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Ouster of fire chief is loss to residents of Tri-Community area

Editor: I witnessed an incredible act of backwoods politics at the Tri-Community Fire Association in Lacoochee where a special meeting was called.

I have been attending the regular meetings for close to a year. The turnout from the community is usually an average of five to seven individuals. However, on this night, the room was full for the special meeting; full of friends and relatives of one person who is on the board. This special meeting was called to clear up questions, which this individual wanted answered regarding different actions by the chief.

Every question that was asked was answered successfully and accompanied by documentation. I saw nothing out of line. Furthermore, every action was backed by previous meetings that were documented in the minutes.

But they didn't stop. Near the end of the meeting, the chief finally had enough and walked out shouting what they can do with their fire department. One individual attempted to physically assault the chief and was held back by another. There was screaming and hollering. I swear if they had a rope and more nerve, the chief would have been hung from the nearest tree! Another volunteer they didn't like was banned from driving the fire trucks with no valid reason provided.

As a property owner in this area I hold a great deal of concern for myself as well as the others in this community. The individuals I witnessed left to respond to our emergency needs are either not qualified or not available to make the calls. Where does this lead us?

We will be relying on the mutual aid of Dade City to assist. When you call 911 for help, dispatch sends two signals to Tri-Community Fire Department to respond. If no response is made then Dade City is signaled to assist. This means there is a six- to eight-minute minimum before Dade City is even asked to respond to the 911 calls.

It is a real shame. Not only is this entire situation barbaric in nature, it is a great loss to our community to lose the fire chief. After he left the meeting, he was voted out of his position. I witnessed the chief make a lot of progress for the department from increasing the funds received by association dues to praising volunteers. He was behind the upgrade of equipment as well as repairing existing equipment. He even reached out to find help for people who suffered unexpected tragedies. Our community will miss him.

I carry my future concerns to fellow property owners in the Tri-Community area and hope none of us suffers a tragedy that will not be responded to by our own local resources.

Susan Duffy, Dade City

Sand-filled potholes create a mess

Editor: We all would like to know who filled the potholes on Harding Drive and several other streets with sand.

Didn't they know that the first rain would wash it out? Now we need a street cleaner to clean the mess.

Dorothy Dixon, Port Richey

Anclote lighthouse should be restored

Re: Anclote lighthouse needs tender loving care, July 15 letter.

Editor: Thank you for printing the letter in regard to the lighthouse at Anclote Key.

As a visitor to your area my husband and myself have often wondered why the locals have not come together to see this beautiful old lighthouse at Anclote Key restored.

God bless you Gina Austin for being a voice to see something done. Sometimes we just take things for granted thinking someone else will get the action needed. Maybe your letter will be a start. Maybe a grass-roots organization?

Ginger Marshall, Louisville, Tenn.

What's with this paving assessment?

Re: New Port Richey paving assessment.

Editor: I am informed that item 24 of the city of New Port Richey 1999-2000 street assessment program is a state code. Please show me the state code.

Of the 38 "shade trees" that are to be planted, how many of the residents want them? Will the trees be planted on private property or public property? If the trees are to be planted on private property, do you have written permission from the property owners to plant these trees?

What is meant by "relocate existing stop signs?" Does it mean that the stop signs are to be relocated or taken out of their original spot and replaced?

"Remove and replace driveway." Does this mean 290 driveways are to be replaced?

Speed tables. As stated in the past, these glorified speed bumps will not slow down traffic. Why does the city insist they be placed? They will be more of a hazard than a safety feature.

Why is Tanglewood 1 and 2 the only area designated for speed tables? Will there be any plans in the future to add other speed tables throughout the city?

Why do the citizens have to pay over $5,300 for traffic control when we have our own police department?

Why is the city insisting the citizens and taxpayers of Tanglewood 1 and 2 pay for this project when the city has already designated a blighted area, approved by the CRA and next year we could receive grants to pay for the projects in their entirety?

Why are we subsidizing Pasco County via the New Port Richey City Council for the repair and maintenance of a road (High Street) that leads to a municipal building?

Isn't it bad enough that Mr. Altman put us in the financial position that we are in now? We are paying through the nose for his grandiose desires. Must we now pay through the tush because he wants the city to pay for a county bill?

Justin Billings, New Port Richey

Editor's note: Tuesday night, the City Council removed the speed bumps, trees and lighting from the project and agreed to pay for sidewalks, plus 38 percent of the remaining costs.

State wrong to support tobacco industry

Editor: It was like a ray of hope to read that local teens were going to protest Gov. Bush's decision to invest state pension funds in the tobacco industry. It was a real disappointment to learn that the protest was not supported by the Health Department.

I think the teens have learned that politics is a battlefield and for many money is the prize. Now is the time to fight. The state may tell you where you cannot meet, but it cannot control your voice or your pen. You may even rouse some older, influential citizens who know you are right, but have given in to cynicism.

Gov. Bush made a bad decision to invest pension funds in the tobacco industry. It not only will cause health problems, but can be seen as contributing to the delinquency of minors.

Any money that supports the tobacco industry supports advertising which influences children and assures that cigarettes will be in their possession.

Doris Lee, New Port Richey

Pet aid agency needs volunteers

Editor: I volunteer for the puppy and kitty hotline and rescue at Pet Aid Service Society (PASS) of Pasco County. It has turned into a full-time job. The need is so great in our community, it is overwhelming. Just when I think I've seen or heard it all, another call will come in that's worse than the last one.

Abandonment and abuse are against the law. If you know someone who has dumped their pet or is poisoning or torturing animals, call and report them. Contact police, Animal Control at (727) 834-3216 or PASS at (727) 817-1812 and we will get in touch with the proper authorities.

The PASS It On thrift store is at 945 U.S. 19 in Embassy Plaza, across from the mall in Port Richey. Money generated from the store goes to the rescue and care of animals. We need volunteers, foster homes, pet food and donations.

Susan Steffey, Hudson

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