Christmas giving can melt cold hearts
This Christmas Day we should reflect upon the public's religiosity and righteousness. Is not warmth, caring and kindness the essence of the Christmas season? Helping hands seem to be everywhere.
There are so many people who usually seem as glacial as a Siberian stripped of his furs. Their essence is chilly and frigid. They're like walking icebergs. But during Christmastime so many of them melt and their demeanors become friendly, compassionate and caring. Devout Christians know it's the power of the Lord to diffuse selfishness via the spirit of the seasonal scenes of sympathy.
Throughout the year, we see so many politicians and big business tycoons who eye money and power the way a glutton eyes a buffet. They care more about self-aggrandizement than they care about their fellow humans. It's too bad these "me only" people don't cherish and champion righteousness and Holy Scripture over greedy moneymaking.
Just imagine a state policy and business community that would serve public need over private greed. The key to inner security lies in self-sufficiency. Dropping a blanket of insecurity over the populace is destructive. Christmas shows what a blessing the gift of giving is to strengthen the beacon of hope throughout our land.
Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg
A tough, friendly advocate | Dec. 20, commentary
Jade Moore evoked confidence and security
Thank you to Jon East for capturing the essence and the enigma of the man who was Jade Moore. He was indeed right at home and at the same time out of his comfort zone in the midst of conflict, and that was, perhaps, the winning combination that made him so successful.
I never knew a man who was more optimistic than Jade. He made you believe that everything, regardless of how bleak the situation may appear, would turn out all right. His presence in this large public school system evoked confidence and security in thousands of school employees. I, for one, went to school last Thursday feeling a little more vulnerable, a little less secure in the realization of his absence.
Jade Moore was a tireless advocate for public education, he was a brilliant and creative problem-solver, the master of school financing, a caring man whose heart was as large as the formidable frame that carried it. And he was the kind of friend that you wish every friend could be. I will miss those aspects of my friend, Jade Moore, and I will be forever grateful for the legacy of his accomplishments which make up so much of the framework and fabric of the teaching and learning systems in Pinellas County and the state of Florida.
Rob McMahon, former president of the Pinellas Classroom Teachers Association, Safety Harbor
A force in education | Dec. 19, story
Fostering fair treatment
Jade Moore will always be remembered fondly as the best union representative a school system could ever have. He worked tirelessly for teachers and support personnel alike. He made sure we were treated fairly, in a safe environment, in a financially stable situation.
He offered many workshops to those planning retirement, which were very helpful. The help and advice we received allowed us to retire with comfortable benefits.
God bless Jade Moore.
Dolores M. Singleton, St. Petersburg
Sugar deal finally okayed | Dec. 17, story
A great beginning
As a group of concerned citizens and business people determined to help save South Florida's estuaries and rivers, the PURRE Water Coalition is pleased that the South Florida Water Management District has taken the crucial first step. This is a move PURRE (People United to Restore our Rivers and Estuaries) has been advocating for years for the long-term benefit of Florida's beloved waterways, its residents, its economy and its businesses.
Much work remains to be done. No one thing will solve all of Florida's water problems, but this deal to purchase 180,000 acres in the Everglades Agricultural Area from U.S. Sugar Corp. is the greatest hope we have to undo, to the extent we can, the damage man has done to Florida's natural water systems. Acquiring this land is a must.
We are grateful to Gov. Charlie Crist and the South Florida Water Management District governing board for having the vision to say "yes" to such an innovative and bold idea, even in the face of opposition.
Michael J. Valiquette, chairman, PURRE Water Coalition Foundation, Fort Myers
Harvest solar energy
Most of us seem comfortable with gasoline under $2 a gallon. At my corner station, it is only $1.67. Why not add a 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax to go directly into a fund that would make our state a solar power superproducer? We are not called the Sunshine State for nothing.
In turn, the money this would generate could be used to create a new energy infrastructure that would not only create tens of thousands of jobs, but would also pay us back by allowing us to sell the power generated, at premium rates, back to the electric companies. This would lower our electric bills and create more income to fund this project.
The point is, we have the technology, financing structure and the labor force to accomplish the harvesting of free energy from our sun. All we need is the vision to see how good tomorrow could be even though today is tough. Isn't that the spirit which made our country great in the first place?
Christopher L. Baker, St. Petersburg
More Americans shifting to two-wheel commute | Dec. 19
Make ride safer
According to the map, there are merely 600 bicycle commuters in the Tampa Bay area. This compares with thousands in the frozen North. That is shameful.
With our climate, we could lead the nation in this healthy and energy-wise habit. I would gladly give up my car for my 18-mile one-way commute, if only there was a safe way for me to ride my bicycle.
It would not be that expensive: All I ask is a 3-foot shoulder along existing roads. If that cannot be done, how about a "virtual shoulder" — paint the white lines along the edge of the pavement just a wee bit closer to the center line.
Chas. E. Lehnert, Riverview
More Americans shifting to two-wheel commute | Dec. 19
A better place to bike
The map reveals how the Tampa Bay area lags, as usual, when it comes to progressive issues, this time in bicycle commuting. This is no surprise, given our deserved reputation as a hazardous place to ride. However, the area's rideability has improved noticeably during the past year or so due to three factors.
First, the recent addition of numerous bike lanes has made it possible to actually get places, or go on long rides, while traveling primarily in such lanes. Expansions of the Pinellas, Suncoast and Upper Tampa Bay trails have created terrific options for those not interested in riding alongside traffic.
Also, traffic has decreased significantly in the last six months and the biggest vehicles are disappearing.
But most important is the change in motorists' attitude, which has become more tolerant, considerate and cooperative toward cyclists over the past 12-18 months.
It is as though motorists have realized the occasional cyclist on the road doesn't create congestion or make driving the hassle it often is, and that more bikes mean less traffic, less pollution and reduced demand for fuel.
Anyone who has considered biking, either for transportation or recreation, but decided otherwise because of dangerous conditions, might try reconsidering. All in all, the Tampa Bay area has become a much better place to ride.
Chi Womas, Tampa
JCPenny's ad on Page 3 of the Sunday Parade magazine contained a picture of a gold bar inscribed with the words "Only Gold demands worship."
Really, I don't believe that "gold" should be worshiped, especially at Christmastime, the birthday of our Lord Jesus Christ. He doesn't demand to be worshiped, but he is the son of God and is spiritually worshiped around the world by choice.
This ad is a perfect example of how our merchants' values have sunk. To worship gold is an end in itself, and to say so is very disrespectful. JCPenney will not receive any of my money ever again.
Jim Reilly, Spring Hill