Today's Letters: Heartless writer should learn facts

Published March 7, 2007

Road memorials shouldn't be there March 2 letter

I think the writer's opinion is very cold, callous and heartless. I am a parent of a son who was killed Feb. 20. Each individual grieves in his or her own way. If placing a memorial on a roadside helps to ease someone's grief and pain, then let it be.

Obviously, the writer has never lost someone dear and close to the heart. I hope she never does.

There are guidelines for roadside memorials, and our state and local government officials are compassionate and understanding. Before the writer casts stones, she should know the facts.

The remarks more than likely offended several people. In addition, unlike her, there are a lot of good and compassionate people who do care.

Rose A. Bingham, New Port Richey

Road memorials shouldn't be there March 2 letter

Litter on road is of more concern

I frequently read letters to the editor and am amazed at different opinions of fellow residents. Until now, I haven't been motivated to write.

I appreciate the roadside memorials. It is a way for people to express their grief. Not everyone is interested in a cemetery. The sight of roadside memorial often reminds me to slow down and it is a sobering vision of what could happen from careless driving.

As a Pasco County resident, I am more concerned with litter and cigarettes butts in the road.

Janet Pedicini, New Port Richey

Union asks more pay for less work Feb. 27 letter

The firefighters' side of the story

I read with interest Barbara DeSimone's letter about firefighters' wanting more money and less work. One must understand that she is being paid by the county to make the firefighters look bad. Some people are paid to put a good face on their side even if it means trashing hardworking men and women. However, one would think someone with her education would know to print only facts when waging a battle of words in the newspaper.

She neglects to mention we work 24-hour shifts, which roughly turns out to be 2,928 hours per year vs. a 40-hour workweek (like she works) which is 2,080 hours per year.

We currently have a fire/medic shortage, which means our fire/medics work an extra 24-hour shift once every third or fourth shift. Mandatory overtime means you can't leave even if you were up the whole 24 hours you worked. Does that happen? Absolutely! We are in the high-risk category in the retirement system with the Sheriff's Office. We are called to all the same scenes they go to - shootings, stabbings, domestic disputes, attempted suicides, motor vehicle accidents. We don't carry a gun. We're there for the victim. And yes, sometimes we have to enter burning buildings.

The hardest part of the job to me is that you deal with life-threatening or life-ending situations every shift. Picking up a child's body off the street after he was run over and trying to breathe for him, then doing chest compressions, all while his mom is watching. Telling a mom and grandmother that their loved one who they had just been attempting CPR on is dead and there is nothing you can do to help. Trying to cut someone's father out of a mangled car faster because his heart just stopped beating and you can't do very effective CPR while he's sitting up inside the car. I've been on those types of calls and more.

This job I chose is a great, wonderful opportunity to assist people and just maybe to extend someone's life. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I am just one out of hundreds of Pasco Fire Rescue employees. Most of us live in this county, work second jobs here and pay our taxes like everyone else.

You should be ashamed, Ms. DeSimone for trying to belittle what we do.

Jennie Bartlett, Spring Hill

Reject center for Salvation Army

I recently found out that the Salvation Army wants to build a thrift center on County Road 54 next to the new Hyundai dealership. This location is across the street from the entrance to the Lexington Oaks subdivision, next to the Westbrook subdivision and approximately 100 yards from a planned new elementary school. I believe the Salvation Army is a good organization that provides a needed service, but I do not believe the location it has chosen is in any way acceptable.

This area on CR 54 is developing rapidly and soon will be the new home of the Groves shopping center and a short distance from Cypress Creek Mall.

The area is finally emerging from years of a truckstop image, where homeless people are often seen on the street corners, to an upscale community image that makes it a desirable place to live and work. The introduction of a Salvation Army center in the middle of this area will do nothing but damage the overall appearance and negatively impact potential development that will contribute to a family- oriented lifestyle.

The location the Salvation Army wants to build on should be used for upscale retail development, not a recycling center for charitable contributions. Please visit the Salvation Army center on Nebraska Avenue in Hillsborough to see what this location would turn into.

