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Medians on U.S. 19 are a mess _ and an embarrassment

Editor: The first thing you see when you enter Hernando County on U.S. 19 is our medians, and what a sorry sight they are. The weeds are getting so high you can't even see the traffic on the other side of the highway.

If they are not going to maintain these medians, why not clear them of that weed grass and put a nice, low-ground cover in its place? You will never have to mow again.

Show people that we take pride in what our county looks like.

Tom Lenihan, Spring Hill

Plant arrests are without merit

Re: 16 accused of harvesting protected plants, Sept. 17 Times.

Editor: The headline of your article about the 16 people accused of harvesting protected plants caught my attention. Other responsibilities prevented me from writing until now.

The article itself claimed the people were picking "seeds" from saw palmetto palms. What they actually were picking was palmetto berries, which ripen in September and October. The berries can be eaten fresh or, when dried, brewed into a nutritious tea.

The article also stated that the "fan-shaped leaves contain a compound that can reduce the effects of prostate cancer." This is not the case. The leaves have no known medicinal value. The active ingredient is found in the berries, which are used by people all over the world.

In past centuries, when the tribes lived around here, it was a good time of year when the palmetto berries ripened.

When I read that the deputy dumped the berries on the ground, I felt something like disgust. These were obviously poor people who were just trying to earn a few dollars by picking wild berries in what is supposed to be a national forest. They certainly didn't remove any palmetto plants.

And does this mean farmers or developers need new special permission to remove palmetto? And what about adding 16 new silly cases to an already overcrowded court docket? This would not appear to serve the best interests of the people of Hernando County _ except the lawyers.

Herb Shapiro, Brooksville

Utility did great work after storms

Editor: I want to thank the men and women who worked so hard to get power restored after all the hurricanes. I am fortunate that I only lost power after Ivan and Jeanne.

My power was restored in about 30 hours. I did not lose anything this time. It took longer after Ivan and I lost a good deal of food from the freezer.

I should have had a generator. I can't blame Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative for that. I think they have done a fantastic job.

Shirley Saxton, Brooksville

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