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Flu season

With flu season officially here, the West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging Inc. wants to remind older adults in the Tampa Bay area how crucial it is that they do not delay getting a flu shot.

The immune system naturally weakens with age, leaving older adults more vulnerable to the flu and its complications. In fact, people 65 and older account for about 90 percent of flu-related deaths in the United States each year.

Older adults are an important, vibrant part of the Tampa Bay community, which is why the National Council on Aging's Flu'You campaign ( is working with community partners to educate residents 65 and older about the seriousness of the flu and the importance of vaccination.

We also want people to know that there are now two vaccine options available for this age group - the traditional vaccine and a higher-dose option designed to address the age-related decline of the immune system. Both are covered by Medicare Part B with no co-pay.

I urge all older adults to speak with their health care providers to learn more about influenza vaccine options and to get their flu shots. It is an easy but important step to help stay healthy this flu season.

Maureen Kelly, president, CEO, West Central Florida Area Agency on Aging Inc., Tampa

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Israel, Hamas expand strikes - Nov. 19

Use photos from both sides of Israel-Hamas conflict

We appreciate the fair presentation of the escalating crisis between Israel and Gaza published Monday in the Times. However, we continue to be distressed about the visual imagery accompanying the messages. We implore you to include photography and captions that reflect both sides of the issue, and to not fall prey to sensational imagery that features only one country's damages or human losses.

The purpose of Israel's response to the repeated attacks from Gaza is simple and laser-focused: to protect the lives of the people of Israel. No matter the source of the attack or the method, Israel has the right and duty to remove the clear strategic threat.

Operation Pillar of Defense, launched last Wednesday, is seeking to severely impair the command and control of Hamas leadership and to reduce the capability of Hamas' long- and short-range rocket forces by striking rocket launching sites, ammunition stores and weapons workshops.

Three Israelis have been killed (all civilians). In Israel, over 1 million people are within the line of fire (and potentially more if Hamas continues to reach Tel Aviv and Jerusalem). Hamas is targeting homes, schools, workplaces - and has declared a determination to continue fighting.

Since the beginning of 2012 and through last week, Hamas has fired over 800 rockets into Israel, launching them from behind schools, mosques and apartment buildings.

While Hamas continues to target Israeli civilians, Israel continues to treat Gaza residents in its hospitals and transport supplies and aid into the Gaza Strip.

Brian Taub, Mitch Drucker, and Steve Schwersky, co-chairs, Tampa and Pinellas Jewish Community Relations Councils

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Latvala pushes for stoplight - Nov. 18

He's part of the problem

If this intersection is as dangerous as it sounds, installation of a stoplight seems justified. I commend state Sen. Jack Latvala for his involvement in getting it done.

But I question why he feels that the lack of a signal there is "a tragedy waiting to happen" but sees no danger in using a cellphone while driving.

Here's a quote from Latvala from a Times article on Dec. 15, 2011: "You know the NRA saying that if they want my gun they'll pry it from my cold, dead hands? That's what I think about banning cellphones and driving." According to the Times, he made the comments while driving and talking on his cellphone. The senator is part of the problem.

C.E. Henderson, Palm Harbor

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Strokes afflict more youth - Nov. 8

Chiropractic care is safe

We are writing to assure your readers that chiropractic medicine is one of the most natural and safe forms of health care today. While your article calls into question the safety of chiropractic care relative to stroke, the scientific evidence proves otherwise. A nine-year peer-reviewed study, "Risk of Vertebrobasilar Stroke and Chiropractic Care," shows there appears to be no more risk of vertebrobasilar stroke following a visit to a chiropractic physician than after visiting any other primary care physician.

Another study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics concludes: "The incidence of severe complications following chiropractic care and manipulation is extremely low. The best evidence suggests that chiropractic care is a useful therapy for subjects with neck or low-back pain for which the risks of serious adverse events should be considered negligible."

For over 106 years, we've been graduating chiropractic physicians who are leaders in their profession. We are proud to have a campus here in the Tampa Bay area and invite anyone who is interested to visit us so that we can bring them up to date on the facts supporting the safety of chiropractic medicine.

Dr. James F. Winterstein, president, Dr. Joseph Stiefel, dean, National University of Health Sciences College of Professional Studies, Florida Campus

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Not so fast on camera snooping

Nov. 19, editorial

Rent them out

To avoid the cost of installation, monitoring and upkeep of the security camera systems purchased for the Republican National Convention, and the wrangling over where to put them now, St. Petersburg and Tampa could have rented them.

Perhaps our fair cities might consider warehousing them until the next presidential campaign, then selling them to a similarly profligate 2016 convention host.

Bruce Lowitt, Oldsmar

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But poetry won't pay the bills - Nov. 19

Where the jobs are

I have been following the Times stories of recent college graduates. Maybe the choice of majors is the problem. I have three daughters who graduated college. Two are educators in New York making nice salaries, and my youngest with a bachelor's in nursing just landed a job. Today you must major where the jobs are. This is the new world.

Steve Pappas, Spring Hill