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Development isn't in Yankeetown's best interest

Published Feb. 22, 2006

As Yankeetown nears the 83rd anniversary of its founding, developers are poised to tarnish the small town forever.

The Izaak Walton Lodge and Marina and the Cypress Inn and Marina will essentially transform Yankeetown into another playground for the wealthy. Do not be fooled by the developer's concern about blending into the community. A 175-unit development next to the tranquil waters of the Withlacoochee does not exactly blend in.

Cracker-style architecture complexes? That is an oxymoron in itself. Cracker-style architecture is not this elaborate. Indeed, these proposed developments will leave an indelible mark on the town.

Today, the concerned citizens committee of Yankeetown will experience the developer's song and dance firsthand. They will undoubtedly hear how the developments will bring 250 jobs to the area, how property values will rise, how natural resources will be used and how all this will somehow enhance Yankeetown's heritage.

One developer is quoted as saying, "We like your town, and we don't plan on ruining your town." This is unnerving, to say the least. Sure, the developers like Yankeetown; they see it as an opportunity to make money. They don't plan on ruining the town, but if it happens, oh well. They will be already moving on to the next small community. Remember, this is what developers do for a living. They did not come to save Yankeetown or help out in any way; they came to make money.

The developers cannot be held accountable once the projects are completed and the town suffers the consequences of overcrowding. They won't mind when cars pile up on Riverside Drive and other roads. They do not live in Yankeetown, so the traffic won't alter their lifestyle. They will attempt in all earnestness to make you believe that they are concerned about the ramifications of the developments. This is merely sugarcoating. Ultimately, the residents of Yankeetown will be held responsible.

I sincerely hope the folks of Yankeetown will do whatever they can to make a stand against this proposed intrusion. Unfortunately, I know the town cannot afford the best counsel money can buy. The developers certainly have the best attorneys at hand. With all the resources at their disposal, they have a tremendous advantage. I wish there was a way that the concerned citizens committee could face the challenge on even ground.

This proposed development will adversely affect the quality of living of those living in Yankeetown. Maybe the residents can vote on the issue. If the development is approved, so be it. If not, it will be a victory for small towns all across Florida.

A.F. Knotts, founder of Yankeetown, had signs cut into the shape of an arrow that read: "See Yankeetown." Placed throughout the state and beyond, it was an invitation to enjoy the outdoor splendor and charm that Yankeetown afforded. A multiunit development will not enhance this sentiment from long ago. It will lead to its downfall.

Believe it or not, people can go to Yankeetown today as it is and enjoy a lazy day on the river. We do not need an overbearing complex on the Withlacoochee to "See Yankeetown."

Jeff Mastney, Miami

Ravaged Withlacoochee River

needs our protection

Nobody likes to see a river die. Not the wild creatures who draw life from it, not the wilderness lovers who draw peace from it and not the people who live on its shores or the tourists who visit for a while. Certainly not the fish, the eagles, the otters or the endangered manatees.

The Withlacoochee River flows from the Green Swamp, across Florida, through Inglis and Yankeetown and out to the Gulf of Mexico. Once it was a crystal clear, white sand bottom river that flowed swiftly on its way. It was fed by a thousand natural springs.

The Florida black bear walks along the shore from the Chassahowitzka River up to the Ocala National Forest. Eagles nest not too far away. It is a core area for the West Indian manatees.

The beginning of the end was digging of the barge canal by the Army Corps of Engineers. It was stopped at 12 feet deep as they hit saltwater and the Floridian Aquifer was threatened.

The canal cut through the river so a Bypass Channel had to be dug to feed the river, which is now called an Outstanding Florida Waterway.

Our area is the "Jewel of the Nature Coast," and nature is trying to heal the ravages of man. But another predator has come along. It is called "development." On the south shore of the river are planned 50 waterfront homes 100 feet apart, affecting Inglis and the river capacity.

On the north shore affecting Yankeetown, "development" plans 136 residential units, 128 marina slips and 240 covered parking spaces plus much more. They want to fill in the river to create more land and remove some shoreline to create the wet slips.

The residents of Inglis and Yankeetown want to keep the quality of life they moved here to enjoy. We believe such development plans surpass the carrying capacity of the river.

We believe that our drinking water capacity will be exceeded. For every foot the freshwater of the aquifer is lowered, the saltwater rises 40 feet.

Developers must scale back their plans to fit the visions of the communities.

Man does not have the right to take away what God has given to the creatures of the land, the water and the air.

Let's give it back.

Betty Berger, Inglis

No matter your values,

"Brokeback' isn't just "mediocre'

I enjoyed reading Jan Glidewell's Off/Beat article in the Feb. 13 Times. However, I must take exception to his assessment that Brokeback Mountain was "mediocre." Maybe he went to a different version than the one I went to - twice.

It's seldom I go to the theater and even more seldom that I go view the same movie again when I'm moved by it, no matter what the subject.

My impression of this movie is that it is, first and foremost, a tender love story that tugs at your heart, and no matter what your values, you have to appreciate the manner in which it was presented. True, there is a definite gay thread through it, but you can't escape the fact it was done, mercifully, in a nonstereotypical way. That alone makes it rise above mediocrity.

I respect Mr. Glidewell's opinion, but I think he does a disservice by calling Brokeback mediocre, and perhaps in doing so prevents others from going to see it and making up their own minds.

I plan to add it to my meager collection of movies I want to buy. The last one I got was Phantom of the Opera, which joins an almost-worn-out copy of Auntie Mame, among others.

Dimas Vasquez, Spring Hill

Waging war on a broken-down

country won't bring us security

Re: Criticism of Brown-Waite's record misguided, Jan. 4 letter to the editor.

For those of you who think the Iraq war protesters are out of touch with reality or unpatriotic or both, here are a few facts:

+ Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11.

+ Fifteen of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia; none were from Iraq.

+ Saudi Arabian madrasas (religion schools) funded the planning and training of the 9/11 hijackers.

+ Unbelievably, we have increased our dependency on the Saudi oil regime after its citizens attacked us on 9/11.

In my humble opinion, our dependency on foreign oil poses the greatest modern threat to our nation. This great country of ours, which put a man on the moon riding in a solar-powered car almost four decades ago, is better than this.

We have the resources, technology, brainpower, can-do spirit and money to achieve energy independence. Waging war on a broken-down country that was not a threat to us and did not attack us will not bring us security.

Frank Gallagher, Spring Hill