1. Archive

Bingo helps the community

Editor: I commend the two letters I read recently by Sylvia R. Mahalic on June 6 and by Commander William Mitchel Graham of VFW Post 7631 on June 11 regarding their views of the Pasco County bingo ordinance dealing with small charitable organizations such as VFW, American Legion, DAV, etc.

With all the crimes in the area, it is a shame Pasco County must break up the brotherhood, friendship and good works these small organizations are trying to do through these small bingo games once or twice a week. How can government ask us to get back to family when government won't even let us be friendly neighbors? This same government that prints on all its monetary units "In God We Trust" took prayers out of schools. How can we teach our children the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and what it means when the government for which it stands allows it to be burned? How can government send its men and women into battle to fight, die or be maimed or lost the rest of their lives for a police action (Korea) God knows what (Vietnam) and oil (Persian Gulf)? And if they are lucky enough to come back, this government, in cutbacks, takes away things the Bill of Rights has given them.

They join organizations such as VFW, American Legion, and DAV (which get no government funding) to be able to help others less fortunate in some small way, then in steps local government (Pasco County) to tell them they cannot even do that? What is wrong with this picture?

"He is not heavy, he is my brother." Please allow us to be there for him.

I am the widow of a veteran, the mother of three veterans, one of whom served 20 years in the service of his country. I implore you, Pasco County, if you can't help us to do the small biddings that these small bingo games allow us to do, then please, don't hinder us. Surely there is another bigger and better bandwagon you could climb on. Get off the veterans' backs and get back to "of the people, for the people and by the people."

Veterans are people, too. They were there when we needed them, and thank God they were.

Mary A. League,

past president and senior vice president,

Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 7631, Hudson

We could have saved Jerry Ross

Editor: After reading several articles in your newspaper concerning Jerry Ross, the convicted felon who was recently sentenced to life in prison for his felony convictions, I thought the public should be made aware of some reasons why Jerry may have ended up in this situation.

About 10 years ago, while coaching soccer in West Pasco, the director of the league told me I was getting a new player on my team. This player was Jerry Ross, was not wanted by any other team or coach, and was considered a real problem. He was considerably bigger than the other players in the under-12-year-old division, was intimidating, disruptive and disrespectful, both at home and in school.

After a few practices and spending some time talking to Jerry, I was able to make him understand that he was part of my team, and on my team I demanded discipline, respect and loyalty to me, as well as his teammates. I also explained that this respect should first be extended at home to his parents, and also in school toward his teachers.

For the next two seasons, Jerry stayed involved in soccer, his mother with him at all his games, and although there were times that Jerry acted unruly or said something that was disrespectful without using his brain, he began to show me he was really trying to change and wanted to be accepted by his peers.

The message I am trying to relay is that there are many parents experiencing similar behavior problems with their 10- to 12-year-olds. We as parents, adults, teachers, coaches and professional people involved in a child's life are responsible for their problems and must do our part to keep our children involved in school, sports, church, club and other community activities.

We should make every attempt to spend the precious time with our children they so desperately need. We should talk with our children on a daily basis, making them aware of the evils that they could be confronted with. And most of all, we should demand the same discipline and respect from our children that our parents demanded from us. The help is out there, but it is only going to work on our children if we make the effort.

Jerry could have been saved if everyone concerned had done his job.

Peter Graffagnino,

Port Richey

Pain of teen suicide reaches far

Editor: I would like to comment on A Teen's Death, written by Bill Stevens on June 14. I glanced over the obituary columns last week and noticed the age of a young girl who died. I wondered what terrible sickness had gotten hold of her or if an accident had ended her young life. Or maybe the young girl didn't see any other way out of her problems, whatever they may have been. I pondered over the suicide of my daughter's best friend three years ago and felt such sadness for this girl. I wondered what could have gone so wrong in her life _ or made her perceive it that way _ that she would commit such a desperate act.

My daughter's friend had been at my house a few months before she ended her life; she was attending my daughter's birthday slumber party. I have felt such terrible guilt thinking that perhaps had I looked through all the party trappings and happiness that night into this young girl's mind, this tragedy might have been prevented. Possibly other people might have felt this way, but I think you have to have experienced it yourself to really understand.

I'm a 36-year-old woman with a husband and three kids, one of whom is 15 years old. I'm grateful that none of my three attempted suicide.

I feel for the family of this 15-year-old girl in West Pasco. This is a very tragic time in their lives, and my heart goes out to them in their sorrow.

I hope any teen reading this who is contemplating suicide will reach out before it is too late. Things do get better!

Darlene Meyers,


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