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Letters to the Editors

Parents must speak up on health issues

© St. Petersburg Times
published March 3, 2002

Editor: Re: Mold at school stirs concern, Feb. 24 Times:

Parents and staff at Lecanto Middle School are wise to be concerned about environmental problems in their school, especially if their concern leads to a heightened awareness of the link between their child's environment and their health.

If their worry leads to adopting proactive, healthy strategies, like an environmental health committee to investigate problems and implement the the Environmental Protection Agency's "Tools for Schools" indoor air quality plan, rather than finger-pointing and anger directed at the school district, they will succeed in improving the quality of their child's school experience.

All over our country, many poorly built schools where maintenance has fallen victim to repeated tax and budget cuts are experiencing a mold plague of epidemic, if not biblical, proportions. No one seems to know why toxic molds, specifically stachybotrys, aspergillus and penicillium, have proliferated as they have the past 20 years. Our public health agencies are not only clueless, they often even deny the existence of a growing body of research and anecdotal evidence that prove exposure to these molds can sicken, even kill, those unlucky enough to be exposed.

Both state and federal agencies charged with protecting our health and warning us of known health hazards continue to say there is "no proof" that exposure to mycotoxins is dangerous and that "more research is needed." Yet, none of them are engaging in this research or collecting data concerning exposure and health outcomes.

Teachers are frequently intimidated or encouraged to keep silent about problems at their schools, and when they grow ill, denied appropriate testing or treatment unless they sue.

Parents must step up, become informed and demand honesty and accountability of their school districts. Don't wait until your school has become toxic and your children seriously ill from exposure to get involved.
-- Barbara Herskovitz, Tallahassee

Commission hearing was embarrassment to county

Editor: Re: Voters can stop pattern of pure kickback politics, Feb. 24 letter to the editor:

Joseph Cino would have us believe that "hefty" contributions to elected officials are common occurrences by special interest groups to get their projects approved by our county commissioners. He failed to mention in his letter to the editor, he and his wife's political role in Citrus County, and that he and his wife are overtly pro-condo.

The Save The Homosassa River Alliance and the majority of residents in Citrus County, (No matter what Commissioner Jim Fowler says) applaud the Citrus Times and the Citrus County Chronicle editorials against the time-share project.

I invite all Citrus County residents who have access to the Internet to go to the Halls River Retreat Web site at: where they will find that Karen Cunningham is the sole sales agent for the Longacre time share development and her husband, Kevin Cunningham, who is a close personal friend of Commissioner Josh Wooten and a heavy contributor to the above commissioner's pro-environmental election platform, also sold the 11-acre parcel to Mr. Longacre.

In a previous letter I sent to both newspapers (Dec. 5), I asked Mr. Longacre if he so loved the area, why would he want to change it? I received many, many, phone calls from my fellow Citrus Countians praising what I had written. I only received one call from someone who didn't agree, and that was Cindy Cino -- Mrs. Joseph Cino!

The three commissioners whom I like to refer to as "Moe, Curly and Larry," who voted for the time share project said the day after the hearing that they received piles of paperwork in opposition, especially Mr. Wooten.

The commission hearing on Feb. 12 was a total farce and an embarrassment to the county. If the Citrus County commissioners and County Attorney Robert Battista intend to conduct every hearing like this, guess what? None of us who want to preserve our pristine areas, our wildlife, our fragile aquifer and environmentally sensitive coastal regions from dense development will have a chance.
-- Virginia Svoboda, Homosassa

Ambitions should not come before community's needs

Editor: Re: Candidate's approval reveals dissension among officials, Feb. 28 Times:

One cannot pretend to know what is on each council person's mental agenda during meetings. We truly hope that the good of Crystal River and its populace is the main focus.

However, when a councilwoman calls it "micro-management" when other council members want to review a contract before voting on same, we find that a dereliction of duty. It is the council's responsibility to do the best it can for the people they represent. By taking time to review the contract, more than $4,000 was saved for the taxpayers of Crystal River.

No council member ever questioned our city manager's choice for Public Works director, only a contract that they had no chance to review.

This council has done such a good job of working together so far and accomplishing many of its goals. We truly hope political ambitions will come second place, and the good of Crystal River first place for all of our council people. That is what was pledged at the time of election.
-- Gail and Phil Jannarone, Crystal River

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