Oil spill at Port Manatee investigated | Sept. 6
Once again, a local municipality, organization or company is responsible for releasing large amounts of contaminants into our waterways. In this case, it is someone in the Port Manatee area, and the contaminant is nearly 18,000 gallons of oil. The Times reports these occurrences, and our local governments are obviously aware of this polluting of our waterways. The question is, what is being done about this human-caused pollution? If the past is any indication, the answer is essentially “nothing.” Our local and state governments will threaten the violator and chastise them for their lack of responsibility. But no one will be held truly accountable. Meanwhile, we the people will have to watch as our waterways are polluted and the grasses and wildlife that live in our local waters suffer and die.
Hugh Sullivan, Tampa
It is no surprise that Florida has a teacher shortage. The facts tell the story. | Letters, Sept. 6
Years ago, I took a 12-month teacher certification course at St. Petersburg College. This program was for people who had a degree and the necessary background courses. Before the school year started, I was offered a job teaching math in Pinellas County. I accepted the offer but could not start until some paperwork was signed. Finally, I was able to get into the classroom two weeks after the start of classes. The substitute teacher had the students coloring pictures for two weeks. That is a lot of catching up to do with Algebra 2.
In addition to the late start, I did not have enough books for my students. The principal could not help and no one from the county could help me get textbooks. I had an online version of the book, but half my students did not have internet at home. My department head did apologize that there was nothing she could do either.
I left for a private school where I had support from all the faculty and parents, even though the pay wasn’t good. I eventually went back to industry and made about three times the pay of what I made as a teacher and never put in more than 40 hours a week. All the new educational restrictions and threats are going to make the shortage worse.
Dave Hinz, Clearwater
Pa. will end state funding for anti-abortion counseling centers | Sept. 2
According to the article in last Saturday’s Tampa Bay Times, Pennsylvania is no longer funding anti-abortion counseling centers. It appears the “pro-choice” crowd is not really pro-choice.
Thomas Klein, Tampa
Let the kids play
Playing is important for healthy brain development in early childhood. It provides children with the opportunity to use their creativity while developing their imagination, physical, cognitive and emotional skills. Play provides children with opportunities to grow in a risk-free environment, communicate with peers, express feelings and thoughts.
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Through play, children can discover and investigate various subjects and objects that will help them improve social-emotional skills and increase language and vocabulary. Research has shown that, through play, children’s cognitive capacity is enhanced. They build self-esteem, make friends and establish a foundation for the next stage of learning.
Educators or parents should never underestimate the value of play because play is very important during the early years of a child’s life. Play reduces stress; it is healthy. Play can be simple or complex; the act of playing can take place anywhere at any time.
Children having fun while learning is the best thing for a child to be successful. Happy, playful children make life better for everyone.
Emma Moore-Eaddy, Arcadia
Letter of the month
Editor’s note: In August, the Times published an article explaining how Publix was trying to keep pets and other nonservice animals out of its stores. Most of the reader reaction supported the move. The August letter of the month summed up those feelings.
Good for Publix
Publix to pups: Sit and stay outside | Aug. 18
When I see people bringing their pets — not service dogs — into stores, I think about my grandparents. Their generation survived the Spanish flu and the Great Depression, defeated Hitler and Tojo in WWII, and they were the backbone of an economic engine the world had never seen. They were tough, driven people. Ironically, the wealth they created led directly to where we are today. The generations that followed are increasingly addicted and coddled to chemicals and comfort. If shopping — even where shopping is a pleasure — becomes so stressful that a comfort pet becomes necessary, we’re not looking good as a society. I don’t know if Publix’s crackdown on pets in its stores will make us stronger, but at least it’s not making us weaker. Thank you, Publix, for creating at least one boundary for normal adult behavior.
Jason Barrera, Oldsmar