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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Inconsistencies with the DeSoto County’s Comprehensive Plan

Development Director Earl Hahn has done excellent work for DeSoto County: his efforts resulted in the handsome new fire station on W. Cypress Street. However, I must object to the report he and his staff prepared for Mosaic’s application to rezone 14,000 acres in Pine Level from A-10 (agricultural) to PM-I (phosphate mining-industrial).

In considering the 15 factors provided in the Land Development Regulations (Section 20-1498) to judge the application, he chose a literalist interpretation that serves neither our residents or government. The report stated repeatedly that the application was only a zoning change, and zoning does not cause allowable activities. The claim is literally correct; however, it is irrelevant. Owners do not apply and pay for a change of zoning unless they intend to use the land as allowed under the new zoning. The allowable activities are what should be critiqued.

Even Mosaic recognized this truth: its presentation to the Planning and Zoning Commission dealt solely with phosphate mining. Two members of the commission judged that the “best management practices” employed by Mosaic to stripmine phosphate will violate more than half of the factors: inconsistent with the County’s Comprehensive Plan; create an isolated district, traffic congestion, and drainage problems; adversely influence living conditions, property values, and improvement/development of adjacent


property; unnecessary and “out of scale.”

I hope the county commission will disregard this literalist report and the resulting recommendation and instead judge the application on the zoning change’s allowable activity: strip-mining phosphate.

Carol Mahler

Arcadia

Loves Luke Wilson’s satire

I love Luke Wilson’s satire on protesters. His cartoons are cute ... or apropos, too; throughout the years he has entertained us.

I’m with him protesting overly ambitious anti’s, especially paid professional ones. I’m pro-Publix supporting someone who is pro-agriculture, since the company supports farmers by buying their products daily. They’re probably pro-ranchers, too, since they supply meat for us carnivores. Hooray!

Can you publish a book of Luke Wilson’s past columns? He’s as funny as Lewis Grizzard was years ago.

Pat LaBree

Arcadia

Mosaic opponents: Do your research

To all you anti-Mosaic people, y’all need to stop and think about what you are doing. Do you not realize that phosphate is a need for all of you. It is in our laundry soap, toothpaste etc. I don’t know about y’all, but I like clean clothes and I love my teeth and want to keep them. I know people who have worked in the mines for years and years and they dang sure ain’t glowing. There is nothing that is going to hurt you, or it wouldn’t be done.

This will also bring in jobs for a lot of people and they will be able to live because it’s not a small pay, like people working at McDonald’s. Why don’t y’all do your research and find the facts before you knock Mosaic. They do so much for our schools. A lot more than the [Florida] lottery was supposed to do. So do your research and stop fighting something that is good.

Debby Taylor

Arcadia

Wear Purple on June 15

Living in Southwest Florida, we all know and love many older adults. For most of us, the thought of someone abusing or taking advantage of our elders is heartbreaking. And yet, the National Council on Aging estimates that one in 10 older Americans has been the victim of some sort of abuse.

Older people are vital, contributing members of our community who should be treated with respect and dignity. As a society, we have confronted and addressed the scourge of child abuse and domestic violence. In the same way, we can find solutions to address elder abuse.

That’s why World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is so important. This June 15, communities all over the world will highlight the issue of Elder Abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is a call-toaction for individuals, organizations, and communities to raise awareness about the abuse, neglect, and exploitation of elders. It was established in 2006 by the International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, the World Health Organization, and the United Nations.

As a community, we can become more alert to the signs of abuse. Most of us would notice signs of physical abuse, like unexplained bruises, cuts, or sores. But we may not be as adept at noticing the red flags of emotional abuse, like withdrawal from normal activities. We may not notice when our elders are being financially exploited by a friend, neighbor, or caregiver who fail to provide for an elder’s needs. And we may turn our heads to signs of neglect like poor hygiene or dangerous living conditions.

Of course, there are actions we can take to both prevent and report abuse. Simply being a friendly visitor to an older neighbor is a great start. If you know someone who is a caregiver for an elder, provide them with emotional support. And if you suspect an elder is being abused, make a call to the abuse hotline at 800-96-ABUSE. Your call is completely confidential and could save a life.

The Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida offers free elder abuse prevention education programs to the community. If you’d like someone to come speak with your group, organization, or community about how to identify and report elder abuse, call our toll-free helpline at 866-413-5337.

There’s one more thing you can do: the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida is asking the community to WEAR PURPLE on June 15 in support of elder abuse prevention. Why purple? Because we associate the color purple with royalty, dignity, and respect—the same words we should be using to describe our elders.

So open your eyes (and your closet) to the issue of elder abuse on Friday. With more than 415,000 seniors making their homes in Southwest Florida, your awareness of this issue has never been more important.

Sherry Young

Elder Abuse Prevention coordinator Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida

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