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For their own good
Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
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Today's Letters: Revere the fallen on this Memorial Day
By LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published May 28, 2007
Memorial Day should fire the national pride. As an Army veteran, I know the sense of fellowship and mutual respect one soldier has for another. Memorial Day brings back memories that soldiers relive in their minds. Good soldiers did exceptional things during wartime and many died doing it.
The best blessings bestowed upon our homeland have come from the servicemen and women of great idealism and self-sacrifice who died so that we may live not as slaves, but as free men in a land of liberty. GIs who sacrificed their lives should be garlanded with glory and flags should be flown on this Memorial Day in their honor.
Robert B. Fleming, St. Petersburg
To most Americans, it's just another three-day weekend; a time for backyard barbecues and beach volleyball. To we who pause this Memorial Day to pay tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, I can't help thinking how different today's tribute will be. Today the fallen are not just sons, uncles and fathers, but daughters, aunts and mothers.
Memorial Day is about coming together to honor those who gave their all. Today, Memorial Day is also recognized in most of Europe. Some call it "Liberation Day"; others simply honor American and Allied soldiers who will never go home.
Today I salute you, the proud and brave from Gettysburg to Baghdad who fell that I may stand. To the sons, fathers, daughters and mothers who will never hold their loved ones again, I shall forever hold you in my heart.
Dennis Roper, Clearwater
Lyons may try to split Baptists May 24, story
An arrogant move
Baptists have been known for their generosity in forgiving and welcoming lost sheep back into the fold. However, they should not confuse forgiveness with foolishness.
The Rev. Henry Lyons is a convicted felon. He stole money from corporate partners that would have benefitted the church. He has not made restitution and his action to seek a new convention will be expensive and is sure to create a rift in the church.
His actions are not those of someone who is contrite, but of someone who is arrogant and spiteful. Shame on the pastors who are aiding in this travesty.
Richard White, New Port Richey
The FCAT fiasco
In reviewing last year's FCAT scores, three separate groups of highly trained professionals, given plenty of time and resources, made a very significant mistake. They are asking for understanding and a chance to correct things and make improvements moving forward. That sounds reasonable.
However, how can we also have a policy that says that small, anxious, learning-disabled 8-year-olds cannot also have the same opportunity for understanding, patience and a second chance? It is unbelievable that our education policy says that students' entire futures are permanently altered by their performance on one day, taking one (possibly inaccurate) test.
Marlene Bloom Rubin, Tampa
Taxes went up
Because there is so much misunderstanding about how property taxes really work, I felt that it was important to comment on a statement made by Mayor Mary Maloof of Treasure Island in her May 23 letter ("Cutting Deep"). Mayor Maloof stated that Treasure Island has "held the same millage rate for seven years now, in spite of big revenue losses."
However, because of property value increases, the city's property tax revenue increased from $1.6-million in 2000 to $4.7-million in 2006, an increase of 194 percent. The only way that revenue increase could have been reduced would have been for the city to roll back its millage rate to a lower number. Keeping the millage rate the same guaranteed a tax increase.
If property values go up 20 percent and a taxing authority keeps its millage rate the same, then taxes go up 20 percent.
Jim Smith, CFA, Pinellas County Property Appraiser, Clearwater
Try a mirror, Jimmy May 24, commentary
Carter was right
One week ago, history was made when Jimmy Carter became the first former president to criticize the conduct and character of a sitting president, but Florida's best newspaper completely ignored this story. Yet now, one week later, it sees fit to publish this piece criticizing Carter for criticizing Bush. Predictable for the "new" St. Petersburg Times.
What Carter may or may not have done as president is irrelevant at this time, but what George Bush is doing is not, and Carter was correct in calling his administration the worst in history in international relations, as well as condemning Bush's allocation of funds to religious groups that support him. He was equally accurate when he described Tony Blair's support of Bush as "abominable, loyal, blind and apparently subservient."
Times readers can go to Google to read Carter's criticism in its entirety.
R.G. Wheeler, St. Petersburg
River needs help
I was pleased to read that the governor thinks Tampa's Riverwalk is worthy of being funded. The Hillsborough River is the living heart of our city, gently flowing past parks, through downtown, and into the bay. But a river needs to be clean and have fish and other wildlife to make it attractive for people to walk along it.
For years, the city of Tampa has neglected the river. The time has come to realize that our river is on life support, polluted by storm water runoff. The river needs fresh water and oxygen to sustain fish and plants. Without fresh water, there will be a walk, but no longer a river. Let's not let that happen.
B. John Ovink, Tampa
Regulate tobacco, institute urges May 25, story
Why exempt tobacco?
The Associated Press report regarding the deadly ingredients in tobacco contains a phrase that floored me. "The report notes that cigarettes are unique in that they contain carcinogens and other dangerous toxins and would be banned under federal law if these statutes did not expressly exempt tobacco."
What statutes? Please investigate this and let us know just which congressmen got paid off by the tobacco lobby to create statutes to exempt that killer industry (490, 000 people dead every year) consuming so much of our health care dollar ($89-billion a year). Today there's a new drug for diabetics that is probably going to be taken off the market because of a number of deaths. Yet nothing is done when a half-million people a year die and countless more suffer strokes, heart attacks and emphysema.
Elinor Wencka, Tampa
Remembering one of their own May 25, photo
I question the message the Times sends with a photo of a procession in memory of a motorcycle rider who died popping wheelies at 80 mph. Does that not glorify someone who risked the lives of others in his irresponsible play on public roads? I personally witnessed similar driving by a group of three after dark, also on Belcher Road, cutting in and out before popping wheelies, and couldn't believe what I saw.