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On July 4, my neighborhood sounded like World War Three as rockets shot up in the air and displays of fireworks, as big as the ones professionally done, could be seen from every direction. The only difference: The displays were much closer to the rooftops and trees.

Call me the grump, the spoiler, the scrooge of the neighborhood if you'd like, but I called the Sheriff's Office and the wildlife officer on duty for the county. This is why: As I listened to the thunderous booms (sharper and more distinct than Mother Nature's thunder) of the fireworks, I could hear the fear among the birds. They weren't chirping; it was an eerie sound - almost a screeching.

I also walked my street making certain that smoke from the fireworks or a rocket itself did not interfere with the gopher tortoise burrows, of which there are many.

Besides the danger of fireworks to humans, there is a significant impact on the environment and wildlife. My friend a few streets down said a baby bird had fallen out of its nest during the fireworks and rockets littered her yard on July 5. A few years ago, one of the rockets went right through the cage covering her pool area.

Fireworks are illegal in this county - not all of them, but definitely the ones I'm referencing. When I called the sheriff's department, I was told by a deputy that he would "come out later and check and make sure everything was okay." When a sheriff's deputy stopped me last February for speeding, he didn't let me go. If I have to abide by the law, then others do, too. Or is it that speeding tickets bring in money as well as fireworks?

Yes, it's Independence Day, but as usual in this country, we take that to mean we are free to do anything regardless of how it affects others and the environment. Our freedom has always come at the expense of others - think Native Americans. There is no freedom without responsibility, and if people aren't going to be responsible, then we look to law enforcement. What's it going to be, sheriff?

Marylou Doehrman, Spring Hill

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WREC, come clean, now

It's that time of the month again, when my patience is pushed to its limit by the arrival of my Withlacoochee River Electric bill. There it is again! Taunting my high blood pressure, pushing my anger button and wreaking havoc on my budget. What is causing me to rant? The insidious, perpetual, seldom decreasing "surcharge" which regularly exceeds the actual cost of the electricity I use.

I keep the thermostat at 78 degrees (79-80 when I go out for long periods of time) and I always turn off my lights when they are not needed. I know that it's been very hot lately and the cost of oil varies greatly from week to week, but enough is enough. This has been going on for years. It's time we, the consumers, catch a break. I think it is also time for WREC to explain in plain English and detail exactly what, where and at what contract price they are purchasing the oil/coal it needs to produce our electricity.

Additionally, they should provide us with the duration of these purchase contracts. As I wait for their disclosure, please do me a favor and pass me my blood pressure medication.

Tom Woods, Brooksville