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.
Fill out this form to email this article to a friend
Todays Letters: For a better economy, vote for tax relief
Letters to the Editor
Published December 17, 2007
Property tax amendment
The passage of the tax relief amendment on Jan. 29 is essential for turning around our dismal Florida economy.
The real meat of the proposal is the portability of Save Our Homes. This will allow all homesteaded Floridians to take their current tax savings with them to a new home.
I am a big benefactor of Save Our Homes as I have lived in the same home for almost 20 years. I cannot afford to move even into a smaller home as the tax bill would become prohibitive.
When real estate moves, the economy is good. Vote for the proposed tax changes and help Florida's economy.
Leslie M. Gomillion, Hudson
Legislature's efforts are just not enough
I can't wait to reject the tax amendment in January. This is not tax relief or anything even close to it.
If it does manage to pass, the only relief will be the collective sigh of relief from our incompetent, dysfunctional Legislature. They will proclaim the problem solved and I promise you that there will be no further effort at tax relief.
Sam Pannill, Largo
A homeowner's plight
As a Florida homeowner and taxpayer, who has been financially responsible throughout the years I have lived here, I find myself trying to maintain and keep my home on a schoolteacher's salary. Of course with rising insurance costs and taxes, this has become extremely difficult. Nonetheless I am against the plan to cut taxes that will be on the ballot in January. This plan does nothing to help first-time buyers (like my children who cannot afford to buy a home here and could conceivably have to move someplace like Georgia to purchase one). Also it offers so little tax relief to each person that it is simply not worth the loss of services that would result.
I am particularly outraged at President Bush's newest proposal to bail out people who have mortgages that they never should have been given in the first place. You can be sure that the banks will be passing the cost on to consumers like me who would never have bought a house with a mortgage that I neither understood nor could afford.
I also wish that President Bush was as willing to help me with my homeowner's insurance problem since my rate has doubled from last year to more than $4,500. However, he is against any kind of national fund to help homeowners and reduce the price of this kind of insurance.
Until these issues are examined and some solutions found, the quality of life in the state of Florida will continue to decline from the wonderful place I have lived in for the past 28 years.
Shelley Foster, Clearwater
Nuclear power costs surge Dec. 12, story
The Progress Energy nuclear power plant to be built in Levy County is a fraud on the ratepayers, who will be forced to pay for this ill-conceived project by adding the costs to their electric bills while the nuclear power plant is being built. Why is it a fraud? Because these enormous costs were foisted on the ratepayers by the Florida Legislature in 2006, with no real debate or publicity, based on bad numbers provided by the power companies. Now we learn that this turkey will cost at least double the original estimates of $4-billion to $6-billion, because Florida Progress "forgot" to add into the numbers they ran by the Legislature the cost of acquiring the land, financing the project and running power lines!
Incredibly, the Legislature authorized Florida's big utility companies to proceed with construction of new nuclear power plants, and to pass all the costs and the risk to their customers. We will be paying for these nuclear boondoggles for years before they ever come on line, if indeed they are ever completed. It really makes you wonder who the legislators are working for - the public or the utility companies?
We should demand that our legislators revoke this bad law before it causes serious harm.
Andrew Rock, Tampa
Nuclear power costs surge Dec. 12, story
Reject the cash cow
I do not believe that there is any great conspiracy to triple the cost of all the components of building a reactor. Instead Progress Energy has taken a page out of the playbook of big oil and sees this as an opportunity to gouge the taxpayers.
If nuclear power turns into a cash cow for Progress Energy, I say forget it. The main purpose of dealing with the inherent dangers of nuclear energy is to get cheaper and more efficient energy, but if a reactor is going to turn into something like Boston's "Big Dig," we don't need it.
I would like to have a new BMW, but if the price triples it won't be an option. Progress Energy must think, like that great philosopher Bugs Bunny, that we are all "maroons and idjits!"
Lynn O'Keefe, Largo
Candidate ignores many Dec. 11, letter
Within his rights
The letter writers, commenting on Mitt Romney's speech about his religion, said that "while pandering desperately to religious groups, he obliterated the constitutional dictum of separation of church and state."
As far as I can tell, Gov. Romney did not obliterate the separation of church and state. He merely was explaining his religious faith. Nowhere in our Constitution does it forbid presidential candidates from expressing their religious beliefs. The First Amendment clearly states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof ..."
Clearly, Romney was within his right to exercise his faith and he clearly was not asking Congress to establish an already existing religion.
David Marsh, St. Petersburg
Snakebite jolts boy's family Dec. 11, story
All through the summer we have had a problem with water moccasins in our yard, so I am not surprised that someone was bitten.
There is no one to contact if you have a problem with water moccasins. We had four in our yard in less than two weeks. After contacting local and state authorities, I was told that nothing could be done. We just saw another one last week. I have three boys who practically live outside. It seems that some prevention, investigation or advice on keeping the children safe is warranted before it happens again.
Diana Miller, St. Petersburg
A nasty snarl Dec. 14, letter
I must respectfully take issue with the letter writer's analysis of coach Jon Gruden. The Buccaneers head coach is little, loud and passionate about his team and immensely entertaining to watch. In games where the camera focuses in on him there is a palpable rise in enthusiasm. I submit that a vast majority of fans are not insulted when Jon yells; it brings smiles to their faces and silent shouts of encouragement.
Raymond James Stadium would be a duller and more boring place without Jon Gruden.