Today's Letters: Meals on Wheels needs county help

Published May 6, 2007

Elderly Nutrition/Meals on Wheels is a very important program, but it needs some tweaking for it to continue successfully. The big problem is the difficulty of getting and keeping volunteers who are so important. They deliver the hot and/or frozen meal to shut-ins who anticipate receiving the meals so eagerly and who without exception express their appreciation with a cheerful "thank you."

The county and state both fund the program and Pasco County provides a truck and paid employees for the longer routes, but volunteers are needed for the short routes. The need is greater in the summer months when the snowbirds fly north. In the Hudson area the program operates from the Beacon Woods complex off Clocktower Road under the direction of Kaseem Michaels. (727) 861-3018.

Difficulties arise for the volunteers who are not reimbursed for their time or car use. With gas nearly $3 per gallon, this is more than a minor consideration.

The meals are prepared in Tampa, and the driver must negotiate considerable traffic to make the 40-mile trip to Hudson or to the other center on Galen Wilson Boulevard. This means that delivery times are inconsistent and volunteers at the centers often must wait an hour or more before they can start their deliveries.

Parking is at a minimum at the center at Hudson and volunteers must carry the Styrofoam packaged meals some distance to their vehicles.

Because of the difficulties in getting volunteers, some regulars are called for extra duty - often at the last minute.

The county commissioners should review the program to ensure that it continues successfully as a vital service to the elderly or incapacitated of Pasco County. Perhaps the county could provide more paid employees for these deliveries. (This is not the best solution since volunteers are so greatly reimbursed by the gratefulness of the meals' recipients). Perhaps more volunteers would participate if the county paid them a mileage allowance.

Charles and Sylvia Huhtanen, Port Richey


Commencement isn't the issue

I believe the letter writers angry about the School Board's decision to eliminate the FCAT component of the graduation ceremony requirement are on to something - there are problems with our education system. Those problems, however, are not with the ceremony requirements. They are with the FCAT and other standardized measures themselves.

I am a college instructor, and on a daily basis, I encounter just-out-of-high-schoolers who can't think critically, don't know how to ask questions and don't speak up when something seems wrong. They do know how to fill in blank bubbles furiously, and they can fit anything into a five-paragraph essay format. If you ask them to write something that doesn't have an introductory paragraph, a conclusion paragraph, and three filler paragraphs in between, they feel as if they might be breaking some composition law!

Additionally, recent graduates often can't balance their checking accounts, they don't understand how to read the terms on the back of their credit card offers, they don't know where to register if they want to vote, and they don't know that people like Allen Altman are making decisions for them. Many probably won't read this letter, or any other part of the newspaper.

The dumbing down of America happens when bystanders who are not a part of the system (politicians, letter writers) believe they know what is best when they are ignorant to, or completely unaware of, what goes on inside schools, and what abilities and skills our children come out lacking.

Christina Partin, New Port Richey


Submit burial flags for ceremony

North/Meadowlawn Funeral Home and Cemetery of New Port Richey will hold its annual Memorial Day observance at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 26.

We invite the public to participate in part of the program that is dedicated to the presentation of burial flags. If you have a U.S. burial flag that you would like to donate to Meadowlawn Memorial Gardens, please contact our office before May 18 and we will include you in the Memorial Day event program. All flags will be flown on the cemetery grounds on observed holidays throughout the year. When calling, please provide the name of the veteran, date of death, branch of service and your relationship. It is our intent to honor the men and women of the armed forces who have served our nation in the name of liberty and freedom.

Joseph A. Magaddino, manager, North/Meadowlawn Funeral Home and Cemetery, New Port Richey


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