Heavy backpacks harm children
The return to school is a reminder that more than 40-million American schoolchildren will once again be carrying heavy loads back and forth to school every day.
Experts estimate that about half of these children will be carrying way too much weight. Research shows that children carrying overloaded backpacks and improperly worn packs are likely to experience neck, shoulder, and back pain; adverse effects on posture and the developing spine; and compromised breathing and fatigue.
The American Occupational Therapy Association recommends that school backpacks weigh no more than 15 percent of a child's weight. The growing awareness of potential long-term problems to children has resulted in increased medical research, and more coverage of the issue in mainstream publications as well as medical journals.
I encourage schools to please take time Wednesday to acknowledge National Backpack Awareness Day and to educate children, parents, teachers, and communities about the serious health effects suffered from backpacks that are too heavy or worn improperly.
Kathleen Parisian, Port Richey
Facts are missing from Clancy case
Individuals who are not aware of all facts in this case have written newspaper articles from statements presented them by Assistant State Attorney Mary Handsel. Mrs. Handsel has not presented all the information she was privileged to.
Lawyers for Mr. and Mrs. Clancy were just about to cross-examine Mrs. Mudway in court and all the inconsistencies she had given in her depositions would have been placed into evidence. Unfortunately, the actions of Sen. Mike Fasano circumvented this. It is extremely unfortunate that people in elected and judicial positions never take the time to get or give all facts to the press before innocent people are condemned.
I am the father of Cynthia Clancy and have compiled my facts by physically scrutinizing official documents available in Pasco County. It is unfortunate indeed that elected and individuals within the judiciary system, whom we are dependent upon, are more interested in their own future than in the truth, justice and the welfare of the American citizens.
If you are interested in the actual and true facts I have gathered, please feel free to contact me.
Glen Puterbaugh, Spring Hill
Fasano's actions deserve praise
Sen. Mike Fasano was quick to take responsibility for sending a letter to a judge asking him to deal harshly if certain defendants were convicted of exploiting an elderly person. He has also acknowledged that he should have waited until the trial was over before sending the note. He did not hide from his actions. He took immediate responsibility.
With all the criticism of his decision to send the letter, it appears that Sen. Fasano's longtime advocacy of the elderly and disabled has been forgotten. Sen. Fasano, who cares for his own elderly mother, knows firsthand how fragile senior citizens can be.
We need legislators who understand the needs of the elderly, as Sen. Fasano does. We also need legislators who are not afraid to make their voices heard. I for one applaud Sen. Fasano for being a voice for someone who needed a voice at a critical time in her life.
Ann Corona, New Port Richey
Obituary no place for bad memories
Shame on you! Harvey Waite recently passed away and you decided to add to his obituary that he had stolen campaign signs.
Your paper originally printed that information when it happened. It was absolutely unprofessional to add it to his personal history. Harvey was an ethical and moral person who did not deserve to have this information repeated in his obituary.
Betty A. Shutler, Weeki Wachee
True sportsmen at River Ridge
Thank you for doing the article on the random act of kindness the River Ridge High football team, coaches and wives did to help my twin sister move into her new home. My sister and the boys, Joey and Nick, have had a difficult adjustment the past five years and with literally all of her family living in northern Illinois, it just wasn't possible to be in Florida to help her move.
I appreciate you sharing Theresa's story because maybe through your voice, a young person will see the true lesson behind being a true sportsman. It's all about character on and off the field. Being disciplined to stay on the right track in school to obtain their dreams and goals of a better tomorrow. Helping others in need and what it feels like to give instead of receive. Having a brotherhood and loyalty to one another to build each other up and work together on and off the field.
A football coach can teach a lot of things and to most of them a winning season is everything. Being a former college athlete myself, it is not the drills, practices, wins, or losses I remember, but the support and friendships of my teammates.
The River Ridge coaches and wives should be commended for helping build the most important attribute in one's life off the field: character!
Mary Sue Shull, Sterling, Ill.
Homeless pupils need more help
I would like to thank the St. Petersburg Times for its coverage of the efforts by Dr. Rao Musunuru to raise funds for the homeless students in Pasco County public schools. Additionally, I would like to thank the many individuals, community organizations and companies that have contributed to the Pasco Education Foundation's Homeless Student Fund. The public's response to Dr. Musunuru's call for financial support for these students has been tremendous.
Our work cannot stop here, however. Donations are still being accepted for the homeless student fund. Anyone interested in making a donation can send a tax-deductible donation to the Pasco Education Foundation Inc., P.O. Box 1248, Land O'Lakes, FL 34639. Be assured that 100 percent of your donation will be used to support the homeless students in our public school system. For more information, call (813) 794-2705.
Chip Wichmanowski, executive director, Pasco Education Foundation Inc.