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OBAMA SPEECH MAY INSPIRE

As a retired educator, I welcome President Barack Obama's speech to students. Having taught in middle school, I realize that something is needed to inspire students to work hard and achieve their goals.

Since retiring, I now volunteer at one of the high schools in my county. I can state from experience that something is needed to motivate students. Florida has a very high dropout rate for its students. If a pep talk from this president will help students focus and stay in school, I am all for it. Everyone knows it is the job of parents to encourage their children to stay in school; however it appears that help is needed.

Has this nation become so polarized that some evil motive is seen in anything said by someone from the other party? This nation is too great to let these partisan politicians make something evil out of something that might help a student stay in school or achieve to his highest ability.

LaTreetha E. Sharpley, Spring Hill

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Truth, not fear, is key to health reform - Sept. 7 column

Political leaders can't be trusted

Jan Glidewell writes in his column about truth and making choices. He states that "there is nothing wrong with a public option."

First, does he think that a government-run health care system will be more likely to make reforms in the system than medical corporations, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies? Just look to our elected representatives and see how reform-minded they are. Charles Rangel is a good case to consider, with his current tax problems and role in writing tax law.

Since we are talking about truth, that is something our current president knows nothing about. He says if you like your present health care you can keep it. That's a statement that cannot be reconciled with cuts in Medicare and doing away with Advantage health care plans.

Thomas Robinson, Weeki Wachee

Bill analysis fails to recognize factsSept. 6 letter

Doctor spoke for health insurer

I am sure Dr. Deborah Tracy of Brooksville is a fine doctor, but to get her facts from the Lewin Group speaks volumes.

The Lewin Group is a think tank wholly owned by the United Health Group, one of the nation's largest insurers, according to the Washington Post.

Call me a skeptic, but isn't there a saying in Washington that you dance with the one that brought you to the party?

Tom Mullett, Port Richey

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Teen: I wandered into crash Sept. 4 article

Crash charges seem excessive

I would like to give my deepest sympathy to the family of Capt. Scott Bierwiler. I, too, lost my dad three years ago and it never gets easier. But, why are authorities putting this accident above all others and trying to ruin a young man's life? Because Capt. Bierwiler was a cop? Because he will be missed more than other people who have lost loved ones in accidents? Because he's better than the average person who dies in an accident and it doesn't even make the paper?

I was appalled that I never heard how this young child was doing after the accident, what his injuries were and if he was okay. He is also someone's child, brother, grandson, and was also messed up. Now the State Attorney's Office wants to charge this young boy, who had a license and was not planning on going out, with murder because the victim was a police officer.

Is ruining this young man's life and his family worth this? I hope you go ahead and charge him with third-degree murder with no lesser charges and let a jury of his peers vote on whether he went out that night wanting to murder someone.

Lisa Fackender, Spring Hill

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Clean waterways must be a priority

Few things unite Floridians like water. We swim in it, fish in it, paddle over it, and rely on it for our very survival. Florida's environment, economy and public health all intersect in our waterways. Our coastlines and rivers are what bring us here, or keep us here. We must make keeping the waters of Florida clean and healthy, for people and for wildlife, a priority.

Recently the Gulf Restoration Network released a report titled "Clean Up Your Act! A Review of How the Clean Water Act Is Incorporated into Gulf States Water Regulations." The report can be viewed at www.healthygulf.org.

This report is a scorecard grading how states in the Gulf of Mexico region are implementing the spirit and letter of the Clean Water Act and meeting the guidelines set out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Florida's grade, a D', was disappointing and unacceptable. Our report urges the state to take specific and concrete steps to better protect Florida's waters, making them fishable and swimmable, and to better implement the Clean Water Act in Florida.

In our region we see rivers like the Weeki Wachee suffering from nutrient pollution. Reducing nutrient pollution, whether through better regulation and enforcement or through local fertilizer ordinances, is essential to the survival of our springs, rivers and coastlines. United, we can stand up for Florida's waters and our future. Take a minute this week and e-mail Florida Gov. Charlie Crist with a quick, simple message: You must do a better job protecting Florida's waters. You can e-mail the governor at Charlie.Crist@myflorida.com

Our environment, our economy and our legacy to future generations all are connected through how we act as stewards of the natural resources entrusted to us. Florida must step up and do a better job protecting our waters, for people and for wildlife. Anything less is unacceptable.

Joe Murphy, Ridge Manor,Florida program director Gulf Restoration Network

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Hope you like my $10 sunglasses- Sept. 3 letter

Glasses stolen - or just lost?

This person is blaming someone for stealing her sunglasses and she isn't even sure if she left them at the Chase branch or at the credit union?

Instead of thinking someone stole them, since she doesn't even know where they were in the first place, maybe she just lost them.

Terri Rolon, Spring Hill

Why the ticket for skateboarding?- Sept. 3 letter

Law enforcement is overbearing

To the letter writer, welcome to the new Hernando County law enforcement. It's seems everywhere you go in Hernando you will run across a road deputy who is rude, arrogant, and has an attitude.

We must all be second-class citizens; that is, until our sheriff wants to be elected again. I think that someone higher up has put the idea in their heads it is okay to treat us this way.

I even e-mailed our sheriff about my concerns as to why they act the way they do, but as usual I did not get a reply. It's time for the sheriff to send all road deputies back for more public relations schooling and have him lead the way. Better yet, tell the deputies to park the gas hogs and walk in the communities where they work and get to know the people.

Jerry W. Schad, Brooksville

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Teens heedless of their own safety

Reading that letter brought some concerns to mind. Parents should be vigilant of their teens' whereabouts, even if they think they're just somewhere nearby.

Skateboarding is dangerous in the streets. I recall when we had just moved to this area, I would go to garage sales partly to familiarize myself with the streets in town. One Friday as I was driving along, I came upon a group of teens walking to, I supposed, a bus stop. They walked in the center of the street and would not move as I came along.

Within the next week, an elderly lady hit a young man on a skateboard in that area. I don't know who was right and who was wrong, it was just a tragedy.

Last spring, as my husband was working in our yard, he noticed teens disembarking from a school bus; a few of them proceeded to lie flat on their backs in the middle of the street. He walked over and spoke to them. A potential tragedy avoided.

Last week, we were walking after dinner. Several teens were playing in the street and one of them was sitting in the middle of the street. A car came along, we saw brake lights: do you imagine that the teen removed himself? No. The car was forced to drive between the teens.

Could it be the deputy saved a young person's life? Who knows, but who wants to risk it? There's a reason that people should be on the left side of the street, certainly not in the path of vehicles.

Aline Racicot, Spring Hill

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