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Freedom is worth five minutes in voting booth

Editor: The last day to register to vote is Monday, Oct 4. That does not leave many more days for those who are not registered to decide if freedom is worth five minutes of their time.

Thousands of U.S. troops are fighting and dying so that democracy might be initiated in a foreign country. Thousands of Americans who aren't registered to vote are complaining and criticizing American policy in a country that affords them the freedom to do so.

How self serving and disrespectful to every U.S. military person to not have five minutes to give to your country when so many of our young are willing to give their lives.

Peno Hardesty, New Port Richey

Emergency crews deserve praise for quick response

Editor: After the difficult times we have experienced during this hurricane season, those things that we take for granted each day _ food, water, emergency personnel, hospitals, electricity, cable and gasoline services _ are essential to our way of life and comfort. Until they are disrupted we do not realize how dependent we are on them.

Those individuals and companies who provide these services must be commended for the responses to each of the storms that have devasted large sections of our state. We should be grateful for the hard work these people do under very difficult and potentially dangerous conditions.

I know my family and our friends and neighbors have been astounded by the quick responses that the crews for the Withlacoochee River Electric Cooperative have made to power outages in our area of Hudson during Frances and Jeanne. The heaviest parts of these storms had barely cleared our area, and within a few hours the lights were back on. The WREC teams are outstanding, and we wish to thank them for their tremendous efforts.

Dale Gottschalk, Hudson

Media gloss over Pasco hurricane damage

Editor: I have just finished reading the article on the impact of Hurricane Jeanne on Pasco County. To say that we were insignificantly damaged seems a bit callous. I have witnessed five homes destroyed to uninhabitable conditions due to fallen trees _ my own property being one _ and flooding that wrecked several homes.

I relied heavily on TV news coverage when the power was on during the approach of the storm, and all outlying counties were heavily reported except Pasco County. It either was not being mentioned, or the mention was a mere blip comparatively.

Zephyrhills received most of Pasco County's coverage. All counties are deserving of coverage on the hurricane, but to concentrate on the southern counties like Sarasota, as the eye and force winds were destroying properties here in Pasco (New Port Richey) leaves others to think we escaped unscathed.

There are people who are homeless now here in New Port Richey because of this storm, the only entity who batted an eye and gave any concern about the damage seems to have been the American Red Cross, as usual! Thank you, American Red Cross!

David Henry, New Port Richey

Hate crime displays ignorance, not humor

Re: Teen tells tale of noose in court, Sept. 23.

Editor: As a citizen of the United States, I am dumbfounded by the disregard that this event has found in the American public. In today's society, we are quick to be revolted by the actions that are taken upon prisoners of war over in Iraq, yet the same mortification, humiliation and terror can be put upon an American citizen, a teenager nonetheless, in a public restaurant and the issue finds its way to the back burner of today's news.

In a nation where all people are to be equal and free, it is a hate crime to deface a piece of property with racial slander, it is a hate crime to cause harm to a homosexual, but, as his lawyer explained, for a white teenager to go up and slip a noose around the neck of a black teenager in a restaurant is "not a crime. Sometimes things are intended to be jokes and they're not funny."

Well, ha ha. We are horrified by the lack of empathy people have for those of other nations, yet we try to explain away the hate that people have for their neighbors by making it out to be a "joke."

This issue is not a joke by any means; it is an issue that has been a relentless undertone in the making of America. It is the ignorance of those who think of such hate crimes as "jokes" that allows this country to fail in our interpersonal relations, and it is that ignorance which will allow us to cause our own internal destruction as a nation.

Amanda Knox, New Port Richey

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