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As citizens of the United States, we all have rights because of the Constitution. Why then does it behoove people to think that its not fair for one student to stand up and say she doesn't want to open her heart and mind to pornographic language in literature, no matter if a supposed expert says its good literature, or you must read this for its literary value.

There are many things I choose not to fill my mind with based on whether I think its valuable to me. Please, this girl did the thing that was right for her, and if people were conscientious enough in our society, and in our schools, they wouldn't even make this type of choice for any program designed for high school students.

I agree wholeheartedly with this girl. My own son was accepted for that particular IB program, and I am glad now I didn't enroll him into it.

Theresa Park, New Port Richey

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Modest rate hikes pay off in future - Sept. 13, letter

Progress Energy rate hike wrong

What is the writer thinking? Modest rate increase? Modest is 30 percent.

I'm 84 years old and will not be alive to see a nuclear plant by Progress Energy. Currently, Progress Energy is collecting $8.03 per month for the past several years from 1.6 million customers for the privilege of being a customer of this monopoly. Their stockholders make over 10 percent return on investment. Anyone else making that much?

There is hanky-panky going on with the Public Service Commission. The PSC is hired by taxpayers and paid for with taxes, yet PSC representatives go to parties with utilities.

Get real. Do you know anyone, anywhere who wants this modest (even a penny) utility rate raise?

Bette Putman, New Port Richey

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Don't skip getting mammograms

April 16, 2008, the day I was diagnosed with breast cancer, is a day I never want anyone else to experience.

I was/am the typical woman thinking: ''It won't happen to me, I won't get breast cancer. I have no history of breast cancer in my family. I don't need a mammogram.''

It was 15 years since my last mammogram, and my fiance and daughter kept bugging me to get one. Finally, I went to get them off my back. Glad that it was over, I went on my merry way.

My life changed the next day when Dr. Cathy Barnes, my family physician, called to let me know the results of my mammogram were not good and I needed to seek immediate medical attention. Me? Not me, it can't be. It was me, though.

Where are we going to go for treatment. We have to get out of Pasco County, we thought. So off we went to a well-known cancer hospital thinking it would be the best. After being in their care for a short time, I felt I needed a second opinion and was lead back to Pasco County. I'm glad I did. This visit changed my course of treatment.

Don't be like I was, think about this. Would you rather have a mammogram or have breast surgery, 37 treatments of radiation and then breast reconstruction? I don't want you to have to face the physical and emotional hurdles I had and still face today.

I want to thank all my family and friends, without your constant encouragement I could not have made it. Now, ladies, make your appointment today for your mammogram.

Joy Eames Dunn, New Port Richey

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Let's embrace the spread of socialism - Sept. 17, guest column

Government plan would be fiasco

What flavor Kool-Aid is James Pettican drinking? As a senior approaching the age to become eligible for Medicare, and after paying into Medicare for some 45 years or so and continuing to do so, the government tells me Medicare will be broke by 2017.

I, like all other Americans, have also paid into Social Security for my entire working life, and I continue to do so. The government now tells me Social Security will be broke by 2037. The employers I worked for matched what I've paid into Medicare and Social Security. Since I became self-employed, I've had to pay double, since I had no employer to match my contributions. It's inevitable because of the great recession we're in, the government will undoubtedly reduce the time for both Medicare and Social Security to run out of money.

Now, people like Pettican somehow want us to trust the government to take over all of health care? Does he (and others) think we the people are that stupid? Who is going to pay for it?

According to all estimates, including the government's own, 35 percent of all Medicare and Medicaid is fraud! Why do we have to pass health care reform to fix this problem? The government has let us down and will continue to do so. This is not a Democrat or Republican problem; this is a big government problem. We need to fix it, somehow.

As the truth comes out about health care reform and the associated costs, we all know it's just more malarkey from the government. Based on historical facts, we can safely double, triple, or quadruple any cost estimates and we'd probably still be short billions or maybe even trillions of dollars. How much more debt can we handle? How big can we grow our deficits? How much more can we borrow from China?

So, Mr. Pettican, if you're in favor of sending your grandchildren, and their children, and their children's children to debtors prison to pay for all this, keep spewing your rhetoric. If not, grab a sign and march on Washington to protest. Write letters to your representatives. Call them and complain. Let your voice be heard.

If it's so great for your cousins in the United Kingdom, why don't you just pack your bags and go join them? And don't come back.

Frank Fischer, Spring Hill

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Kids must think about safety first

What can be done to stop the insanity of young people driving motorbikes without helmets? Driving down Mariner Boulevard in Hernando County the other day I was passed by five young bikers - none of them wearing helmets and four of them had pillion passengers.

It gets worse. On U.S. 19, I had a pickup in front of me with four teenagers sitting on the flatbed in the back. If that vehicle had to stop suddenly, then I dread to think of the consequences to those young lives. Of course, the pickup was being driven by an adult.

Does nobody educate teenagers to the dangers of driving without sensible protection? As to the adults driving the pickup, they are just irresponsible.

Perhaps a visit to a local emergency room after a bad vehicle accident might teach these young people the dangers they face every time they get on a motorbike without a helmet or accept a ride on the flatbed of a pickup.

Of course, like waiters in restaurants, there is never a policeman around when you want one!

Gillian Maden, Spring Hill

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