Sunday, November 19, 2017
Editorials

Editorial: Florida horticulture looking peachy

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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: Good for Tampa council member Frank Reddick to appeal for community help to solve Seminole Heights killings

As the sole black member of the Tampa City Council, Frank Reddick was moved Thursday to make a special appeal for help in solving four recent murders in the racially mixed neighborhood of Southeast Seminole Heights. "I’m pleading to my brothers. You ...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

Editorial: It’s time to renew community’s commitment to Tampa Theatre

New attention to downtown Tampa as a place to live, work and play is transforming the area at a dizzying pace. Credit goes to recent projects, both public and private, such as the Tampa River Walk, new residential towers, a University of South Florid...
Published: 11/17/17
Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

Editorial: Rays opening offer on stadium sounds too low

The Rays definitely like Ybor City, and Ybor City seems to like the Rays. So what could possibly come between this match made in baseball stadium heaven? Hundreds (and hundreds and hundreds) of millions of dollars. Rays owner Stu Sternberg told Times...
Published: 11/16/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

Editorial: Wage hike for contractors’ labor misguided

St. Petersburg City Council members are poised to raise the minimum wage for contractors who do business with the city, a well-intended but misguided ordinance that should be reconsidered. The hourly minimum wage undoubtedly needs to rise — for every...
Published: 11/16/17

Editorial: Make workplaces welcoming, not just free of harassment

A federal trial began last week in the sex discrimination case that a former firefighter lodged against the city of Tampa. Tanja Vidovic describes a locker-room culture at Tampa Fire Rescue that created a two-tier system — one for men, another for wo...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Editorial: Firing a critic of his handling of the sewer crisis is a bad early step in Kriseman’s new term

Barely a week after St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman promised to unite the city following a bitter and divisive campaign, his administration has fired an employee who dared to criticize him. It seems Kriseman’s own mantra of "moving St. Pete forwar...
Published: 11/15/17
Updated: 11/16/17
Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

Editorial: USF’s billion-dollar moment

The University of South Florida recently surpassed its $1 billion fundraising goal, continuing a current trend of exceeding expectations. At 61 years old — barely middle age among higher education institutions — USF has grown up quickly. It now boast...
Published: 11/14/17
Updated: 11/17/17
Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

Editorial: Vets should not have to wait years for benefits

American military members hurt in service to their country should not have to wait a lifetime for the benefits they deserve. But that’s a reality of the disability process at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which hasn’t made payi...
Published: 11/14/17

Editorial: Deputies’ rescue reflects best in law enforcement

The bravery two Hillsborough County sheriff’s deputies showed a week ago is a credit to them and reflects the professionalism of the office.Deputies Benjamin Thompson and Trent Migues responded at dusk Nov. 11 after 82-year-old Leona Evans of Webster...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/17/17

Another voice: An untrustworthy deal with Russia

President Donald Trump’s latest defense of Russian leader Vladimir Putin included — along with a bow to his denials of meddling in the U.S. election — an appeal to pragmatism. "Having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing, not a bad thing,"...
Published: 11/13/17
Updated: 11/14/17