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Public assistance helps, but sometimes it is not easy

Editor: Thank God for food stamps. And thank God for Medicaid. Otherwise I don't know how long we would be able to exist. I was supposed to participate in Project Independence. Boy, it's a good thing I found a job by myself. If I had to wait for Health and Rehabilitative Services (HRS), I would have been living in the streets with a 12-year-old daughter. HRS, you're supposed to protect children, not force them to become homeless. If it's because you lack employees, well, hey, I'm looking for a good full-time job with benefits and security. I don't like depending on welfare any more than you like giving it.

Tell me something. How much does it cost us taxpayers to pay employees to get a $10 welfare check out to a recipient? On May 4, I went to pick up my monthly allotment of food stamps. I arrived at 12:40. I was given a number and was told to stand in line. My number was 207. At 3:20, I finally made it to the window. Yes, one window, one girl, giving out food stamps to a crowd of well over 207 people, because when I finally made it to the window, there still was a line all the way outside the building.

Irate people were there. Some of them even fought. Sheriff's deputies walked around to keep things in control. For 2{ hours, give or take a few, I waited in a daze. Part of me wanted to leave and part of me said, "You can't. You have to feed your daughter." I actually felt as I stood waiting for my allotment that I had no purpose in the world because I needed help. As sheriff's deputies walked around and glared at me and others, I felt that I must have mistaken the jail for the food stamp office.

Now, the worst part. As I went through the checkout counter at the grocery store, I felt so ashamed, I just kept my head down as I counted the food stamps for the cashier.

Hey! I'm only poor! I'm not a criminal. I still have human and civil rights. Why did I feel so ashamed!

Susan Hall,

Holiday

Fairway Springs board

lawsuit is waste of time

Editor: We are the parents of Lou Popescu, who is being sued by the Fairway Springs Board of Directors, not the association, for erecting a basketball goal for his child (on his own property).

We are very proud of our son and his family for sticking to their moral principals and exercising their legal rights as homeowners.

Our son was born and lived under communism for 11 years of his life, and America and Freedom mean more to him than to most.

In his profession, he travels as far away as China and can successfully negotiate with people that are different politically and culturally. When we see in your newspaper quotes from the people that sued him that he is hard-headed and would not meet with them to negotiate over the basketball goal, we are appalled. And when board members say that we, his parents, support the lawsuit against him, we can only wonder what medication their doctors put them on to make them so delirious.

We moved into Fairway Springs on my son's recommendation. My husband is 76 and in and out of hospitals. I'm not much better. We don't want to see our neighborhood being destroyed by a few power-hungry old people. If these old bags of hot air came to Florida to retire, that's what they should do, not ruin other people's lives. We have about 400 homes in Fairway Springs and a few old grumps that try to rule the neighborhood. How would they feel if someone sued them and forced them to live with the hardship and expense of a garbage lawsuit. Of all the stupid things to go to court for. We can't believe any judge in his right mind can take this seriously. We can hope the judge sees fit to reprimand these petty dictators for their actions. This is not their private country club.

And the lawyer representing this association coached our grandson in basketball at a private Christian school at the same time he filed suit against our son for providing his son with the same thing a coach is supposed to promote. 'Atta way, coach. What has our world come to? Our dues are paying this guy to harm our son and his family. Our association has about $100,000 in the bank. Are there any facilities for kids? No, and none planned. Have these "nickel millionaires" that rule Fairway Springs forgotten they were kids, maybe had children or grandchildren? They could take lessons in honesty from children. Set up a scholarship fund for the kids in the neighborhood. Don't throw our money to lawyers. Do something constructive.

Victor and Anna Popescu

New Port Richey

Mother sends thanks

for director's leadership

Editor: I would like to take this opportunity to publicly thank Annette Grieve, band director at Bayonet Point Middle School. Last night was the symphonic band's last concert and all the students, including my daughter, will be going to high school next year.

Anyone who missed this concert not only missed such great songs as Phantom of the Opera and Orpheus Overture, for which the band received a superior rating in Tampa, but they missed the pride in the students' faces, the confidence they have learned through this instructor. Also, they missed seeing the plain FUN from this band director as she steps up to the podium and directs with such zeal. You can tell this is her love and passion.

So, the next time someone says to you our educational system is going to the dogs and where are those special teachers willing to go the extra mile, I know where one is. At the back of the school, in a small band room, next to the gym at Bayonet Point Middle School.

Annette, thank you for all you've done for my daughter and all the other band students!

Mrs. David L. Quillen,

Port Richey

Animal rescue is a link

that needs to survive

Editor: With the ever steady encroachment upon our county's wildlife population, I urge all of our residents to take a few moments out of their busy day and take a look at a very small, very young organization in our midst _ Animal Rescue of West Pasco.

Two years ago, a young couple came to Pasco County to create a home for themselves, their three children and any and all injured, distressed and misunderstood wildlife that needed them.

On an average day in their home, they arise, eat, get their oldest son off to elementary school. Then they begin feeding, cleaning and treating a wide variety of some of the most beautiful creatures this area has to offer.

What does it take to care for an ailing rat snake, a doe trapped in an enclosed area then chased and beaten with a hammer, an owl with a concussion, a group of 15 infant opossums, or a bobcat? How do you treat a broken leg on an adult raccoon, the broken wing on a Red Tail Hawk or a Blue Heron who, while eating on the neighborhood golf course, was hit in the head by a bad slice? Whom do you call when you have a dangerous situation with a rattlesnake that's infringing on your privacy, and what about those raccoons? What a nerve getting into your garbage and making your dog bark! It's not your fault you fed them because they're cute and now they won't go away. And those armadillos, they keep digging for food in your sod on your territory! Honestly, what's a person to do?

So you start calling all those animal organizations in the phone book and end up with Animal Rescue. Finally. But wait, they want a donation to help with this nuisance. Can you believe this? It's not my animal, I just want it gone now! I'll just shoot it, no, I'll dump it some place else ... yeah, that's easier. Well, what it takes is money. Money helps the family of five feed the family of wildlife in their care. It buys the food, medical supplies and pays for medical treatment. This couple's knowledge, willingness and love for our wildlife does the rest.

Recently, a generous donation was used to build the steps for their new facility on Hays Road. Still needed are building materials, supplies, volunteers who can physically assist in the construction of cages, and of course, money. Setting up the compound has been a long and costly endeavor. They have been working on relocation since September of 1990.

Last week the rehabilitated owl, hawk and a carrier full of ready, willing and able opossums were turned back into their natural environment. Far away from the cars that hit them when they cross the road, the litter and fish lines they get tangled in, and the noise and pollution of mankind's ever-growing needs. The owl took to a nearby tree, the hawk soared off to instinctively scout out his new territory and the opossums waddled away to start their new life. All these young people of Animal Rescue can say is bye. They know they can't change things by themselves, but they can help these animals. So they reload the cages, the beeper on her belt goes off, and the task of helping more begins again.

Our wildlife is a precious gift, and besides their natural beauty and grace, they are a vital link in the balance of our natural environment. Unfortunately, our environment of fresh air, pure water and wide open spaces we remember as children are dwindling fast and with it our red tail hawks, eagles, bobcats, panthers and more. Animal Rescue of West Pasco is a vital necessity to our community, and I hope all those who read this will spare a little pocket change, and a little time to invest in their future here in Pasco County.

Patricia Honour,

Spring Hill

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