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Letters to the Editors

It's not too late for all to be counted toward Pasco's due

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 14, 2000

Editor: Would you throw away $1,500? Most will answer with a resounding "No." If you did not fill out your census form, that is exactly what you did.

The census is an equality issue, a financial issue and a political issue, according to government officials. For each person counted, a county receives approximately $1,500. Federal funding to states and counties is based on the census count. The census numbers are used for allotting funds for roads, schools, youth and elderly programs and much, much more.

In 1990, Pasco lost millions of dollars because more than 3,000 residents were not counted. We don't want this to happen again, but we need your help. We have a second chance. Between now and July 7, census workers will be visiting neighborhoods, knocking on doors and counting residents who did not fill out the forms.

The census takers need your cooperation. I know there are many excuses for not cooperating: I'm too busy; the questions are intrusive; I just don't want to be bothered. If the 34 percent who did not respond answer yes to any or all of the above, Pasco will once again lose funding for needed programs, disaster relief, schools and transportation. If you have not received a form or live in a neighborhood that has been excluded, please call (800) 465-3013. You can also leave the information on an Internet form found at Census workers will be dispatched to areas that still have not been counted.

I attended a census workshop in Orlando. The Census Bureau's message was loud and clear: "There is still time to earn those federal dollars." The 34 percent of residents who did not return their forms must be counted. The Zephyrhills and Dade City areas had mail-back rates in the 30 to 40 percent range. Hopefully community agencies, churches, schools and homeowners associations in these areas will assist Pasco to achieve a complete count. On July 7, the census bureau will fold its tent, put away its pencils, close its books and file its count. Pasco will have to live with that number. With your assistance, it will be a number that will bring much-needed federal dollars into our community.

A big thank you to those who mailed back their forms. If you did not, it's not over yet. Call that 800 number. Make a choice. Have a voice. Be counted. Thanks for your cooperation.
-- Commissioner Pat Mulieri, Ed.D.

Moms should know exams save women from breast cancer

Editor: With Mother's Day here, now would be a terrific time to let all moms know the importance of mammograms, clinical breast exams and self breast exams in detecting breast cancer early when it is the most treatable.

Excluding cancers of the skin, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women, accounting for nearly one of every three cancers diagnosed in United States women. About 183,000 American women will develop breast cancer this year, and about 41,000 American women will die because of breast cancer. Only lung cancer accounts for more cancer deaths in women.

Mammography is especially valuable as an early diagnostic tool because it can identify breast abnormalities that may be cancer at an early stage before physical symptoms develop. Numerous studies have shown that early detection increases survival and treatment options. The large declines in breast cancer mortality have been attributed, in part, to the use of regular screening mammography.

The American Cancer Society recommends that women age 40 and older have an annual mammogram and an annual clinical breast examination by a health care professional and perform monthly breast self-examination. Women ages 20-39 should have a clinical breast exam performed by a health care professional every three years and should perform monthly breast self-examination. Early detection is the key to saving lives.
-- Jolean McPherson
American Cancer Society, Tampa

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