Letters to the editor: Dec. 1, 2009

Here are letters to the editor for Daily News editions of Dec. 1, 2009:

Letter of the Day: Read all about it

Editor, Daily News:

A grand-opening celebration full of historical significance will be held on Wednesday — one that will help fulfill thousands of hopes and dreams.

The Literacy Council of Bonita Springs invites everyone to the 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. event at the council’s new headquarters at 26820 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs.

The $2.6 million, 10,400-square-foot structure will house classes for the council’s 1,800-plus students and the hundreds of participants in the group’s popular Moms and Tots program, and provide office space for the staff, headed by Executive Director Susan Acuna.

Acuna has managed an intensive three-year capital campaign which raised $1.6 million in cash and pledges — an uphill struggle in this economy. She and the group’s treasurer, George Shaffer, spent months struggling to obtain a mortgage. Finally, forward-looking leaders of Regions Bank stepped up and extended the council workable terms. Regions is interested in building on the extensive involvement it has shown in the communities it serves, and the council continues its capital campaign to eventually reach that $3.2 million goal.

A gutsy and determined board of directors and many supporters and volunteers helped make the dream a reality, after the council’s work had spilled over into three separate rented buildings and many outside facilities during its 20-year history.

The new building is one of a very few — perhaps the only — new headquarters structure of its kind built in the country by a local literacy council the size of the Bonita Springs group.

Everyone involved deserves a huge well done.

— Robert E. Dimond

Naples

All aboard?

Editor, Daily News:

The time has come for those of us who continue to strongly oppose the placement of a bus transfer site at the Collier Area Transit (CAT) operations center on Radio Road to express our dissatisfaction.

All who support ENACTS (East Naples Against County Transfer Site) need to attend the neighborhood information meeting Thursday at 5:30 p.m. at the Comfort Inn on Collier Boulevard. After a presentation by county transportation staff, attendees will have an opportunity to share comments and ask questions.

Of the many questions that need to be answered, the number one and most important question is why a transfer site must be placed right smack in the middle of a residential area of the county.

ENACTS believes that no other transfer site in the county has this placement. Other options have been identified, but receive no serious consideration by county staff.

We must now come together and do all we can to convince county staff on Thursday, and then prepare to persuade the county Planning Commission in January and the county commissioners in March, that this is a bad decision.

Check the Web site: www.theremustbeabetterplace.com for more ENACTS information and plan to attend the information meeting on Thursday.

— Bill Kearney

Naples

Get the message?

Editor, Daily News:

Is anyone else annoyed by having to pay $1.50 for the usual Thursday editorial content of the Daily News just because the paper carried so many advertising supplements?

The Daily News has already been well-compensated for these “Black Friday” advertising messages, so why should the public have to subsidize it further?

— Norman S. Stern

North Naples

‘Fed up’ is right

Editor, Daily News:

After voting to allow the Celebration Community Beach Church to continue to hold weekly meetings at the Cambier Park band shell, Naples City Councilman Bill Willkomm made comments that were inappropriate, close-minded and bigoted.

According to the Daily News, he stated, “The community is changing in certain ways I don’t approve of,” adding he is “fed up with the godless heathens that are around.”

Whether these comments were directed toward local atheists, agnostics or merely those whose religion is different from the councilman’s is unclear to me.

Regardless, they are the comments of an individual with little respect for the concept of freedom of conscience. They suggest the councilman to be prejudiced — one who does not belong in public office.

Wilkomm owes a public apology to the people of Naples and his removal from the Naples City Council should be seriously contemplated.

— David S. Goodman, M.D.

Naples

Toss of the coin

Editor, Daily News:

Heads they win; tails we lose

Attorney General Eric Holder has decided to hold trials for five terrorists in civilian court in New York. Most rational people are hoping that they don’t end with another “O.J. Simpson jury” decision.

I am not so sure I agree. If these terrorists are convicted, it will mean that the rules that apply to civilian court cases are no longer binding. These terrorists were not read their rights, not given a speedy trial and not allowed to remain silent or given timely access to an attorney.

If guilty verdicts are brought in these trials, they will set a new precedent. Maybe not right away, but sometime in the future ordinary American citizens may face extreme interrogation, prison time without trial and lack of timely legal counsel if the government accuses them of a crime that someone deems particularly heinous. With the extreme rhetoric used now by politicians trying to bring passion to their arguments, this is very scary. Those who deny man-made global warming have been called “Holocaust deniers” and abortion doctors are called “murderers.”

Vicious terrorists go free or American civil justice possibly destroyed. Either way this will end badly.

Civilian justice is for crimes that threaten the civility of a society. Military justice is for crimes that threaten the survival of the society. Choose wisely.

— Bill Greystone

Naples

Free to spread cheer

Editor, Daily News:

Pilgrims and Quakers came to the American colonies to escape religious persecution in Europe, and it was that type of persecution which led to our first amendment prohibition against a “state church.”

