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Letters to the Editors

Union leader praised for contributions

© St. Petersburg Times, published April 27, 2001


Editor: Re: Fiery advocate for teachers steps down, April 22 Hernando Times:

I was very pleased to read staff writer Robert King's article about Jo Ann Hartge's retirement as president of our teachers union. While our teachers remain woefully underpaid, Jo Ann fought valiantly to better their salaries and working conditions. Meanwhile, our mostly Republican legislators turned their backs on our kids and schools.

Jo Ann certainly was and will be a wonderful advocate for our teachers and students. I am particularly grateful to her for supporting our efforts to protect our sexual minority students in the summer of 1998.

I have to take King to task, however, for using the words "special protections for students who are harassed because of their sexual orientation." What is special about protecting our sexual minority kids from being harassed, beaten up and having their heads shoved into toilets, while some teachers would just look the other way?

Sexual minority youth ages 15-24 are six times more likely to try to commit suicideand represent 30 percent of all successful suicides in that age group.

Thank you, Jo Ann, for the support you gave us and our gay and lesbian kids. I will continue to be a voice for our teachers and public schools.
-- Gil Williams, Spring Hill

Teacher complains but has a good deal

Editor: Re: Should we work for this employer?, April 16 letter to the editor from Jo Ann Hartge:

Jo Ann complained about her job as a teacher. She claims she is overworked, gets no paid vacation and calls her students customers.

Most teachers receive $28,000 to $30,000 yearly, spread over 10 months; therefore she feels she is not getting a paid vacation. She is. Two months in the summer, plus Easter and Christmas vacation, and all holidays paid.

Most teachers do their job because they are home when their children are home from school. Lucky, I say. Most workers work all summer, except for one or two weeks' vacation a year, and pay babysitters all summer long.

She doesn't count her blessings. All she does is complain and looks at the downside. All jobs have some downside.

She should thank God she is able to pay $750 a year for health insurance. I pay $151 a month, $1,822 a year. Half of the working people in Florida have no health insurance.

She claims no advancement. To me it's a privilege to be a teacher.
-- Margaret Fedan, Spring Hill

Peace hard to find in Spring Hill

Editor: Spring Hill, what a town! So much to do. Demolition Derby at Mariner Boulevard and Spring Hill Drive. The concerts coming from cars. I'm even learning a new language listening to these concerts. The sound of screeching wheels and loud mufflers add to the concert.

I'm also proud of all the people who have taken up sign language, as a driver passed me the other day and made signs with his hands. I'll bet it was something nice.

Sometimes the helicopter goes over my house three or four times a night. Wow! It's like being on Cops.

My neighbors are the greatest. They crank up their stereos some nights at 11 p.m. and midnight.

The kids are great! Six of them were out in the street the other day with a boy in the middle of a circle. When they saw me, they ran up the street. I'm sorry I interrupted their game.

I can't wait until they bring the trains to Spring Hill. Maybe they'll run the tracks past my house. Toot, toot!

Thank goodness there are no ordinances to cover some of these things. Or are there? Maybe our elected officials could tell me.
-- Albert E. Collum, Jr., Spring Hill

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