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Letters to the Editors

Articles cast dark shadow on coach loved by community


© St. Petersburg Times
published April 11, 2003

Editor: Re: Did baseball coach play by all the rules?, Sunday, Citrus Times.

I hope this is just one of hundreds of e-mails, phone calls, and letters that you are receiving this week in reference to the articles you wrote and published, in last Sunday's paper, on Coach Brent Hall.

In producing these articles, you have attempted to cast a very dark shadow over one of Citrus County's finest men. Brent Hall is personally and solely responsible for changing the lives of hundreds of children, boys and girls. He is the most dedicated, passionate, caring and motivating leader for the children in this county.

His baseball record speaks volumes, and for a few, this has created animosity and jealousy. I am certain this was the fuel for this witch hunt and these libelous articles, and you should be ashamed of yourselves.

If you go back 15 years in anyone's life, you will find some blemishes. No one is disputing that fact, but we are not talking about a convicted felon, a child molester, a wife beater, adulterer, or even a suspension on his professional teaching career. We are talking about an average human being. A human being that has a passion for kids and baseball. A human being that deserves better than this.

If you conducted this witch hunt thoroughly, I know for a fact, you spoke with more people that support Brent Hall than not, but you chose to print only the comments from drunk, bitter and jealous men of the past.

The time and money spent on producing these outrageous articles should have been on all of the positive contributions that Coach Hall has made to the children and families of Crystal River and Citrus County.

I am confident that the majority of the residents are in support of Coach Hall and I hope you are hearing from all of them. How's that for freedom of speech?
-- Pamela Blumberg, Crystal River

Facts about coach were misrepresented

Editor: Re: Did baseball coach play by all the rules?, Sunday, Citrus Times.

I thought the Salem witch hunt ended centuries ago. I am appalled at the tactics used by your reporter, Barbara Behrendt. She spoke to me via the telephone on two occasions concerning my son's experience with Crystal River High School baseball coach, Brent Hall.

She manipulated what I told her to proceed with her lynching party. It is borderline slander and very unprofessional for her to misrepresent the information I discussed with her.

The facts of this matter are this:

1. Adam approached coach Hall about the possibility of transferring to Florida.

2. Coach Hall did tell Adam if he wanted to pursue it any further he would have to speak with the school principal.

3. After Adam returned to school and was still having difficulty adjusting, I did research on my own concerning Adam's eligibility if he were to transfer to Florida. Not because I was particularly looking for Adam to transfer, but more because what I found out in my research was something that would put the issue to rest within Adam's mind once and for all. I then called Coach Hall to see if he could verify my research; he said he could not. I asked him where I could get this information verified and he said the guidance department would be able to tell me what I wanted to know.

4. Coach Hall has never tried to contact Adam about transferring to his school, nor has he called Adam since the end of last summer's Dixie League season.

5. Adam never planned to transfer to Florida. He seriously considered it. Coach Hall still has supported Adam in every way he can, even though Adam will never play for his team. I think that this is commendable and something everyone should know.

I find it totally ironic that Ms. Behrendt spent all this time trying to manipulate her findings to criticize the ethics of Coach Hall when she can't tell the simple truth.

I want everyone to know that it is your profession and your publication's credibility that are truly in serious question here.
-- Jeffrey S. Crabtree, Sugarmill Woods

Trash collection requirement is garbage

Editor: Mandatory trash collection will be mandatory only if the county maintains your road. Private roads and gated communities give permission to the hauler and County Commission to use their roads, or if they choose, they can refuse service.

Our county staff believes 30 percent of our community does not have collection service. Therefore, the staff believes that some of these people are illegally dumping. Most private roads are in rural and wooded areas of the county, and that is where you find most of our illegal dump sites.

If the person living on a private road does not have collection now and illegally burns or disposes of his or her waste, how will mandatory collection keep that person from dumping illegally, if they can refuse service?

How is mandating a collection service that can be refused going to stop improper disposal?

Commissioner Jim Fowler says the mandatory collection will stop littering and illegal dumping. How? When did mandatory collection become optional? Was it when the County Commission found out that it would be responsible for repairs to private roads?

So, if you live on a private road, you will be charged for the service even if you choose not to allow the hauler down your road.

If you choose to give permission for the hauler to travel your road, the hauler and commission then are no longer liable for any damages to your road.

So, don't give permission and pay, or give permission and pay and be responsible for your own road repairs arising from the hauler's trucks. Sounds like a Catch-22.
-- Also, the so-called disposal assessment covers solid waste disposal only and gives full control to the county staff. This covers the staff's planning and cash flow problems. But what about We the People and our problems, needs and benefits?
By not covering all waste generated by the people (TVs, appliances, electronics, lawn mowers, yard waste, hazardous waste, household waste), this plan will not cover the needs of the people. This assessment must bring reform not just control.
If you expect the taxpayer to cooperate, you must cover some of our issues and needs. Open landfill to the public with no extra charges and let's clean up Citrus County.
William Ray, Hernando

Model aircraft club deserves new lease

Editor: I am writing on behalf of an organization I belong to that has members in Citrus, Marion and Levy counties, the Tri County R/C Club.

We are a group of radio control aircraft enthusiasts that build and fly radio control aircraft.

We hold monthly meetings in Inverness, at the Lakes Region Library, and fly our aircraft at an airpark east of Dunnellon that we maintain called Rainbow Field.

The club consists of about 120 members from the tricounty area. We are sanctioned by the Academy of Model Aeronautics, a national organization that provides liability insurance and guidelines for safety at our flying site. The organization has a membership of 170,000 worldwide.

We are a community minded group. A number of our members are mentors for an aeronautics program at Inverness Middle School giving the students hands-on experience building flying model aircraft, and the opportunity to fly them each semester, with our instructors, at the field.

Each year we hold aSanta Fly-in, the landing fee being a toy, in conjunction with the Dunnellon Fire Department to collect toys and distribute them at the Fire Department's annual Christmas party for the needy children in the Dunnellon area.

We also have several fly-ins yearly, which are open to spectators. The public is always welcome to come to the field, and we have an active group of instructor pilots that teach our hobby/sport to many students each year, with no fees for the training.

The field is leased from the Florida Greenways and Trails, a part of the Department of Environment, parks and recreation division.

All that said, here is the problem: We have been informed, after leasing the field for five years, our lease will not be renewed. We do not fit their plan for the area.

Needless to say this came as quite a shock to us, we were always told the lease was no problem. With these assurances we have invested a great deal of money improving and maintaining the property, not to mention the sweat factor.

They offered us an alternate site on the other side of Dunnellon; in fact, they now tell us the site is being surveyed and a title search is in progress. They also have told us their forces will help prepare it, and they will drill a well.

All this sounds very accommodating; the problem is, the site will not work. The forefathers of the club looked at it five years ago. It was offered, along with our present site for lease. It is very close -- in fact, we would be flying over a residential area -- and the neighbors have already told the group that investigated the site, and another club they tried to move there, that they would not tolerate any flying activities. It is unusable; we would last about one day.

Several things I want to point out. We are taxpayers in the state of Florida and feel we should have access to recreation lands like everyone else. We have not cost the state one cent; in fact, we pay a lease for use of the property which we maintain in parklike condition.
-- Dave Small, Inverness

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 letters to Greg Hamilton, editorial page editor, Citrus Times, 301 W Main St., Inverness, FL 34450. To fax a letter, call 860-7320. Send letters by electronic mail (in text-only format) to Hamilton@sptimes.com.

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