1. Archive

Instrument named in article was Autoharp, not dulcimer

Editor: Re: the Dulcimer vs. the Autoharp.

I was born in Matewan, Mingo County, W.Va., and appreciate "mountain music" and anyone interested in it.

I read with great interest the article by Roxie Smith, Times (Oct. 1, 1992) and her overwhelming love at first sound of the dulcimer, a natural reaction for anyone who appreciates the good music of the mountains.

I would like to make one small correction to the article.

The instrument shown in Ms. Smith's article is not a dulcimer, but indeed an Autoharp _ one of which I have today in my home that belonged to my father in the 1920s.

The Autoharp was best known when played by Mother Maybelle Carter of the Singing Carter family of radio fame in its heyday. The late Mother Maybelle was the mother of June Carter Cash, wife of country singer Johnny Cash.

The lap dulcimer is an instrument _ with four, sometimes five, strings _ another version of the dulcimer is known as the hammered dulcimer, with additional strings and played with two small batons.

Jack S. Stone, New Port Richey

Voters deserve answers on salaries

Editor: For the record, the Teamsters are not the first union to represent the firefighters and paramedics in Pasco County. The IAFF was voted out with the famous words "TRUST US." That trust netted personnel raises as low as 0.5 percent while our commissioners received a 39 percent pay increase. The Teamsters were then voted in, and the county responded in good faith by hiring a Miami-based lawyer to fight the union that has cost the taxpayer thousands of dollars, installing a pay system that is very difficult to figure out and raising health insurance to its current $263 per month out-of-pocket for the employees.

Since 1982, we have watched Pasco County grow from 97,000 people to nearly 300,000 while the ambulances have increased from seven full-time units to between 10 and 11, depending on personnel available. This same period has seen commissioners' salaries rise from $12,500 to $40,000 plus per year. A county administrator has been added at $98,000 plus per year who recently streamlined the government by adding five assistants to his assistant county administrator. This allows his assistant to be reclassified and thus be able to obtain a raise when he was topped out.

Pasco contends that it cannot give its firefighters a pay raise due to the tax base lost to Magnolia Valley and Land O'Lakes VFD. It clearly points out, though, that it could afford to pay $361,390 to Sylvia Young's district for Dade City and Zephyrhills to supply fire protection for unincorporated areas, as per the published budget.

The other point always made is that Pasco has plenty of applications for employment. It is true according to the county's own statement in the paper that 46 of the 76 applicants meet the standards set forth by Pasco, but nowhere does it say that any of these applicants are paramedics. Ambulances have two personnel, and firetrucks between two and three personnel, depending on manning. This means that the entire west side of Pasco County is protected by 22 to 28 personnel, up to five of whom are paramedics. Are rookies good enough for you?

Dan Johnson has stated that there has not been an exodus by senior personnel from Pasco and that people should simply advance if they want a raise. Shifts of two days on and one day off would dispute that until a change in their overtime policy. Also he would have to create 200 chiefs positions to allow for raises to be fair.

These are simply issues that you the voter need to be aware of. It's you the voter that needs the answers to these issues to ensure that as has been stated before, "The most dedicated well-trained personnel in Florida" are treated fairly.

Richard D. Wilke, Hudson

Coverage downplayed life chain

Editor: On Oct. 4, approximately 1-million men and women stood along the major highways of the United States and Canada, each person holding a sign, "Abortion Kills Children." Almost 150,000 took part in Florida. The Tampa Bay area had the largest in the nation, with 30,000 in Pinellas, 10,000 in Hillsborough, 10,000 in Polk, 5,000 in Pasco, and I am not even quoting Citrus, Sarasota and Hernando.

On Monday, the day after the "life chain," two pictures appeared in the Times showing a few people walking away and going home. One picture was very poor in clarity. I saw the photographer take the picture at 3 p.m., just as the life chain was breaking up. The Times deliberately downplayed the 1-million plus event by the manner in which these pictures were presented.

It is outrageous that a paper the size of the Times, which claims to be professional, accurate and willing to tell the truth, would totally ignore the potential market of all those customers. Doesn't it occur to the owner that these are the ones who buy your paper? The unprofessional photo, the inaccurate and incomplete story was unforgivable. This is not the first time this has happened.

The next day, the Times tried to cover its mistake by writing a story, with statistics this time. A little late, and the Pasco residents were still ignored, when the reporter stated that the chain went up to the Pinellas-Pasco line. It did not stop. It continued for 20 miles.

Whenever people come out in support of life, the Times has a tendency to ignore or minimize the event. If five protesters who favor abortion do something, they get great coverage. One more point. We insist on being called pro-life, not anti-abortionists. If you can call the other side "pro-choice," you could call us the title we wish to be known by, "pro-life."

Helen Tully, New Port Richey

Reader: Abortion stories show bias

Editor: On Oct. 4, a major event occurred on U.S. 19. In West Pasco County, thousands of people from every race, religion, color and creed joined together to display their stand against abortion. We were astounded how the St. Petersburg Times handled the event. You deliberately published a photo that was taken as the life chain was ending that showed only a small handful of people as they were leaving. You neglected to report any of the facts that many thousands attended or that the line of people stretched for numerous miles.

The public knows that the Times is pro-choice as evidenced by past articles and editorials. It is very troubling that you choose to slant and censor news you don't like. Please stop the bias and yellow journalism and report the news as it really happens.

Eugene Lisa Obenreder, Hudson