Letters to the Editor submitted by local residents of Ocala and surrounding areas. Submissions from users of Ocala-News.com to express their opinions on topical issues and events in Ocala, Marion County, and surrounding areas.
"I just moved to Ocala a year ago. Yes, we need more stores around here because they are too far away. We need a big mall, Costco, Target, Burlington, Ross, dd's store, TJ Maxx, all the good stores," says Marion Oaks resident Carmen Gonzalez in a Letter to the Editor.
"Marion County has gone downhill. I moved here from New Mexico on December 1, 2010. Previously, I lived in Lake City, Florida. I should have moved back there instead of to Ocala. When living in Lake City, we used to visit Silver Springs water park and ride the glass bottom boats, visit the animal shows, etc. All of that is gone now," says Silver Springs Shores resident James P. Fallucco in a Letter to the Editor.
"I see our county commissioners lining their pockets and not even considering for a minute what they're doing to our environment, the animals, the trees, and the land. Our way of life in Marion County is being destroyed as quickly as a few county commissioners can fill their bank accounts. It seems to me that humanity across the board has taken a back seat to money and greed. So much for the Horse Capital of the World," says Ocala resident Michelle Moore in a Letter to the Editor.
"In the last two years, the amount of trees removed, along with the excess of houses that are not even being sold or rented, has originated the displacing of beautiful birds and other animals. Marion Oaks and SW Ocala used to be a clean and quiet area with low traffic. Nowadays, due to greed, it is becoming not only congested but also dirty," says Ocala resident Matilde Leopold in a Letter to the Editor.
"Service dogs should be allowed into any retail or grocery store operation. However, the regular animals/pets...no. I have seen snakes around the necks of shoppers and parrots on a shoulder, really. Here's a fact: fleas can jump 6 feet. I don't want to buy produce with fleas," says Ocala resident Chris Bethune in a Letter to the Editor.
"Since this school year started, many kids wait for the buses beginning at 7 a.m., and they sit on the road because there is not a sidewalk. I have already reported it to the sheriff's office because on the corner of Marion Oaks Boulevard and 44th Circle, they sit and even lay down on the road. It is an accident waiting to happen," says Ocala resident Matilde Leopold in a Letter to the Editor.
"The last two years have truly been a struggle and frightening to say the least. We used to pay $200 to $300 a month for utilities in the cooler winter months and around $400 to $500 in the warmer summer months. But since 2020/2021, things have gone up tremendously. My utility bill during the warmer summer months now runs $700 to $900," says Ocala resident Misty Frye in a Letter to the Editor.
"If we truly do want a Costco in Ocala/Marion County (I'm sure you do), we have to call corporate at 1-800-774-2678. This is the membership number, but they will either take your comments or transfer you to public relations. Tell them we are a county with a population of 400,000-plus residents," says Ocala resident Peter Baker in a Letter to the Editor.
"Competition helps lower prices between stores in the same area, especially when those stores carry similar items. Sam's Club doesn't have any competition, like a Costco, so they don't have any pressure to lower prices. As long as they consider traffic issues, there shouldn't be any problems putting in a Costco in Ocala," says Ocala resident David Wallace in a Letter to the Editor.
"As humans, we all have something known as the Not In My Back Yard syndrome. We want the trash taken away but nobody wants a landfill near our homes. We come to beautiful subdivisions to live and complain about the wildlife, but I have seen nobody standing in front of a bulldozer bearing a sign or placard demanding that the beautiful trees, ponds, swamps, and the wildlife that occupy these beautiful lands be spared," says Ocala resident Jimmy Gray in a Letter to the Editor.
"Dog owners should accept the fact that not everyone loves their furry friends. Some people are afraid of dogs because of a previous attack. Many people are deathly allergic to dogs. Dogs carry bacteria that can be deadly, and I know this for a fact because I almost lost my leg due to a bacterial infection caused by my dog," says Ocala resident Dianne Wieckert in a Letter to the Editor.
"We are living in a Senior Living Community and are all well advanced in age. At this time in our lives, we had hoped this would be our last move and we would find peace, quiet, and happiness in our new homes. However, there is a constant influx of heavy trucks, noise, and dirt coming from the unpaved road behind our houses. We are unable to enjoy our backyards, a barbecue, or even sitting on our lanais," says Aine McGarity in a Letter to the Editor.
