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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: Builder deserves a tough sentence
Letters to the Editor
Published March 11, 2008
Throwing the brickbat at deceitful builders March 5 editorial
The editorial was right on target. It mentioned the Clyde Hoeldtke home builder case in Pasco County in 1995. I happen to have personal knowledge of this case. As a probation officer, I was assigned his case and ordered to transfer him to his home state of Colorado, since the court placed him on house arrest. I immediately called the judge's secretary to advise the court that Florida's Interstate Compact does not allow house arrest cases transferred out of state.
Shortly afterward, I received a call stating this was the judge's order and to send him to Colorado. We weren't about to knock heads with a judge's order, so off he went to his million-dollar-plus mansion in a spectacular mountaintop community. The reason I know this is because Inside Edition ran a spot regarding this case and showed aerial photographs of the home where he was "serving his time." On house arrest you are still able to work, so naturally he was allowed to bounce around "scouting out properties for possible business ventures."
As stated in the editorial, the Times hopes Judge William Swigert sends a clear message to builders when he sentences Steven Bartlett on April 16. The Hoeldtke case sent a message, all right - a bad one. Bartlett, aside from his affection for fancy cars, tricked-out motorcycles, strip clubs and gambling, decided to "roll the dice" by turning down the plea deal of 24 months in prison. That was the low end of the sentencing guidelines.
Hopefully, Judge Swigert will once again show Bartlett that gambling doesn't pay, especially when it's someone else's money.
Gene Huber, Spring Hill
Don't tarnish family's name
I hope that one family's tradition of community service and volunteerism hasn't been ended by one presumptive editorial on March 4 that seemingly paints them as conspirators in some plan to take over the Pioneer Florida Museum.
Marlene and Bobby Sumner have long been active volunteers in supporting the museum and its mission, and have apparently taught their family the importance of community involvement, just as my parents did to our family.
Bobby's suggestion to move the money to a bank that did not charge fees to nonprofit organizations was just a common-sense suggestion. My daddy would've suggested the same thing had he still been alive. He stayed active volunteering until a few years before his death at age 90 and he was out soliciting donations for the museum's annual Labor Day Festival when he first fell ill at age 85. Daddy taught us to shop at home, so he likely could've suggested the same bank.
Hopefully, the people who know Marlene and Bobby will be able to make up for the heartache you must have caused them by that hurtful article, so they won't be discouraged from continuing their much-needed service to the museum and the community.
Margaret Herrmann Beaumont, San Antonio
Don't discourage willing volunteers
All the recent hoopla about the Pioneer Florida Museum causes me to express some thoughts. The involvement of Robert and Marlene Sumner and their family is decried as something to be suspicious of. Your editorial comments leave me to believe that the St. Petersburg Times doesn't approve of the very involvement that volunteers provide to help keep such organizations viable through multiple generations of supporters.
Rather than raise suspicions as to their purpose, I think a feature praising the family for their willingness to work, and work hard, as the Sumners have, would have come out of your investigation. While some may suspect something is amiss, those who see the fruits of their involvement may find it praiseworthy. It is very hard to get willing workers to help with events and projects that require volunteers. The Sumner family has shown their willingness. I hope your article will not discourage them and other volunteers.
Edward Herrmann, Dade City
Spelling gaffes should be lesson to candidate March 7 editorial
Don't nitpick a good candidate
The "spelling gaffes" you credit Hanzel with on his Web site for School Board District 2 are probably just typos. You say at the end, "It is a good lesson for candidate Hanzel," but in the headline you say "should be lesson to candidate." I believe a lesson "for candidate" Hanzel is better usage than "lesson to candidate" Hanzel. Check your own usage before you nitpick over spelling on a candidate's Web site.
Peter Hanzel, who was collecting signatures at the county courthouse steps in Dade City in order to run for this county's School Board, was friendly, approachable and listened to people! Not only that, when I called his number, even though he doesn't know me personally, he talked on the phone to answer my questions. Can you imagine someone whose wife gladly answers the phone, hands the phone to the candidate to talk to an unknown constituent, and remains thoughtful and considerate throughout the conversation? Strange that someone like that thinks he could do some good in public office, isn't it?
Kathy Lambert, Dade City
Faith and science are intertwined March 7 guest column
Instinct is what dictates morals
I admire pastor C.D. Chamberlain's attempt to bring together the opposing groups on teaching Darwin's theories in science classes. Unfortunately, his perception of science as an amoral subject is simply wrong. The reason that humans (and most other mammals and birds) nurture and care for their young has nothing to do with morals and everything to do with science.
For these species, caring for their young is the product of hundreds of millions of years of evolving. Simply stated, those mammals and birds that did care for their young survived; those that didn't are extinct. You do not need religion to explain the moral behavior of animals, such as monogamy and caring for each other.
After millions of years of adapting, morals are "hard-wired" into our DNA as a biological advantage. Religion should be used to remind us of our moral values, not to explain them.
Michael Adams, Hudson
Writer needlessly insulted Kmart
How much is Jodie Tillman being paid by Wal-Mart for the article slamming Kmart?
May I remind you that Kmart is a customer of yours also and places ads in your paper? So what if Wal-Mart has a bigger and fancier store? I'm not a customer of either one of them but I think it was very unfair to print her biased article slamming Kmart as she did, and I think you owe Kmart an apology.
How could you allow such an article to be printed? I am a longtime subscriber to your newspaper but am beginning to dislike it more and more.
Norm Smith, Hudson
Will trade labor for tooth pain relief March 10 article
Woman needs a new attitude
First, I must say that I sympathize with Christy McBride and her family. I know how hard it is to keep up with medical issues (with a lack of insurance), school and family.
The article made me think just one thing, though: If she's willing to work for her tooth, then she's willing to work. I understand the very unfortunate events that took place in her life, and the struggles that she's pulling through to support her family. What I don't get is that they have $300 until April, and not only does this have to feed her family, but it has to feed four dogs and one cat?
I'm a full-time college student and a full-time employee who has seen many downs in life and has overcome many heart-wrenching experiences, but there is no excuse when you can't take care of yourself or your family. I don't mean this to be a "you're a leech to society" letter, but the Pasco Times emphasized all the pity-triggering things that had happened in her life. Everyone in this country has the opportunity to better themselves and make sure they can completely take care of their family. I applaud her for now taking the initiative to get things back together, but stop with the woe-is-me attitude and put a smile on your face and keep looking forward.
Every person has their own baggage; it's leaving it at the door when you step out into the world that makes life successful. Good luck!
Kaitlyn Green, New Port Richey
Sorry to see a local gem close
It is sad to see another of our favorite restaurants has closed effective the last day in February. We do not know the particulars, but Sung Hee has been a lovely, family-owned restaurant since 1979. They provided the very best quality of Chinese food in the entire area. And the entire wait staff was most efficient and friendly.
We are so sorry to see this restaurant close. It is across the street from the closed Leverock's. To everyone at Sung Hee, we will miss you and wish you the very best!
Barbara and Harry Tadda, New Port Richey
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