Letters to the Editor, April 26

Marco Eagle
Editorial cartoon

There are options

Is it in the best interests of Collier County resident/taxpayers to split the Collier County Sheriff’s Office into five separately organized, managed, administered, operated and funded Public Safety organizations, with five separate training and operation’s protocols, and five separate personnel compensation and benefits programs?

Are five separate Collier County EMS organizations better than one coordinated comprehensive countywide responder?      

Currently, there are five separate Collier County fire agencies (down from ten a few years ago). Marco Island, Naples, and the unincorporated county with Immokalee Fire, North Collier Fire (comprising North Naples and Big Corkscrew), and Greater Naples Fire (comprising East Naples, Golden Gate, Isles of Capri, County operated station, and Ochopee under a management agreement).  

The fire commissioners stated to the public for those previous fire agency consolidations that they were going to both provide better service and save taxpayer money.

Although some are dangerous, fortunately, fewer than 2 percent of responses are fires.

While 86 percent are medical responses, service calls, and good intention calls. The remainder is false alarms and other non-fire calls.

Thus, fire agencies are mostly in the medical response business.  

All Fire Agencies could implement further cooperation in operating protocols, training, and other support functions that could save money.

Another option is Immokalee, Greater Naples, and North Collier Fire Commissioners could continue to further provide better service and save taxpayer money by consolidating into two, or even one fire agency for the entire unincorporated county, as supported by 63.7 percent of those voting and passed by a majority in 51 of 53 county precincts, to that March 2016 ballot question.     

Marvin Easton, Naples

Stamp out hunger

Saturday, May 11, marks the 27th anniversary of one of America’s great days of giving – the National Association of Letter Carriers STAMP OUT HUNGER food drive.
Letters carriers are immersed in the community every day, often coming face to face with a sad reality for too many, hunger. So each year, on the second Saturday in May, letter carriers across the country collect non-perishable food donations from our customers. These donations go directly to local food pantries to provide food to people who need our help.

Last year, we collected over 71.6 million pounds of food nationally, feeding an estimated 64 million people. Over the course of its 26-year history, the drive has collected well over 1.67 billion pounds of food, thanks to a postal service universal delivery network that spans the entire nation, including Puerto Rico, Guam and U.S. Virgin Islands.
Our food drive’s timing is crucial. Food banks and pantries often receive the majority of their donations during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday seasons. By springtime, many pantries are depleted, entering the summer low on supplies at a time when many school breakfast and lunch programs are not available to children in need.
Participating in this year’s Letter Carrier Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive is simple. Just leave a non-perishable food donation in a bag by your mailbox on Saturday, May 11 and your letter carrier will do the rest. Please help us in our fight to end hunger, as we celebrate our 27th anniversary year in America’s great day of giving.

Willajean L. Smith, Secretary - NALC Branch 4716 Naples/Marco Island

Quiet hospital

Naples Community Hospital has been too quiet lately. We see from the recent article on radiology services that the damage done to the institution continues. I would like to offer the following suggestions:
NCH Board Chairwoman, Mariann Macdonald, needs to resign. The resignation needs to be prompt and orderly to make for a smooth transition. In addition, all members of the board with contractual obligations to NCH should immediately resign, including the Mayo Clinic representative.
An interim CEO and new board chairman are needed. Of the three individuals who have directly communicated their interest in helping NCH through CEO or Board position, two are extremely well qualified and one lives here in the city. These two men know the community, know the history of the hospital and its successful management by Dr. Jack Briggs and Bill Crone. They have had experience managing this hospital. They know the current healthcare environment. They can give the community time to find a more long-term CEO.
There are many groups who are interested and taking action in shaping the direction of the hospital. There are groups at work in Port Royal with considerable sophistication and management expertise. They need to begin an open discussion with others with interest and expertise to offer such as the Collier County Medical Society, Neighborhood Health Clinic, city, county, etc. Most importantly, management should enlist the help and insight of the employees that have too long been suppressed by fear of loss of their jobs if they complain. Put their insight to work.

Rett Alsbrook, M.D., Naples