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Letters to the Editors

Effort to sue caring family is appalling

© St. Petersburg Times
published September 29, 2002

Re: Family accused of being a business, Sept. 26

Editor: As homeowners in Forest Lake Estates, we are writing this letter to express our outrage at the actions of the Forest Lake Estates Neighborhood Association against the Gourlay family.

In a world where the newspapers and news programs are full of stories about child neglect and abuse, we are appalled that our community would threaten a lawsuit against a family for opening their hearts and home to less fortunate children.

Their only crime is accepting assistance from the state? Is the money really the issue is here?

No. The real issue is that there are some very elderly residents who don't want families with kids in this neighborhood. Unfortunately, there is no deed restriction against having kids in the neighborhood.

Association attorney Donald R. Peyton said, "I understand they aren't doing it for free or out of love, that it's a business." Mr. Peyton, I would suggest that before making such an uninformed statement, it might be advisable for you to spend some time getting to know the Gourlay family so you can learn who they are and what's in their heart. Maybe you would enjoy spending a day with Corinna while she cooks, cleans and drives the kids to and from school and their various appointments: cheerleading, sporting events, etc. It's a real life of luxury.

Steven and Corinna are wonderful, loving parents and should not be penalized for providing a home and for loving and caring for the foster children who need them. We would challenge the many caring residents of Forest Lakes to let the association know that we do not support this action against the Gourlay family.
-- Richard and Tracy Cooper, New Port Richey

Candidates differ on drug benefits

Re: Offbeat campaigns add flavor to the election stew, Sept. 22, C.T. Bowen column

Editor: I was at the TAT Civic Association meeting and I heard what Chuck Kalogianis had to say about prescription drugs.

Although he did compliment his opponent on his efforts, Kalogianis also pointed out where he disagreed with Mike Bilirakis, R-Clearwater. on prescription drugs. C.T. Bowen made it seem like there were minor philosophical differences, but in fact, there were major differences in the two drug plans, but C.T. Bowen failed to explain that in his column.

Kalogianis favors a prescription drug benefit through Medicare, which will make prescription drugs more accessible for seniors and keep medicine less expensive, whereas Bilirakis has voted for a plan that privatizes prescription drug benefits. It is important for your readers to know this about the two candidates in District 9.
-- Darlene Orsini, New Port Richey

Give the pneumonia vaccine a shot

Editor: What is commonly known as the pneumonia shot is truly a vaccination against pneumococcal bacteria. Anyone can get pneumococcal disease, although some are at greater risk.

The very young and old, and those with special health problems -- such as kidney failure, diabetes and certain types of cancer -- are at highest risk and are among those who need this vaccination.

The bacterial infection in the blood or lungs begins with fever, chills, shortness of breath, cough and chest pains.

Because pneumococcal disease can lead to serious infections of the lungs (pneumonia), the blood (bacteremia) and the covering of the brain (meningitis), it behooves those in the above groups to receive vaccinations against these bacteria.

Penicillin is no longer effective against this disease, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stated that pneumococcal disease kills more people than all other vaccine-preventable diseases combined. Therefore, that tells each of us to be alert and get vaccinated.

Your private physician or the Pasco County Health Department can provide the vaccination. The pneumonia shot is actually the PPV, pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine. Small wonder that it has a more common name: the pneumonia shot. Whatever it is called, it is a vital part of everyone's health.

When Medicare is the primary provider, there is no charge for the PPV. And according to the CDC, usually one dose is all that is needed.

The shot should be given on or after the 65th birthday, however. A second dose is needed if the PPV was given before the 65th birthday or if one has certain chronic diseases as determined by a physician.

Two nurses from the Health Department have been going out into the community spreading the word about the pneumonia shot for the second year. We are striving to inform, educate and vaccinate our citizens against this disease. We think we are succeeding.
-- Lilyan V. Dayton, RN, Pasco County Health Department

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