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Letters to the Editors

Taxpayer money shouldn't fund airboat ramp

© St. Petersburg Times
published April 21, 2002

A recent newspaper report said that once the Wysong dam is in place, most boaters will use the lock to skirt the dam during daylight hours, but officials are trying to figure out how nighttime airboats can go around the structure.

It is no secret that the leaders of TOO FAR, the group responsible for convincing Swiftmud's Al Coogler that the dam should be built, have long championed the rights of airboaters. Now Coogler has joined them as an airboat advocate, personally assuring the group at a recent TOO FAR meeting that he would fight to see that this airboat bypass ramp would be a part of the Wysong structure. At this same meeting the membership of TOO FAR voted to suggest that the dam be called the Al Coogler Dam.

Why, we ask, should taxpayer money be used to give airboats the opportunity of bypassing the dam when the lock is closed at night, while the rest of us with quieter means of transportation will have to adjust our boating hours to the lock keeper's schedule?

Furthermore, we find it ironic that an organization whose name stands for Taxpayers Outraged Organization for Accountable Representation now wants to spend taxpayer money for a ramp that will benefit airboaters but not the boating public in general! This seems a bit hypocritical to us.

Last Saturday, our peaceful setting on the Withlacoochee River was disturbed more than 100 times by the sound of airboats traveling back and forth between the State Road 44 bridge and Wysong during a four-hour "Poker Run." We wonder if any TOO FAR members participated in this assault against man and nature. If so, perhaps as a self-described environmental organization they could explain why the Withlacoochee River Airboat Association picked a date in April when nesting wildlife was especially susceptible to disturbances.

We watched from our front yard as wading birds scattered, osprey scolded from nests where they were trying to raise their young, gators in the midst of mating season sought cover, and anyone trying to enjoy a beautiful day on the river in quieter pleasures found it impossible to talk, let alone enjoy the beauty of our outstanding waterway.

Pity the poor canoeists we saw trying to navigate this onslaught, and shame on all who had anything to do with this poor excuse for fun in the sun.

And shame on Al Coogler and other Swiftmud officials for even considering constructing a ramp for airboats at the dam site, thereby making it even easier for airboats to disturb the river 24 hours a day, while shutting out those of us who enjoy quieter means of transportation.
-- Lynn and Tim DeLong, Inverness

County works to keep environment in good shape

Earth Day is a traditional opportunity for each of us to celebrate the wonders of the environment in which we live.

We are truly blessed with unique, amazing and awesome sights throughout Citrus County. The commemoration of Earth Day provides an appropriate time to reflect on the many activities undertaken to improve the aesthetics in this, our little corner of the world.

Why anyone would willingly choose to litter and dump in our beautiful county is mind-boggling at best, but some do. My fellow commissioners and I have taken a strong position on improving the appearance of our "home," and the citizen support has been overwhelming.

Cleaning up the environment and beautifying the county were campaign issues for me, and I'm delighted to report that this topic is of equal importance to our populace. I receive countless telephone calls and e-mails on this subject matter, and the letters to the editor are in themselves testimony to the need for this type of focus and effort. We can all be proud of what we've done. Listed are just some of our combined accomplishments over the past year.

What we've done:

As roadside litter continued to plague the county, funding was found for an additional litter supervisor to add yet another crew to patrol our streets and highways. The efforts of these crews (supervisors and inmate volunteers) removed 108 tons of debris.

Longstanding citizen volunteer efforts in programs such as Adopt-a-Highway and Adopt-a-Shore removed 15.5 tons of trash.

Community cleanup efforts got rid of 35 tons of unwanted rubbish.

478 tons of tires were gathered and disposed of at our landfill.

Supported the creation of Keep Citrus Beautiful Inc.

Illegal dump site cleanups spearheaded by the Dump Patrol (an arm of the newly created Keep Citrus Beautiful organization) netted 28 tons of waste.

While illegal dump sites are easily identified, some regulatory problems have been encountered that need resolution. Toward this end, I will soon be calling for a "workshop" to seek solutions to this issue. Anticipated participants will include code enforcement, environmental health, Sheriff's Office, County Commission, Keep Citrus Beautiful, commercial haulers and the solid waste division.

As you can see from these annual figures, government and these organized groups are making a concerted effort to rectify problems associated with trash and litter. Unfortunately, not enough is being done.

What can you do?

Be responsible citizens, not just on Earth Day but every day.

Always set a good example for your children and your neighbors.


Don't litter.

Watch for and report illegal dumping activities.

Get involved and get your friends involved. Listed below are programs to consider: Adopt-a-Highway, call Frank Wentzel at 527-7670; Adopt-a-Shore, call Mark Edwards at 527-7620; Adopt-a-Park, call Brad Thorpe at 527-7658; Keep Citrus Beautiful, call Mike Colbert at 746-9393.

You may always contact me at 341-6560. Working together, we can keep Citrus County clean and green.
-- Josh Wooten, County Commissioner, District 5

-- People should stop at red lights, stop signs
Stop signs, red lights, what good are they when people ignore them? Example: Turkey Oak and U.S. 19. Northbound U.S. 19, I see as many as five to 10 cars a day run the light. I have been going toward U.S. 19 and come to the light: Green for U.S. 19 and red for Turkey Oak, and when the light changes for U.S. 19 traffic to stop and Turkey Oak to go, U.S. 19 traffic just kept on going as though the light was not there, long enough for the light to change, and I had to wait for the next change.
East on State Road 44 at County Road 490: I am going east on SR 44, and a car in front of me is making a left turn. Everything is fine there. Light is green for SR 44 traffic and red for CR 490 traffic. A car going north on CR 490 comes to the corner and makes a right turn on red and never stops and never looks when he is going. Had there been any traffic in the left lane of SR 44, I would not have been able to swerve over and miss hitting the car at the right front fender.
At many stop signs, people just keep on going and a lot of times are looking in the other direction.
John New, Crystal River

Too much has been written: It isn't news when birds migrate

You must be as tired of writing about these d----- birds as we are of reading about them. What else is left to say?

Birds have been migrating since the beginning of time. Is this a news story?
-- Charles H. Hicks, Floral City

Share your views

The Citrus Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address and telephone number. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed.

Send your letter to Citrus Times, 301 W Main St., Inverness, FL 33450. To fax a letter call 860-7320. Send letters by e-mail (in text-only format) to

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