Wednesday, Apr 23, 2014

Letters to the editor, April 8

Hernando Today
Published:   |   Updated: May 7, 2013 at 03:04 PM

Giving thanks

It has been close to four weeks since I got the shock of my life finding my 1942 Chevrolet truck totally destroyed by vandals. It broke my heart to see 10 years of work gone.

While I got a first hand look at what bad people can do just to please themselves I also got a firsthand look at the many kind hearted people who have offered me all kinds of help to rebuild my truck. There is a multitude of car guys out there and each one has a special talent to add to a re-build project. I want to thank everyone who offered help and moral support. Your kindness is overwhelming.

I must thank the Hernando County Sheriff Al Nienhuis and his excellent office starting with the incredible efforts at the crime scene by Deputy Joey Scavelli followed by Sgt. Brian McGinnis, Deputy Mike Beckwith and Det. Chris Kraft.

Thank you to Harold's Auto for supplying the car carrier and Deputy Steve Klapka and Deputy Jason Stevens for the escort to Hardee's where it was displayed to hopefully gather some leads. Thank you to Cpl. Wendy McGinnis for getting this story out to all the media.

Once the commotion died down I started to think long and hard about starting this project all over again. Am I really up to doing this again?

I said at the time that maybe something good will come out of this. Well, as it turns out I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime to have my truck fully restored by some very special car guys – Harold Clayton and his shop foreman from C & C Rod Shop in Port Richey. It will be done in two months – a far cry from the 10 years I already spent.

The truck will be unveiled at a car show to be determined. I am under strict instructions that I am not to see it until the reveal. All I know is that is not going to be the same color. This is going to be the longest two months!

On a final note, there were some funds collected at the car show at Hardee's to help with the restoration. I have no idea who donated what. As it turns out my insurance will cover the restoration. I would like to donate these funds to the Hernando County Sheriff's Office Fallen Deputies Memorial fund on behalf of the Spring Hill Drifters Classic Car Club and all other enthusiasts from other local car clubs.

Maurice Paradise

Spring Hill

Hernando County's health

April 2-8 is national public heath week and as the administrator of the Hernando County Health Department, I'd like to share with you a little bit about public health in our community. Our mission is to protect and promote the health of all the residents and visitors of Hernando County.

We accomplish this through the tireless efforts or our 96 full time and 22 part time employees, with the support of our three community hospitals and private medical providers, city and county governments, law enforcement, school superintendent and board members, media partners, the non-profit and faith based communities and our generous volunteers.

The Hernando Count Health Department is one of 67 "franchises" providing public health services throughout Florida. Funding through federal and state funds account for approximately 40 percent of our operating budget and the remaining roughly $4 million consists of funds generated through grants county funds and fees, along with billing of services provided.

From an economic standpoint, your health department brings to the county over $5.5 million of employees' salaries and benefits to be spent on such things as housing, food, medical and dental services transportation and recreation.

Over $2.77 million issued under our Women, Infant and Children (WIC) program, is spent by our young families to purchase necessary items to ensure small children receive proper nutritional foods and other needs. The Health department also provides free medications totaling $281,619 to local HIV and AIDS patients and $283,525 worth of free vaccinations for children and adults

Last year we provided over 110,000 services to over 15,000 clients. More and More of these services are being provided to folks who, until our recent economic decline, did not even know we existed or what services we office.

In 2011, we provided over 22,500 births and death certificates; administered 2,243 childhood immunizations, served 4,000 WIC clients; administered 30,000 dosed of medications to children in 23 different Hernando County schools; and applied dental sealants on 988 children. We provided family planning services to 2,767 clients and 9,000 Healthy Start services for high risk pregnant women; and provided treatment to 1,322 clients diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease.

