1. Archive

Recent events make Key Center even stronger

Editor: Recently it was announced that the Key Training Center united with New Vue LLC to deliver services to the 48-bed immediate care facility known as Key Pine Village (KPV).

There are many reasons why this alliance has taken place. But before I continue, I must address the misconception from news coverage that the Key Training Center has been sold. The Key Center will continue to offer a myriad of year-round services to nearly 300 developmentally disabled adults including an adult day training program in Crystal River and Inverness, community-based employment program, and a residential program.

The residential program offers various living placement opportunities servicing 121 individuals through 13 group homes both on and off campus, four apartment complexes, and consumers living on their own in apartments or homes they rent or own.

KPV is only one of the Key Center's residential living options for consumers. KPV is 100 percent funded by Medicaid and is operated as an intermediate care facility that provides 24-hour personal care, habilitation, developmental, and supportive health services.

This special needs complex built in 1981, consists of six, coeducational, family style homes serving 48 residents with severe and profound mental retardation with many having secondary disabilities and problematic behavior conditions.

There is a greater financial pressure for the operation of intermediate care facilities due to the combination of a static federal Medicaid reimbursement system and severe cutbacks in Medicaid funding. Since 2004, KPV has experienced nearly a $100,000 cut in funding with another projected $175,000 cut in 2006-2007. As a direct result, KPV is experiencing a high employee turnover because it is not able to offer competitive direct care wages to attract and retain quality staff.

After careful study and deliberation, it became clear that KPV was not in position to receive any additional revenue without a change of ownership. In order to fiscally reinvigorate KPV, the Key Center united with Scott Greiner, owner of New Vue, who has a proven track record in operating intermediate care facilities for the developmentally disabled on Feb. 15. The strength of this alliance positions New Vue to obtain a new operating budget from Medicaid that allows for direct care staff increases, new equipment, and additional services.

The Key Center will continue to guarantee a high level of care at KPV by having a 10-year, automatically renewable contract to run the daily operations for KPV and provide adult day training services for the KPV residents.

In essence, nothing changes in the lives of KPV residents. Additionally, these contracts provide a significant infusion of operational capital that will benefit other service areas at the Key Center.

Other benefits from the KPV sale include eliminating a $2.3-million debt for Key Pine Village and the new 18,000-square-foot educational and recreational center located at the Lecanto Campus.

Recent events only strengthen the overall operation of the Key Center and its mission to provide high-quality developmental disability adult services in Citrus County.

Melissa Walker, Director of Development

& Community Relations

Key Training Center, Lecanto

Comprehensive plan there for a reason

Editor's note: The following letter was sent to the Board of County Commissioners and is being reprinted here at the author's request.

Re: Plans for an RV park on Lake Spivey. My neighbors, friends and family have been so concerned about the proposal to change the comprehensive plan to allow this project to go forward. We are so against it.

We believe that the reason we're having so many problems on our waters now is because of the building that has not been planned. We know that we can't stop progress but we have to slow it down to protect our lakes and wetlands.

Please don't be bullied into giving in to this project. It's the wrong thing to do and will only help the seller and developers.

It seems as if (property owner) John Eden is trying to blackmail your office by telling you how much land his family has donated to Citrus County. Was this a gift or a bribe so you would let him do what he wanted with his land?

The comp plan was put in place for a reason, and why do we need a Planning Development and Review Board if we don't follow their advice?

Carole Jones, Inverness

President of Hickory Hills Homeowners

Power company investigation needed

Editor: Re: Electric bill increases merit an investigation by Times, Opinion letter, Feb. 15, Citrus Times.

I'm in agreement with the gentleman from Crystal River. My electric bill tripled in one month.

The power company tells me that it is because the meter was misread last month. I said, "How do you know that?" They replied, "Because you used less this January than last January." I told them I live alone six months out of the year and I'm at work 10 hours a day.

They can offer no proof, only supposition, that's going on. My bill went from $88 to $288. Progress Energy says they did raise their rates. But come on!

Nancy Kelly, Hernando

Thanks to those who support troops

Editor: Please allow me the space to express the gratitude of my wife, Anne, myself and my family to all those who kept our son, Gary, in their thoughts and prayers while expressing his love and appreciation for the country of his birth, America, in Iraq.

Gary, like thousands of men and women, chose to serve in a war that their commander in chief, the president of the United States, George W. Bush ordered them to.

We as a family support our country, our president and most important our troops, all our fighting men and women. We, as a family, were blessed in that our son returned home safely after serving a total of 16 months in Iraq, two tours of duty.

