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Citrus should know who helped big after Frances

The following is an open letter to the residents of Citrus County. It is being published at the author's request.

When the flowchart "reality" of the official agencies became dysfunctional in providing ice and drinking water for the citizens of Marion, Levy and Citrus counties following Hurricane Frances, several private companies did not hesitate in responding to my request for assistance. Those firms need to be recognized, so you know where to devote your consumer dollars.

+ Anheuser-Busch immediately committed five refrigerator trucks for ice hauling and refused my offer to pay for them;

+ Wal-Mart, although already devoting over $1-million to the relief effort, committed what water supplies they could find in the Southeast to our area;

+ Publix, within 20 minutes of my request, committed two refrigerator trucks to hauling ice and water to Marion, Citrus and Levy;

+ SMG of Crystal River put two flatbeds at my disposal to go "anywhere in the state" to pick up basic necessities.

These efforts, of course are in addition to those of a myriad of other firms, including Winn-Dixie, Home Depot, etc. But to the extent that Anheuser-Busch, Wal-Mart, Publix and SMG picked up the slack, they deserve our heartfelt thanks and appreciation.

State Sen. Nancy Argenziano

Dunnellon, Senate District 10

Politics is supposed to be verbal combat

Editor: Americans have always been known to fight for what they want. Whereas, it is a distinct trait of the European culture to submit to domination, to be drones to a self-appointed superior class.

Modern combat for leadership is held during the political campaign season with the victor decided at the voting booth. Personally, the more blood spilled (metaphorically), the better. Americans love a principled brawl, free of political sensitivities (correctness).

We are a warrior society cloaked by diplomatic niceties. We pretend to be shocked by each scandal, but revel in the details. If candidates can't stand up to the challenge of campaigning, why would we want them to represent us?

Note to sponsors of candidates' night debates: Ho, Hum. If this is the public being enticed to forgo apathy, it has resulted in the opposite. If the candidates want to represent the public, let them interact and respond to the public. Canned debates just don't do it. What do you stand for, and how does your plan help me? These are the questions: Where are the answers?

Here's a news flash for those of you who say your vote doesn't count. Except for the presidential election, every election is determined by the popular vote. That means you get to vote directly for the candidate that's best for you. My friends, that's a seat at the grown-up table.

By the way, you know how the existing officeholders get comfortable in their positions and hope no one notices. Well, notice and ask them to convince you they still deserve to hold the position. Believe me, they don't consider your vote worthless!

So come on and do the deed, or are you that determined to be a drone?

Lawrence Dombrowski, Beverly Hills

Yes, Crystal River does need Wal-Mart

Editor: I read in the newspaper that the only feedback people are getting about Wal-Mart (in Crystal River) is opposing it. Well, here is one person who is FOR it.

I am tired of hearing how we need to protect our wetlands. As a sixth-generation Floridian, I will tell you how we can protect out wetlands. Quit letting the Yankees move down here and destroy our wetlands so that they can live on the water.

Also, why is it okay to bring in dirt to make a golf course? That is nothing but a waste of land. I am very tired, as are most true Floridians (born and raised here) of being told by the snowbirds how and what we need in OUR state. It is not their place.

We live in a very backward, poor, and business-intolerant county. We need to change this. We need businesses. Mom and pop stores cannot provide Citrus County with what we need.

There are too many people moving to this area. We are in dire need of new major roads (the Suncoast Parkway) and ways for the young people, and there really are some of us, to support our families.

So, I guess that if someone does not like the way that Florida is headed: Go back home.

Christi Cooksey, Lecanto

Thanks to the VA, its medical staff

Editor: My husband is a veteran and recently decided to take advantage of the medical services offered by our government through the Department of Veterans Affairs. Naturally, when entering a system of this magnitude, concerns are quite evident: What kind of treatment will he receive? What caliber of doctors are there? Will he fall through the cracks? Will he be treated like an individual?

It has been about six months now and he goes to Gainesville Medical Center and the Inverness VA Clinic and we cannot say enough about both institutions, we are so impressed. Singling out the Inverness Clinic, everyone is so friendly, they don't make you feel like you owe them for being there. We barely have a wait when we arrive for his appointment. In fact, when he just goes in for a blood test, I could keep the motor running because he is out in no time.

Dr. Julio Ochoa is his attending physician and deserves so much praise, his bedside manner is outstanding, he takes time to explain (in layman's terms) test results and why he would be ordering more, his present concerns yet compliments accomplishments and listens to ones' needs and concerns.

We could not be happier or more confident in the care being received through the clinic, the cleanliness, the friendliness _ everything.

In Gainesville, although a large institution, we are always met with a smiling helpful person when we look lost only to be directed to competent, understanding doctors and staff.

So thank you to our government for appreciating my husband's service and a salute to the Veterans Affairs department.

Sharon Coffing, Crystal River

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