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Letters to the Editors

Circus is comical, fun and exciting

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 7, 2001

Parents and grandparents across the country are faced with an increasingly difficult struggle to find suitable entertainment for children these days. In a world filled with violent home video games, vulgar cartoons, easily accessible pornographic material on the Internet and an overabundance of PG-13 movies clearly targeting young children, there aren't many choices left. Year after year, the circus, with a unique family of performers and animals, provides wholesome family entertainment that is comical, fun and exciting for all generations.

One of the hardest things for anyone to do is to separate truth from hype. We want readers to know the facts about animals at Ringling Bros. so they have answers when they face the circumstances described in Katherine Snow Smith's article of Jan. 21 (Circus puts parents' values in center ring) and the letter to the editor responding to it (Some parents just say no to circus).

Animals are a beloved part of the Ringling Bros. experience and live long, fulfilling lives with their handlers. In fact, the vast majority were raised from birth around humans. We abide by a network of local, state and federal laws and regulations that ensure the well-being of the animals, and we have an excellent record of animal care. All animal training and handling here is based on constant interaction, daily routines and nurturing that reinforces the trust and affection between the animals and people. Animals live and travel in facilities specifically designed for their comfort and safety, and they have time to exercise and socialize as well as perform. They consume fresh, nutritious food that is purchased locally and delivered to each performance site, and a team of veterinarians, veterinary technicians and animal behaviorists handle their medical needs.

By showcasing these animals and their capabilities, we help people learn about the entire world of animals and how people and animals can live together. After having seen the animals up close, children see that they are well cared for and become excited to learn about them further.

We look forward to highlighting the magnificent partnership between humans and animals for them for years to come.
-- Catherine E. Ort-Mabry, director, Corporate communications, Feld Entertainment

Even 6-year-olds can learn to knit

Re: Class knits salvation for penguins in peril, Jan. 21.

I was pleased to see the story about the knitting project being carried on by the sixth-graders. Knitting serves many purposes. It develops dexterity, develops the brain, gives a sense of accomplishment, teaches children the value of working with their hands, develops a sense of aesthetics, and builds good work habits -- just to mention a few.

Our first- and second-grade students at School of the Suncoast knit, and they eagerly look forward to their hand-work classes twice a week. Yes, it is possible for 6-year-olds to learn to knit! In our school, a developing Waldorf school, a different hand work is taught each year. Toward the end of second grade the children will learn to crochet. In third they will knit with two needles. In fourth grade they will do cross stitch and embroidery. In the later grades they learn to make clothes and to use a sewing machine.

Our goal is to bring the message to parents and educators that children must have a wholeness to their learning. The pendulum has swung too far toward dry intellectualism. Without all of the arts incorporated into the daily lessons and without learning practical skills and movement skills, children develop in a one-sided way. The latest studies indicate that the arts, work with the hands, movement and play all enhance learning and, in fact, do more to develop the whole brain, not just the left side.
-- Barbara Bedingfield, Largo

Old Southeast parking fines are fine

Re: Fines take residents and police by surprise, Jan. 24.

Why are the residents on 20th Avenue SE crying because a police officer is doing what we pay him to do? If the law isn't going to be enforced, why have laws? It is not a new law!

We need more officers like Brandon Stout!
-- Rachel M. Karasinski, Madeira Beach

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