I moved to St. Petersburg in 1994 from Bronson, a small town between Gainesville and Cedar Key. I lived in the woods with a lot of wild animals, including rattlesnakes too close to my house. I owned an Appaloosa that I rode most days after work. During the first couple of months in this urban landscape, I was miserable. I missed the woods and the solitude.
I had read the work of the Tampa Bay Times' Jeff Klinkenberg before I joined the newspaper, and I knew he could tell me about local natural places. He took me to Boyd Hill Nature Park, and he told me about Fort De Soto Park. I enjoyed Boyd Hill and still go there....
Kafkaesque is the description of how the life of professor Deandre Poole of Florida Atlantic University has morphed. His career may be ruined.
On March 4, Poole used a classroom activity in his intercultural communications class that involved having students write "Jesus" on a piece of paper and then asking them to "step on it." If students hesitated, or refused, the teacher has an opportunity to discuss symbols and their meanings. Most of the students refused to step on the paper....
About five years ago, Jim and Tobi Szewc, both teachers at Mintz Elementary in Brandon, learned they were going to have a child. At 36 weeks of the pregnancy, their doctor said their unborn child, a boy, had a heart defect that might lead to Down syndrome.
Even before Thomas James, or TJ, was born, the Szewcs knew what they would do: plan a successful future for their son. That plan would start with a colleague at Mintz, Tamara Hansen, who taught in the Early Exceptional Learning Program....
When I was a journalism professor in 2005 at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, a white student from the University of Alabama came to my campus and handed me a bullet-ridden sheet of standard copy paper.
It was a target that had been used at a local shooting range.
The image on the target was an enlargement of my photograph published in the Tuscaloosa News with my weekly column. Most of my forehead was shot out, and my eyes and nose were gone. The student said many whites in Tuscaloosa hated me and advised me to be "extra careful."...
As a South Florida native who spent many years fishing, hiking and canoeing in the Everglades, I have watched this natural treasure come under assault from decades of pollution, overdevelopment, agricultural abuses and other human acts of greed that are exempt from rigorous government oversight.
I'm convinced that precious few of our elected officials have ever understood the value of the Everglades beyond its being a dumping ground and money pit. The best Floridians have been able to hope for is that their elected leaders at least acknowledge the role the vital ecosystem plays in providing clean drinking water for the most populous part of the state....
I never believed that racial desegregation was necessary for black children to excel. In other words, African-American children didn't need to be in the classroom with white children to learn.
My position is the result of my own experience as a student in under-funded Jim Crow public schools. Even with the benign neglect heaped upon us, we had our secrets for success: We had parents and other adults at home who understood the value of education and who insisted that we succeed. We had principals and teachers, whose salaries were much less than those of their white peers, who cared about us. ...
As a teenager I found my first real-life hero, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ernie Pyle. I read his vivid dispatches from battlefields with American troops in North Africa, Italy and France in an anthology titled Brave Men.
Over the years, I've had a handful of other heroes, most of them journalists. They're commentators who risk becoming pariahs and losing their livelihoods for speaking truth to power, and they are investigative reporters who put themselves in harm's way by chronicling the deeds and misdeeds of influential individuals and institutions with criminal and otherwise harmful agendas....
A former classmate from the University of Chicago telephoned several months ago and asked if I would teach an online journalism course for the university in Illinois where he has taught for the last 15 years.
I declined the offer. But before doing so, I reminisced about the great face-to-face lectures and discussions we had in Chicago's Classics Building, our debates on the lawn in the quads, how our late afternoon classes moved to Woodlawn Tap and how a group of us regularly studied together in Regenstein Library on the third floor....
Sequester is now reality, meaning that $85 billion in automatic across-the-board cuts to most discretionary federal spending programs has begun. Many of these programs already depend on a corps of volunteers to operate effectively, and some managers are predicting that as funds disappear, volunteerism will become more essential.
Over the years, I have volunteered for many organizations, including Meals on Wheels, Habitat for Humanity, literacy programs and nature parks....
A transformative moment for many black males of my generation came as we watched In the Heat of the Night for the first time, the 1967 film starring Sidney Poitier as police investigator Virgil Tibbs. The moment is when Rod Steiger, the racist sheriff, says to Poitier: "Virgil. That's a pretty funny name for a colored boy from Philadelphia. What do they call you up there?"
"They call me Mister Tibbs!" Poitier says....
Each time a positive development seems poised to occur in the decades-old Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a problem arises and often results in a bigger catastrophe. This cycle will continue until the United States musters the moral and political courage to put a stop to it.
This time, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yugal Steinitz are dragging their feet in keeping a recent promise to transfer tax and customs revenues, about $500 million in Israeli currency, legally owed to the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority....
I stopped celebrating Black History Month many years ago.
What is there to celebrate? I am writing about this issue because of the misguided emphasis too many African-Americans are placing on the murder of Hadiya Pendleton. She was the 15-year-old sophomore shot to death a week after performing with her school band at the president's inaugural. She was allegedly killed by an 18-year-old black gang member in a public park not far from President Barack Obama's South Side Chicago home....
Bookstores, like libraries, are the physical manifestation of the wide world's longest, most thrilling conversation. — Richard Russo, novelist
The world I love and enjoy most is shrinking.
Corporate or independent or public or whatever, I don't care. Show me a bookstore and I'll find a dozen reasons to love it and spend a few or a lot of dollars. My world is shrinking because each year, bookstores are shutting down without being replaced....
I first heard about "dropout recovery" about a year ago from a student at St. Petersburg College, a 25-year-old Bostonian who had dropped out of school in the 11th grade.
I asked him to write about his experiences. He dropped out because he "got caught up in a street gang and stopped caring about school." He was preparing to move to Spanish Harlem to live with his older brother when a counselor from the Boston Re-Engagement Center, or REC, knocked on his family's apartment door and asked for him by name....
As I watched former Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter mingle with the crowd at the recent inauguration, I thought of their legacies after leaving the White House and the possible legacy President Barack Obama will forge after he bids farewell to the Oval Office.
Clinton and Carter, through their nonprofit organizations and their powers of persuasion, have made many positive contributions to the lives of people worldwide....