Over the past 220 years, legal processes have brought us to where we are today: not only can there be no state church, but the state is forbidden from spending public funds to promote any specific religion.

However, nobody is telling Macy’s they can’t have Christmas sales, nor Perkins they can’t serve Easter dinners. There is nothing keeping churches from erecting manger scenes, nor temples from erecting menorahs, on their own property.

And, as an individual, you are free to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukkah” to whomever you wish.

Critics place all sorts of blame on the American Civil Liberties Union for causing the decline in moral values in America because, so they say, the ACLU “took Christ out of Christmas.”

I dare say that parents and clergy have an adequate opportunity to foster religion and Christian values at home or in church.

But, if children are not going to be swayed by it there, they aren’t very likely to be swayed by it in a public school or a state office building.

— Barry J. McCall

Bonita Springs

Keep it simple

Editor, Daily News:

The recent letter from Evelio A. Rodriguez is the second or third to be printed in recent weeks.

It appears that, with your cooperation, Rodriguez has found a platform from which to impress us with his use of language.

May I “supplicate” Rodriguez to purchase a copy of William Strunk and E.B. White’s “Elements of Style” and to heed its admonition that vigorous English is concise?

— Roland Tifft

Bonita Springs

A proper education

Editor, Daily News:

Re: Ed Weilhoefer’s Nov. 24 letter, headlined “The harm they do.”

Does Weilhoefer really think the “religious right” uses the term baby or child rather than fetus or embryo to deceive the least-educated of our citizens?

How insulting, Mr. Weilhoefer, to those uneducated you speak of. How much education do you think it should take to have an opinion?

There is overwhelming scientific literature that presents conception as the beginning of the life of a human being. Brainwave activity has been detected at 43 days by electroencephalography (EEG). If the absence of brain-wave activity indicates death, then why is the presence of brain-wave activity not indicative of life?

Oh, by the way, Mr. Weilhoefer, this activity has been detected at the embryo stage you state is like “a tadpole with a pronounced tail.”

You state that my “chosen religion” may “keep me from a proper education and truth.” Are you saying that by assuming a religious belief you do so with a blind side to any medical or scientific knowledge?

How insulting, Mr. Weilhoefer. You may have your opinion and I may have mine. Please do not offend me by implying that mine is due to a lack of a “proper education.”

— Stephanie Rini

Naples

For the people

Editor, Daily News:

Individual freedoms are being lost.

Abraham Lincoln, in his famous Gettysburg Address, stated emphatically that we must be “dedicated to the great task remaining before us ... that government of the people, by the people, for the people shall not perish from the Earth.”

The bad news is that it appears to be rapidly perishing!

Cal Thomas’ commentary in your Nov. 24 edition hit the nail on the head. Our individual freedoms are being gradually and silently taken over by government.

It appears to many loyal and hard-working Americans that the current administration is for big government. Its agenda appears to be to control banking, industry, energy, public education and health care, which will make the majority of Americans fully dependent on government.

A majority generally rules in a democracy. With a clear majority (81 percent of those with health insurance) of Americans in favor of the present system, why is the government involved? I believe it is so they can control one-sixth of our economy on its mission to take over all of our individual freedoms.

We need to restore government as our founders wanted it to be — of the people, by the people and for the people.

— Thomas B. Smith

Naples and Mantoloking, N.J.

Bridging the gap

Editor, Daily News:

Never underestimate the power of the press — and of a frustrated citizen!

I don’t know whether other exasperated “detouree” cyclists called the Cocohatchee Bridge hot line like Raeburn Edwards, or if some project engineer at bridge-construction headquarters “had words” with the site foreman, but there’s definitely movement aplenty along Vanderbilt Drive south of Wiggins Pass.

A giant crane now stands guard over this beehive of activity, punctuated by the reverberation of pile drivers working overtime. At this rate, the project may be completed on schedule.

We can only hope, and give thanks to a concerned cyclist and to the Daily News!

— Edith Erskine

Naples

Stages of life

Editor, Daily News:

Re: Ed Weilhoefer’s Nov. 24 letter.

It appears he defines a baby based on location only and not on scientific knowledge. If one subscribes to his distorted thinking, a preemie born at seven months is a “baby.”

But seconds before birth, she is not a baby?! Such a sudden transformation into a “baby” in the mere time it takes her to travel from her mother’s womb is truly amazing!

Consider the following:

I submit that human life is present throughout this entire sequence from conception to adulthood. Any interruption at any point constitutes a termination of a human life.

Dr. Jerome LeJeune, “the father of modern genetics:” “By all the criteria of modern biology, life is present from the very moment of conception.”

Dr. Hymie Gordon, chairman of the Department of Genetics at the Mayo Clinic: “Modern science sees that the fetus is a patient, an individual. Those who say ‘It’s not a child’ need to catch up with the times.”

