Friday, January 19, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Florida horticulture looking peachy

Few other businesses find their bottom lines subjected to the whims and vagaries of weather, market forces, disease and the ravages of pests more acutely than Florida's $9 billion citrus industry. While still vibrant, it has struggled to fend off a nagging citrus greening bacteria and the intrusive Asian citrus phyllid insect infestation that puts harvests at risk. But researchers at the University of Florida Horticultural Department have developed a new hybrid strain of Florida-friendly peaches more resistant to the threats facing citrus. The success of the burgeoning Florida peach market is a good example of a traditional industry embracing creative innovation. Sweet.

With a modest 800 to 1,200 acres dedicated to the fruit, Florida peaches will never displace the state's dominant citrus industry, which is spread across 532,000 acres of oranges, grapefruit and tangerines. But the fuzzy fruit does provide growers operating on modest profit margins a hedge against downturns in citrus yields. The Sunshine State peaches developed by UF scientists are slowly gaining a foothold in groceries throughout Florida. Though smaller than Georgia and South Carolina fruit, Sunshine State peaches are often considered juicier and more flavorful than their counterparts. State agricultural experts estimate Sunshine State peaches could be a $100 million industry within a decade. Sweeter still.

This is not the first time University of Florida creative scientists have come to the aid of Florida agriculture. Two years ago, UF introduced the more succulent and tastier Tasti-Lee tomato, which helped the state shed its image for growing hardened, nondescript tomatoes. The university also developed a Florida-centric blueberry to compete with Mexican and South American imports.

Like any thriving business, it is always good to diversify. The work on behalf of Florida farmers by University of Florida researchers in developing the Sunshine State peach puts a new practical meaning on the value of STEM science.

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Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18

Another voice: Why just Florida?

Cynicism has always been a part of politics, but rarely are politicians so brazen and self-serving as President Donald Trump and his interior secretary, Ryan Zinke, have been over the past week. First they announced a new offshore drilling plan that ...
Published: 01/16/18
Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Editorial: King’s legacy still relevant in digital age

Today’s holiday honoring the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. couldn’t be more timely. At a moment when the nation’s civic dialogue is choking on personal and political division, it is hard to remember an earlier time when role models were role m...
Published: 01/15/18

Another voice: 38 minutes of fear in Hawaii

In 1938, Orson Welles panicked the nation with a false alarm about a Martian invasion in the radio broadcast The War of the Worlds. That was farfetched, of course. But what happened on Saturday, sadly, was not so hard to imagine — or believe.Authorit...
Published: 01/14/18
Updated: 01/16/18
Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

Editorial: Florida’s chance to make it easier to restore civil rights

As it has for decades, Florida stubbornly clings to an inhumane, inefficient and indefensible system of justice that permanently sentences more than 1.5 million residents to second-class citizenship. This state automatically revokes the right to vote...
Published: 01/13/18
Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

Editorial: Speak out against Trump’s vulgar remarks

President Donald Trump’s vulgar outbursts during a White House meeting on immigration are racist and indefensible no matter how he parses them. They are not presidential, they undermine U.S. foreign relations and they do not reflect America’s values....
Published: 01/12/18