Letters to the Editor for July 1, 2013


Published: Monday, July 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Thursday, June 27, 2013 at 11:01 p.m.

Phenomenal job

Education is a topic that is consistently in the news, but usually for critical reasons. Growing up in Alachua County, I felt every single one of my teachers did a phenomenal job teaching my classmates and I. My teachers held high expectations and challenged each of us.

Because my teachers at Idylwild Elementary, Lincoln Middle and Gainesville High School were so empowering and inspiring, I knew too that I wanted to touch children's lives. I left Alachua County for college (certain that I would return) and received my degree in elementary education. I moved back home after graduating this past May and will begin my dream career as a teacher this fall at an elementary school here.

I want to thank all of the dedicated teachers who have set a lofty standard to which I will strive to meet every day in my classroom.

Katie Howard,

Gainesville

Natural institution

We are disappointed with the Supreme Court's ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act. Marriage is a natural institution that predates government and is not a government creation open to redefinition. While the respect for the principles of federalism is appreciated, natural law isn't subject to a majority vote. It's regrettable the court didn't uphold the reality of marriage bestowed upon us from the beginning by the Creator.

Marriage is the only institution that brings a man and a woman together for life. It gives children the best chance of being raised by their own father and mother together. Not every married couple has children, but every child has a mom and a dad.

Fathers and mothers aren't interchangeable. All citizens of good will lift your voices in affirming marriage between one man and one woman for life.

We will continue to support efforts throughout the country and in Florida to protect traditional marriage in state constitutions.

Most Rev. Felipe J. Estévez,

Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of St. Augustine

Aiding environment

President Obama is preparing regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants. As a New York Times article noted, power plants account for approximately 40 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. Coal companies are hard hit by a strict regulatory climate, but this is an effort worth supporting.

A carbon tax is another way of aiding the environment. If a carbon tax was enacted ­— which is rather doubtful — I believe it would be best to use this tax money to extend/reinstated energy-efficient tax credits. For example, extending the solar tax break beyond 2016 would aid an industry that has made significant strides, but could falter when this tax credit expires.

Tax credits for energy-efficient purchases have gone a long way in helping people save energy/reduce their carbon footprint.

Diane Forkel,

Gainesville

Managing changes

As a clinical social worker, I have been serving families in the area for nearly 20 years and have been a bereavement counselor for Haven Hospice since 2006. I would like to invite families who are challenged by grief due to the loss of a loved one to join us for the Haven Hospice Camp Safe Haven for families.

This is the first year that Haven Hospice is offering a camp specifically designed for families which will offer therapeutic support in individual and family activities. I am both honored and privileged to lead this healing experience on July 14 at Camp Kulaqua in High Springs. There is no cost to attend; however, reservations are required.

Each family member played a different role in their loved one's life and each family member will experience grief differently. Camp Safe Haven will help you learn how to manage these emotional changes.

Vonceil Levin,

Bereavement counselor,

Haven Hospice,

Gainesville

Grotesque ideology

Thank you for the June 23 column “Medicaid decision was political malpractice” by Carl Ramey. Medicaid expansion would benefit many thousands of poor Floridians who presently have no health insurance, and would substantially increase the revenue of health care providers.

Why Florida's House of Representatives would deny these benefits to their constituents is indeed puzzling. Ramey writes that “rigid ideology” is the reason for the inaction by our representatives, but I find it hard to believe that elected officials (pragmatic, successful politicians) could actually believe in and be directed by such a grotesque ideology.

It seems more likely that they are responding to a minority of their constituents who, for whatever reason, oppose assistance to the less fortunate among us.

Richard Suttor,

Gainesville

Fringe group

When I read that Marian Hammer referred to a pro-gun organization as a “fringe group,” I almost dropped my coffee mug. Wow! This is how she characterized the National Association for Gun Rights, based in Colorado.

This group is actively pleading with Gov. Rick Scott to veto a bill that would keep guns away from those whose mental health may pose a threat to public safety. Hammer and her minions of the National Rifle Association have opposed every intelligent gun law since I began paying attention 35 years ago, but she deserves credit for supporting this bill.

Dare we dream that this might signal a shift toward sanity within the original pro-gun fringe group we know as the NRA? No. Believing that would indicate a need for a full mental health evaluation.

Sam Collins,

Gainesville

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