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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.
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Today's Letters: Editorial was an attack on family
Letters to the Editor
Published March 6, 2008
Your terse, irresponsible March 4 editorial ("Inbred museum board needs new blood, ideas") has me questioning not only your merit but your family values and values in general. Your misleading title is in the least a slap in the face of my family. Your political views and agenda are most definitely transparent and obviously directed for the benefit of an elected public official whom your newspaper has protected for many years. My question is why? Better yet, I don't care why. I know the value of innuendo. However, you are attempting character assassination of my father, Robert D. Sumner, my mother, Marlene Sumner, me, my wife and the rest of my family.
Character is a word you should look up in the dictionary. I can see that the only meaning that you can understand is one who acts in a play such as an actor or a puppet. Similar to you being played by someone with strings attached. Character means the presence of virtues, not the absence of them. Caring, helping, giving, sharing, protecting, volunteering, educating, understanding, are but a few of my family's activities that you probably know nothing about and I'm sure that you don't care to find out. My family is made up of hard-working people who give, do, and ask nothing in return. We are teachers, firemen, construction workers, laborers, small-business owners, bank tellers, lawyers, Realtors, students, mothers, fathers, sons, and daughters.
My father never wanted recognition as county attorney; he just wanted to try to help make our county a better place to live. This has been a calling of our entire family. We want to help things to get better, not forcibly make decisions for others as you have attempted to imply. This county has been our home for the past 150 years or so. My ancestors for the last five generations lie in cemeteries in this county. I feel lucky that I have been able to raise my family here. I also feel lucky that our children are able to live here, close to us. Our family has been blessed with love, understanding and the ability to agree that we can disagree. My family has never done anything to hurt anyone intentionally. I take exception to your inferences and accusations.
I am one of the teachers in the family. I learned at an early age that words have tremendous power. They can make people feel on top of the world or they can destroy a life. The usage of words should not be used to destroy unless the target needs to be destroyed. Some might think that these are just words but they reflect my soul, not an agenda. I know my responsibilities when selecting words for use in my classroom and try to use them to motivate and teach our youth. Character and its virtues are some of the words and concepts that are important to teach in this society. These same concepts were taught to me by my family. It is a shame some of your editors either don't understand this or care.
The Pioneer Florida Museum is one of the many organizations that members of my family desire to see succeed and prosper. If you have reached anyone who would commit the time not only to attend meetings but to raise money, supply help during our functions or when other matters of concern arise, then I will personally thank you for this tasteless commentary.
If recruiting people to help with this organization is as simple as you imply, I would gladly resign my director's seat to someone with the passion and commitment that I have to it. My entire family feels just as I do in this assurance. If anyone does want to help our effort in the continued operation of the Pioneer Florida Museum please contact us; we need all of the help we can get.
It is always easier to criticize than provide solutions. If you have any please let us know your solutions. If this were at an earlier time, say the middle of 1800s I would now be challenging you to a duel. Since it's not, I hope that you learned something helpful. The pen is mightier than the sword.
Robert Keith Sumner, San Antonio
Candidate for school chief has challenges March 1, story
Can't spell? A record? So what?
I read the article of the woman in Holiday who is running for the Pasco superintendent of schools. The writer indicated that she could not spell and had a record.
I believe those are the qualifications of the sitting president of the United States. She can do no worse.
The economic squeeze is on
We see that electricity, gasoline, food prices, living expenses, rent, insurance, taxes, etc. are all on the rise.
Companies are laying off or doing away with many forms of employment or just moving out of state. If this isn't a recession then what is it? Our President Bush said it isn't a recession, it's just a slow-down.
Tell us how and when this will reverse itself. People are moving out of state and/or giving up their homes because of wages and taxes or giving up medications so they could have food on their tables. Bankruptcies and foreclosures are on the rise. Prices are going sky-high and wages stay so low.
The seniors receive a "cost of living" increase every year, but Medicare takes that and more.
