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Sunday, December 29, 2013


Published Sunday, December 29, 2013
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has announced that the Areawide Environmental Impact Statement for Phosphate Mining in the Central Florida Phosphate District was reviewed and approved in its entirety by the Corp. However, it failed to mention that CH2M HILL, the company that performed the impact statement, has numerous ties to both of the phosphate companies at the center of the study.

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Saturday, December 28, 2013


Published Saturday, December 28, 2013
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On Wednesday, I had the chance to hear Dr. Benjamin Carson speak at the Van Wezel in Sarasota. Carson, a prominent neurosurgeon at Johns Hopkins, made a national stir recently when he broke etiquette and broached the subject of politics while speaking at the White House Prayer Breakfast. The doctor's blunt nature and the fact that he was being critical of the President as he sat two seats away, made Carson an immediate hit with Fox News and right wing radio. Soon, based on little more than a few statements about back-of-the-napkin type policy ideas, the conservative base began calling for a presidential run. Why is it that rich, older, white Republicans get so excited when they hear a wealthy black person agreeing with them that the system in which both have so greatly prospered, is somehow biased against them in favor of the poor?

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Published Saturday, December 28, 2013
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The debate over NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and the White House's damage-control tactic of shifting it to a dialog about potential harm to our security should be outweighed by the greater concern his story has revealed. Namely, that our privacy, civil rights and even our voice as to the future of the society in which we live – continues to be hijacked by the joint endeavors of government and corporate America through the growth industry of spying on ourselves.

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Friday, December 27, 2013


Published Friday, December 27, 2013
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It's now been more than a month since attempts to pass a half-cent sales tax to fund indigent healthcare in Manatee County failed, but there's still plenty of bickering over why that was the case. From spurious ads and special interests to dueling PACs and shadow funding, the election had plenty of Shakespearean elements. However, those shadowy aspects say more about the flaws in Florida's campaign finance laws, than why each party's efforts failed or succeeded.

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Thursday, December 26, 2013


Published Thursday, December 26, 2013
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The county commission's most recent concession to the Mosaic Company demonstrates just how good the phosphate giant has it here in Manatee. If it can't quite push through everything it wants when applying for a major expansion, like the one it received permission for last June, it can just come back later and collect it piecemeal, the way developers have been doing for years. All the two interests have to do is make sure the dais remains full of friendly faces.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013


Published Wednesday, December 25, 2013
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The friction between credit unions and banks has set off a firestorm. Banks claim credit unions have gotten too big and no longer only serve the poor. Credit unions say they are non-profit, a partnership with the community, and deserve the tax-exemption status their industry was built on.

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Published Wednesday, December 25, 2013
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Americans seem to love feigning shock any time we are “betrayed” by those we worship, and the media is always willing to sensationalize a story that offers elements of corruption and deceit. But from Lance Armstrong to Major League Baseball to the crooks on Wall Street who nearly took down the global economy, evidence abounds that we live in a culture of cheating where the rewards for skirting the rules vastly outweigh the punishments for getting caught. It’s time to stop blaming the people we enable and take a look at our collective role in creating such an unethical society.

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Tuesday, December 24, 2013


Published Tuesday, December 24, 2013
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I met Joe Newman in the summer of 2012, when we were both guests on the same radio show. I was nearly floored when Joe told me he was less than six months from celebrating his 100th birthday, “if he made it.” Though obviously on in years, he was nonetheless sharp as a tack and fit as a fiddle. I would have given him even odds to me making my 38th just a few weeks before his. I’d had the man pegged in his early 80’s. But what impressed me most about Joe was not the preservation of his mental and physical faculties after 10 decades in this world, but his enormous passion for leaving a better one behind.

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Thursday, December 19, 2013


Published Thursday, December 19, 2013
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Last Friday marked a rather large milestone in digital media. Music superstar Beyoncé launched her blockbuster, eponymously-titled album in completely digital form. No CDs, no packaging, no transport; a minimal carbon footprint indeed, despite a million sales in less than a week. While the environmental rewards of such commerce received most of the attention – and they are certainly both positive and significant – the fact that far fewer working class Americans were employed by the multimillion dollar affair highlights a major challenge in our modern economy.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013


Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013
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Over the past nine months, our focus as a district leadership team has been to address the many challenges and provide a vision to move this district forward to greatness. I firmly believe we are on that path. It is unfortunate that this school district once again faces a distraction that diverts energy and time away from our primary mission of educating our children. As with the Frazier case, this matter occurred prior to my becoming superintendent. However, as superintendent, I am obligated by law to investigate all claims of alleged unethical or unlawful behavior that are brought to my attention.

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Obituaries

Name Date
Mary Taylor July 17, 2014
Rick Ramhofer July 21, 2014
Leslie Lovestead July 21, 2014
James McCobb July 22, 2014
Edith Norbury July 20, 2014
Richard McLaren July 17, 2014
Jean Burroughs July 18, 2014
Larry Van Winkle July 18, 2014
Eugenia Shannon July 15, 2014
All Obituaries



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