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Monday's letters: Better food means better health

Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act

Better food means better health

The children of low-income families are among the most vulnerable in our communities. The Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act effectively addresses multiple needs of our state.

One in three Florida children is overweight, a rate that rises to nearly half among children in families with incomes at or below the poverty level. In these times of economic uncertainty, the right foods may be financially out of reach, making federal school meals and summer nutrition programs an important source of healthier foods.

Childhood obesity carries a high risk for adult obesity and the myriad health consequences that follow. The end costs for treating related diseases like Type 2 diabetes, elevated cholesterol and high blood pressure could be diminished if not averted through a diet of more fresh fruits and vegetables. This, coupled with the nutrition education, could promote good eating habits for a lifetime.

The Healthy Schools for Healthy Lives Act places the management of U.S. Agriculture Department child nutrition programs under the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. It opens a direct channel of fresh fruits and vegetables between Florida's farmers and our school cafeterias.

The act was overwhelmingly embraced by the Florida Legislature as a win for both schools and farmers. We urge Gov. Rick Scott to sign this worthy bill.

Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker, Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church; Bishop McKinley Young, 11th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church

On warming, our head's in the sand May 31, editorial

Pandering to his base

Of course Gov. Rick Scott doesn't believe in global warming. His political base consists largely of antiscience Republican conservatives who don't believe in it, either. And those who supported his campaign financially surely include companies in the fossil fuel industry whose profits would suffer under any legislation directed to mitigate global warming.

Scott doesn't have much experience as a politician, but he certainly has learned how to pander to his political base. Sending him to Chicago, a city that is doing something right about global warming, would be a waste of time, unless the Windy City blew him to the North Pole where he could see the melting of the ice caps.

Stephen M. Feldman, Valrico

Family health costs rocket | May 31

Expenses understated

An average family of four pays $8,008 a year for medical? I have an HMO plan from my employer that costs $553 twice a month for 10 months a year. That's $11,060 a year for my family of four for annual premiums. When co-payments are added, I spend over $12,000 per year to keep my family covered. That's roughly 25 percent of my pretax annual salary.

Your article understated medical costs for a middle class family.

Michael Varon, Tampa

Florida pension changes

Scott's tax increase

When the government says that you must give it 3 percent of your salary, what do you call it? I call it a tax.

State workers have been told (not asked) to put 3 percent of their salaries into their retirement funds. Their employer (the state government) will reduce its contribution by the same amount. This is 3 percent being taken out of their pay by the government. That is, the state has put a 3 percent tax on their income.

To be clear, I am one of those state workers as I teach at the University of South Florida. However, that does not change the facts.

According to, at the Villages, David Hart, executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce, said: "Gov. Rick Scott today made good on his campaign promise to not raise taxes and to reduce the size of government when he signed the 2011-2012 budget into law."

I guess that would only apply to businesses and the wealthy.

Paul Schnitzler, Wesley Chapel

Drug testing

Stand up for your rights

I would ask fellow supporters of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to stand with me in protest of Gov. Rick Scott's stripping away of the Fourth Amendment's guarantees "to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures" by his mandating, in the absence of probable cause, drug testing for state employees and those receiving assistance.

If we are serious about the sanctity of the rights granted by our forefathers, then all rights must be protected, not just those we cherish for ourselves; otherwise all rights are in jeopardy. To borrow from a famous quote: "When they came for the specimens of others I stood by idly for I was not a state employee or a welfare recipient."

Perhaps soon he will require a drug test to obtain a concealed weapon or firearm license. Then we can have a snappy new quote like, "They can have my specimen when they pry it from my cold dead …"

Look around, defenders of freedom: This is a step down a path that this state and nation should never tread. The fact that those who espouse a belief in "small government" endorse it is terribly shortsighted.

Jack Darkes, Temple Terrace

Abuse cases cost $4.7M | June 2

Commendable actions

Congratulations to Bishop Robert N. Lynch for updating Catholics and others about what he is doing to prevent sexual misconduct in the Roman Catholic Diocese of St. Petersburg. In a letter dated May 28, 2011, he states, "The most important thing I can do as your bishop is to take steps to ensure that we, as the church in the Diocese of St. Petersburg, do everything reasonably possible to protect our children and vulnerable adults."

As a volunteer with an organization called Voice of the Faithful, which advocates for survivors of clergy sexual abuse, I commend Bishop Lynch's efforts for transparency and accountability in dealing with the clergy sex abuse issue in the Diocese of St. Petersburg.

Gerard Vernot, Land O'Lakes

Early faithful were married

It's interesting that when you read about the early apostles in the church, we find no talk about them being celibate. Peter was married, as Jesus healed his mother-in-law in the Gospel of Mark.

Paul the apostle said it was better for a disciple to not marry, but if he could not stand the temptation he should get married. There were several popes who married and divorced.

Jeff Mikres, Palm Harbor

Monday's letters: Better food means better health 06/05/11 [Last modified: Sunday, June 5, 2011 4:30am]
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