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Bingo halls should enforce smoking ban


Published September 5, 2003

Re: Smoking ban in bingo halls isn't discrimination, Aug. 26 letter to the editor.

Editor: It is high time the smoking ban law is obeyed by all. The voting public gave the state legislators the responsibility of producing a statewide law that bans smoking in public places. The public's intent was to receive relief from smoke pollution in places used by the public. It's as simple as that!

This law became effective on July 1, two months ago, yet managers of halls used by the public are choosing to ignore it. A number of bingo halls in Hernando County are still persisting in allowing smoking patrons to pollute the air for nonsmokers.

These refusals of the managers to follow the law are unacceptable. Neither "fraternal" nor "charitable" groups, nor community halls, are exempt from the law. This includes the Masaryktown hall, the VFWs and the DAV. A "designated" area in the same room with smokers, or a separate, smaller room, does not qualify for exemption. As for their use of the money received for admission being used for charitable purposes, this does not change the intent of the law.

Veterans and fraternities can enjoy the use of their halls for their business and social gatherings, with smoking, but when they open the halls to bingo players from the general public (hundreds of them), then those days call for no smoking at all, in compliance with Florida Statutes 386.204 and 386.206.

A number of public bingo halls are already complying with the law, such as St. Theresa's hall, Elks, Lions Club and Knights of Columbus. Their attendance has not suffered noticeably as the bingo players adjusted to the nonsmoking provision.

An outdoor patio serves smokers at break times, and the indoor air is healthfully clean for all.


-- H. Stauffer, Brooksville

Meeting crucial to park's future

Re: County sees water park with new eyes, Sept. 4 Times:

Editor: Weeki Wachee Springs Park is infused with a new management and mission - to protect the Weeki Wachee spring and surrounding fragile environment, and to restore the mermaid park as a major asset to Hernando County.

In the meantime, a decision by the Southwest Florida Water Management District, or Swiftmud, to terminate the WWSP remains a real threat due to the failure of previous management to address long-standing facility deficiencies.

Recent action by the city of Weeki Wachee to take over WWSP will enable the management of the park to the use annual rental expense of approximately $225,000 to fund ongoing repair and maintenance.

The "Save Our Tails" campaign, a euphuistic reference to protect our mermaids, was broadcast over national network news, raising this struggle to a national level. The American audience responded with donations of money, talent and materials.

Construction equipment, motivated workers and materials are visible signs at WWSP that a handful of dedicated people can make a difference.

On the local level, WWSP is viewed as a major resource that many community events are partnered with. The Hernando County Chamber of Commerce turned to WWSP for its celebrated Fourth of July event in 2002. The event was so successful it was repeated in 2003 with equally positive results.

The Spring Hill Art League will celebrate its 30th annual Fall Harvest of Art Show Nov. 15-16. An appeal went out to the community for a strong partner to make this show better than ever. WWSP responded, a contract was signed with the Spring Hill Art League and WWSP. A new long-term partnership has been established to create a high visibility venue combining the value and attraction of WWSP with the fine art, fine craft, country craft and student art exhibits featured at the art show.

However, unless Swiftmud decides in favor of WWSP and extends the deadline to complete the required repairs, all could be lost. On Sept. 23 or 24, a meeting will be held with Swiftmud to determine the fate of WWSP.

Let's plan to attend this meeting, which will be held at Swiftmud, 2379 Broad St., Brooksville. The phone number is 796-7211.


-- Ray Cannata, vice president, chairman of the Fall Harvest Show Spring Hill Art League

Reckless drivers endanger others

Editor: I hope that printing this may save a life.

In the past few weeks, I have noticed an increase in the arrogant disregard for the safety of other drivers by those exiting the Spring Hill Center and Cinema Square to return to Timber Pines. Whether it is morning or evening, they cut across three lanes of southbound traffic to get to the turning lane for Timber Pines' entrances.

Think people! Is it worth your life or the lives of others to get the donuts or pizza home one minute earlier?

From either plaza, one can drive to the traffic signal in front of the old Wal-Mart building and go straight across, or even turn using a controlled traffic device.

The AARP has a wonderful driving program established here. Maybe it's time to attend.

The shortest route may not always be the fastest or safest.


-- R. Conklin, Spring Hill

Curbside recycling is unnecessary

Editor: I just received my bill from Waste Management Inc. and find that I am being charged $4.80 more for a service I do not use. Waste Management informed me that our county commissioners voted to take my money.

When I tried to talk to the county commissioners, they never seem to be in their offices. They must be out picking someone else's pocket.

I have always recycled on my own at one of our recycling centers. Why should I have to pay extra to the county?

I can understand the need for this service to folks who cannot get out, but these also are the folks who probably can least afford to be charged extra on their bill.

Doesn't the county make money for all this recycling?

If we all tell them we will not pay for a service we do not need, then maybe they will get the picture and look for a better way to steal our money.

I will be looking to see which commissioners voted for this, and vote against them come next election. What happened to freedom of choice?


-- Cliff Ernst, Spring Hill

Where does the recycling money go?

Editor: I am refusing to pay Waste Management of Pasco Inc. the extra $4.80 they want for curbside recycling.

According to our 2002 real estate taxes, the solid waste disposal assessment per year is $62.50, then we pay Waste Management $19.74 every three months to haul it away. Now they want us to recycle. That's okay with me, but I am having a hard time understanding what happens to the money Waste Management receives from recyclers.

Why do we have to pay an extra $4.80 every three months, when they might be keeping the money from our recycleable waste?


-- George DiFranco Sr., Spring Hill [Last modified September 5, 2003, 04:53:59]


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