Letters to the editor

Not a gang

In a recent article in Highlands Today, one of your writers wrote an excellent article about helping the homeless titled "Homeless in Highlands." The one correction that needs to be made is the reference to the American Legion Riders as a "motorcycle gang." I have received several calls and emails from veterans about the reference to being called a "gang."

The American Legion Riders is a program of the American Legion and should not be referred to as a "gang." Every member of the American Legion Riders is either a veteran or a family member of a veteran. Matthew "Bulldog" Jordon, Danielle "Barbie" Jordan and "Larry" are all veterans of the military as well as being members of the American Legion Riders Chapter 74 in Sebring. Their service to this nation, community and other fellow veterans should not be diminished by referring to them as a "gang."

The American Legion is the largest and most active veteran's organization in the world, with the American Legion Riders being at the forefront as being the fastest growing program of the American Legion.

John "Metric" Vincent

American Legion Riders

District 8 Coordinator

Homeless count

The recent article in Highlands Today about being homeless in Highland County during cold weather was a timely reminder. Based on ACS 2006-2010 median household income data, Highlands County ranks fifth from the bottom, yet the poor are mostly "out of sight and out of mind." Fortunately, some in our county are trying to do something for the homeless among us.

There were, however, two important details missing from the article. The first was why the annual count of the homeless is so important. And the answer is that homeless funding for local agencies is linked to the number of homeless. Highlands and other rural counties are at a disadvantage because we don't have as many shelters as found in urban places. Counting is more difficult when more people sleep in the open and the result is often undercounting.

The second is the date of the homeless count this year. The date is Jan. 27. If you would like to help, please call the Highlands County Coalition for the Homeless and sign up for a brief training session on Jan. 22 or Jan. 25. Call 452-1086 or email nataliesimons@highlandshomeless.com.

James Upchurch