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County needs schools in growing areas

Re: Dormant swath north of SR 50 booms, Sept. 19 Times:

Editor: I think the property north of State Road 50 on Commercial Way or near Oak Hill Hospital is the perfect site for a new school.

As stated in the Hernando Times article, Royal Highlands is a fast-developing area, so why would building a school in that vicinity be a problem for some residents? Hernando County is attracting more and more families to this area, and they should be accommodated.

I am sure the residents who are opposed are not couples with young children seeking a nice area in which to raise a family and school their children. Why should these children travel to Ridge Manor to go to school when we have property available here? Instead of our children arriving home between 3:30 and 4 p.m., they wouldn't get home until 5. That is ludicrous and unfair. How would they have time for homework, studying, sports and other after-school activities, if it takes almost an hour more to get home?

As Hernando County continues to flourish, our children need more schools that are not overcrowded to offer them a quality education. We are seeing more and more developments, but more schools need to be built to accommodate the growth. A new school would be a positive addition to the county, so let's support the School Board's efforts. Let's put our children's needs first.

M. Kelley, Spring Hill

Wildflowers could help

unsightly medians

Re: Medians on U.S. 19 are a mess _ and an embarrassment, Sept. 29 letter to the editor:

Editor: I completely agree with Tom Lenihan's letter regarding the medians on U.S. 19. You can add the ones on Deltona Boulevard, Forest Oaks Avenue and other area streets as well. They do not appear to have been mowed all summer and they make their respective neighborhoods look rundown.

The volunteers who try so valiantly to keep the medians on Spring Hill Drive beautiful have to be disheartened when their hard work is overrun by grass that hasn't been mowed. It seems as if nothing is ever done until people start writing to the newspaper. We can't even blame the storms; this happens all year long.

Perhaps we should take a lesson from other states and plant wildflowers. They don't require much maintenance and are much prettier.

Loretta Pizzo, Spring Hill

Ms. Covell, be responsible;

do not shift blame

Re: Mr. Kanner, life's too short, Sept. 24 letter to the editor from Anna Liisa Covell:

Editor: Ms. Covell, if my memory serves me correctly, it was you who cried foul, not Bob Kanner. It was you who pointed your finger at the Republican Executive Committee and your fellow candidates, not Mr. Kanner. As far as Mr. Kanner writing letters and making comments in reference to the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District, I believe it is very commendable of him. Keep in mind he is no longer involved in the fire district, nor is he living in Spring Hill, but he continues to keep the taxpayers of Spring Hill informed.

Ms. Covell, as a former candidate for Hernando County Commission, why haven't you defended the Spring Hill Fire Rescue District if you honestly believe Mr. Kanner's comments were not true?

And, if you had kept yourself informed about the sex scandal, you would have known that Mr. Kanner never attempted to cover up anything. He acted in a very forthright manner, and he immediately brought the issue to the sheriff. What else would you have him do? Take the law into his own hands?

Mary Thurston, Spring Hill

Government needs to take a deeper look at CAIR

Re: Pastor's talk of terrorists is what's truly scary, Sept. 16 column by Jeff Webb:

Editor: Once again, those "irresponsible, alarmist, conspiratorial, scary, overzealous, intolerant" anti-American Christians have been designated the bad guys by Hernando County's politically correct. Unlike Muslims, the Baptists don't have access to a multi-million dollar public relations organization to "debunk myths" about them.

It's ironic that while not long ago our county commissioners couldn't decide on a charity for fear of giving the appearance of partiality, they would now toddle off with other area bigwigs to a free dinner and the promise of yet another plaque, without, it appears, even a cursory investigation of the group picking up the tab _ The Council on American-Islamic Relations.

A basic "Google" web search on CAIR reveals that while the organization's stated goal is to promote a positive image of Islam in America, there is much about it that is, at the very least, questionable.

CAIR's founder, Nihad Awad, stated during a 1994 meeting at Barry University that he was "a supporter of the Hamas (PLO terrorist) movement. In July 1998, then-CAIR chairman, Omar M. Ahmad, told a crowd of California Muslims "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faith, but to be dominant."

It is odd that a CAIR spokesman stated that "the U.S. government has not levied any terrorism charges against CAIR in court," when, in fact, former CAIR officials have been convicted of crimes including bank fraud, making false statements, conspiracy and money laundering. Steven Pomerantz, former FBI assistant director and chief of the counter-terrorism section charged that CAIR's activities "effectively give aid to international terrorist groups." And Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., not known for his conservatism, stated in 2003 "We know CAIR has ties to terrorism."

If CAIR is really serious about improving local American-Islamic relations, and not just intent on disseminating propaganda to a chosen few, it is suggested that all future meetings be open to the public, where a true dialogue can take place.

Mary L. Wright, Brooksville

Questions for county about new pet license fees

Re: Hernando County Animal Services license fees:

Editor: I protest that I'm being charged (taxed) for being a responsible pet owner. In fact, I even considered giving up my animals in protest of this, but I, like many others, could not or would not do without the companionship our pets provide.

I visited the county's Web site and found that:

The county contracted a company out of state to collect these fees (taxes);

It is only collecting these fees (taxes) from those of us who are responsible pet owners and protect our animals from rabies. (Yes, it does fine other pet owners when/if it can locate them.)

I would like to know what the county is planning to do about the owners of the unlicensed animals? Is it going to go street-to-street finding animals that are not licensed since some of them belong to irresponsible pet owners, and their animals do not get the vaccinations needed?

Why are the fees (taxes) at $10 for spayed, neutered and vaccinated animals? Once the county receives the rabies vaccination papers from the veterinarian's office, what does it do with them? File them? Does it really cost that much to do that?

I see that at the bottom of the insert box explaining where to send the license fee (taxes) the county plans to use this fee (tax) to help with:

Sterilization rebates for citizens. But they're several of them in place. PetLuv is one and I have used it several times.

Rabies vaccination clinics. Also, several of them. We even have a mobile vet who goes to the different feed stores in the county and that offers rabies and other shots at a discount.

Educational opportunities. What might this be?

Adopt-a-thons. Forgive me, but I thought this was done by volunteers.

On top of this license fee (tax), the county also charges an adoption fee, which is supposed to pay for the animal's care, including shots, wormings and spay/neuter. But if you receive an animal does the county still collect that fee?

As a responsible pet owner, I would like answers to these questions, and I'm sure there are many others who would, too. Will the county please respond in the media so that many of Hernando County's responsible pet owners can try to understand this license fee (tax)?

Vicki Eirman, Brooksville