© St. Petersburg Times, published January 23, 2000
Editor: Everyone has the right to go for a walk without the fear of meeting up with a loose dog. The laws of our county provide a leash law to ensure this basic right.
On two separate occasions during the past two months, each of my dogs has been attacked by a dog that had gotten loose. Many people carry sticks when they walk and many others have simply stopped walking entirely.
A friend of mine told me how a very large dog had actually had his teeth on her, but she had the presence of mind not to move and he did not bite her. She was virtually held prisoner by this animal, which eventually tired of circling her and left.
Anyone who owns a dog should have a fenced-in area from which the animal cannot escape. Obviously, with larger dogs the fencing must be strong enough and high enough to contain them.
Small dogs also should be fenced. When they run into the street to greet an unsuspecting walker who is carrying a stick, they may startle him and they could get hurt.
You know your dog is friendly, but other people don't. They may also run up to someone walking a large dog that feels your dog is a threat and will therefore attack your dog and could badly injure him.
We have all been guilty of seeing stray dogs but not reporting them. However, we all need to call Animal Control when we see a loose dog: 726-7660.
Irresponsible pet owners can no longer be allowed to trample on the freedom of people who simply want to go for a peaceful walk.
Walking is the healthiest form of exercise there is. What better way to enjoy this beautiful environment that surrounds us here in Citrus County?
-- Isabell Spindler
Editor: Time flies; so does traffic.
It seems like just a couple of years ago that the Lords of Traffic Control at the state Department of Transportation, in their wisdom, gave us four lanes on State Road 44 between Inverness and Crystal River.
It was a much needed improvement to travel in the county but was not without its hazards. We were even assigned added troopers, and the Florida Highway Patrol does a good job of patrolling the route.
There have been may accidents along the route even after the widening and extra patrols. A lady was killed only last week in a motor vehicle accident when hit by a truck.
Were our county planners asleep when the Villages of Citrus Hills were given a permit to add to the potential for disaster by constructing what appears to be a four-lane outlet just east of Kensington Road?
This new intersection is smack in the middle of a 60 mph speed zone and less than 200 yards from the crest of a hill where fast-moving, eastbound vehicles will have no warning of merging traffic.
It is an invitation to even more accidents and possible deaths and should be reconsidered by our local planners.
An alternative outlet into Kensington Road near the fire station with a warning light at State Road 44/Kensington makes much more sense even if Kensington needed to be widened for a short way.
At least that intersection allows visibility to all parties, and God knows the developers of Citrus Hills can afford the widening.
-- Robert L. Zontini
Editor: Re: Helen Spivey's Jan. 16 letter to the editor regarding manatee extinction:
Ms. Spivey's letter reflects her total lack of understanding of the concept of ecotourism.
Ecotourism is responsible travel to natural areas, which uses and conserves those natural areas on the one hand, and produces appropriate levels of profit and income stability for the local community on the other.
Manatee tourism in Citrus County does exactly that.
The state-approved Citrus County Manatee Protection Plan combined with U.S. Fish and Wildlife protection efforts have enabled that balance. Nowhere in the world is the manatee so well protected. The plan has been in place for several years, and the ever-increasing herd (350-plus) and minimal human-related fatalities attest to its success. The Citrus County plan is so successful it is a model for other Florida counties.
Ms. Spivey is concerned with conserving the environment from man's use. I am concerned with conserving the environment for man's use. I believe man must stay connected to nature in order to have the desire to protect it. Nature experienced through all the senses is not lost. Ms. Spivey fails, or refuses, to see the interdependence between man and nature. For man to exist the two must remain inseparable.
Just as radical environmental groups fabricated an impending extinction of the spotted owl in the Northwest to shut down the timber industry, Ms. Spivey attempts the same scenario with the manatee tourism industry in Citrus County.
A common deception environmental extremists employ is to create the image of man ravaging the resource. Ms. Spivey tries to do this, but fails miserably. The local dive shops can provide, literally, thousands of feet of man/manatee interaction video that refutes her contentions.
If Ms. Spivey and her little "Save the Manatee" clubbers really wanted to help the manatee, they would concentrate their efforts in other areas of Florida where problems are apparent. They don't because they really have another agenda.
The truth is Ms. Spivey and many of the "environmental" organizations she represents use the manatee for a "means to an end." That end is ecosocialism.
It does not matter to her that there is no manatee crisis in Citrus County. She does not care how many people are hurt along the way. Her only goal is for the government to have complete ownership and control of all property.
Millions of people were subjected to that failed idea for most of the 20th century, and it was a terrible price to pay.
-- Sam Lyons
Editor: Once again, the arrogance of Superintendent of Schools Pete Kelly shines through. This man obviously believes he can help the teachers see the complexities of setting up a salary schedule. Perhaps it is time he wakes up from his dictatorial fog and realizes teachers on the Citrus County Education Association's negotiating team could teach him about the salary schedule complexities.
Let's face it, these professionals have been creating the salary schedule for teachers in this county for many years. As a past member of the negotiating team and as one of the CCEA's past presidents, I have had the experience of working through the budget line item by line item and creating salary schedules. The team currently in place has more expertise at the tip of their fingers than Kelly has gained since taking office.
If Mr. Kelly truly has the desire to become a leader, he must realize there are others who understand the complexities far more than he.
The team approach in the Citrus County superintendent's office is non-existent. Kelly is nothing more than a dictator who has total disregard for the knowledge and expertise the teachers and the support personnel have to offer.
Rather than attempt to teach us, Kelly needs to work with us. Collaboration is the key. Without it, teachers and support personnel, will continue to leave our system and it will become increasingly difficult to attract highly qualified personnel to replace those who have left.
-- Christopher J. Becker
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