1. Letters to the Editor

Don't tolerate indoctrination in schools

Published Mar. 3, 2012

Re: Charter school's troubling twists story, Feb. 26

Don't tolerate indoctrination

Before I begin, I would like to congratulate Greg Blunt for his integrity in dealing with his daughter's situation at Life Force Arts and Technology Academy in Dunedin. By pulling his child out of the school, he sent a clear message to the school that she was sent there to learn and not for indoctrination into a cult.

Bravo! Mr. Blunt, bravo!

If more parents had your backbone, their children would be guaranteed a quality education, sans the hypocrisy of a pseudo-religion.

If Islam or Judaism were being incorporated into a tax-funded school, most parents would be outraged, yet the parents at Life Force fear retribution for speaking out against the educators.

Retribution? From the staff of a tax-funded school? What is going on here and why is everyone so reluctant to do anything about it?

For one, a woman of questionable credentials tells the taxpayers she can do a certain job for a certain price. Why should the taxpayers suffer when she can't deliver on her promise? Instead, they just give her more money with no questions asked?

How can anyone on either side justify this? Perhaps she spent too much on cult supplies and speakers of no repute — other than being a guest speaker at Scientology events — and trips to the indoctrination parties.

The parents of Life Force need to stand united with Mr. Blunt and send the message to Hanan Islam and the cult of Scientology that they are not welcome in their school, their homes or into the minds of their impressionable children.

Mike Jones, Clearwater

Re: Charter school's troubling twists story, Feb. 26

Keep the cult out of Dunedin

I'm a resident of Dunedin. One day I got a robo-call informing me about a school near where I live. The name, Life Force Arts and Technology Academy, got my antennae up.

I went down to check it out to see if I could see anywhere it might have ties to Scientology. I saw none. But now that I read this article, I see that I was right in my suspicions.

I have long tried to keep the cult out of Dunedin. I appreciate the Tampa Bay Times keeping on top of the cult so as to warn us of their intentions. They have long tried to recruit victims through their children. We can't let this happen in Dunedin like it has in Clearwater.

Now that we know this is a "religious" school, the county needs to stop funneling taxpayer money to them — or is this another example of the cult playing by a different set of rules than the rest of us?

David Rodman, Dunedin

Re: Life Force Art and Technology charter school.

Don't mix up Life Force schools

In response to the recent turmoil at Life Force charter school that has been reported in the Times, I want to assure all parents, children, supporters and friends of Life Force Cultural Arts that we have no connection with this school of a similar name.

Life Force Cultural Arts has served the St. Pete/Clearwater community for 20 years with high quality arts-based summer camps, after-school programs and hundreds of school lecture/demonstrations and performances.

Our main travel performance group, Dundu Dole, has thrilled audiences throughout the Southeast with traditional West African music, dance and culture. The phrase "dundu dole" is a Wolof term meaning "life force" and is our founding principle for focusing youthful energy into the rigorous disciplines of cultural music and dance. We have performed each year at St. Petersburg's First Night since its inception and have staged the gigantic community performance of the Chocolate Nutcracker for the past 14 years.

Life Force Cultural Arts and Dundu Dole were created 20 years ago by our visionary leader and creative director, Jai Hinson. Jai has won numerous awards through the years for her tireless commitment to enriching kids' lives through the arts.

Those of us fortunate enough to work or interact with Jai know her to be the kindest, most big-hearted, youth-centered individual we've ever known and it is primarily for her reputation and the thousands of families she has positively affected that I write this letter.

Life Force Cultural Arts is alive and well and ready to serve, educate and entertain the area for another 20 years. Please help us reclaim our good name.

Thomas Blauvelt, board president, Life Force Cultural Arts, St. Petersburg

Re: St. Petersburg College agrees to use reserves for two building projects story, Feb. 26

SPC doesn't need a new library

Another building boondoggle from the unelected, prodigal St. Petersburg College Board of Trustees.

The SPC board voted to spend millions of dollars on a new library for the school's Clearwater campus? There is nothing wrong with the Clearwater campus library that a few repairs and a little maintenance work would not take care of. Furthermore, most students now do research on the Internet. The concept of a brick and mortar library is completely obsolete.

It is clearly time for the state Legislature cut funding for this "college."

Bob Snow, Clearwater

Re: Dunedin teen saves tourist | story, March 2

Great to read about a good teen

After the recent high school shooting in Chardon, Ohio, where a teen was the alleged gunman, it's especially impressive to read this story about 16-year-old Max Kitchener.

Not only was Kitchener polite enough to ask permission to leave his duties at the restaurant, where he works part-time, so that he could help, but this young man's quick thinking saved a tourist's life.

No doubt, Kitchener's parents are beaming with pride.

JoAnn Lee Frank, Clearwater

Reclaimed water cost is baffling

When is used more expensive than unused?

The answer is, when it's reclaimed water in Pinellas County.

My bimonthly bill for potable water is $30.50, while my bill for the water that was recently in a toilet somewhere is now $32.

A few months ago I was told that I could use any amount of reclaimed water for $9 per month. Now, I am limited to twice per week.

I think I now understand why they don't meter its usage, because then one could know its high cost per gallon.

Dave Farrell, Belleair Beach


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