Additionally during 2010-11, we ensured the health and safety of our community by performing 2,400 regulatory inspections. Sampling, and monitoring 150 public water wells and conducting approximately 500 rabies surveillance investigations; and we are ready to respond to man-made and natural emergencies,

Because of the uncertainties caused by national health reform and changes in Medicaid, public health strategic planning has become even more challenging. In response, we continue to prepare for the future needs of our community by reviewing and refining all of our programs, fine-tuning our process, and focusing on the return on investment of our services so that we will remain a viable partner in the community.

Philip Spence

Hernando County Health Department administrator

Loss of true America

I served America for 30 years on active duty and another 12 as a Defense Department civilian, to include 4 years as a professor of National Security Strategy and associated subject at the National War College in Washington, DC.

What I learned this week really scares me. I was unaware of the intrusion and manipulation of America by ALEC. ALEC stands for American Legislative Exchange Council.

The Declaration of Independence gives us freedom from tyranny. The Constitution insures those who are more powerful and wealthy cannot subjugate those who are less well off. ALEC abrogates both these fundamental principals guaranteed to Americans.

ALEC is not a lobby and not a PAC. It is composed of and run by large American and international corporations, and some very wealthy individuals, who have interest in changing American society, through legislation at the national and state levels, to benefit corporation profit. In reality it is the exploitation of American workers and their families.

Corporations supporting ALEC financially include many of America's best-known companies. Its Board of Directors is made up of Coca Cola, AT&T, ExxonMobile, Johnson&Johnson, Walmart, Kraft, State Farm, Pfizer, UPS and others.

More than 300 other major companies make up its membership and contribute hundreds of thousands of dollars to ALEC. ALEC boosts over 2,000 legislators as members.

So what does ALEC do? Unregulated and somewhat outside the law, below the radar and in back-room activities, it funds candidates, drafts legislation and pushes positions that are beneficial to corporations but detrimental to the American consumer and family. It hosts symposiums by invitation where it proselytizes elected representatives through contributions and "ready made" legislation.

What kind of legislation? How about tax breaks for tobacco companies, tax breaks for oil companies, legislation that makes it harder to sue pharmaceutical companies for medical negligence, privatization (for profit) of correction facilities, privatization of public school funding (for profit), and expansion of for profit health care at the expense of federal (read our) money. In essence, ALEC is designed to expand public funding to support private corporate profits at the expense of the American taxpayer.

President Dwight Eisenhower warned us about the expansion of the military-industrial complex. This does far beyond his worst fears by expanding the corporate take over of state and federal governments by large corporations.

The result is that American domestic and international policy is being set by for profit corporations having one goal: profits, and profit at the direct expense of the American taxpayer.

Examples include military contractors drafting legislation supporting international conflict and U.S. involvement/arms sales (Iraq?), legislation enhancing and sustaining for profit health care and health insurance which maintains a 20-30 percent "overcharge" for America's medical care, and selling public lands that belong to all Americans to for profit companies so that American have to pay to use those lands.

Who loses? The American people. Why? Because it forces us to pay more for everything, from gas at the pump, to food, to health care, to infrastructure, etc. Sometimes 20-30 percent more. Did this contribute to, even help create, the Great Recession?

Legislators who are involved with ALEC read like a "whose who." They include Rick Scott (remember Medicare fraud and now privatization of prisons), John Boehner, Rick Perry, Eric Cantor, Joe Wilson (of "liar" fame), and Donald Rumsfeld.

Newt Gingrich has been a featured speaker at ALEC gatherings. Legislators benefit through funding and ease of creating bills with their name as sponsor, and extensive funding to get those bills passed into legislation. Again, not in the interest of their constituents or America, but for the benefit of corporations and the very wealthy. In Florida, the ALEC "political" chairperson is Rep Jimmy Patronis, Jr, and Will Weatherford is a member.

Again, this is very scary to me as a patriotic American. Reminds me of the era where there were corporate towns, stores, and you lived in corporate housing. "Selling your soul" to the company as it was called. We legislated against that. Now it has returned in a more insidious and back-room manner.

Ted Laven

Dade City


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