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Thursday, March 27, 2014


Published Thursday, March 27, 2014
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Last week, I wrote a column about the shameful failures of the Florida DCF and questioned whether our state's mandate of “family preservation” – which was arguably reinforced by a flawed notion that it would reduce costs – should be reassessed. Around the same time, we ran a story on the state's effort to reduce the amount drivers paid to renew their automobile registration. Am I the only one who sees an amazing opportunity?

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Friday, March 21, 2014


Published Friday, March 21, 2014
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Many schools across the state have transitioned the focus of their mathematics instruction to preparation for the Florida Comprehensive Achievement Test (FCAT). I do not fault schools for focusing on FCAT given the ramifications of test scores on public perception and teachers’ evaluations (see Senate Bill 736). I do, however, question the quality of the assessments that are being used to evaluate understanding of mathematics at the elementary school level.

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Thursday, March 20, 2014


Published Thursday, March 20, 2014
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There is certainly plenty to be outraged by in reading the Miami Herald's recent investigation into the death of 477 children who had already been on the state's radar when they died of abuse or neglect. In too many cases, the Department of Children and Families sided with parents, despite every indication of impending tragedy. While reading story after story in which the system clearly failed the children they exist to protect, it's easy to assume that it can only be blamed on negligence and/or incompetence, but there's also an established culture built around the philosophy of “family preservation” that must be examined.

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


Published Sunday, March 16, 2014
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This week's District 13 Congressional race was just the latest example of how badly our democratic process has been corrupted by special interests. With nowhere else to spend, big money donors from both sides of the aisle rained down cash on the horse their party was riding. Regardless of what impact it may or may not have had on the outcome, the undeniable reality is that the process itself was stolen from the candidates and waged as a sort of proxy war between competing forces based thousands of miles away.

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Thursday, March 13, 2014


Published Thursday, March 13, 2014
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Like many Manatee County citizens, I don't tend to get excited when I hear about new development, especially when it's anywhere near the eco-sensitive coastline. Nonetheless, I'm not so naive as to think that it will cease to continue. That being said, I have to admit that the latest efforts have at least begun with one foot set in the right direction in terms of how such delicate matters might best be handled.

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Sunday, March 9, 2014


Published Sunday, March 9, 2014
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On Tuesday, Governor Rick Scott gave his State of the State address, kicking off the annual 60-day legislative scramble. The event was not unlike an annual shareholder meeting, with the CEO cheerleading investors who'd had a good year, blatantly patting himself on the back in the process. The only problem was that just like those meetings, our CEO was only speaking to the small class of winners, while the large masses who'd been left behind were nowhere to be found.

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Thursday, March 6, 2014


Published Thursday, March 6, 2014
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A school board workshop broke down this week over disagreements on proposed changes to the operating manual for the board. While the proposed manual seems reasonable enough at first glance, board members and community activists have plenty of history informing their apprehensions. 

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014


Published Tuesday, March 4, 2014

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When Carlos Beruff gave assurances to the public that he would follow the county's rules while developing the land adjacent to Sarasota Bay and its fragile environment, citizens hoped to believe the developer, who also served on the body that regulates state environmental rules. However, in gaining his first approval from the BOCC last week, Beruff and partner Larry Lieberman instead requested special approvals that exempted them from the rules other developers have to follow. To almost no one's surprise, they got them.

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Sunday, March 2, 2014


Published Sunday, March 2, 2014
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Florida has suffered a recent spat of senseless violence in the form of high-profile shootings that have led to renewed calls to repeal our controversial Stand Your Ground laws. While I fully support such a repeal, I’d like to take a look at the bigger picture and ask why we seem to have become a society whose new social norms almost seem to guarantee the escalation of any confrontation.

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Thursday, February 27, 2014


Published Thursday, February 27, 2014
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The mother of a 1st Grader made a big splash this week for being "fed-up with Common Core." Her viral Twitter rants led to an appearance on Fox and Friends, followed by more media attention. Not surprisingly, she soon became the new poster child for the right wing opponents of the national curriculum standards. However, in all of the run-up to her new-found stardom, the one thing that no one did – not her supporters, Fox News or the many media outlets that echoed the story – was check the validity of what she was complaining about.

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Obituaries

Name Date
Veleta Spann October 15, 2014
Josephine Lupoli October 18, 2014
Dimitrios Sokos October 19, 2004
Gary Richelieu October 16, 2004
Aline Funk October 17, 2014
Alice Szakacs October 16, 2014
Deborah Snyder October 20, 2014
Donald Moen October 4, 2014
Edward Dey October 1, 2014
All Obituaries






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