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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: Columnist hit right on the mark
Letters to the Editor
Published December 20, 2007
Landfill plan needs a careful eye Dec. 18, Andrew Skerritt column
We whole-heartedly agree with his conclusions. These types of projects, in the proper location, require community trust that our governmental leaders or private companies will do the right things and backup their commitments.
Angelo's Aggregate Materials has not been forthright about this project from the very beginning. Originally, it was claimed to be a development and golf course to mislead the public. Then their two permit applications to Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the one to Pasco County incorporated inconsistent information regarding the high degree of sinkhole risk as well as other details at the proposed site. Now, in their public meetings, they ask us to trust their statements and science as being the only possible answer.
The reality is there is just as much, if not more independently developed, science and engineering raising questions about their proposed landfill technology versus the unsubstantiated promises they continue to make. The applicant's only objective is to operate their first Class 1 dump regardless of the consequences to everyone else in the community.
When you look at their proposal in detail and ask the hard questions (that they don't answer!), their pitch is just not persuasive at all.
Carl Roth, Dade City
Living here has become difficult
A news bit on TV concerning the loss of enrollment in some of the schools caught my attention. Could this be the result of the property tax and insurance situation? The mortgage lenders and the big money Realtors helped to create this monster and now we are seeing huge amounts of cleared land with no homes being built because the buyers aren't there.
We also are seeing an increasing number of homes on the market because many of the owners are leaving the state and going back to the lower tax and insurance areas of the northern states. The reality of it is that Florida has become an impossible place to live because of the high cost of home maintenance.
My wife and I have came to Florida in the winter for a few weeks for about 35 years. We had planned to move here after retirement but the property tax and insurance situation has made that a very scary move to say the least. If we take a good look at the dollar signs in all this we might find some answers. Population growth without proper planning is a disaster waiting to happen. This might just be the tip of the iceberg.
Neil A. Farr Sr. Dade City
Landfill plan needs careful eye Dec. 18, Andrew Skerritt column
Columnist didn't get it all right
The recent column by Andrew Skerritt got it right on the title, but not much else. I thought I had heard it all recently when Carl Roth, before the League of Women Voters, said that many Dade City residents have told him they would welcome having another garbage incinerator built in Dade City at our site.
I say Mr. Skerritt got it right on the title because the Florida Department of Environmental Protection will have to approve our plan, will monitor the construction of the composting and recycling facility every step of the way and will oversee the operation of the facility, including our monitoring wells, indefinitely. We welcome this oversight.
Mr. Skerritt describes the landfill used to dispose of incinerator's toxic ash as having "thick seals" to protect the groundwater, yet he then says we want to "bury waste in a pit." Fact: both landfills employ the same DEP prescribed double bottom liner, but we exceed the requirements with a 5-foot layer of engineered clay. Mr. Skerritt then refers to the incinerator built in 1991 as state-of-the-art, yet there has not been a new incinerator constructed in the U.S. since 1994. He derisively refers to us as a private company, yet does not acknowledge the incinerator is operated by a private company.
The Green Swamp just over the berm, the Withlacoochee River a Tiger Wood's nine iron away Mr. Skerritt? I am quite sure Mr. Woods does not have a club in his bag that would carry the 9,142 feet needed to clear the chicken farms and the county's landfill to reach our site, but I don't doubt he's working on it.
Our facility will not bury waste, we will recycle plastics and metals (not incinerating them and polluting our air) and the remaining organic waste will be composted. The methane fuel produced by composting the garbage will be captured in a bioreactor and used to make green energy, a renewable source of power.
Our technology is state-of-the-art in 2007, not in 1991! That is why Dr. E. Dwight Adams, professor emeritus in physics at the University of Florida, and the Nature Coast Sierra Club have said our proposal is best for the environment, and it certainly - at least Mr. Skerritt acknowledges this - saves taxes.
John Arnold,Project manager, Angelo's Recycled Materials, Dade City
DCF is doing a terrible job
I got a phone call on March 11 from Hillsborough. An agency asked to talk to my boyfriend about a relative. They said they had taken a girl from her mom and wanted to know if we would take her. Of course, he said yes, so we waited for someone from Pasco to check the home and our backgrounds.
A woman came out and did very little to make sure the house was safe and then told us we could go get her. We drove to Hillsborough and the child had nothing but the clothes on her back. I asked from day one if we would get help from the state for taking her in and they said yes.
What a joke that turned out to be. Nine months later and nobody has not done the right home study. I have filed three times with Department of Children and Families for caregivers funds. I have sat on the phone waiting hours to talk to someone only to be told, "We can not talk to you because you are not on the case." Well, I am and I do have the right to talk to them.
So I know how the people out there feel when they have to deal with DCF. I am just a woman who has raised three kids of my own and to see how they want me to raise this child is crazy.
The DCF in Florida is all fake. It is not out to help anyone. If anyone thinks they do a good job, I would love to hear it.
Vickie Wheaton, Wesley Chapel
Help juveniles with time, ideas
I serve as a circuit coordinator of the Department of Juvenile Justice in Pasco and Pinellas counties. In our area last year, 11,482 children were referred to our department. This figure highlights the challenge DJJ faces in reducing the number of young people in the juvenile justice system.
Our community can give local children a brighter future by volunteering time and ideas. There are a number of ways you can help this holiday season and throughout the year.
Each county in our area has an active juvenile justice council that is looking for innovative approaches to stop juvenile delinquency. I invite you to become part of one of our councils to offer your help and ideas on how to stop the growth of juvenile crime.
If you are interested in becoming a member of your local juvenile justice council or in learning about other ways of volunteering such as mentoring, assisting with faith- and community-based programs, or offering jobs to our youth - a new Web page is available to let us know of your interests. Please visit www.djj.state.fl.us/friendssurvey for a list of volunteer opportunities with DJJ, or call me personally for more information at (727) 893-2000.
We need volunteers right now. This season let us join hands and build on the good work required to fix juvenile justice. By volunteering, you can intervene with a child before they enter our care. Please volunteer.
Tim Niermann, chief probation officer, Circuit 6 Florida Department of Juvenile Justice