“The Unborn Patient” (embryology textbook): “The intricate processes by which a baby develops from a single cell is truly miraculous. This (fertilized egg) is the beginning of a new human being!”

“The Developing Human — Clinically Oriented Embryology” (sixth edition): The College of Pediatricians boldly proclaims that life is present from the moment of conception.

The developmental terms, embryo and fetus, as well as baby, child, adolescent and adult, are simply terms used to chronologically define a human being with vast potential; not a potential human being.

— Daniel J. Pepin

Naples

Professor, human development

Environmental protection

Editor, Daily News:

On behalf of the Moorings Bay Citizens Advisory Committee (MBCAC), I want to thank the many volunteers who helped place the five-inch medallions on the storm sewer inlets in the Moorings Bay system.

These inlets encompass Park Shore, the Moorings and Coquina Sands from the west side of U.S. 41 to Gulf Shore Boulevard.

The medallions were paid for by the Moorings Bay Taxing Authority. It is our hope that these medallions will make a strong environmental impression in order to keep harmful materials out of our water.

We know the Moorings Bay system is doing well. Last year, we demonstrated that oysters and clams can live, grow and thrive in our waters. Now we see, through the city’s monthly testing, that virtually every water-quality parameter falls within the acceptable ranges established by the state.

The citizens in this important watershed are to be congratulated.

— Albert Katz

Naples

Chairman, MBCAC

Gifts for Marines

Editor, Daily News:

As we approach the holiday season, I hope we can set aside our political, social or other differences and collectively unite to show our care and support for our men and women serving our country in harm’s way.

The members of Cypress Masonic Lodge No. 295 will be collecting gifts and/or letters to send to one of our Marine units in Afghanistan or Iraq. If anyone in the Naples area wishes to make a donation or provide a letter, please drop it off on Dec. 10 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at our lodge, 5850 U.S. 41 N. (just north of the intersection with Pine Ridge Road).

For suggested ideas for gifts, you can access our public Web site at www.cypresslodge.org. If you have any questions, please contact jvumbacco@comcast.net.

Whatever our differences, we are all Americans and these men and women need and deserve our wholehearted support.

Thank you.

— Joe Vumbacco

Naples

Learned at home

Editor, Daily News:

The response by the Collier County school district officials to the 10 North Naples Middle School students involved in the “kick a Jew day” was unconscionable.

This occurrence could not possibly be random. These children obviously learned their discriminatory behavior at home. The one-day, in-school suspension was ludicrous.

Are you aware that in the same Nov. 24 edition that you ran the “kick a Jew” story you also ran (on Page 14A) an article that, according to new FBI statistics, hate crime is on the rise? The middle-school episode was a hate crime.

Hopefully schools in the Collier County school system will not become a part of these heinous statistics.

— Renee and Burt Mahler

Naples and Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

Mission rededicated

Editor, Daily News:

I join my fellow directors and Holocaust Museum of Southwest Florida members in expressing deep concern for the sickening “kick a Jew day” occurrence at North Naples Middle School.

Lack of respect for other human beings has been at the root of most tragedies and all genocides. Bullying, racial slurs and stereotyping may quickly develop into broad-based bigotry and hatred with dreadful consequences.

Our mission at the museum focuses on using the history and lessons of the Holocaust to educate people about the need for mutual respect. We focus on middle- and high-school students, and last school year our programs reached over 24,000 young people.

Our historic World War II boxcar travels to schools, colleges and public libraries as a mobile education tool. It is accompanied by our educators, survivor speakers and displays about genocide.

This recent incident is a startling reminder of the need for us to continue our education efforts. The majority of students respond very positively to the programs and commit to actions to help fellow human beings. Obviously we have not reached all students, and we are now even more dedicated to continue our mission.

We will be working to support the school by offering our specialized education staff and speakers.

We thank those who have contacted us with expressions of concern and support.

— Robert M. Cahners

President, Holocaust Museum

of Southwest Florida

Unbelievable

Editor, Daily News:

We couldn’t believe it when the TV news reported that North Naples Middle School had a “kick a Jew day.”

What is going on in the Collier County school system? Who is running this and other schools in the county? Where is this hatred coming from?

We sincerely hope the Daily News will demand in its editorial a full investigation into this disgusting situation and that those responsible will be called to account.

And we’re not just talking about the kids. This abomination could not happen in a public school without administrators and teachers turning a blind eye. This is a very shocking and worrisome event.

Hopefully, there will be punishment for all involved and that this will be the end of this and similar events.

— John and Karen Ryan

Naples

Miracles happen

Editor, Daily News:

A week ago I made out two checks: one to be mailed and the other hand-delivered.

