Dogs are the best | Letter, Sept. 15
Honor Flight restored my faith in America
Just as I was about to give up on our country due to divisiveness and and the divisions among its people and politicians, my pride was restored. As a member of the recent Honor Flight on 9/11, composed of veterans of our wars, I was privileged to visit the many monuments and memorials in our nation's capital. That trip alone was inspiring and memorable. However, our return was really the icing on the cake. We were met in the late evening at St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport by literally hundreds of cheering people of all ages, races and religions, in unison, thanking us for our service. My faith in humanity has been restored. There is still hope for the United States.
Joe Birnbaum, Sun City Center
Flying high | Sept. 17
Quarterback is a good guy
I am a lifelong Tampa Bay Buccaneers fan. I was born just north in Dade City and was taught at an early age that the teams that you cheer for are your hometown teams. I was with them during the Ray Perkins days, the Sam Wyche era, that amazing Super Bowl team, and all the rest since then. However, in 2015 when Jameis Winston was drafted, I lost all interest in the Bucs. Don't get me wrong, He is an incredible athlete and a good quarterback, but I truly believe that he does not represent Tampa Bay well.
Enter Ryan Fitzpatrick. He's a good guy who has a solid reputation of being, well, a good guy. And then he plays the best games of his career all the while acting like the leader that the Bucs deserve. This is the first time since the 2014 season that I've been excited about Buccaneer football. Can't we just roll with this? I don't think I'm alone in feeling the way that I do. Winston has been an embarrassment for Tampa, and the groping incident is just another example of why he doesn't deserve our respect. Fitzpatrick has shown that he deserves our respect and should be given a chance to make the most of this opportunity.
James Gamble, Tampa
The link between you, your doctor is changing | Sept. 17
Keep urgent care clinics open
I would love to see a study on when the biggest use of emergency rooms occurs and what percentage of those vists could be handled by an urgent care clinic. Redirecting people to urgent care clinics is a fantastic cost-saving option — when they are open. Most local urgent care clinics close by 8 or 9 p.m. People spike high fevers, get sick or injured around the clock. What if every community had at least one 24-hour urgent care clinic that most insurances accepted? I'm certain many more insured people would opt for a late-night urgent care clinic over an unnecessary high-dollar emergency room visit whenever possible. Accessible around-the-clock urgent care clinics seem to be the missing link in all of these plans.
Marci Moore, St. Petersburg
The Left/Right Files | Sept. 17
How to meet the neighbors
This is an interesting excerpt from "The Loneliness of the Anonymous Neighbor" by Casey Chalk in the American Conservative. Want to get to know your neighbors? Get a dog and walk it at random times once or twice daily. (Don't forget a bag or two.) You'll get a chance to meet them each time you do. You'll find out some are elusive or evasive, but if greeted, most are just normal people going about their day. And some might just become friends.
Steve Geiger, St. Petersburg