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SOMEONE NEEDS TO EXPLAIN THIS

Re: Homeowner insurance

My turn to sound off on the current fiasco concerning insurance coverage for single-family homes.

The insurance on my home includes sinkhole coverage, and the policy is with Citizens Property Insurance Corp. The cost of the yearly premium, May 1, 2007 through May 1, 2008, was $1,946. I state the figure as I believe, for the most part, is close to the average for the home I own in Spring Hill.

I have received a letter of notice dated Jan. 16, 2008, from Citizens, informing me of an additional charge of $914, "based upon the average premium for your county. The actual cost will differ for each policy holder depending on specific coverage." This additional charge would be incurred should I desire sinkhole coverage. Nothing is stated what the cost for the premium year, May 1, 2008 to May 1, 2009, would be.

My question: How much of a savings would there be less sinkhole coverage, or how much of an overall increase if sinkhole coverage is included? Finally, will someone please stand up and in plain, simple English explain where we are? Is that too much to ask, or do we all join the wagon train- going, going, gone?

Irv Jacobson, Spring Hill

Re: Development department cuts 10 peopleJan. 29 story

Bravo for reducing staff

Kudos to Grant Tolbert, director of Development Services, for reducing his staff, thereby reducing county expenses.

I wonder how many other supervisors could do the same - even Constitutional officers?

It would be a good idea to review their staffing levels in relation to the workload and make necessary adjustments.

What Tolbert did took a lot of guts and determination. It was not a pleasant task.

Nick Morana, Spring Hill

Mission can be 'life changing'

Based on the 2006 Hernando County Health Needs Assessment, NAMI Hernando (local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness) developed a new mission statement that focused on promoting mental health awareness in our entire community. How was this supposed to be accomplished?

We concluded that education, support, advocacy and outreach are the ways to improve the quality of life for all who are living with mental illness and their families and supporters.

Let's begin with education. As you read this, about 30 individuals are attending two separate educational classes at NAMI's Beautiful Mind Outreach Center in Spring Hill. First are the Family-to-Family classes, which consist of 12 weeks and are for family and friends of individuals with a serious mental illness. These classes are taught by trained NAMI family members.

The Peer-to-Peer classes cover a period of nine weeks and address the topic of recovery for any person with a serious mental illness who is interested in establishing and maintaining wellness. Trained mentors or peer teachers who are themselves experienced at living well with mental illness teach these classes. Information about illnesses of the brain and treatment, coping skills and the power of advocacy are discussed. In the Peer-to-Peer classes, coping, relationships and relapse prevention are major topics.

Next on our mission statement, we needed support. As an all-volunteer organization with no paid staff, we looked to our community for help in carrying out our mission. We were so delighted and grateful that the Community Foundation of Hernando County decided to partner with us and support this educational project through a $2,500 grant. All class participant materials, classroom materials, class brochures and teacher stipends were funded by the Community Foundation of Hernando County.

Every individual participating in these classes will gain valuable information, insight, understanding and empowerment. Participants will learn to cope successfully with a major challenge in their life, and that, in turn, will help their loved ones as he or she works toward recovery. They will become a stronger advocate for services and support, which will enhance their quality of life and through their knowledge and continue to promote mental illness awareness in our community.

Many family members and former participants describe the impact of taking these classes as "life changing.''

Darlene Linville, president,

Donna Norris, vice president,

NAMI Hernando

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