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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.
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Todays Letters: Closings a sign of troubled times
Letters to the Editor
Published December 13, 2007
Three restaurant closing peculiar Dec. 12, letter
When will our local, state and federal governments figure out we're in real trouble? Losing another restaurant is just a sign of our troubling times.
Houses losing value, foreclosures looming, job losses, businesses closing - I hate to open the paper each morning. The stock market is in the toilet and the financial markets are in a mess. Just about everyone I know is feeling it. We used to go out to eat at least once a week. Now it is special occasions only.
Cleanliness is not the reason restaurants are closing. No job means no money means eat spaghetti at home.
Susan Horan,New Port Richey
Three restaurant closing peculiar Dec. 12, letter
Housing prices, economy at fault
Dr. Marc Yacht has contributed much to our community, and I agree with him that restaurant inspections are necessary. However, I do not agree that the lack of these inspections have in any way contributed to the recent failure of several west Pasco restaurants.
It is clear to me that these restaurants failed because of the failure of the service-based economy in this area. West Pasco was once an economy that revolved around service to a large retirement population. As this retirement population decreased, young families found this area to be a place to find affordable housing on a service job salary. Due to the increase in taxes and insurance costs, housing affordable on a service job salary is quickly disappearing. This housing is now only affordable to those who commute out of the county to higher paying jobs, and those jobs are limited. People are spending their money near work, not near home, hence local businesses suffer.
So the question is, what can we expect next? Urban blight, vacant businesses, higher crime, more homeless people - in short, a downward spiral of this once great community. The time for our community leaders to act is now. We must provide tax and other incentives to businesses to relocate to west Pasco and bring with them manufacturing and professional jobs and growth industries.
While the Economic Development Council has great successes in other areas of the county, I would ask that they concentrate on all of the great opportunities in west Pasco and the U.S. 19 corridor for business locations, with the emphasis on a trained work force that now commutes out of the county. If we can keep those jobs here, those restaurants just might reopen someday.
Scott Factor,New Port Richey
To diner denizens, it felt like family's end Dec. 11, story
Thank you, Mel's Diner family
I want to thank every family member of Mel's Diner for toughing it out through the rough times we had. You are all very special to me and even though I wasn't the oldest I still felt like a mother hen. May God bless and be with each and every one of you.
If any employer gets an application from someone who worked at Mel's, know you will have a hard-working dedicated employee. They are the best.
Robin Lane, New Port Richey
If you want peace on Earth, turn off the radio Dec. 10 column by Barbara Fredricksen
Peace and quiet would be blessing
Boy, what Fredricksen said is so true. I'm so sick of music, which is usually too loud, in every store, every restaurant, every drug store, etc.
I go to a restaurant to eat and relax, not listen to the music. But most of the time I just can't wait to leave because of the music. They lose money because I'll skip dessert just to get out of there. Most of the time, if I ask, the waitress will usually turn it down, and I don't think anyone even notices. So, why is it so loud to begin with?
I left a drug store because I was trying to buy cards and the music was so intrusive that I couldn't concentrate on the verses for the people was buying cards for. I like to put some thought into the cards I buy.
I think the idea of a "no music day" is great! Then again, why not a "no music" week or month? Like that will ever happen in Hernando County.
Also, my husband and I do Christmas like Fredricksen. We don't do gifts to each other. We use the money to give to our favorite charities. It would be nice if everyone could give up just one gift and donate the money to a charity. That would be a true gift.
Barbara Stierle, Spring Hill
Parks should be open to our dogs Dec. 11, letter
Time to rethink policy on dogs
We agree with letter writer Donna Dansby of Wesley Chapel. Pasco County is seriously out-of-step with the rest of the world when it addresses the needs of dog owners in the county, and the Parks Department is a primary example of that deficiency.
In this land where a person can be sentenced to 23 months in jail for dog fighting, it should be clear that our dogs are important to us.
We, too, call for a re-evaluation of the Parks Department's policy toward dogs in Pasco County Parks.
Lowell and Donetta Peiffer, Port Richey
What season would that be?
I was just wondering when people say "Happy Holidays" what holiday are they referring to? The same goes when they say, "Season's greetings." Which season?
When I say "Merry Christmas," I don't have to wonder. I know.