Lacrosse teams fight for status | Feb. 19, article
School Board is too close-minded
While I understand the fiscal constraints that exist for the School Board of Pasco County, I take issue with the implication that this is a fringe sport and there is not demand or desire from other children to become part of this great sport.
Schools in Naples and Fort Myers, with which Pasco County can be compared for size and economics, have adopted this sport and are prospering. Their students see the benefit of having an FHSAA-sponsored team. They do this by putting the onus of the expense on the participants and have reaped the rewards through gate fees. The view of the School Board and athletic director Phil Bell is shortsighted and does not see the long-term benefit they will provide participants.
As club programs, the Wesley Chapel Athletic Association, Wesley Chapel Wildcats and Wiregrass Ranch Bulls have seen over 50 participants in our programs go on to play in college. These players are attending fine institutions they may not have been able to.
Since I was coach for the St. Leo Club Lacrosse team, they have gone from an also-ran program in NCAA competition to a conference stalwart under Coach Jorgensen's direction. Since St. Leo became the first Florida university to start an NCAA program, the growth has been tremendous. Florida Southern, Rollins, Florida, Jacksonville, Tampa and Florida Tech have all started programs. But alas, these programs are limited in their ability to recruit Pasco County student athletes to attend their institutions.
More colleges are sure to follow, but as long as we have a School Board unwilling to be creative and to allow this sport to blossom under their leadership, generations of students from Pasco County will never be able to reap the rewards.
I am willing to sit down with any of the board members and Mr. Bell to discuss the future. I have an equipment provider willing to give close to $100,000 of equipment to be used for startup programs. We have tradesman who can craft goals and nets for limited fees, and the WCAA and Tampa Tribe have willing educators who will support and train anyone who is up to the challenge of coaching this great game.
In three months, the nation will see the first full-length motion picture based on lacrosse. As the nation embraces this movie, and this sport, will the Pasco County School Board be able to answer the demand or will they just stick to the same comments? How many more kids have to be left behind, or have to transfer out of district in order to chase their dream.
Thomas FitzSimons, Wesley Chapel
U.S. students are relative slackers
It is interesting to me that locally consideration has recently been given to limiting the school week to four days.
In contrast, South Korean students study full time almost every day. Recently I read that South Korean authorities have employed "inspectors" to limit the activity of tutors who assist South Korean high school students in various subjects. They are to cease activity no later that 10 p.m.
Joe King, New Port Richey
Still arguing about birth control | Feb. 18, Barbara Fredricksen column
It's about freedom of religion, really
Nobody mentioned the important constitutional aspect of the debate. The current debate is not about birth control directly but a bigger issue: Whether the federal government should coerce Catholic hospitals, charities, and colleges to participate in health care plans that go against Catholic moral teaching.
In her column, Ms. Fredricksen fails to mention that the entire reason the birth control issue sprung up in the political debates is because of the Obama administration's mandate that employers, including religious institutions, participate in insurance plans that cover abortion-producing drugs, sterilizations and contraception. In other words, this is a debate about the free exercise of religion, which is guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
The federal government is sadly expanding its power into the affairs of religious institutions, which is a violation of the First Amendment. That's the issue.
Ken Knapp, Wesley Chapel
Legislative attack on public health goes on | Feb. 22, guest column
Public health idea shouldn't be lost
I too have worked in public health for 33 years, and I support what Dr. Marc Yacht wrote about our clueless Legislature. When I began in 1979, we were an important part of the area's health care. We were truly community health providers. Our programs were some of the best in the country, and so many depended on us for our medication programs, our child care, our family care, including family planning and chronic disease care. With some federal subsidies, as well as some from the state, we supported so many.
We inspected mobile home parks, pools and restaurants and provided water testing and so much to everyone. We were truly public health workers. I venture to say we kept our county informed and educated about good health.
As a public health nurse, I and others like me cared for our new mothers, newborns, and as children grew, we saw them in our clinic. We did home visits to ensure these children had what they needed, and parents were supported in their quest to learn.
It was a wonderful system. But as funding was cut and facilities sometimes closed, services changed. I, for one, don't think it was for the better of the community. Public health is a concept that should not be lost to us.
Lilyan V. Dayton, New Port Richey