Editor: As a parent of two school age children, I was relieved to read Dr. John Long's comment that "the district remains commited to athletics, even in tough times."
Athletics are so important to so many children. Participating in sports builds confidence, promotes health and fitness, fosters a sense of teamwork, and gives kids the opportunity to obtain financial help in college. But perhaps the most important benefit of school athletic participation is that it offers the kids a sense of belonging at a time when kids need it most.
I agree with Dr. Long when he says that he doesn't believe the new fees will reduce athletic participation. Although I am not thrilled at the prospect of paying up to $160 more in athletic fees next year, I will not let those fees preclude my kids from trying out for several school teams.
However, I am very concerned that the cuts to athletic programs are not finished yet. I appreciate that these are lean financial times, but it seems to me that athletics already have faced significant cuts. My concern stems for a recent St. Petersburg Times article stating the possibility of the complete elimination of several junior varsity and middle school teams, including middle school soccer.
I beg the School Board to leave these programs intact. Cut the playing schedule, charge students an additional fee to play, bring in community sponsorships, or maybe even use some of the FCAT incentive money that is reported to be the cause of these additional cuts, but please don't take away entire athletic programs.
New Port Richey
Embassy Hills will not miss civic association
Editor: Regarding the closing of the Embassy Hills Civic Association:
Well, well, the Embassy Hills Civic Association is closing, not a great loss to Embassy Hills. For the 17 years I have lived here I can't really say I saw the association do much for the community except have a Rose Club and Organ Club.
They switched to day meetings a couple of years ago and then had the stupidity to wonder why no younger families are involved.
HELLO!! We are working. They said they tried the night meeting for two months and it didn't help. Wow, a whole two months.
I had the displeasure of trying to speak with the current president, Wanda Stickler, but since I am not a member of the Embassy Hills social _ I mean civic _ club, she hung up on me, saying, "If you're not a member, I have nothing to discuss with you." Great leadership there.
Embassy has changed from a retirement community to an area filled with families. Has the civic association ever tried to get a neighborhood park put here for the kids? No.
Two years ago there were over 650 people in the hall to protest the attempt to put low-cost housing in this area, even though there is such housing about 1 mile away.
At that meeting several speakers rose to ask about evening meetings. Oh, I forgot; they did try two such meetings. The entrance to the subdivision (once you get past the apartments) is a disgrace; grass can't get much higher. The streets are literally falling apart; ditto for the sidewalks. Some houses have so much junk next to them you think the county would rezone so it could legally be a dump. And let's not forget about the cars parked all over the lawns. Yes, the Embassy Hills Civic Association is really working for the community. That is one big joke.
What has the association done to apply pressure to finish Embassy Hills Boulevard repaving? It's a safety hazard, especially at night, and when it's raining. The association leaders boast about the power of the association. What power? Look around and see a once-viable community on its way down.
If the association at least addressed some of the complaints, there would be support. And if association members would join the 21st century and leave the past, they would get even more. We need our streets fixed, our sidewalks fixed, at least one neighborhood park, lots cleaned up, code violators addressed and a responsive group of leaders.
I guess as long as some clubs are still up and running, all is well in Embassy Hills.
Maybe if we the concerned residents are lucky we'll get a real organization here to stand up for Embassy Hills, like a homeowners association with leaders not afraid to see that our area doesn't go down any further.
Count me in, but no clubs, just concerned citizens working for the community.
Pasco really should recycle newspapers
Editor: I recently moved to Pasco County from Orange County and was surprised to find that Pasco does not recycle newspapers.
It seems like such a waste and no help for the environment!
Orange County supplies permanent plastic containers, one for newspapers, the other for bottles, cans, etc., that are collected once a week.
It seems that Pasco County could certainly afford to do the same.
It states in your column of July 1 (headline: County: doldrums, shmoldrums) that there is $14-million of additional revenue this year.
The blue bag recycle plan is a ripoff to the resident.
New Port Richey