I recommend seniors or anyone receiving Social Security should get a cost of living increase every Jan. 1 and July 1 so we can enjoy some sort of life on a fixed income. I really don't know of any definite answer.
Gary C. Denk, New Port Richey
4 not-so-easy-but-so-worth-it steps to quitting the tar habit Feb. 10, guest column by Darcy Maness
Advice on beating the smoking habit
Based on personal experience and laced with humor, the column was enjoyable and informative.
As a doctor, I am a witness to the daily struggles and miseries of chronic smokers. Do you know that smoking is the single-most preventable cause of death in U.S.? Personal choices aside, the joys of smoking almost always will be followed by the agonies of ill health. And think about the billions of dollars being drained from the economy every year because of smoking-related illnesses, absenteeism, etc. Nearly half of the cancers in the U.S. could be prevented if only we could put an end to smoking. So it is with coronary heart problems and chronic lung disease, as well.
Here are five rules I consider very important in quitting smoking:
1. Set an example: Parents are role models for children. Smoking habits often start when you are young and impressionable. The best way to quit cigarette smoking is not to have started it at all. If you are a nonsmoking parent, there is a good possibility your children won't get hooked.
2. Open communication: When talking to your adolescent kids who already smoke, always remember how sensitive they are about these issues. Hence, avoid being overtly critical, yet point out the benefits of quitting.
3. Pay attention to the company they keep: Many teenagers succumb to the pressure from their smoking buddies; if they can muster enough courage to "just say no," they can avoid a lot of future health problems. If they can't, then encourage them to hang out with nonsmoking buddies.
4. Get professional help: Smokers don't realize that nicotine is one of the most powerful addictive substances. Enlist your family physician or a counselor to get the smoking "monkey" off your back.
5. It's never too late to quit: Always remember, no matter how old you are or how long you have been smoking, quitting is always followed by improvement in your health.
Currently in the U.S., about 21 percent of adults and 22 percent of high school students smoke. That is a whopping 43-million people! The United States Healthy People Initiative 2010 campaign aims to reduce smoking prevalence to less than 12 percent in adults and less than 16 percent in youth. A concerted effort by health professionals and all concerned citizens will be critical in the achievement of the Healthy People 2010 objectives.
M. P. Ravindra Nathan, M.D.
Let's get traffic light back-ups
Recent power failures caused traffic lights to go out. Why can't traffic lights have back-up systems utilizing solar panels?
Do we have to wait for foreign countries to show us?
Michael Mizok, Holiday
In the end, there is no free lunch
In the last 10 days, I received four invitations to attend special event free luncheons or dinners by investment, insurance or tax firms. Always included are four complimentary tickets.
I suggest we should all take advantage of these free meals, say "no" to whatever the sales pitch may be and there by reduce our food expense by at least 40 percent on an annual basis.
In addition, the last offer was not only for a free meal, but $695 cash back from Medicare. Give me and us a break.
D.A. Andriuzzo, Bayonet Point
Five vie to unseat "nice" man from District 9 Feb. 27, story
Bilirakis is nice and gets job done
A couple of years ago my wife and I were having a great deal of difficulty with a totally unresponsive government agency. After months of frustration, we drove to Rep. Gus Bilirakis' office in Palm Harbor and explained the situation and asked for help. We could not have been treated nicer. His staff went out of its way to make us feel comfortable. We were advised that this previously unresponsive agency would be responding to us shortly.
Amazingly, within a very short time, this agency did, in fact, respond and our situation was completely resolved to our satisfaction. The Bilirakis office didn't stop there, it make a follow-up contact to make sure we were satisfied.
In contrast to the comment in the article that "Bilirakis is a nice man, but has not done a good job," I would comment that he is a nice man and has done an excellent job.
Bill Bravick,New Port Richey
A beach for Pasco is wonderful idea
After spending some time down at Venice Isles and seeing its great beach I am writing to agree with the motion for our government leaders to put the idea of a nice big beach for Pasco into a realism.
We deserve a place to enjoy the gulf without having to drive south to get to a beach.