The other issue, and perhaps the most important, is the safety of our community and its children. It is my understanding the Salvation Army frequently hires convicted criminals to operate its centers. It would be unbelievable to approve the building so close to an elementary school and two subdivisions. This would unquestionably put the students in danger and increase crime in the area. Not to mention that such a facility would attract other homeless and unsavory people to the area.

Please disapprove the Salvation Army's request. It is the only logical decision to make.

Elvia Easley, Wesley Chapel

Sales tax increase not a good idea

Our lawmakers are suggesting that our property taxes and homestead should be completely eliminated. This could be done by limiting government spending. (I trust that this also would mean the pork barrel projects each lawmaker has.)

Our sales tax would have to be increased by 2.5 percent, meaning that the state of Florida would have the highest sales tax in the country. Isn't this wonderful? This increased sales tax will be a hardship on low-income and middle-class working citizens. Retired citizens would also be hard hit as they live on a fixed income.

From Day 1, property owners always paid tax on their property. Nonowners never paid a property tax. I don't think there is a state in the country that has such a taxing policy as our lawmakers are suggesting. It seems that our lawmakers want to change all this and have all its citizens, whether a property owner or not, pay tax.

This is not the answer to our property tax problem. The formula we use to calculate our property tax figures must be updated. This would solve the problem. Increasing our sales tax will not.

Where are local governments going to get the dollars to pay their operating expenses such as police, fire, parks and libraries? Is the state going to give counties and cities the dollars? What will happen if the state doesn't give them enough to pay their operating expenses? Will the counties and cities set up a tax and fee system to collect from its citizens?

Most states have an income tax in place. Florida doesn't. A state income tax would be good for Florida. It would get dollars that it needs to help the citizens of the state. I'm sure our lawmakers, lobbyists and citizens with six-figure earnings will not go for it as it would mean they would have to pay taxes. The tax will not be felt by the lower and middle working-class citizens as most of them will receive a tax refund.

Frank DeAngelo, Hudson

Prom dresses brighten lives

Pasco County high school girls who find themselves without a budget for the prom this year may once again get fashion assistance from some real fairy godmothers.

The Cinderella Project provides brand-new and gently used prom dresses and accessories at no cost to young ladies who need them, and it's returning for a third year.

We are currently accepting donations of full-length prom style dresses and accessories that may be dropped off at any of the Pasco County high schools. The dresses should be in excellent condition and in contemporary, appropriate styles.

Cinderella "boutique events," where the girls try on and pick out their dresses, will be held 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 24 and 31. The boutique locations are 4418 Grand Blvd., in the Trouble Creek Square Shopping Plaza, two doors down from Dollar General, New Port Richey; and Western Edge store, 37924 Pasco Ave., downtown Dade City.

A school identification badge is the only form of identification needed to pick out a dress, and we don't record anyone's name. The Cinderella Project does accept cash donations which go to purchase additional dresses in the event we have low inventory in any sizes.

We wish to thank the community members who have helped to make this a successful project.

Alison Crumbley, Laurie Weiss, Jill Sellars, New Port Richey

From strangers, gifts of joy, March 4

Kiwanis to build ramp for family

Camille Spencer has done a good job depicting the problems of the Carmack family. I have visited them, and as a veteran of the Korean police action, I sympathize.

The help for the Carmacks is from the larger neighborhood. I have belonged to the Palma Ceia-Westshore Kiwanis Club for more than 35 years, and we have built more than 30 wheelchair ramps for people who are in real need. Our club has been in the interbay area of Tampa for more than 50 years, and is not in Pasco County. I live in Wesley Chapel, but enjoy the fellowship and dedication of these club members, so I drive into Tampa every Tuesday for breakfast meetings.

We will build the ramp for Mr. Carmack on Saturday; we have invited clubs in Pasco to join, but they have schedule conflicts, so we are going to get it done. And we will have a great time.

Ms. Spencer, thanks for bringing this situation to our attention; the community will respond.

J. E. "Tom" Sawyer, Wesley Chapel

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