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Eight years ago, when our president took office, my 401(k) slowly halved in value. I couldn't wait the 10 or 20 years for it to turn around. I was retiring soon. I pulled all the money out and paid off my home and pickup truck. I took my life insurance dividends and replaced my roof.

I have no health insurance (thank God for Medicare and the VA) and no home insurance.

I live entirely on Social Security benefits. My biggest concern is property taxes. I budget a little bit each month to pay. I also budget my credit cards, too.

I know I'm taking a gamble. It's like Las Vegas - throw your money down and hope to win.

I don't think our economy will get any better soon. At least they can't take my home from me. It's paid for. I can make it for now, hopefully.

Lawrence Kockler, Ridge Manor

Many families struggle to get by

I am sure I represent many families in Hernando County. We bought our first home in January 2006 with good jobs and the intentions of retiring in this home.

Now we struggle to keep a job and keep our home. I feel there is something fishy going on with my mortgage company. I did get behind.

I have tried to make my payments and they are being returned to me. They want attorney fees and late fees. I get a different amount of these fees every time I speak with them. It just keeps going up and up. I would think with all the houses for sale they would work with you not try to push you out of your home.

Brandy Brown, Spring Hill

Independent fire rescue is best

The Spring Hill Fire Rescue has operated in the black for 30 years. Can Hernando Fire Rescue claim the same? Can they and the Board of County Commissioners claim the same leadership, budgeting and planning? Can the $3-million reserve have anything to do with a takeover?

Accountability has always been for the welfare of the people and for the people of Spring Hill. As an independent fire department, they would be accountable to the great state of Florida, which has a place to hear all complaints (Department of Community Affairs and your local representatives), and would be accountable to the Commission on Ethics, the Legislature, auditor general and many others.

In addition, an increase in taxes cannot be mandated or levied without the voters' approval. Sounds like they would be giving the power back to the taxpayers of Spring Hill.

I vote "yes" for the independence of Spring Hill Fire Rescue.

Gladys Ahrens, Spring Hill

Above all, fitness trainer is a friend - Dan DeWitt column, Oct. 21

Personal trainer deserves praise

Edrease Stephenson is my personal trainer. I'm in my 60s and felt like I really couldn't do the work, but Edrease is right there beside me all the way and I feel so much stronger and I have a confidence that everyone has noticed! He gives me high fives when I do something I didn't think I could do. He always hugs me at the end. He's committed to the kids he coaches and he is very humble. He is a true hero.

I knew some of the things he did but not all. We are very fortunate to have a young man like Edrease coaching our children, who are our future! He instills morals and self confidence to us all. His day starts before 6 a.m. and ends after 9 p.m. I'm glad to see he's getting the recognition he deserves!

Bonnie Barbieri, Spring Hill

Try out a maze made of maize - Oct. 17, article.

Cornfield maze great for families

It is so gratifying to see that there are still people in our world that still have family values and are so caring.

My thanks go out to the Kessel family for their love for families, so much that they created a maize maze for the children to enjoy.

God bless their effort.

Ann Kojola, Spring Hill