I looked for a week for the hand-delivered one to no avail. On Nov. 23 I picked up my mail and, to my surprise, there was my check from the Charlotte, N.C., post office saying they received the check without any envelope.

And people don’t appreciate the postal service.

I just can’t thank all of them enough. Have happy holidays, my friends.

— Ann Brown

Naples

Good work

Editor, Daily News:

I was reminded recently of the excellent job Ilene Stackel is doing in covering and reporting on Collier County government proceedings, as well as the independent fire-district consolidation efforts.

I first encountered Stackel when she was assigned to cover the city of Naples/Pelican Bay annexation dustup. Her reporting then was accurate, and it remains so today.

I am actively involved in the fire-district consolidation effort and can say that Stackel’s columns reflect an accurate accounting of what she witnessed.

— Jim Burke

Commissioner, North Naples Fire

and Rescue District

Talking turkey

Editor, Daily News:

Re: Wednesday’s editorial page cartoon showing an American taxpayer’s head (representing the U.S.A.) on the chopping block, a turkey holding the ax, surrounded by turkeys representing bailed-out companies, captioned “How does this happen.”

Did that say it all. The United States is in deep trouble and the turkeys have taken over.

— Elaine Paulson

Naples

Message from the world

Editor, Daily News:

Ever since it was announced, it’s become a late-night talk show joke to describe President Barack Obama’s Nobel Prize as the Nobel Prize for not being former President George W. Bush.

I expect even the president would agree there is some truth to it.

What of it? The Nobel committee was sending a message on behalf of the people of the world who can’t vote in our elections but are profoundly affected by the choices we make. The message was: “We do love you, America.

“The Western world wants and needs the moral and political leadership that only the American president can provide. So please, please don’t ever inflict another Bush on us again.”

We Americans share in our nation’s leadership responsibility.

If you think leaders have an obligation to at least listen and respect the people they presume to lead, then I give you two cautionary words: Sarah Palin.

— Bob Furey

Naples

Learning tools

Editor, Daily News:

The participants of Sunrise Community of Collier County Adult Day Training program for persons with developmental and intellectual disabilities would like to thank the junior class of Barron Collier High School for their generous donation of $250.

Formerly known as Tech of Collier County Inc., this 501(c)(3) organization has been providing meaningful assistance and training to 80 to 100 citizens every year since 1972. Participants can choose areas of independence improvement such as basic living skills, job skills and employment as well as social skills.

The donation received will be used to support these goals with learning tools and socialization supports.

Those wishing to know more about these programs may contact me at pstarzyk@sunrisegroup.org, (239) 643-5338, ext. 238.

— Paul L. Starzyk

Executive director,

Sunrise Community

Season of abundance

Editor, Daily News:

I love all the greeting cards I am fortunate enough to receive at this time of year.

Every one will be read and placed on my mantle. I only wish my friends would be a little more specific.

Not so long ago “happy holidays” or “season’s greetings” simply meant some folks were not certain if I was Jewish or Christian. Now we have Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, my father-in-law’s birthday (Dec. 25), New Year’s and the Super Bowl.

This year I am not going to include Christmas and Hanukkah in the generic happy holidays and season’s greetings cards. I have read that Jesus does not like to share his birthday with anyone or anything.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, after all his efforts, would probably prefer not to share Hanukkah with Halloween and the Super Bowl. I will continue to include my father-in-law Roland in all cards. He is a World War II hero; he appreciates anything he gets.

As for me, “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” will work because Jesus, my savior, was born around Dec. 25 and a couple of hundred years earlier a very small amount of oil enabled eight candles to burn for eight days.

Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy birthday, Dad.

For all the rest I say, happy holidays and season’s greetings.

— Peter Apostle

Bonita Springs

Love and caring

Editor, Daily News:

In a Nov. 24 Daily News letter to the editor, the religious right was called deceitful, in that it appeals to the least-educated.

The argument is that an embryo is not a fetus and certainly not a baby because of appearance. The writer uses this to justify that an abortion at these early stages does not take a human life.

Embryo and fetus and baby are names given to stages of development. The names change again to toddler, preteen, teenager, adult, senior citizen.

A baby does not look like a senior citizen, but both are human beings.

In the letter, the writer says for the first eight weeks after fertilization we have an embryo which can be terminated by the “morning after pill.” This pill is only used within 72 hours after unprotected intercourse.

I must take issue when the writer states that viability is when a fetus is born and takes its first breath. Then, according to the letter writer, it is a baby. However, this “fetus” may reach viability as early as 21 weeks.

So is the logic that a birth at 21 weeks is a fetus but at 40 weeks it is a baby? What if that same baby is breathing by machine? Still a fetus but not a baby?

I invite the letter writer to drive by Planned Parenthood on Mondays. He will not see intimidation and terror aimed at a woman going in for an abortion (as he states).

He will see love and caring for both the woman and her unborn child.

— Jo An Carter

Naples

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