of this county (and I think it is), then why does county government continue to slavishly pursue the Cleveland Indians debacle? Are our elected and appointed officials hearing voices not meant to be heard by the rest of the residents?
James C. Bitter
Let team, developer build park
Editor: Baseball? Who benefits? The ball club and the developer. So let the ball club and the developer build the park. The county has no business in the ball business _ no more than in the park business!
The taxpayers already have spent more than they can afford to lawyers, personnel etc. And if we can pay the assistant county administrator to spend so much time working on the ballclub, what could we possibly need the position for when this is all done?
Whenever we talk about cutting taxes, (County Administrator Chris) Chinault wants to cut what is life and welfare to the general public. Instead, I am sure there are _ in all departments _ plenty of superfluous positions that could be eliminated or scaled down. Building department? Why should the taxpayers be babysitters for everyone who is building? Let the builders police themselves!
On the subject of the Lecanto recreation park _ which we obviously need more than road repairs! Don't you commissioners check the plans? No restrooms, huh? And why did you permit Chinault to spend a half-million dollars on the road between 581 and 48 without first checking to find out if you needed one? County Road 480 is already there _ and paid for!
The commissioners should be telling the administrator what to do, not the other way around. The commissioners are elected by the people to be a voice for the people. The administrator is hired and is responsible to the commission and the county.
Education needs the parent
Editor: In an attempt to straighten things out and put the teacher scholarship issue to rest, I feel I must respond to Mr. Mays' letter to the editor of June 3.
Since becoming involved in Lecanto Primary PTA more than four years ago, I have seen many wonderful things the PTA can do in partnership with parents and a responsive school administration, everything from providing classroom computers and software to bringing in educational speakers and shows for all students.
This year the Lecanto PTA was told by school administrators that the school needed nothing but to provide teacher scholarships.
In researching the beginnings of the teacher scholarship program, no one seems to remember when it was started. But in the financial records it seems to date to the 1983-84 school year.
Mr. Mays implies that I feel the program was done in secret. That is exactly how I feel! Initially, votes may have been taken for its inception, but this is a money item and such items have to be brought up for a vote each year by that year's membership. When the amount was raised to $25 per credit hour, this was not brought to a membership vote, either. When a program that involves as much money as this one _ more than $10,000 has been spent since its beginnings _ every parent at the school should know of it, if not by a PTA meeting, then by a letter sent home.
Mr. Mays suggests that the teachers at Lecanto Primary are the best because they chose that school, but in fact, Citrus County has many talented and well-educated teachers. The teachers at Lecanto are excellent because they care about the students. The promise of PTA-financed scholarship money should not be made as a recruitment tool, as each year's PTA membership is new and it may not be voted to continue.
There never was any implication that a teacher's furthered education does not affect students' lives. The more informed the teacher, the better the environment for learning for their students. But, as in any corporation's education program, who is to say that the money spent will not be for naught? Do the teachers have any obligation to stay at the school that helped finance their advanced education? How many of the teachers that have benefited from this program still teach at Lecanto? So, I ask, why should this be the sole purpose of any fund-raising?
PTA is a parent's way to better his or her child's education through involvement. No, an icemaker does not benefit a child's education, but his parents do. That is where the real focus is supposed to be.
It is implied that the scholarship issue was a personality clash between myself and the school administration. The truth is, I firmly believe in parents being fully involved in their childrens' education and the improvement of it, but when the focus was not on the children but in only providing scholarship money, then that is where we differ. PTA bylaws and objectives continually stress the need for parents and teachers to work together. In fund-raising only to provide scholarships, we lose sight of these objectives.
Education in Citrus County needs its great and talented teachers, but it also needs the parent in order to succeed.
Lecanto Primary PTA
Unity would help Beverly Hills
Editor: Mr. Sandillo's letter suggesting that the residents of Beverly Hills cooperate with each other was perhaps the best and most thoughtful suggestion to reach the media this year.
In brief, Beverly Hills residents, let's get off our duffs and do something. We gripe about the way the county commissioners look down upon Beverly Hills. Well, as Mr. Sandillo suggests, let's get together, forget political parties, religion, race or other differences, and work as a group. We're the largest community in Citrus County, and we deserve better representation than "Winken, Blinken and Nod."
1. Register to vote.
2. Get out to vote at election time.
3. Elect Beverly Hills commissioners who will listen to the people, and who have the interests of Beverly Hills at heart.
Walter A. Klavans
Share your views
The Citrus Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.
Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length (250 to 300 words maximum as a rule).
Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length. All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address. Addresses will not be printed. Anonymous letters or letters with initials only will not be printed.
Send your letter to Citrus Times, 3822 E Gulf to Lake Highway, Inverness 32650.
Editor's note: The letters concerning the baseball debate were received before Friday's decision.