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Thanks to everyone for a smooth, fair election

Editor: I would like to personally thank everyone in Citrus County who helped make the election cycle 2002 a success.

Conducting elections today is extremely complex. The success or failure is in the endless details. The full-time staff at the elections office is hard-working and dedicated to every aspect of a fair and honest election process. I thoroughly enjoy working with each and every one of them and appreciate their dedication.

More than 500 people are hired to handle not only the polls on Election Day, but also the administration of absentee ballots, supervised voting, preparation of supplies for the polls, the delivery of equipment, election setup and training. The Sheriff's Office assists by training poll deputies and providing traffic control at the polls and election night support.

Various county departments are there to assist us in any way they can. This can range from facilities maintenance providing last minute details of setting up a generator, building ramps or helping set up precincts to providing lighting. The information technology department is on standby to assist if any technical problems arise and to assist with the Internet on election night. We truly receive the utmost cooperation from other county departments and offices.

Voters are an important part of a successful election. Our Citrus County voters are for the most part dedicated to doing their part to help with the election process. Many voters voted early. Actually many more than anticipated. The total number of early/absentee voters was 12,181, or 23 percent of the voters who voted. Early voters had to be patient while waiting to vote. We will increase staffing for the 2004 presidential election expecting an even larger number of early and absentee voters.

Many voters arrived at the polls with their completed sample ballot. Completion of the sample ballot ahead of time reduced the time a voter had to be in the voter booth and, therefore, reduced the lines. Voters made a point of finding out where they should vote.

Again, I thank everyone who in any way participated in the 2002 election cycle. It takes many people working and planning all year long to conduct elections. Elections remind me of Thanksgiving dinner . . . the many days and hours of preparation, the seemingly quick dinner and the massive cleanup afterward.

This Thanksgiving I will be giving thanks for everyone who did their part to see that Citrus County conducted fair and honest elections. Thanks for Citrus County and the United States of America where we can make freedom count by voting.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Susan Gill, Supervisor of Elections

Proud of our Veterans Day celebration

Editor: I was a judge in the Veterans Day parade in Inverness. It was just like a Norman Rockwell painting.

Loved every moment. Saw so many of our officials, the veterans, the bands (they were wonderful). Both Republicans and Democrats were there.

Good ol' Abe would have been proud.

Ruth Anderson, HomosassaMaintaining the symbol of patriotism

Editor: We removed the American flags along U.S. 19 and State Road 44 in Crystal River during the weekend of Nov. 16 and are separating those that are not damaged, those that can be repaired and those that must be destroyed.

Torn and unsalvageable flags will be destroyed in accordance with the U.S. Flag Code. We welcome any "Betsy Rosses" who will volunteer to mend any flags with minor damage. All salvageable flags will be dry cleaned. This cleaning procedure is allowed by the U.S. Flag Code.

Flags will be remounted in early May, taken down at the end of August and flown again in November, in honor of our veterans. We have determined that our flags will not withstand a year of sun, wind and vehicle exhausts, thus the reason for limited flying of our flags.

Initial inspection indicates that only a few flags can be saved. I will launch a flag fund drive after the new year and hope that a good number of citizens, organizations, schools and commercial enterprises will support us with donations. I hope to get everyone involved in this patriotic endeavor.

Bud Kramer, Crystal River

Crystal River Flag Fund chairman

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