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Chamber clarifies VFW issue

Editor: Regarding the recent letter to the editor from the Floral City Veterans of Foreign Wars commander, which indicated the Chamber of Commerce did not like the image presented to them to sell poppies at the Strawberry Festival. I feel I must clarify our position.

First, never was it suggested by our executive director that the VFW selling poppies was a negative image. We all have been accustomed to purchasing poppies from veterans in shopping centers and other public places for many years.

The success of that program and its acceptance by our community should speak quite clearly that this is not a negative endeavor, but a positive one we all support.

The real issue is very defined: Do we, as the Chamber of Commerce and the sponsor of the Strawberry Festival, which happens to attract thousands of people, permit certain worthwhile organizations to promote and/or sell their fund-raising products and/or services? And if we do, just how are we to define which of the many organizations should be granted this privilege?

Please keep in mind, the veterans and many other organizations do a wonderful job for our community and the causes they represent. Secondly, should the citizens who pay admission to the festival be subjected to various organizations and their people soliciting donations for various purposes?

The festival committees tries very hard to rent booth space on an equitable basis. However, there is only so much room available. Those vendors who are successful in getting space should be the only ones permitted to market their goods and/or services, because, after all, they paid for this privilege.

Therefore, the fact that we do not have an open-door policy to every worthwhile organization should not be perceived to mean that we view them in a negative manner.

Charles E. Davis, president

Citrus County Chamber of Commerce

Keep EMS and disposal of

waste out of private hands

Editor: I agree with the Times Feb. 18 editorial urging the county to back off from privatizing our emergency rescue services and the handling and disposing of solid waste and hazardous materials.

Of the two, dumping the dump into the hands of those who are profit-minded is much more threatening to our long-term economic and health interests.

Making a profit always will be the uppermost consideration of those operating a private business. We can always revert back to a public-operated emergency rescue service, but never recover if our water supply is fouled, which it will be if there isn't strict observance and enforcement of federal and state mandates for disposing waste materials at the landfill.

Jim Noone

Inverness

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Send your letter to Citrus Times, 3822 E Gulf to Lake Highway, Inverness, FL 34453.

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