Brother's death may save a sister | March 17
Organ donors set example for all
The story of Mia Cervoni's chance at survival thanks to the early detection of heart disease is one of hope, and with the support of a loving family, skilled medical professionals and a community that cares, she will surely thrive.
The most important link in providing little Mia a chance to blossom, however, was not mentioned in the story — an organ donor. Somewhere in the United States a family will lose a loved one, likely a child, and in the midst of their grief they will make the decision to allow their loved one to save lives as an organ donor. One person's decision will spare Mia's family — or perhaps several families — the same tragedy of loss by choosing to give the gift of life.
The generosity of such anonymous individuals sets an example for the rest of us. Decide to become an organ donor; sign up on Florida's Donor Registry by visiting www.DonateLifeFlorida.org or when renewing your driver's license or ID card. One organ donor can save the lives of eight people and impact many more through tissue donation.
Jennifer Krouse, Tampa
One-stop shopping for food and booze? March 18
Rethink the drinking age
This article discusses the recent push for grocery stores and retail chains, such as Walmart and Target, to sell alcohol in one location. I think we ought to be discussing the push by college deans to lower the drinking age from 21 to 18.
The Amethyst Initiative is an organization made up of over 130 university presidents who urge our nation's leaders to "rethink the drinking age." Studies have shown an overwhelming number of young adults use fake IDs, buy alcohol illegally and binge drink on college campuses. Not only does this damage the campuses' reputation, it reduces respect for the law and encourages alcoholism.
Why should we live in a country where at age 18 you are responsible enough to vote, buy a gun, join the armed services, get a tattoo, get married, start a bank account in your name, pay taxes, give sexual consent, drop out of school, sue or be sued, own a piece of land, buy tobacco products, stand for jury duty, or pose for pornography but not be responsible enough to have an ice-cold drink?
Alex Alfonso, Dade City
Past present in union election | March 18
Poor leadership example
Whatever happened to leading by example? Instead of being someone who has distinguished himself in a classroom and demonstrated an ability to lead, Richard Wisemiller instead chooses to use his poor behavior as a positive by saying that being under investigation is another example that proves he knows how the school district operates. By that logic, the next time we elect a sheriff we need to choose a felon since he knows how a prison works.
This just shows the unions are not interested in the real people who work and make a difference, but choose to protect the ones who break the rules. Maybe if they focused on the good teachers and helped get rid of those who need to go, they would see an increase in union membership.
Don Sarvis, Safety Harbor
DCF on watch as 477 kids die | March 16
Horrifying lack of progress
I was horrified to read your stories of young victims and learn nothing has changed since 2003, when I was a juror in an infamous case in which the Department of Children and Families in Miami turned 5-year-old Zachary Bennett over to his father in Key West without checking the dad's criminal background. It included drug trafficking, assault and domestic violence, which the DCF should have caught.
A few months later the boy was beaten to death. This convicted thug will spend his life in jail. But what about the DCF's involvement in this death and hundreds of others noted in the Times articles?
Gov. Rick Scott should fire the whole lot of them and start over with competent people and more supervision. Zachary deserved better than he got from the state of Florida.
Linda Hunt, St. Petersburg
Who are these Department of Children and Families investigators? Are they trained social workers? I am outraged at the lack of accountability of those in charge, from the top to the bottom, who got paid for a job they either didn't do or are incompetent at performing. Parents, as well, have to be held accountable and abusers should be punished.
The necessary, immediate changes that are required do not need a genius to fathom. Our legislators should be angry and moved to do their job. That this dereliction of duty could go on so many years in this state is a shame for all of us.
Marilyn Weaver, Tarpon Springs
Well worth the taxes | March 17, letter
Long waits in Canada
I'm glad some Canadians are happy with their health care program. However, as someone who was employed by a surgeon in the Midwest for over 20 years, we saw our share of Canadians who personally paid for surgery when the wait was too long in Canada. If the medical problem was not immediately life-threatening, their wait could be over a year.
One example was a young model who had a severely herniated cervical disk (causing pain and severe arm weakness) that did not respond to conservative treatment. Her time frame for medical care was a year, which could have resulted in permanent impairment and nerve damage. She opted to have surgery in the United States.
Helen Kunkel, Sun City Center
The middleman's cut
This letter's comments about the Canadian health care system make interesting reading. It left out one key ingredient that the Canadian system doesn't have, which is a middleman, better known as a health insurance company.
After what the American insurance companies bill their policyholders and what they pay out to medical professionals, a cool $12 billion is left over as profit. There is no way they will give this cash cow up in favor of socialized medicine. Next to the NRA, the health care lobbyists aren't far behind in dollars and tenacity to make sure their turf isn't disturbed now or in the future.
David Foote, Dunedin