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The week of highs and lows across Tampa Bay and Florida
The wrong example for kids, the right example for parks and a needed example of humility.
Apollo 11 Commander Neil A. Armstrong waves to well-wishers in the hallway of the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building as he and Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. prepare to be transported to Launch Complex 39 A for the first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969.
Apollo 11 Commander Neil A. Armstrong waves to well-wishers in the hallway of the Manned Spacecraft Operations Building as he and Michael Collins and Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr. prepare to be transported to Launch Complex 39 A for the first manned lunar landing mission in July 1969.
This article represents the opinion of the Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board.
Published Apr. 30
Updated May 1

Godspeed. We can all learn something about humility and the importance of understanding our roles in this world from Michael Collins, who died this week. A resident of Naples, Collins was best known for being the astronaut who piloted Apollo 11, and for being the only one of the three-man crew not to walk on the moon. Collins remained in the command module as Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin took a lunar lander to the surface. “I know that I would be a liar or a fool if I said that I have the best of the three Apollo 11 seats, but I can say with truth and equanimity that I am perfectly satisfied with the one I have,” he wrote in his 1974 autobiography, Carrying the Fire. “This venture has been structured for three men, and I consider my third to be as necessary as either of the other two.” Well said, Mr. Collins.

Astronaut Michael Collins, in 2019
Astronaut Michael Collins, in 2019 [ CHARLES KRUPA | AP ]

The wrong lesson for school kids. Sometimes you wonder who are the children and who are the adults. That came to mind again this week after a private school in South Florida that endorses “medical freedom from mandated vaccines” warned teachers and staff against taking the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it will not allow them to work at the school. The Centner Academy in Miami notified parents Monday, following a conference call that Leila Centner, the school’s co-founder, held with faculty and staff saying she was “not OK” with people who had received the vaccine “being around kids.” Staff who had already taken the vaccine were told to stay separated from students. The Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and leading women’s health authorities have declared the COVID-19 vaccines being used in the United States to be safe and effective. In some places, teachers were among the first groups in-line to be inoculated, given the importance of safely reopening schools. But even as the nation’s vaccination campaign has ramped up, public health agencies, medical professionals and community activists are still confronting a rash of ignorance and misinformation, which is compounding the fears of those already hesitant to get a vaccine. As this case illustrates to mind-boggling depth, Floridians need to be listening to their doctors and reliable heath professionals, not misinformed and misguided amateurs.

A Clearwater park, but much more. There was no shortage of complaints and skepticism last year when the city of Clearwater closed Crest Lake Park for a needed and costly makeover. But on Monday, city officials past and present celebrated what they described as a legacy project for generations to come. As the Tampa Bay Times’ Tracey McManus reported, the $5.7 million renovation has transformed Crest Lake Park with widened sidewalks, new lighting and play areas, upgraded landscaping and a renovated dog park. The renovation was paid for with settlement money the city received from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, a fitting use of compensation from that ecological disaster. Parks and Recreation Director Jim Halios called the 38.5-acre Crest Lake Park “the crown jewel in our park system.” It’s also simply a beautiful place, a destination for locals and tourists, and a signature gateway to larger improvements planned for the downtown waterfront.

Hat tip to Ray Jay. Raymond James is one of Tampa Bay’s great homegrown success stories. The St. Petersburg-based company might be best known locally for having its name on the Tampa Bay Bucs stadium. But make no mistake about it, Raymond James is a serious player in the financial management world. It’s not as big as the likes of Vanguard or Fidelity, but for the second consecutive quarter, the company oversaw more than $1 trillion in assets. That’s a lot of clients trusting our local company with a lot of their money.

Editorials are the institutional voice of the Tampa Bay Times. The members of the Editorial Board are Editor of Editorials Graham Brink, Sherri Day, Sebastian Dortch, John Hill, Jim Verhulst and Chairman and CEO Paul Tash. Follow @TBTimes_Opinion on Twitter for more opinion news.