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Margaret Ghiotto left an impression on everyone she met

Re: Civic activist Margaret Ghiotto dies at 89, Feb. 18 Times.

I know we have lost a very important person in the community, and it is still hard to accept. Margaret "Weenie" Rogers Ghiotto was someone special, the likes of which may never come this way again.

But what a lasting impression she left on so, so many of us who came into contact with her, briefly or for a lifetime. I feel so fortunate that I knew her and could call her a friend. Always the lady with that beautiful smile and Southern charm.

And then there were times when she showed such strength. Once when she was speaking up for what she knew was right for the city's future, she said to her opponent, "Young lady, I may be old, but I am not stupid," and that was the end of that conversation. By the way, she did come out the winner; she was right all along.

She performed many acts of kindness, some noticed but many more unnoticed.

An act of kindness I personally remember is Weenie buying 10,000 small dogwood trees and offering them free to anyone who would plant a tree in his or her yard. She always wanted Brooksville and the surrounding area to be known as the "Dogwood Capital."

What a legacy she left for all of us to remember and cherish. She was loved and will be missed in so many ways.

Julia Jinkens, Brooksville

CCA has history of neglecting

inmates' medical needs

Re: Inmate went days without medical help, Feb. 26 Times:

In your excellent story about the tragic death of James T. Wells, the Times put a human face on Corrections Corporation of America's maltreatment of prisoners. Instances of the neglect leading to his death abound in the for-profit prison industry.

When a reporter was finally allowed to interview fellow Hawaiian inmates of a woman who died in their Kentucky prison, they were forbidden to speak without the presence of a CCA monitor. They were not allowed to share the circumstances of her demise. Like Mr. Wells, she had complained of her condition long before her unfortunate and presumably preventable death.

Why does this happen? I testified on a panel with CCA's recently hired vice president for operations. I informed the Commission on Safety and Inmate Abuse in America's prisons that CCA was paying poorly trained guards $7.61 hourly in Kentucky, while the vice president was making $270,000 with two-thirds of a million in stock awards.

A commissioner asked him, "What kind of people do you get for seven dollars and 61 cents?" The VP responded, "Well, let me say I'm not sure what facility in Kentucky you're referencing."

The answer he avoided giving was, "Bottom of the barrel, commissioner." As for "what facility," the truth would have been, "pick any."

Frank Smith, Bluff City, KS

Developer's plan for entrance

to Brookridge is flawed

Re: County will regret delay of Brookridge development, Feb. 15 letter to the editor by Peter Rocco.

I am responding to the letter concerning the community of Brookridge. The subject is the proposed frontage road developers are requesting to build in front of Brookridge, located on Cortez Boulevard.

It is true that the developer offered to pay for the installation of a second rear entrance (off Sunshine Grove Road) for Brookridge in the amount of $60,000. However, this new entrance would have to be staffed with at least two people per shift, 24 hours a day. There would be the additional cost of maintenance for the new building plus insurance coverage. This would then cause an increase in the monthly association fees for those living in Brookridge.

Brookridge has more than 2,300 homes (approximately 5,000 people) and about 24 miles of roads. I doubt that 50 percent of those residing here would be using the rear entrance/exit, as Mr. Rocco stated.

The main objection to this frontage road is not the actual roadway, but where the new road would cross Brookridge Central, a few yards in front of the main entrance to Brookridge.

The public safety issue is that semitrailer trucks will be using Brookridge Central in connection with the new proposed shopping area. When large semitrailers turn, they take up a lot of turning area and stop traffic in the two incoming lanes. With all the traffic currently entering Brookridge, this would cause monumental congestion problems and could very well spill out onto Cortez Boulevard.

I will agree that many Brookridge residents were in attendance at the January meeting in Brooksville. But I was there and there was no "mob mentality," nor were the commissioners faced with an "unfriendly crowd" as Jeff Webb stated in his column on Jan. 15. Was Mr. Webb at the same meeting I attended?

Freda Schroeppel, Brooksville

Development only destroys

peacefulness of rural living

Re: Development isn't in Yankeetown's best interest, Feb. 5 Times.

I would like to respond to the letter written by a gentleman from Miami concerning the probable development of Yankeetown. I say probable because money always wins out. You can buy anything if you have enough of the green. You can even buy county commissioners.

Come on over and take a good look at Hernando County. Smell the air we have to breathe. Drive in the bumper-to-bumper traffic we enjoy. And jobs? I read somewhere that the average annual income for people living and working in Hernando county is approximately $26,000. If I'm not mistaken, that was the average yearly income before the massive development Hernando now has going on. So, who's making all the money? It surely isn't the men and women working at Wal-Marts or swinging a hammer.

And what about the developers and the people on the Hernando County Commission? Oh, don't worry about them. They'll move on after they can no longer stand the mess they've made here, probably looking for a nice, quiet, little Yankeetown so they can start the process all over.

These people are not developers; they are destroyers.

People leave the cities in order to enjoy the quality of life that rural America provides. The problem is, they just can't leave the city behind. End result? They bring the city and all the problems of the city with them. In a few short years, they've created the very same problems they were running away from in the first place.

David Robinson, Brooksville

Brown-Waite showed courage

in standing up to the left

Re: Supporting troops in word only, Feb. 6 guest column by Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite.

I was delighted to read the guest column and I wholeheartedly agree with everything she said. I was especially happy because she had the guts to stand up for her convictions when so many on the right side of the political spectrum are scared and intimidated by the overwhelmingly liberal press, which spews venom on anyone who dares to speak up for conservatives or Republicans, as they have been doing to Ms. Brown-Waite for years!

I laughed out loud when I read the letter from the Navy veterans who complained about being denied their right to express their opinions on the decision to invade Iraq and how their opinion has nothing to do with supporting the troops. That sounds like more of the silliness we get from their side all the time. It doesn't make sense. Just who and where was anybody denied the right to express an opinion, disagree or protest?

If she had a meeting to hear people's opinions, how can anyone claim she has denied their right to be heard? You people on the left who seem to think you understand freedom of speech most certainly do not. Just because you have the freedom to speak does not mean everyone has to listen; we also have the freedom to ignore your rants, just as you have done to our side for generations. Now when we speak up for ourselves you act as if we are denying your rights. How hypocritical!

When liberals were in power they virtually ignored everything conservatives and Republicans said. Now, when the shoe is on the other foot, they squeal like little piggies.

I do agree with you that, being an elected representative, she has an obligation to listen to your opinions. But what makes you think she is bound to do as would like? If liberals are in office are they duty-bound to do what their conservative constituents demand? If so, someone should let them know because their actions show otherwise.

There is a simple solution to what you dissenters would like to happen. Simply help people who like your ideas go to Congress and change what you don't like and add what you do like. They're called elections. You should look into them; a lot of Americans, myself included, are quite fond of them.

Bill Wright, New Port Richey