Last mission to repair the Hubble telescope Hubble space telescope discoveries have enriched our understanding of the cosmos. In this special report, you will see facts about the Hubble space telescope, discoveries it has made and what the last mission's goals are.
For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
Editor's Note: The following is the response from the Public Service Commission to Sen. Mike Fasano's request for action against Aloha Utilities.
I can assure you that we have carefully monitored Aloha Utilities Inc.'s progress toward the implementation of anion exchange facilities. Our activities in this regard have included a review of Aloha's quarterly progress reports filed pursuant to the settlement agreement, participation in meetings with Aloha and in meetings held quarterly with representatives of Aloha, the Office of Public Counsel (OPC), customers Forehand and Andrews, representatives of Pasco County and a review of a series of written correspondence between Aloha and the county from August 2006 to April 2007 regarding the implementation of their Oct. 26, 2004, bulk water service agreement. In response to your letter of May 14, I am happy to share our findings with you.
In its most recent quarterly report submitted to this commission on April 4, Aloha estimated that the anion exchange project was at least 180 days behind schedule. The delay is attributable to the company not having received information from the county regarding certain improvements that are necessary to meet obligations under a bulk water service agreement between the company and the county. Until the county advised Aloha by letter dated April 11 of how much, at what rate, on what schedule, and under what conditions the county will be able to supply Aloha with bulk water, Aloha was unable to fully design the anion exchange facilities required by the settlement agreement. Under the terms of this settlement agreement, project design is the first step toward implementing the project and it is estimated to take six months of the 24-month timetable for completion of the project.
It is our understanding that the county does not accept responsibility for the project delays. Nevertheless, our review shows that Aloha has diligently pursued resolution of all outstanding bulk water supply issues with the county and that the delays experienced to date were beyond Aloha's control. Therefore, in accordance with the settlement agreement, the commission has taken no enforcement action against Aloha based on these delays, and the timetable for completion of the project will be appropriately tolled and extended. Please note that OPC, a party to the settlement agreement, has not expressed to us a view that is contrary to our understanding of the facts.
It also is important to note that despite the delay that has occurred, significant actions have been taken by the company on this project. For example, to date, the company has completed the process diagrams, site layout drawings and detailed drawings for all five water treatment plants to be upgraded with anion exchange equipment. In addition, Aloha has secured $20-million bond financing to fund the bulk water and anion exchange facilities. Moreover, on Dec. 19, 2006, Aloha made an advance payment of $4.9-million on connection fees to the county for reservation of all of its bulk water service needs. In so doing, Aloha avoided having to pay a substantial increase in county connection fees that became effective Dec. 20. These investments create an incentive on the part of Aloha to complete these projects and to have these investments recognized in the rate base as soon as possible.
Aloha will need to have rates in place before it begins to accept the Phase I bulk water and will need to build storage. It is now anticipated that Aloha will begin to receive some county water in less than one year. Two local customer representatives attended the April 11 quarterly meeting during which the delay and reasons for the delay were discussed. By the end of the meeting both of them expressed that they would encourage the customer base to continue to be patient and allow the process to move ahead.
Michael G. Cooke, PSC General Counsel, Tallahassee
County is not the right answer to Aloha issues May 20 editorial
Customers still endure foul water
It is quite obvious that the person writing this editorial does not live in the Aloha Utilities service area, or has for a very short period of time. As a customer of Aloha Utilities for nearly six years, I have had to live with the smell of rotten eggs and black water on a daily basis.
I applaud Sen. Fasano for not being passive, and for taking the right approach. To sit back and allow the arrogance of the ownership at Aloha Utilities to continue to offer up nothing but lip service is getting old.
Further, getting the Public Service Commission to act on any matter is like turning the Titanic.
Jeremy Rousseau, Trinity
Without road, new school stranded May 20 story
Lennar missed chance to impress
Since buying U.S. Home, Lennar Corp. has changed their advertising colors from a series of red, white, blue and black lettering, to an emphasis on black with red and white lettering. And in regard to the story, it seems that Lennar has switched to the Dark Side by having gone back on their word.
Apparently giving to the community, especially one they helped to create, is not in their vocabulary. What could have been a positive promotional opportunity for themselves has now just gone. Lennar's explanation as to why they will not commit to building the road is a sad commentary of how they do business.
One would hope that the Pasco County School Board, Pasco County commissioners or the goodness of the Force can change Lennar's mind.
If not, then Lennar's word is not their bond, thus leaving the students and community with a road that goes nowhere.
Walter J. Garcia, Land O'Lakes
Thanks for fence, and future wall
This is to thank Wal-Mart for finally supplying the homeowners on Dipaola Drive with a barrier fence from construction at the new building site in Hudson.
It is my understanding that a concrete wall will be constructed on the eastern side of the site upon completion of construction of the new Super Wal-Mart. I can only hope that Wal-Mart will continue to be a good and responsible neighbor by ensuring that an attractive, permanent barrier will be in place on the northern side of the site as well.
Linda Hurley-Matzke, Hudson
Trash dealings make no sense
Once again, Pasco Commissioners Ann Hildebrand, Michael Cox and Ted Schrader continue to amaze me. These people are so shortsighted; they won't invest the money for the recycling bins that will eventually make money for the county. A pilot program was done and proven successful. So what do these pillars of the community do? Shoot down the recycling and give the haulers an increase.
These are the same haulers who leave a trail of trash in the street and in front of homes whenever they come through. And since when do the haulers set the terms of doing business with the county? It was stated, "They won't switch to a competitive bid process to do business." Why does the county do any business without seeking competitive bids from the companies wanting our business? So much for looking out for the taxpayers' money.
Dave Trump, Holiday
Don't skimp on sinkhole coverage
Now it comes to light that Citizens Insurance realized what it wanted from the insurance reform bill that was passed by our lawmakers with the help of Sen. Mike Fasano and Rep. John Legg.
Pasco and Hernando homeowners will have their full sinkhole coverage dropped automatically from their policies when they renew. However, homeowners in other counties will not have it dropped unless they request it. Is this legal?
If we in Pasco and Hernando want full coverage, we must request it. Of course, at a higher premium. I will carry full sinkhole coverage as I'm sure other homeowners will. That's what insurance is all about, no matter what type we buy: health, car, boat, travel, house, etc. We buy it to protect our property and ourselves.
From what I understand, Citizens seems to think that with this policy in place, it will stop fraud claims. In my opinion, it will never happen.
Homeowners with full coverage will file a claim if they find cracking walls, walkways, driveways and tiles in living space, doors and windows that do not open or close correctly, etc. - all of which are signs of possible sinkhole problems.
I agree that some sinkhole claims may be fraudulent. However, it's the insurers' responsibility to review each claim and weed out the fraud. They have not been doing that. They do it the easy way: Pay the claim and then cry wolf. If the insurers would investigate each claim with their eyes open, there wouldn't be so many claims in Pasco and Hernando.
Our insurance commissioner agrees dropping full sinkhole coverage will save homeowner premium dollars. However, in the long run, it could cost them thousands of dollars to repair cracking walls, tiles, etc. Without the full sinkhole coverage policy, a claim cannot be filed unless the home collapses and becomes uninhabitable. In short, the family must live in the house until it falls apart.