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  1. Letters to the Editor

Thursday's letters: Make summertime reading time

Published Jun. 21, 2017

Reading challenge

Make time for books this summer

In the NFL, every success can be traced back to an enormous amount of preparation.

When our Indianapolis Colts won the 2007 Super Bowl, there was instant joy. We were the best team in the NFL, cementing our legacy. We then felt relief. Our preparations were worthwhile and we could revel in a moment without worrying about planning our next move. We had accomplished our goal as a team, as a family.

While we celebrated our championship, other teams were scouting for the draft and free agency. We realized we were five weeks behind in our preparations.

That illustrates why children need to make reading a habit this summer. Like coaching in the NFL, reading should not stop because this school season ended. The next season is quickly approaching.

All Pro Dads can help their kids prepare for their upcoming season by reading together every day, which is why I am issuing the Daddy Read To Me Summer Challenge.

The All Pro Dad and his kid(s) who read the most books this summer will win a trip to Tampa this fall to meet with me and discuss the books you shared. The winner's school library will also win a $500 grant from Scholastic.

Plan times to read together. Florida offers great reading opportunities: bedtime stories, beach days, car rides to theme parks, and those rainy afternoons. The reading you do together will strengthen your bond and your vocabulary. It is the perfect summer conditioning program to have a child performing their best when the new school season arrives. Fill out the online form at allprodadsday.com/summer-reading.

You will share how many books you read and your favorite memories. Read the most books and come meet me in Tampa! Put in the work now to be ready to win then!

Tony Dungy, Tampa

Editor's note: Although the next three letters were submitted before Wednesday's decision to keep the Confederate statue at a downtown Tampa courthouse, they nonetheless add to the discussion.

Symbol of hate, or nod to history? | June 18

Confederate veterans

This is a memorial to the veterans of the Confederate Army who, to many people's surprise, are recognized as veterans by the United States. I cite U.S. Public Law 85-425, Sec. 410, approved May 23, 1958, which reads: "The administrator shall pay to each person who served in the military or naval forces of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War a monthly pension in the same amounts and subject to the same conditions as would have been applicable to such person under the laws in effect on Dec. 31, 1957, if his service in such forces had been service in the military or naval forces of the United States."

If you want to take down monuments to individual leaders of the Confederacy, there may be a case for that. But this is a memorial to veterans recognized by the United States.

Harry Chamberlain, Spring Hill

Create a monument park

I think a solution that might satisfy everyone is to remove all statues in Hillsborough County, find an acre or so of land outside the city limits and place these statues with a path/sidewalk leading from one to another and call it Monument Park. Simple.

Betty McConkey, Wesley Chapel

Intent is important

Clearly the monument is both a symbol of hate and a nod to history, depending on the viewer. Some try to deny it, but the Civil War was about maintaining and expanding the slave system that enriched Southern plantation owners and sustained the Southern economy.

The post-Civil War "Lost Cause" was intended to rewrite history and intimidate freed former slaves and their decedents into submission. It evolved into Jim Crow and was successful for almost a century. Thus, I believe the intent surrounding the placement of various memorials is key.

According to the article, both dedication speakers highlighted a belief that blacks were an inferior race, and thus the South's cause was just. In spite of the regrettable Confederate flag along I-75, Tampa is a modern, progressive city whose symbols need to reflect that evolution.

Don't deny the negative, but emphasize the positive. Move the statue to a historical park somewhere in the city, but not in front of our seat of local government. If that cannot be achieved politically, then erect an equally imposing statue that highlights the struggles and successes of African-Americans in their fight for equality.

Robert H. More, Riverview

Climate change enters debate | June 18

Get ideas from Netherlands

In standing with more than 300 mayors to uphold the Paris climate agreement, St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has indicated the importance of "send(ing) a message about the importance of the issue."

Former Mayor Rick Baker, while acknowledging climate change, indicated he isn't so sure of the human role in climate change.

To me, the bigger issue is that since Florida is extremely vulnerable to rising sea levels and storm surges, no matter who's responsible, what are we going to do about it?

Instead of sniping at one another because of political concerns, why don't we turn to the Dutch, who seem to be addressing the issue head-on? ("Dutch adapting to rising sea levels," reprinted from the New York Times.)

According to this article, the Netherlands sits below sea level, so addressing climate change is not an ideological argument but a matter of survival. For the Dutch, climate change is an "opportunity" for creativity and innovation. Instead of trying to keep the water out, they decided to "let the water in," creating "lakes, garages, parks and plazas … (that) double as enormous reservoirs for when the seas and rivers spill over."

Since climate change is a global issue, perhaps it's time for us to seek some innovative ideas from a global partner already working on it.

Diane Kornick, Clearwater

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