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Letters to the Editors

Build stores, and shoppers will follow


© St. Petersburg Times
published September 8, 2002

Editor: My friends and I decided the other day to do some shopping. Although we did not want to travel far, it seems we had no choice. Either we end up going to the mall at Citrus Park (now known as Westfield Shoppingtown), the Gulf View Mall in Port Richey, the Countryside Mall in Clearwater, or other out-of-town places.

Do our county representatives realize how much spending is done outside of Hernando County? When are they going to wake up and smell the checkbooks?

People from this county do not want to shop elsewhere. But we have no choice for many of the goods we buy. We don't even have a bookstore in this county, such as Books A Million or Barnes & Noble.

If these so-called county planners would stop and see the growth of this county, they would try and lure some large retailers here. I would like to know what these planners are doing.

I have lived here five years and the only addition to this community I have seen is a Lowe's, which is across from a Home Depot, a few restaurants and a so-called "mall" on State Road 50 with a Sears and Belk's.

Come on, planners, get on the ball and bring this county up to date. This county could use some additional money. Certainly there are many of us who would do our shopping here if we had more businesses to chose from.
-- Marcia Amen, Spring Hill

Woman who alleges rape is just looking for attention

Editor: I have been following your story regarding the woman who claimed three firefighters raped her at a fire convention in Altamonte Springs. Each day I read the stories and each day I am amazed. This woman, the alleged "victim," has no evidence to back up her claim of rape.

The police detective's report stated there was no evidence to substantiate her allegations. I have read the police report. However, each day this "victim" feels the need to give more specific details of her "story" to the newspaper. Why not wait until the decision from the State Attorney's Office comes out and save the details for court?

I have noticed the more this woman tells her story the more inconsistencies there are. Was she dating firefighter Eddie Falk, or did they agree after one meeting they would be friends? Did he call her to come to the convention as previously stated, or did she call him as stated in a subsequent article?

I believe this 32-year-old single woman visited a fire station and spent time with a small group of firefighters who made her feel special for a day. She learned about who they are, what they stand for and the lives they lead. These men, as shown in the Times, are exemplary firefighters and citizens in our community.

Please don't get me wrong. I believe these men exercised poor judgment, but I do not feel they deserve to have their names dragged through the mud on a daily basis. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

It sounds to me like this single woman wanted to continue to have some kind of a relationship with one or each one of these men, and when she realized that would not happen, she got angry and cried rape.

I am a woman in my 30s and am adult enough to know better than to pack an overnight bag and travel two hours by myself to a convention of all men. Poor choice on her part, yes, but I don't think that was the only poor choice she made. Why not go directly to the police when she woke up next to firefighter John Ferriero? Why did she spend the entire night in Ferriero's room? She appears to have remembered quite a bit for someone who was so intoxicated.

Yes, some victims allow time to elapse before pressing charges, but if memory serves me, she stated she was intimidated because of their positions in the firefighters' union.

What could they do to her that would be worse than what she claims had already happened?

If you had just been raped by three men, wouldn't you go directly to the police that morning, so that you could have testing done to ensure there was no doubt of their guilt?

My opinion is this woman is looking for attention any way she can get it, and the papers seem more than willing to give it to her without any thought of how these unproven allegations can affect the careers, reputations and families of the men.
-- Ann DiPuglia, Spring Hill

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