Monday, January 22, 2018
Editorials

SpaceX launches hope for fallow Florida coast

The successful launch of the Falcon 9 rocket Tuesday from Cape Canaveral may not have been a giant leap for mankind. But for the economically struggling Florida Space Coast, the blastoff marks one small step toward a rebirth of the region's aerospace industry. The Falcon 9, built by SpaceX, which was founded by PayPal founder Elon Musk, marks a new era in America's space program. SpaceX and other private-sector aerospace companies are now stepping in to fill the void between the end of NASA's space shuttle program and its next frontier.

The end of the shuttle program cost Florida as many as 9,000 jobs. Many of those were in Brevard County, where 25 percent of all jobs were tied to the Cape Canaveral complex. Enterprise Florida initiatives and Space Florida, which has been charged with investing in infrastructure and support programs to lure aerospace corporations, has attracted a Boeing Co. capsule assembly project to the region. And it is estimated that the $1 billion Falcon 9 project created about 550 Space Coast jobs. That's a good start.

In theory, the Falcon 9 mission to deliver supplies and eventually crew members to the International Space Station orbiting 250 miles above Earth will free NASA to focus on longer-term, more ambitious missions to the moon, asteroids, Mars and beyond. While other corporations around the country such as Sierra Nevada Corp., Bigelow Aerospace and Orbital Sciences Corp. are also developing shuttle vehicles, Cape Canaveral remains the primary launch facility. If they built it, they generally have to come to Florida to fly it.

The dawn of America's space program more than 50 years ago affirmed a national desire to take risks, explore and become the worldwide leader in technological research. But time and dwindling resources have cooled that ambition, and NASA faces an overhaul and a cloudy future. The economic engine on the Space Coast may be fueled more by private investment than by public tax dollars.

The successful launch of the Falcon 9, the little rocket that could, once again reminds us the reach of the heavens remains well within our grasp. But for now, let's see if this private spaceship can successfully link up with the space station on Friday and make it safely back to Earth.

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Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Editorial: Beware of social media targeting kids

Ignoring all available evidence that screen time and social media exposure can be harmful to kids, Facebook recently unveiled a new messaging app targeting children under 13. It’s yet another battlefront for parents who have to constantly combat the ...
Published: 01/21/18
Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

Editorial: Too soon for Tampa Bay to settle for buses over light rail

The good news on the transportation front is that Tampa Bay’s government and business leaders are working together like never before to connect the region’s largest cities, attractions and employment centers with a more robust mass transit system. Th...
Published: 01/20/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18
Updated: 01/21/18
Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
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