Monday's Quick Hits: Condolences, security, adult ed and more

Very sad to hear about the death of fomer code enforcement officer and zoning administrator Gary Fisher last week.

He was always friendly and accommodating. And he carried on one of the longest, toughest fights against cancer of anyone I know. Hopefully, you will join me in sending your sympathy to his wife, Barbara, and the rest of his family.

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How tight was security in Tampa during the Republican National Convention last week? Well, I got this email on Friday from one of my cycling buddies, a U.S. Navy vet: "I took a trip to downtown Tampa Thursday to check out the doins'. My own reaction: I went to Berlin in 1974, visited the wall, Checkpoint Charlie etc., and they didn't have one-tenth the police presence of the RNC."

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Hopefully you read the very complete and revealing story in Sunday's Hernando Times by my colleagues Barbara Behrendt and Danny Valentine about business development coordinator Mike McHugh's push for an adult technical education program at Nature Coast Technical High School. The need is desperate. Hernando County, as has been true since the start of the housing collapse, has the highest unemployment rate in the Tampa Bay area.

Almost every small business owner I talk to in Hernando County complains about the lack of skills in the workforce. And there's the fact that state Department of Education money is pouring into neighboring counties, directly adding value to their economies, and just dribbling into Hernando:

"According to the DOE website, Hernando has been appropriated $366,658 for 2012-13, money used for the district's General Educational Development program. Citrus County will receive $2.7 million for its program at Withlacoochee Technical Institute. Pasco will receive $2.35 million for Marchman" Technical Education Center.

Time for school district leaders to make this happen any way they can.

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I've groused about the treatment of spectators who actually pay the money to attend professional sporting events. So, you won't be surprised that I am not surpised that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are still well short of the attendance needed to avoid a blackout for Sunday's home opener.

I mean, why wouldn't folks be mobbing the turnstiles to pay (in some cases) upward of $100 to watch an unproven team, to sit through commercial timeouts that show up every time the game really gets going, to be part of a captive market for overpriced concessions?

It's not the same sport but a similar situation, a team of obscenely overpaid folks blaming fans for not showing up. The Rays played the Yankees on July 4, and my son and I sat through a stupor-inducing game featuring the worst offensive team I've ever seen. It lasted nearly four hours with much of the downtime filled with pitches to fans to buy season tickets.

Walking out, my son shook his head. "Man, you'd have to be a real trooper to be a season-ticket holder."

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On my Sunday group bike ride, one Hispanic rider was talking to his friend in their native language. This is a common occurance, cycling being more popular in South and Central America than it is here. I always like hearing conversations in Spanish and, once in a while, in German or French. Makes the back roads of Hernando seem a little more cosmopolitan. But one jerk had to yell out, "Speak English! This is America!"

Anybody who has earned the money to buy a nice road bike and a car to get up to San Antonio probably speaks English pretty well. Well enough to get along. Well enough to contribute to our economy. Last I checked, English was still the official language, the one you need to learn in this country to thrive. And nobody's forcing anyone to speak Spanish. So if someone chooses to speak it, to express themselves in the language they know best when they're on their own time, isn't that the kind of freedom our system is supposed to protect?

It is.

Monday's Quick Hits: Condolences, security, adult ed and more 09/02/12 [Last modified: Sunday, September 2, 2012 10:07pm]

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