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Inmates are helpful as residents get sandbags

Re: Make inmates fill sandbags, Sept. 17 letter

Editor: While a member of the community was at Pasco County Utilities right before Ivan, obviously she wasn't there before Frances. I was. I arrived at the records center, which is right next door to where inmates were filling sandbags. I did my business that I had to do (an hour's worth), then promptly got in a line of about 12 to 15 cars. While I was in line, it continued to grow.

When I finally arrived at the sandpile (30 minutes later), I was directed where to park by a county worker. Then I was greeted by two inmates, one which scooped sand while the other held the bag. Then they tossed it my way, I tied the bags and the inmate who held the bags loaded the full bags.

I was not the only person I saw them do this for. I was one of at least 100 or so. I understand the letter writer's frustration and disappointment, especially for the elderly. If I were there with my sons, we would have helped you and others. Inmates can only do what they are told to do.

While the inmates were standing around, some loading a flatbed truck, did you ever think that maybe they were staring because they would have liked to have had been over there helping? Do you think a county worker (not law enforcement) would really know why the inmates weren't out there?

It is also my belief that they should work around our community because it is also my hard-earned money that feeds and shelters them. On the other hand, lighten up a little because I have profited from their work.

Karen Bilecz, New Port Richey

Only Saddlebrook will benefit from complex

Editor: As I have stated about the so-called tennis complex when it was being discussed, it will cost more than $5.6-million.

The only one to benefit from this would be the owner and manager of Saddlebrook. There are not enough tennis enthusiasts to attend the matches.

Bardmoor, which had a tennis complex, had some of the top stars _ Martina Navratilova and Chris Evert _ and did not fill up the seating capacity there.

It seems we never learn that the commissioners cannot see the forest for the trees.

Andy Antunez, Hudson

School's overreaction has sullied teen's year

Editor: My grandson, Mike Galizia, is a Ridgewood student who was suspended from school and football for a supposed rule violation. Mike was attending the homecoming dance when several people were pulled off the floor by a faculty member because liquor had been smelled. Mike was one of the group. He had not been drinking, yet he was sent home.

He was to bring a parent to school with him Monday. He told his dad not to take off work because it was a misunderstanding that he was sure would be cleared up. He was stunned to be suspended from school and miss four football games of his senior season. No attention was paid to his claims of innocence and the statements of others that he had not been drinking. The charges were based on association and assumption of guilt.

As a Ridgewood student, Mike has always represented the school in a positive way and has never been in any trouble. He has also worked very hard to become a good football player and was hoping during his senior season to achieve success for his team and reach personal goals. To deprive him of this opportunity is very wrong.

He is devastated by this situation and though his family will fight to prove his innocence, his senior year is permanently sullied. What a pity this has happened to such a fine young man.

Joyce Lee, Palm Harbor