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Letters to the Editors

Should we work for this employer?

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 16, 2001

Editor: Our employer has just offered us a 1 percent raise. (The cost of living is 3 percent.) We have had difficulty deciding whether we should accept the raise or move to new careers. Perhaps you or one of your readers might advise us as to what we should do.

I personally see between 150-180 customers a day. Some do not speak English, so my employer has required that we take an additional 300 hours training on nights and weekends so we might serve them more efficiently. Some of our customers are hungry, so we feed them when our employer is not looking. Many of our customers do not have the supplies they need, so we provide the essential items out of our own pockets. If we run out of money, we go out into the community and beg for more.

The good news is that often there are so many customers in our business that you can't even move. We have been fortunate the fire marshal has not shut us down.

There has been an increase in the number of customers coming into our business carrying guns, knives, weapons and bombs. Many of us have been killed, shot, knifed, threatened, hit, spit on, verbally harassed and abused. Our employer has been reassuring us that our workplace is safe, but I am not so confident anymore.

We have no paid vacations, but we do get four paid holidays a year. Last year we paid $750 for individual health insurance. I understand that this year we may have to pay a good deal more. When we are off work we are required to upgrade our job skills and attend training yearly. We are strongly encouraged to work as many overtime hours as we can (recommended four to five additional a day), for which we are not paid. If we don't, we are not considered "team players." In our company there are no promotions and no advancement opportunities. We do not have a 401(k) plan, stock options or mutual funds; we do have a 1.5-percent retirement contribution.

Would you stay or go? After all, a 1 percent raise is a lot of money.

By the way, our employer is the state of Florida. We are teachers.
-- Jo Ann Hartge, president Hernando Classroom Teacher's Association, Brooksville

Florida Crushed Stone loses talented spokesman

Editor: Re: Florida Crushed Stone official resigns, cites personal reasons, April 5 Hernando Times:

Good news and bad news. The bad news is that Florida Crushed Stone is losing one of its most talented people, who espouses not only the best side of business but the integral and devoted interest of Florida Crushed Stone in the community.

The good news is that Mike McHugh is still going to be with us in Hernando County doing some of the personal things he endeavors for himself and his family. But selfishly, Hernando County will still have Mike McHugh to help us during this burgeoning area of growth and expansion. No one is more professional, courteous, interested, intuitive and intelligent than Mike when it comes to this aspect of his community interest.

I met Mike in 1998 and was impressed when I met him and Tom Paulk of CP&L to discuss Florida Crushed Stone. I was awed and impressed with their presentation and rationale to my questions. Since then I have seen him in operation at the candidates' forums and at his presentation concerning the Hernando Mining Association. Again, the latter couldn't have had a better spokesman.

I wish Mike and his family great health and good fortune, now and into the future. I will contact Mike to make sure we in Hernando can avail ourselves of his wonderful talents, character and goodwill wherever he goes. I would nominate Mike McHugh for Hernando County Person of the Year.
-- Dom Cabriele, Brooksville

Prom hosts praise students' good behavior

Editor: On March 31 we had the privilege of hosting the Hernando High School prom. With all the bad publicity our high school students receive, we wanted to take this opportunity to let people know that this group of students were well-behaved, extremely polite and well-mannered.

It would be our privilege to be asked to host this prom again next year. Good luck to the graduating class.
-- Carol Stefany, activities director Wellington at Seven Hills

Chicken in every pot was Hoover's promise

Editor: Re: Low-flow toilets just a high-flow headache, April 13 Times:

I agree with Jan Glidewell's column in every respect but one. Franklin Delano Roosevelt did not promise a chicken in every pot. Herbert Hoover promised a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage. That is why the Gopher Tortoise was eaten during the Depression and called a Hoover chicken.
-- John Byrnes, Spring Hill

Share your views

The Hernando Times welcomes letters from readers for publication.

Because of space limitations, letters should be of reasonable length.

Letters may be edited for clarity, taste and length.

All letters must be signed and must contain the writer's address and telephone number. Addresses and telephone numbers will not be printed.

Send your letter to Hernando Times, 161 E Jefferson St., Brooksville, FL 34601. Send letters by electronic mail (in text only format) to

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