Magnet schools require initiative, not income

Published February 6, 2007

Re: Magnet schools draw attention Feb. 4 story

I strongly disagree that parents whose children attend Challenger K-8 or Chocachatti Elementary consider themselves "elitist." Every parent who has a child in Hernando County can place an application into one or all of its magnet schools via the lottery or portfolio selection process. Income has nothing to do with it; it's a matter of parents taking the initiative and filling out the application.

As a parent with a child at Chocachatti, I ask myself if it was worth completing the lottery, portfolio and the one-hour orientation session with my busy work schedule. The answer is overwhelmingly "yes."

I have nothing but praise for the administration and teachers, who push not only academics, but moral values. Parents whose children do not attend one of Hernando County's three magnet schools need to ask themselves: Is it because their name was not drawn in the lottery process, or that they never bothered to submit an application?

Steven Lee, Brooksville

Re: Site has bids; will county sell? Feb. 3 story

Veterans: Speak up about hospital

Veterans have been asking for a veterans facility in this area for many years. They have asked many times for the old Brooksville Regional Hospital to be used for a veterans facility.

In an October 2006 meeting with County Administrator Gary Kuhl and Jean Rags, I proposed the old hospital be used as a consolidated veterans center. Under this proposal: the VA Brooksville outpatients clinic could expand, as needed; Hernando County Veterans Services Office could be co-located with other services; and other veteran services, such as a veterans convalescent/nursing home could be accommodated.

VA medical centers in our area are being pressed to treat veterans. The old hospital would provide the space for quick expansion, as needed.

Hernando County should repair and donate the old hospital to veterans as a payback for the Hernando County Airport, which was a "gift" by the federal government after World War II. The airport is attracting business, jobs and taxes to Hernando County. A consolidated veterans center would attract veterans to Hernando and surrounding counties.

Veterans, use of the old hospital is scheduled to be presented to the Hernando County Commission today. This may be our last chance. Be there.

Raeburn B. Taylor, retired chief warrant officer


Hickory Hill taking all the heat

I am concerned that anti-Hickory Hill subdivision sentiment is based on misguided information, specifically information about the possibility of groundwater contamination in high recharge areas. Let it be known to all residents of Hernando County, you live in a high-recharge area and you contribute to groundwater contamination.

The entire county is considered a high-recharge area based on the geologic nature of the area. Most of the county consists of sand on top of limestone with no protective clay or impermeable materials between the two. For this reason, every lawn that is fertilized and sprayed with herbicide and pesticides contributes to groundwater contamination. If residents feel the need to point fingers at Hickory Hill, then they also must be prepared to criticize all other developments in Hernando County, existing or proposed, for the same reason.

Groundwater contamination is not a new problem in this area; it has been occurring since the population began increasing in the 1970s. In fact, the Southwest Florida Water Management District has proven a direct correlation between increasing population in the Spring Hill area and the concentration of nitrates (one of the ingredients in fertilizers) in Weeki Wachee Springs.

So, this leads to the question: Why is Hickory Hill the only proposed development being held to water quality standards that no other development in Hernando County has been held to? I am not suggesting they should not be, but the requirements must be uniformly enforced for all development within the county.

Joe Haber, Spring Hill