Reporter's focus on pig contest slanted

Letters to the Editor
Published September 24, 2006

The Pioneer Florida Museum Association Board of Trustees would like to respond to the Monday, Sept. 4 article about our first greased pig contest.

To begin we would like to note that it is a shame the person writing this article chose only to focus on one aspect of the festival that she didn't care for, and neglected to report on the other magnificent happenings the event had to offer.

Nothing was mentioned of the numerous traditional crafters who attended this event and do so each and every year to demonstrate and promote traditional ways of life, or of the vast number of community exhibitors who generated valuable information about the surrounding communities, or of the 186 Civil War re-enactors who volunteered their weekend to portray a piece of American history that is as important to our growth as the Revolution.

These volunteers do not receive any sort of compensation for their time and provide their own costumes and supplies to bring this piece of living history to spectators from all over the state, yet not a single word is mentioned of their endless devotion.

The Pioneer Florida Days Festival represents a collection of events designated to capture the cultural traditions of early life in Florida and cannot be defined by one single activity.

As a result of the article, a few of your readers have contacted us to voice their concern over the contest and the effect it has on the animals. We do understand that anyone not attending the event and only reading the published article would be concerned, as we feel the article did not correctly portray the event. It was an opinionated article written by an overzealous reporter who did not report fact but rather reported personal opinion. A reporter who, in the end, contradicted her own personal ethics as a spectator cheering on the event.

Anyone attending the event saw and understood that not a single pig was harmed as a result. The event was coordinated in conjunction with a well-respected local hog farm that has been raising hogs for well over 30 years.

The 70 children who participated and their parents saw the event as a tribute to the farming community in which the museum resides. The reporter's inept attempt at describing the event was littered with personal opinion and lacked any mentioned of the cultural diversity that exists within this state. Those readers who object to the contest should not be so naive as to believe that all Floridians should or would share their same opinions.

Furthermore, to address the comments regarding the pigs going home with winning families, your readers should know that prior to the event taking place, we anticipated that some families would be interested in participating but would be unable to care for a pig. In preparation for this, museum staff made previous arrangements with local 4-H Clubs and members of the Future Farmers of America to donate any pigs that could not be taken home. These organizations are worthy education organizations devoted to preserving the next generation of agricultural leaders.

Since 1961, the Pioneer Florida Museum Association has been dedicated to preserving and displaying traditional pioneer life. We remain an organization intent on furthering our mission to "promote, foster, educate, and encourage public interest in Florida life from pioneer times to the present" no matter what the personal opinion!

Robert D. Sumner, president, Pioneer Florida Museum, Board of Trustees

Judges undermine Sheriff's Office

One of the reasons why extra money and officers are needed by the Sheriff's Office is our judicial system. The sheriff deputies bring in violators and the judges turn them loose to drive again. Most arrests are previous violators.

For the letter writer who advocated faster driving, I can only advise him that to hurry in traffic is to be hurrying to meet death or being disabled for life. There is always an accident waiting to happen. Do not be there when it does.

The budget of the Sheriff's Office should be set by a percentage of the county's tax base. Each department of the county should have a percentage of the tax base set for its use. Each department should be required to operate within its budget. County commissioners should set the percentages for each department. Sheriff duties soon will expand to cover illegal immigration that the federal government has ignored.

Albert Ash, New Port Richey