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Crystal River has sense to stick to building rules

Editor: It is quite understandable when we, of lesser intelligence, say and do some dumb things. But when people of supposedly high intelligence and financial affluence do the same, it borders on stupidity.

The majority of the residents in Crystal River strongly support keeping their city small and beautiful. We have convinced our city councils of the importance of codes and zoning to preserve our uniqueness and the necessity to follow our rules. This is called democracy.

Even those of us who are not rocket scientists realize that variances can be an attempt to circumvent our goals. Variances can still be granted for hardships and minor flexibility when they make sense.

Thank goodness the Crystal River City Council and planning board have enough common sense to differentiate between the two. Preferential treatment and special interests should be made a thing of the past.

To publicly criticize the intelligence of our City Council when one tries to bend the rules and fails seems childish at best.

I don't have the financial resources or ambition to proceed in the hotel business, but I do know a little about real estate ventures. You must research your options and then follow the intent of the zoning. Before designing or applying for a 68-foot building, soil bearing tests would sure sound like an intelligent first step to me.

Not only dumb people wind up in our institutions. Corporate heads, financiers and the mighty get carried away. This is called greed.

Phil Jannarone, Crystal River

Annexation veto gives hope

Editor: The words economy and ecology have the Greek root "ecos," which means "home." Citrus County seems to have understood that the economy of the county depends on its ecology.

Congratulations to the three members of the Crystal River City Council who also have an inkling that the precious wetlands of the county may be more valuable than a Wal-Mart supercenter or the South Carolina-based Realticorp's planned residential and commercial development.

A free and independent press provides a bulwark in a democratic society. The Citrus edition of the St. Petersburg Times is to be commended for providing coverage of the controversial proposed annexation of acreage south of Crystal River. This topic is of vital interest to the people of Crystal River, of Citrus County and to all who are concerned about what happens to the natural treasures of Florida.

Thanks must also go to the Diocese of St. Petersburg, which will not sell a strip of land belonging to St. Benedict's Catholic Church. This land was to be used for an access road to the proposed supercenter.

There is hope for our democratic form of government and for the protection of our precious ecology when we have a free press, informed citizens and a will to do the right thing.

Margaret Longhill, Dunnellon

Red Hat rebels with a cause

Editor: Re: Red Hat Society: More to it than meets the eye, Sunday letter, Citrus Times.

It is so sad that this dear lady, Bonnie Peterson, queen mother of the Inverness Red Hat chapter, the Wet & Wild Water Lilies, felt obligated to write a letter to the editor in rebuttal to all those unreasonable and unfair complainers out there who called in to the Sound Off column in the Citrus County Chronicle, criticizing the Red Hat Society so bitterly.

I am a proud and happy member of this organization and belong to the Chronologically Superior Red Hats, whose queen mother resides in Pine Ridge. While it is true that the purpose of our chapter and of this organization as a whole is to enjoy camaraderie in a different restaurant each month, we are not just a bunch of frivolous ne'er-do-wells who parade around foolishly and ridiculously in stupid and outlandish costumes, thereby spoiling the atmospheric beauty of wherever we happen to be, both indoors and out.

We are an organization with a purpose, and our goal is to send a message to the world around us that we do not subscribe to the theory that everyone has to be "in style" with the rest of the population, that we have our own style and that we just want to be ourselves, go out and have a good time. We are not committing any crimes and are not guilty of any lewd and lascivious behavior either by our dress code or our actions. We just reserve the right to be different in our appearance and to have created our own style of beauty and fashion.

As Mrs. Peterson pointed out, we volunteer thousands of hours cumulatively for the many nonprofit organizations and worthy community causes in Citrus County. We are also caretakers of our families and are survivors of cancer and many other diseases that strike all of us as we get older. We feel that we have reached an age when we do not have to answer to the self-appointed fashion consultants in the general population 100 percent of the time. We feel that at least once a month, we have earned the right to come together and enjoy one another's company as friends who think and feel alike regarding many different aspects of our existence in this world without posing any threat to others who do not happen to share our feelings, opinions and outlooks on life and its many pleasures as well as challenges.

As many of you may know, the Red Hat Society was inspired by a poem written by Jenny Joseph, called Warning, whose key line is, "When I am an old woman, I shall wear purple, with a red hat which doesn't go."

If by the time we reach our golden years, or are merely approaching them, we cannot toss aside all the meaningless and unessential rules of the fashion industry, and just relax and enjoy life in whatever makes us happy and comfortable for at least two or three hours a month, then what's the use?

Dena Meyers, Crystal River

Behavior contemptible at best

Editor's note: The following letter was sent to Winston Perry, former president of the New Inverness Olde Towne Association, and is reprinted here at the author's request:

I can only assume that your profession of love for the city of Inverness is in response to the statement of council member Dick Kaufman at the Oct. 21 City Council meeting when he keenly observed and said, "Mr. Perry is not a friend of the city of Inverness." I can assure you, Mr. Perry, that Dick Kaufman is not a prophet but a keen observer of human behavior and condition.

In my humble opinion, your behavior is contemptible at best. As for your condition, I leave that evaluation to a professional.

I can assure you, sir, that prior to your arrival in our city and since there have been many others who have invested time, money and effort in downtown Inverness with far less fanfare and controversy.

I would suggest that the ultimate orchestration by you through the Olde Towne Association has been dissension, disruption and decay, resulting in single membership in the association. Okay, membership of possibly three, you, your wife and a friend.

You have on many occasions referred to yourself as a significant taxpayer to the city of Inverness. I will suggest that even with what you own in the city, there are homeowners who pay more taxes to this city.

As for your interpretation of city budget and finances, bull. Mr. Perry, your rejection of prayer on your behalf surprises no one, least of all council president Jacquie Hepfer. You speak of an incident of what you called trespass as being spun out of control by the city. With all due respect, spin is your forte. Your spin to the residents of this city is like a ballet, constant pirouettes.

My wife and I love Inverness, too, Mr. Perry. We have for 30 years.

Michael Pitts, Inverness

An Olde Towne parting note

Editor: I am pleased to announce that as of today (Monday), I am resigning as president of the Inverness Olde Towne Association and, as stated in your newspaper, Fred Sell has agreed to run the organization. As soon as possible, I will be turning over all of the association's records to him for his use.

If requested, I will gladly help Mr. Sell in all of his future endeavors with the organization and wish him well.

Winston Perry, Homosassa

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