Monday, April 23, 2018
News Roundup

Hooper: I can't imagine Florida without these

Sometimes, I worry about Florida.

As a native, certain icons, standards and institutions frame my appreciation for living here. It's difficult to envision Florida without them, but sometimes I get a nagging feeling I'll wake up one day and the things that help define my love of the state will be gone.

I can't imagine a Florida without homegrown oranges and orange juice. From my earliest childhood days — when my mom mixed frozen concentrate and two cans of water in the blender — to now, when I spare no expense to buy the premium stuff in the bottle, I've started most days with a glass of orange juice squeezed from oranges grown just down the road.

However, an insidious plant disease known as citrus greening threatens one of the state's most iconic industries. The state and federal government are pouring money into research for a solution and I hope they find it. Can we still call ourselves Florida without Florida citrus?

I can't imagine a Florida without the flora and fauna, beaches and springs that make it a great place for people who love nature. Admittedly, I'm not Mr. Outdoorsman, but I'll fight to protect the state's environment. The Everglades, beach renourishment and our ailing springs system need greater legislative funding. As someone who grew up going to Wakulla Springs, I know the Sunshine State won't be as sunny if these precious resources continue to suffer.

I can't imagine a Florida without Florida A&M University. My late mother and father spent their lives teaching at the historically black school. While it soldiers on with a new president, longtime supporters always will share a fear that the state will someday try to merge the school with nearby Florida State University. Some may say it will never happen, but a history of tension between the universities and a Legislature that's asserting greater control over higher education does little to ease concerns.

I can't imagine a Florida without Publix. Sure, it may seem folly to link natural resources and education institutions with a grocery store chain — especially when you consider their relatively high prices for premium orange juice — but ask yourself: Is there another retail outlet more Florida than Publix?

A friend of mine who is a military wife has found herself living in varied outposts over the years, including Canada. When she finally got a chance to come back to her native state last week, she made a beeline to Publix — even before heading to the beach. Anyone who moves away develops a greater appreciation for the chain, and those of us who live here make up excuses just to go in and enjoy the bright atmosphere and friendly customer service.

I need an eggplant.

From all accounts, Publix is doing just fine but ever since mighty Walmart got into the grocery business, I've been a little worried. It's almost inconceivable to imagine the chain ever being in trouble, but over the years, we've seen a lot of grocery store chains come and go. Anyone remember A&P? Pantry Pride?

Finally, I can't imagine a Florida without compassion. Upon meeting my son in Tallahassee, an aide to State House Speaker Will Weatherford said, "Your father never writes anything nice about my boss."

Let me be clear: Weatherford deserves kudos for at least one laudable piece of legislation. He set out this year to pass a law that would grant in-state tuition for immigrants who were brought to the United States illegally as children. While I greeted the effort with a degree of cynicism, he succeeded, moving Florida in the right direction.

Of course, an undercurrent of intolerance always lurks, but as we wrestle with issues like immigration, let's hope the better Florida — the compassionate Florida — continues to emerge.

That's all I'm saying.

Comments
Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

Former Rays pitcher Danny Farquhar “progressing well’ after surgery

As former teammates with the Rays and throughout baseball share thoughts and prayers, RHP Danny Farquhar is "progressing well" in a Chicago hospital after suffering a hemorrhage caused by a brain aneurysm on Friday.The White Sox on Monday released th...
Updated: 3 hours ago

High school scoreboard for April 23

Monday’s scoreboardBaseballCanterbury 10, Citrus Park Christian 0Northeast 12, Countryside 5
Updated: 3 hours ago
Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

TAMPA — A 68-year-old man was arrested Monday on a first-degree murder charge, according to Tampa police.Officers took James Leon Jackson into custody at 2712 W Nassau St. in west Tampa at about 1 p.m. A warrant for his arrest had been issued Friday....
Updated: 3 hours ago
A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

A new museum will honor America’s lynching victims, including those killed in Tampa Bay

In May 1914, a Hernando County grand jury decided not to indict John Davis, a black man accused of attempting to assault a white woman in a hotel. But days after he was released from the Citrus County jail, Davis’s body was found beaten with a ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

Alex Cobb and Logan Morrison have ex-Ray vision. Here’s what they see.

ST. PETERSBURG — Absolutely, Alex Cobb was saying over the phone, it's going to be weird pitching Tuesday against the Rays.The organization that he owes so much for rearing him since high school, standing by him through assorted injuries, enabl...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Lottery resultsNumbers drawn after 9 p.m. are no longer available by our deadlines. For results, go to tampabay.com/lottery.Pick 2, 3, 4, 5Mon., April 23, midday:40 874 5140e_SRit69262Mon., April 23, evening:76 974 2849e_SRit78236Fantasy 5Mon., April...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Waffle House slaying suspect arrested; veteran receives world’s most extensive penis transplant; more in U.S. news

Waffle House slaying suspect arrested; veteran receives world’s most extensive penis transplant; more in U.S. news

TennesseeWaffle House slaying suspect arrestedThe mentally unstable white gunman suspected of killing four people and wounding more at a diverse Nashville Waffle House was arrested near his apartment Monday, authorities said. Police and federal agent...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

Armenia’s leader quits amid protests; van driver kills 10 in Toronto; more in world news

ArmeniaLeader quits: ‘I was wrong’Ten days of demonstrations forced the resignation Monday of the man who has led post-Soviet Armenia since 2008. The unexpected resignation prompted the jubilation of tens of thousands in capital Yerevan’s Republic Sq...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

TAMPA — The 1-month-old infant reported missing Monday was found hours later about 300 miles north in Quincy, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.Sage Cooper was reported to be unharmed, officials said, and Gadsden County sheriff’s ...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Saudi-led airstrike at Yemen wedding killed at least 20

SANAA, Yemen — An airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition hit a wedding party in northern Yemen, killing at least 20 people including the bride, health officials said Monday, as harrowing images emerged on social media of the deadly bombing, the third t...
Updated: 5 hours ago