Swamp Hammock needed I read in the paper the article addressing last week’s meeting. It would appear that Braha Sebring sounds like they have researched what it takes to provide an entertainment environment that would hold events for all ages and activity level. My husband and I are of retirement age, but we are not ready to settle for shuffleboard and card clubs as our way of life. We wouldn’t get in one of these trucks and drive them, but we would go to watch the sport – much like we go to NASCAR events at Daytona Beach and Indianapolis. Look at the revenue the Sebring race brought in this month. Wouldn’t it be amazing to have dependable revenue to count on regularly? When this race takes place, the county is busy before, during and after the race. In a recent newspaper, I looked for entertainment geared at our age and found none. I’m not saying that Highlands County doesn’t do some good things, but please know that not all of us are interested in community drama clubs, Idol competitions and fairs. Don’t stop with any of these events; keep them because they are great. I’m saying that we need more.
I ask of you this: when you are faced with making this decision, put all of your friendships and obligations aside. Think about not only today, but the future of Highlands County. We can’t survive and become prosperous by being closed-minded to new adventures and opportunities. Think of the income from taxes, think of the residents who will benefit from the visitors, think of the pride you can have by saying you were on the ground level of getting this project started. Think, if you will, about all of us as a whole. I agree that not everybody will be happy with your decision. I also agree that even if this is approved, there will be issues that arise and changes that will have to be made. What I see here is not only a group of people that want this to succeed; they have put their heart and soul in to it to make sure that it is done in a professional manner to address the interest of all age groups. Your real obligation is to assure the growth and future of Highlands County. This is an opportunity for you not a burden. I respectfully request that you wrap your arms around this project and approve its inauguration. Virginia Neeley Lake Placid Sequestration’s ugly ax Head Start programs are facing budget cuts that will slam shut the window of opportunity for nearly 70,000 at-risk children as well as bring about the layoff of over 14,000 support staff. By failing to avert the budget sequester, elected officials have missed the opportunity to lead by example and place the most vulnerable among us on a pathway to lifelong success. I am the child care partner contract manager for Redlands Christian Migrant Association based in Avon Park. These cuts will be catastrophic to the poor children we serve. For nearly 50 years, Head Start has been getting results in preparing our neediest children for school, leading the early childhood field in innovation and quality through high standards and relentless insistence on excellence. In Florida, sequester means 2,700 fewer children can be served by Head Start. They will not receive access to early education as well as other health, family and nutritional services associated with the Head Start program. A single mom, just beginning college with two children in an RCMA center, was told by a worker one of her children had failed the vision screening given in the center as a Head Start requirement. The center helped mom find an eye specialist for her 1-year-old daughter. Mom found out her daughter has an astigma. At this time not warranting glasses, they are following the child with six-month checkups. Without the screening, how old would she have been before it was found? Previous vision problems were not noted from her pediatrician. Would she have started school unsuccessfully because she could not see? We will never know the answer because Head Start and RCMA was allowed to do what they do: provide services to children and families. These cuts are devastating, making it harder for us to serve Highlands County’s poor families. The budget cuts from “sequester” represent a devastating cut to at-risk children and a deficit of leadership from elected officials. Please, listen to your constituents. Our nation’s budget simply cannot be balanced on the backs of our poor children. Patricia Wiggins Avon Park