We, as a family, thank those in Citrus County who also have family members serving. We will continue to pray for our troops overseas and for their safe return home. To the families of those in the military who gave their lives in this war, we offer our condolences and gratitude. Know that it was not in vain and was with honor.

Michael Pitts, Inverness

Article on romance was insulting

Editor: Re: Lawyerly advice for the romantically challenged, Feb. 14, Citrus Times.

I have read many newspapers in my lifetime and this article has convinced me (and friends) of the "teenage mentality" of your writers and the editor who approves it. The Citrus Times has reached the pits.

This article is an insult to your readers as you try to pass it off as newsworthy. This freebie ad is the height of stupidity. Is this the best that Citrus County has to offer about true love or romance?

At best you have let your writers know that anything goes in subject matter because readers are numb (if not dumb) anyway!

I was not surprised to find that many at work today felt as I did after reading this unlawyerly news item. We're sad to see the Citrus Times become a waste of time.

Eugene L. Cipro, Hernando

Yankeetown must address several issues

Editor: On Feb. 20, my wife and I attended a meeting sponsored by the Yankeetown Town Council to have a developer, Isaac Walton Investors, LLC, explain to Yankeetown residents and the local public the proposed plans to build several marinas, expand the Isaac Walton Lodge, and build a number of condos within the town limits of Yankeetown. Although we are not residents of Yankeetown, the proposed anticipated growth will affect the city of Inglis where we are current residents.

After introductions, a developer began the presentation by stating that no one likes change, but change has been occurring in Yankeetown since its inception and will continue to do so. But he and his associates have been discussing various problems the city of Yankeetown has been encountering such as quality of drinking water, keeping the Withlacoochee River a quality river, sewage treatment, traffic problems and other quality of life or other infrastructure issues.

However, after these meetings the developers have stated they have a master plan. The developer stated that all of these issues have been identified with local and state agencies. I do not think the developers have contacted any representatives from the Inglis Town Commission or the Inglis Planning Council regarding this development. This omission stands out as people must travel through Inglis to get to Yankeetown.

This issue was not properly addressed as the developer merely stated that these issues will be addressed and rectified as the proposed development or building takes place.

The lead developer, Peter Spittler, delivered his presentation in a way that could be described as being very condescending, and bureaucratic in tone with the developers insinuating that they know what is in the best interest of the residents of Yankeetown and they, as a group, were going to correct these problems with the proposed development plans regardless of whether the local residents agreed with their proposal.

I believe that most, if not all, residents know what problems the city of Yankeetown has been having and do not need a group of investors from another area to tell them what problems their town is having, or how to go about fixing them.

In the coming months, it will be necessary for Yankeetown's concerned citizens to form work groups to address topics such as, but not limited to, a town vision statement and plan, an updated city comprehensive plan, river restoration, zoning, building codes, traffic, fire safety, water quality, storm water and drainage.

After addressing these issues the work groups should make their recommendations to the Yankeetown Planning Council and the Yankeetown Town Commission. By going in this direction this process will truly be a collaborative effort between the citizenry and local government rather than what the developer has attempted to do in past months.

These recommendations will also be the foundation by which city officials will use in the development of Yankeetown in the future and not have outside developers come into the area and tell residents what is best for them.

Bob Webb, Inglis

They're destroyers, not developers

Editor: Re: Development isn't in Yankeetown's best interest, Feb. 20 letter, Citrus 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 breath. Drive in the bumper-to-bumper traffic we now enjoy. Oh, and about jobs. I read somewhere that the average annual income for people living and working here in Hernando county is approximately $26,000. If I'm not mistaken, that was the average yearly income prior to 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, little, quiet Yankeetown so they can start the process all over again.

These people are not developers. They are destroyers. Something to think about. 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

Accounts of Jessica's death went too far

Editor: Re: In the din, Jessica's voice is the one we yearn for, Friday Opinion column Citrus Times.

As a parent in Citrus County, I was appalled at your editorial "Jessica's voice."

For the Editor of Editorials to write such a descriptive account of the events that took place is no different than the "television rabble-rousers and political opportunist" you accuse of spouting off.

Our children have read and listened to the media whether they wanted to or not. They, including mine, are terrified of being "grabbed from the safety of their bedrooms," she now sleeps in ours.

As a parent you cannot shield your children from the saturated news media that exist in our digital age. Please, out of respect for the victims' families and our children, think twice before you try and sell newspapers.

Dean Pauley, Beverly Hills