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Published Oct. 30, 2008

Residents of Spring Hill, on Nov. 4, I strongly urge you to vote "no" on the creation of an independent fire district.

As a former Spring Hill Fire Commissioner, I speak from experience. We need continued, local oversight (county commissioners) to ensure our best interests are taken into consideration.

When I became a commissioner in 2000, the budget was approximately $5.5-million. Today, it is $16-million. Where do you think it will be in five years without local oversight? While the rest of America is tightening its belt and adjusting to changes in the economy, Spring Hill Fire Rescue is letting its belt out a notch.

A "no" vote will not result in the loss of our fire stations, or personnel (as stated in the referendum); it will, however, eliminate the board of fire commissioners, which has outlived its usefulness.

Richard Martin, Spring Hill

'No' fire district vote is best for all

We have a great fire department, and we are fortunate to have the caliber personnel that serve. But, in June, four fire commission candidates told me if I voted "no'' for independence, my fire service, as I know it, would disappear.

Today, I know all of that talk is untrue. Nothing will really change. Interim Chief Rampino on many occasions agreed that nothing will change. The fire commission tells tales of doom and gloom to justify its existence. Voting ''no'' would make government smaller. The ordinance clearly states nothing will change. The Municipal Service Taxing Unit will remain intact in the same manner as the voters intended it to be. All equipment will stay in the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Department.

When you go to one of the Spring Hill Fire Rescue Board's bimonthly meetings you can ask the question: What kind of place is this?

It is a place where:

The union president can refer to taxpayer dollars as "chump change" and where the board makes excuses for the union president instead of taking exception to the term and denouncing what was said.

Meeting agendas are placed on bulletin boards behind closed doors, and this is acceptable for public notice.

Taxpayers are questioned where they received copies of labor contracts that the board would prefer to keep secret until voted on.

Almost 30 percent of the employees have fire rescue credit cards that are used everyday with out any real oversight.

The chair does nothing when taxpayers, while addressing the board, are degraded by the audience with vulgarities.

Contract extensions with guaranteed pay raises are granted until 2011 without considering the economy of the future.

Three of the commissioners have never received a vote. They are there because of appointment, or were elected with no opposition.

It is in the best interest of the Spring Hill Fire Rescue for the residents' to vote "no'' on the referendum. The real change is we will have one less layer of government in our lives.

Ken Fagan,Spring Hill

Be an informed voter, have a voice

Our county is in trouble. Are our problems 100 percent the fault of the current elected officers? No!

My personal plan is being here the rest of my life. I moved to Gwinnett County in Georgia in 1975 when it was a place I felt my children could know a peaceful life with clean air and woods. Unfortunately, the elected officials sold out us to developers; our favorite horse is now buried below the Mall of Georgia.

I was transferred to Florida by my employer in 2000. I moved my family to Hernando County because it was rural, I had easy access to my office, and I believed I could help keep Hernando from making the same bad decisions of the county I left.

We are in trouble. Government has grown, revenue is down, and the administrators' job has been a joke. Is the way to solve our problems to elect new people? The answer is no! What we have to do is hold the elected officials 100 percent accountable. What this means is that every citizen has got to pay attention and get involved. Take possession of our county and forget a personal goal but go for the life we want for us and for our grandchildren's grandchildren.

Realize that every government service has a price. If the majority wants or needs a service then it has to be paid for now, not later which means taxes. If a minority wants or needs a service then that minority needs to pay for it, not the general population. We do not need to mimic the federal policy of buy now and someone will pay latter where future generations pays for our services.

How do we accomplish this? It is really quite simple; get informed by using every source you can find and treat what the media says with the same regard as that of your pet.

Vote. This is your voice. Stay informed and involved after the election. Make your voice heard over and over, review meetings and when an official states one thing publicly and reverses at the vote - question and fight. If there is a pattern of forgetting us and bowing to special interest we need to replace that person.

As of today the one person on our side is David Hamilton.

From now through Nov. 4, every registered voter in our county has got to exercise the privilege of voting their beliefs. It is time we take control.

Richard Ross,Brooksville

Protest now while there is still time

What has happened to our great country? Voter fraud is all over the news.

Better lock up your money, small businesses and your families because the press that was supposed to protect us has given away our freedom of speech and the right to election.

Just wait, though, journalists. One day you'll want to protest this democratic nightmare and you won't be allowed to. You are putting the nails into your own coffin.

Karen Kettner, Spring Hill

Better places for the cellular tower - Oct. 26, letter

Put cell tower on water tower site

We here at Hernando Beach agree that we are in a cell phone dead zone: However the letter does have merit in that the tower should be placed elsewhere other than the Coast Guard Auxiliary Property. This location is at the intersection of Caliente and Shoal Line Boulevard, which is critical to the evacuation of the residents of Hernando Beach in the event of a storm like the one that hit Texas this year.

If the tower were to be blown down blocking both Caliente and Shoal Line Boulevard or even one of these streets, it could be catastrophic to the evacuation, also it could take out the main power lines along Shoal Line Boulevard.

The writer's suggestion of using the nearby unused water tower as placement in lieu of the Coast Guard property tower would eliminate this danger and also make the facility much more cost effective.

This issue may not be of much concern to the rest of Hernando County but it certainly is to us.

Constantine Pappas,Hernando Beach

Hospice workers caring, dedicated

Most of us remember someone who helped us during a difficult time. Perhaps this person was a grandparent, teacher or even a stranger who provided us with support and guidance in the midst of a crisis. Memories of these individuals often last a lifetime.

And so it is with the end-of-life experience, a time that often brings turbulent waves of complex emotions ranging from denial, grief and anger to acceptance and peace. November is National Hospice/Palliative Care Month. Hernando-Pasco Hospice's 2,000 staff and volunteers throughout Hernando, Citrus and Pasco counties are dedicated to bringing care, comfort and support to individuals and family members who are affected by a life-limiting illness. We are is committed to providing such services with the greatest professionalism, dignity and respect because we, too, want to be there when you need us most.

Our volunteers and staff are your community neighbors and friends. The majority of us live in our tri-county service area and collectively, we share a passion for and commitment to what we do daily; providing extraordinary end-of-life care in extraordinary ways to individuals regardless of their ability to pay.

Last year, we provided approximately $7-million in charity care. We are your community hospice, and consider it a privilege and honor to serve you. Thank you for giving us that opportunity.

Thomas D. Barb,president and CEO, Hernando-Pasco Hospice