Letters to the Editor - Dec. 1

Published: Monday, December 1, 2008 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 6:27 p.m.

Don’t forget about the P.K. Yonge band

I just read Kim Anderson’s Nov. 27 letter about the local high school marching bands that made it to the finals at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg last weekend. Kudos to these bands and all the students, parents and faculty that made this happen.

However, no mention was made of another local treasure that didn’t quite make it to the finals but opened some eyes with their most excellent performance in their school-first appearance in the semi-finals on the same day at Lakewood Ranch High School, in nearby Bradenton.

The P.K. Yonge Blue Wave Marching Band, led by Jaime Burg in her first year as band director, did their school proud while competing against much bigger and more established bands with deeper pockets. Although they did not make it to the finals at the Trop, P.K. is now on the marching band map and will surely be back in the mix in the future.

Many thanks and kudos not only to Burg, but also to the previous director, Phillip Porter, for laying the foundation, and to Ramon Otero, Band Parent President, and all the parents and P.K. faculty who showed up to support this very special Blue Wave first.

On this Thanksgiving, I was very thankful for living in this special community and having the opportunity to send both of my daughters to this very special school.

Patrick Piper,


Teaching our kids about their finances

Negative news coverage of America’s financial turmoil may leave adults full of anxiety about the future but where does it leave our children?

Many are left confused and scared because adults usually don’t take the time to explain in an age-appropriate way what is going on in our government or financial markets.

Americans can, and must, do a better job of educating our children about effective money management so they can avoid future financial pitfalls.

Our children will someday run our businesses, government and financial institutions.

Junior Achievement is an organization that partners with local businesses and education communities to deliver programs that teach K-12 students age-appropriate, hands-on financial literacy lessons. Participating in JA programs, students understand the important connections between education, careers, salary and standard of living.

Last year JA reached more than 5,600 students in Alachua County. Setting the foundation in elementary school, JA kids experience what it is like to interview for a job, budget their income and open a bank account.

Reinforce that in middle and high school and you have a generation that understands the link between education and desired lifestyle.

We are grateful for the schools, individuals, businesses and organizations who are working so hard to educate the future workers, consumers, and citizens of our community. They are giving our children a better understanding of the world around them, the opportunity to explore their career paths, and inspiring them to achieve their dreams. This is a gift that will last through the generations.

Now more than ever, it is critical for our young people to learn effective money management. Join the JA team. Remember the children we help today are our citizens of tomorrow.

Diane F. Smith,

Executive Director

Junior Achievement of Alachua County


Thanks Gainesville, for being so nice

I was born and grew up in a town that later became a large city in South Florida. After 75 years there, I moved, along with my wife and son, to Gainesville 15 years ago.

It’s amazing the wonderful help I have been receiving in Gainesville. People offer a shopping cart when I enter a super market, their seat in a crowded area, help in parking lots if it appears that I need it, etc. It’s refreshing to see that young people, both male and female, are equally courteous and helpful.

Occasionally I go back to the area of my birth and find that the treatment I receive there is as different as night and day compared to Gainesville. People in my former home town are often rude, discourteous, display road rage and are oblivious to everyone but themselves.

To the people of Gainesville, I salute you.

J.B. Hourihan,


Webster’s got it wrong with this word

I wish to point out a glaring error in the second edition of Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary: It defines a “maverick” as “a refractory or recalcitrant individual who bolts his party or group and initiates an independent course.”

Those of us who have observed recent American history being made have learned that a maverick is someone who votes with his party’s leaders 90 percent of the time, or who conducts important business as scripted by members of the party with whom she disagrees.

Hopefully, a correction will appear in the next edition of Webster’s.

Asa Godbey,


Making things worse

I was reading a Rasmussen report commentary by Froma Harrop, in which she states “the mission must be to end the enormous waste which accounts for half of all health care spending.” She goes on to say that waste comes in many disguises: high-priced brand name drugs, too many specialists, etc.

While I agree that health care needs to be looked at very carefully, I was amused that our federal government, which is the leader in wasteful spending, is going to reform health care. The federal government did wonders with Fannie and Freddie and everything else it meddles in. They knew of the risks and choose to ignore them, both parties.

We need to be careful when the federal government overtakes free enterprise. We are on a slippery slope to socialism and it doesn’t work in the countries that have it.

Eileen Maren,


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