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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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Sunday, February 23, 2014


Published Sunday, February 23, 2014
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Finally, someone has taken up the plight of the beleaguered land developer – again. Despite all that has been done in recent years to ease their bureaucratic burden, it appears that it is still just too difficult to make an honest buck in the building game. Enter Florida Senate Bill 372, filed by Manatee County's own Bill Galvano, which would all but rid them of the few pesky oversight mechanisms that still require a consideration of smart growth standards at the state level. Couple this with other local measures to lighten the regulatory load – like the liberal rewriting of the LDC – and Christmas would be coming early to builders in Manatee County.

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Thursday, February 20, 2014


Published Thursday, February 20, 2014
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Most of the hub-bub at Tuesday's state board of education meeting focused on the adoption of the Common Core Curriculum, for which more than 70 people signed up to give public comment. However, the board also heard a presentation from Education Commissioner Pam Stewart, who once again plans on amending Florida's bedeviled school grading system, which has been so ineffective and oft changed that it lacks even a hint of credibility. The idea that still more changes would be implemented at the very same time that the state will be phasing in both a new curriculum and a yet-unnamed replacement for the FCAT exam seems destined for disaster.

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Wednesday, February 19, 2014


Published Wednesday, February 19, 2014
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The populations of songbirds, bats, reptiles, amphibians are known to be shrinking by the day. But why is that? What is missing for all of these species are an adequate amount of invertebrates in their diets. Oh come now, you say, last summer was buggier then ever and I welcomed the Terminex truck and the generic pesticides sprayed 'to kill 'em all' with open arms after I saw a spider in the house. Given our current attitudes, Charlotte's Web would not be a viable story today and a publisher would laugh EB White out of his office for even having the idea of a spider as a character in a children's story of all things. 

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Obituaries

Name Date
Thelma Bowlby August 17, 2014
Joseph Dabek August 20, 2014
Edna Mills August 21, 2014
Gary Payne August 16, 2014
Mabel Berry April 20, 2014
Gary Payne August 16, 2014
Thelma Bowlby August 17, 2014
Mildred Haas August 15, 2014
Virginia Townsend August 14, 2014
All Obituaries






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