As a concerned citizen, I would like to bring to your attention the dangers of mountaintop removal mining and the urgent steps we need to take to protect our nation’s Appalachian Mountains and people, before it is too late.
Mountaintop removal not only destroys and pollutes waterways and eliminates wildlife, but it also affects families' and communities' access to clean water and uncontaminated air, and seriously threatens their health. There are two things our nation's leaders must do right now.
First, the President and the Environmental Protection Agency need to follow the robust science and set a strong, binding clean water rule that will prevent the pollution and destruction of waterways by mountaintop removal mining waste.
Second, Congress must pass the Appalachian Community Health Emergency
The Act, which will thoroughly analyze the impacts of mountaintop removal on the health of people who live near it, including the higher rates of birth defects, cancer and early death that have occurred in communities near these mines.
I believe we have an obligation to preserve our national heritage for future generations, including our mountains and vital waterways, and to ensure that Appalachian communities are not bearing the brunt of our nation's unsustainable energy decisions.
Sale of structured settlement
The Florida Bar should take some responsibility for stopping or at least analyzing the sale of structured money settlements by an injured party to a private company before being approved by the court.
The very purpose of the structured money settlement is to provide long-term economic security for the seriously injured party, as he will be unable to provide for himself in the future.
Once the structured money settlement is sold, and usually at a substantial discount, the full cash value of the cash received is usually dissipated on the average of 5 years or less.
As a result of this dissipation of all the cash funds received pain to the injured party, he goes on welfare for the rest of his life, all at the cost of the taxpayer.
The very purpose of the structured money settlement was to provide for and prevent the injured party from going on welfare.
The Florida Bar should make it their duty to see that the sale of the structured money settlements are not approved, except in an emergency, unless the injured party has sufficient funds available for the rest of his life and the terms of sale are fair.
In the past, our judges have been approving the sale of these settlements too freely. Before being sent to the judge for his review, the court should appoint an independent party, a member of the Florida bar, to review the terms of the sale, who will not represent the victim but who will look out for the best interests of the victim and who will present his views of sale to the judge for the judges approval or disapproval.
This procedure could be established by rules of court.
Roadside memorials On the way home from work a few nights ago I passed a group of young people holding hands in a circle around one of the roadside cross memorials near Chocachatti Elementary School.
There are three of these memorials. There are two on Powell Road and another on California Avenue. All are reminders to the dangers that still exist in these areas. If you are a traveler along these roads in the early morning hours like the students who attend schools there you could easily understand why these terrible accidents occurred taking these young lives.
This area especially after the time changes is like driving in a cave. With the exception of the traffic light at the intersection there is nothing but absolute blackness. The same situation compounded by the lack of even a traffic light exists at Powell Middle School just a couple of blocks away.
The parents dropping their kids there are serenaded by voices and whistles of the crossing guards trying to slow the traffic to 15 mph at the extremely short school zone and crossing situated in the middle of a 50 mph highway.
These are situations that could be corrected with a little common sense and initiative. What’s really amazing here is, between these two schools there is a bike trail, a lighted empty bike trail.
This is crazy, if we can afford to light a bike trail why can’t we afford to light up school zones and crossings where hundreds of kids walk. We have three crosses to bare in this area, let’s fix the situation before we add more.