"I think it is inappropriate to bring your pets into stores unless they meet ADA requirements. You don’t get a pass for “comfort animals." Fines and legal action may be what it takes to stop this practice. Shall I bring my pet chicken into Walgreens?" says Orange Lake resident Jackie White in a Letter to the Editor.
"We moved here from Tennessee a year ago. Ocala Electric wanted $700 just to hook up, even with good credit. Our bill has gotten to be $565 this month, and we are in a 1,500-square-foot mobile home. Our highest bill for a 2,400-square-foot home in Tennessee was only $457. I believe they need to be investigated. We are suffering out here," says Ocala resident Cary Stone in a Letter to the Editor.
"Just north of Ocala is an exotic animal rescue and zip lining, and in Williston you can visit an elephant ranch. The Appleton Museum hosts lots of events, and you can join or just watch plays and performances at the Ocala Civic Theatre, or go to an escape room. We have so many sports leagues, events, and facilities that cater to youth and adults. These are just a few examples of what Ocala really has to offer," says Ocala resident India Dubose in a Letter to the Editor.
"I live in a 55-plus community named Palm Cay. Next to us, a builder is cleaning the ground to build houses. He is burning the debris. The problem is that it is too close to the houses. The community's residents are suffering the effects of the burning because the smoke, the smell, and the ashes are falling down like snowflakes," says Ocala resident Jorge Zayas in a Letter to the Editor.
"I am happy to see I am not the only one dealing with outrageous utility bills. I own a 1,700-square-foot residential, energy efficient home on the southeast side of Ocala. The highest utility bill in the last year has been as high as $641.72, and last month it was $542.00. There has to be some sort of miscalculation with the billing," says Ocala resident Jamie Blash in a Letter to the Editor.
"Every time I sit and wait for the light at Pine and SE 32nd Street, my road rage ramps up. First, its the northbound left turn, then, after a pause, the northbound straight traffic goes, then the left turn is stopped and the southbound straight traffic is allowed. Finally, minutes later, the southbound left turn lane is activated. What a waste of gas and time," says Ocala resident Dick Burgoon in a Letter to the Editor.
"Depending on your activity level, here are some suggestions: join the library. They also have lectures from time to time. The Marion County Extension Service has seminars from time to time on gardening. Some are free. If you are able, take a long walk every day. The Marion County Audubon Society also sponsors birding walks throughout the county. All of the above gave me an opportunity to meet new friends and stay active," says Barbara Brown in a Letter to the Editor.
"I've lived in Ocala for 10 years and I've seen my electric bill steadily rise. It's up $100 from last year at least, and it went up $50 in the last month. I try to conserve and set my AC higher. I own a small home and live alone with my cats, so I don't understand why my electric is so high and is steadily rising," says Ocala resident Michael Stracuzzi in a Letter to the Editor.
"The Marion County school district is in the process of adding new schools and will need additional funding. The school district currently receives a one-mill property tax assessment to generate funds. The Marion County School Board is trying to get an increase in the impact fees to help with finances, and it is in the process of being reviewed by the county commissioners. Whatever happens to the impact fee, it will not generate the income needed for the new schools," says Steven Swett in a Letter to the Editor.
"My daughter lives in Ocala, and her light bill is $650 this month for a small two-bedroom mobile home. She is on disability, which $1,000 comes out for rent, leaving her with just $350 for the month with a 13-year-old daughter. I have very little money to help and am on low-income social security myself. Anyway, why in the world is Ocala electric so expensive?" says Penny Markowitz in a Letter to the Editor.
"There could be more to central Florida than guns, Nascar wannabe drivers, and culture wars. Music and art festivals would make a good start. Investing in after-school programs and mentoring at-risk youth would also help. We could re-imagine a city that embraces our common interests and teaches our children to dream and achieve for the common good," says new Ocala resident Carrie Erickson in a Letter to the Editor.
"My husband and I go to Sam’s Club only when we need to go because I hate trying to get into the parking lot. It’s an accident waiting to happen and people will seriously get hurt or killed. Is there a petition that the people of Ocala can sign to make Sam’s Club do some changes or move it? But wait, it may not be a problem once Buc-ee’s opens," says Ocala resident Kathy Steinman in a Letter to the Editor.