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Show caution while driving school buses

Published May 22, 2003

Editor: Re: School bus drivers are careless, reckless, May 16 letter to the editor:

I also would like to comment about the dangerous ways drivers drive their school buses. Almost weekly, as my husband comes home from work, the buses that come out of Eastside Elementary School just dart across State Road 50 to the eastbound side without regard for the westbound traffic. Several times traffic must slow quickly or swerve to keep from hitting the buses.

Also, I have noticed that drivers are driving the bus with one hand and talking on a cell phone with the other. Cell phones are dangerous to begin with, and I don't think they should be used by school bus drivers to socialize with their friends or whatever. If they want to talk on the phone, wait until they get off the bus.

I do agree that perhaps some stricter rules should be enforced with these drivers, as they are becoming more and more careless with their job. I, too, hope something can be done and encourage the school district to send their supervisors out to watch the drivers, not only for the sake of the county, but for their own sake.

-- Doris Tempesta, Spring Hill

Challenge issued to critics of school bus drivers

Editor: Re: School bus drivers are careless, reckless, May 16 letter to the editor:

I am a school bus driver for Hernando County schools. I totally disagree and resent the opinions of Ronald P. Roth Jr. Everything about my job is centered on safety.

The May 13 accident involving a Hernando County school bus was just that, an accident. I challenge anyone to come in and go through our training school, get your commercial driver's license a "P" endorsement license and join our fleet.

We do have supervisors watching our driving. We also have everyone in Hernando County who is a parent or a grandparent watching our driving. Hernando County school bus drivers are not careless and reckless; we are careful and drive with caution. We also practice our patience with road ragers.

Incidentally, if you should see a convoy of school buses trying to gain access to a two-or-more lane highway, please be considerate and move over. We have a very important job to do.

-- Marcia Lambert, Spring Hill

Educators who use pot don't belong in schools

Editor: Re: Ex-principal retires over drug use, May 16 Times:

I am one parent of a Springstead High School student who was overjoyed by the retirement of former principal Dot Dodge. I am appalled by the use of marijuana by a person in her position.

She is a person who proclaims to be teaching our children how to follow the law, while breaking it.

I am sorry, but I have no sympathy for this woman and hope she never works again in Hernando or "higher-paying" Pasco County.

-- Laurel Hubbard, Spring Hill

Pledge of Allegiance is essentially a prayer

Editor: Re: Some grads may bow tasseled heads, May 17 Times:

It never ceases to amaze me how some people just don't get it, especially when they call themselves educators.

Principal Carmine Rufa has been quoted as saying that Springstead High School's graduation ceremony will include The Pledge of Allegiance, but no prayer.

Excuse me? Ever since the original pledge was distorted by adding a reference to deistic allegiance, it has become a prayer. You can call it whatever you want, but anything that includes fealty to a supernatural entity is a prayer by definition.

I hope this principal was not a former English teacher.

-- Brent Yaciw, Wesley Chapel

Pine Island causeway's safety questioned

Editor: As I left Pine Island, heading out for dinner at 7 p.m. recently, all was quiet on the new paved causeway. The ride was as smooth as Dairy Queen ice cream. Returning at 9:45, the roadway was lit by the flashing lights of a sheriff's car, a Florida Highway Patrol cruiser and two tow trucks. We could see a car off the roadway and in the water. This accident occurred after hitting our newly finished guardrail (1 day old). We didn't stop; the authorities had things well in hand. We only hoped the occupants of the car were not seriously injured.

The next morning I drove to the scene to look at the damage. The road was still littered with mud and grass; the guardrail had been moved 6 inches and damaged in several places from the impact; the auto involved was long gone and surely a total loss.

How important was it to install the guardrail, since the county was concerned someone might have an accident and run off the roadway and hit the water in the area of the newly installed water ducts under the newly paved roadway? We wouldn't want that to happen, would we?

The auto hit the guardrail, drove along it and then at the end of the guardrail went off the road and into the water. The picture I get here doesn't seem to make much sense, but maybe we need to back up and look again at the public safety issue on this causeway.

What if the auto involved didn't have the guardrail to hit? Would the result be any different? What if the guardrail didn't end and the auto was forced to stay on the road?

Not long ago ago I discussed with one of the county commissioners the very issue of the safety of the Pine Island causeway and how having little or no shoulder makes it very dangerous. Maybe the guardrail should run the entire length. At the very least I suggested having "no parking" signs to prevent people from stopping to take photos or fish and parking on the shoulder of the road. That makes conditions even more hazardous for drivers. (I enjoy fishing, but people should not be permitted to park their autos on the causeway).

This roadway is an extreme danger that needs to be dealt with for public safety before some poor soul goes off the road and drowns.

I point no finger, only ask for a reconsideration as to how this situation could be best handled for the safety of the driving public. The community needs action on this matter from county government.

-- Kenneth DeBoer, Spring Hill

Relax county regulations regarding yard sales

Editor: Why is the county coming down hard on people who want to have yard sales? I feel that a yard sale is a very traditional way and is as American as apple pie.

But take warning: If you put up a yard sale sign, beware of the county Code Enforcement officer stopping at your sale to inform that you must take down your yard sale signs within an hour or be subject to a warning ticket. And if he comes to your house a second time, it will not be a warning, but a ticket for $115.

This is a law that is about 4 years old. It is a law that our county elected officials voted on without any thought. It is a law that is un-American. The Code Enforcement officer is riding around on Saturdays, as well, and we are paying for him to do this.

This law needs to be abolished. Or it can be redone to read, "Yard sale signs should be taken down at the close of the yard sale each day." After then, the Code Enforcement officer can issue a ticket if the sign is not removed. That would be fair.

This is just one of the many changes that need to be made to right the county and not make the county officials the bad guys. Changes for the good of the people of Hernando County need to be addressed. There is only one commissioner who will actually respond to problems; that is Robert Schenck. The other commissioners do not reply to needs or requests. I personally have requested action in the past from each commissioner individually, and only Schenck responded.

-- Michael J. Kowalik, Spring Hill

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[Last modified May 22, 2003, 01:30:54]

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