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Happiness is turning on your television and not having to watch a glob of swirling vomit for hours.

I’m referring to the weather wizards’ pre- and post-coverage of Hurricane Irma in the past few weeks - where she was supposed to go, where she did go and what would happen if she went someplace else, did a somersault, came back and regurgitated on the place where she left.
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“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” You may have heard that quote before. It was probably the most famous pronouncement made by the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900).

I hope those words are in the minds of millions of Harvey and Irma survivors today as they work their way back towards a normal life.
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The images of sunken cars, water-soaked homes and submerged streets in the aftermath of hurricanes in Florida and Texas should be enough to convince politicians to finally address the issue of flood insurance.

Millions who need coverage don’t have it or can’t afford it. It’s an old problem in states like ours, and it’s time to fix it - past time, really.
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Wednesday, September 13
Each day it becomes more and more apparent that opioid addiction and trafficking are plaguing Florida. According to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, five out of the nine types of drugs that caused the most deaths in 2015 were ones that fall within the category of opioids.

Two years later, we are seeing the effects of opioid addiction escalate and there does not seem to be a part of the state, rural or urban, that has not seen some impact.
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You suddenly run into someone who was your neighbor for 23 years. Good guy. You were pals. Now he’s coming toward you, hand outstretched, big smile on his face. But to save your life you can’t think of his name.

Or you’re on a quiz program with $44,000 in prize money waiting for you if only you can name the actor in “Young Frankenstein” who portrayed the blind hermit (in perhaps the funniest six minutes in all movie history.) The actor also starred in “The French Connection.” You know his name (Gene Hackman) as well as your own. Except you don’t, right now. And there goes your prize money down the drain.
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WASHINGTON - No issue has torn President Donald J. Trump as much as DACA - that is the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program enacted by the Obama administration in June 2012 to provide temporary legal status to undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as children. The White House has said that it will issue a decision on DACA’s future Tuesday.

As a candidate, Trump had promised his supporters that if elected, he would eliminate DACA on “day one.” But after he came into office, the new president could not pull the trigger.
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Tuesday, September 5
I’ve never written a story about a law enforcement official as bigoted and arrogant as former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

Have dealt with my share of Buford T. Justices and similar characters satirized in movies such as “Smokey and the Bandit,” but I’ve never come across a sheriff who took pride in making inmates wear pink underwear and endure extreme temperatures in a tent city.
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If you’re planning to get away with murder someday, forget about it. You probably won’t succeed. Although some killings are never solved, each year brings a greater likelihood that the perpetrator will be tracked down, arrested and convicted. A major reason: today’s forensic cops.

That’s my term for the thousands of scientists, technicians, and medical specialists who assist law enforcement officials in chasing down killers and other offenders.
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Tuesday, August 29
Sometimes Florida’s cities find themselves at odds with the state Legislature over the principle of home rule. That cherished concept, supported by an overwhelming majority of Florida’s citizens, reflects the view that the closer government is to the people, the more effective, fair and responsive it will be.

Over this past year, we have seen a very different approach taking hold in the Legislature. Lawmakers repeatedly considered the role of local authority, trying to shift many hometown responsibilities to the state. Florida’s outstanding quality of life is reflected in our public parks, our beaches, our museums and other cultural institutions, and our neighborhoods, and it is local government that create and maintain that within our communities.
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Does the rear bumper of your car display a sticker that says "Make America Great Again"?

Is there a sign on your front lawn that says "Dump Trump"? If not, why not?
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Tuesday, August 22
The official entry of Republican State Sen. Jack Latvala into the race for governor is welcome news to those hoping someone would come along to give them a reason not to cover their ears during the upcoming campaign. I think they just got their guy.

Whether his candidacy will attract enough support to grab his party’s nomination is an iffy proposition, but his chances might be better than you first think. If the electorate is looking for an alternative to the status quo, he could just be the “Hey, wait a minute ” candidate.
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From the moment we wake up each day most of us are faced with a chore called TCOB: Taking Care of Business. TCOB is an all-embracing name for the personal decisions and actions we are saddled with, no matter what our station in life may be.

Following are some ideas of how to handle TCOB.
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Lots and lots of ugly words are being tossed around lately with racism and bigotry chief among them. Intolerance and hate are taking a toll on the fabric of this nation.

The message of united we stand and divided we fall is lost as the rift between us widens.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, August 8
The 2016 presidential election divided America more than ever. Not only was the election relatively close in terms of the popular vote, but the popular vote winner actually ended up losing the electoral college vote and the presidency.

Instead of attempting to unite a badly divided America, as most presidents have attempted to do upon assuming office, Donald Trump continued to denigrate “crooked Hillary” and chastise Democrats for being sore losers. Many Trump critics immediately called for his impeachment on the grounds of Russian interference in the election and their belief that Trump was emotionally and mentally incompetent to be president.
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If you’re bone-tired of political news, I have an escape to suggest: pro football. With a little effort and even less knowledge of the sport, you can mentally and emotionally disappear between today and next February when Superbowl 52 will be played in Minneapolis.

For starters, here are some basic facts about football. Most of the players are male, and weigh between 70 and 400 pounds, even before they put on their game gear. This consists of helmets, nose guards, teeth guards, shoulder pads, thigh pads, shoes, sox and gloves.
 ... Read More 
WASHINGTON - Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, the former Democratic National Committee chairwoman known in political circles as DWS, is knee-deep in a scandal that involves a laptop, money and possible foreign entanglements.

Unlike the Trump Russian scandal, however, The Washington Post and New York Times have barely reported on the story, which has conservatives observing - with President Donald Trump’s Twitter account concurring - that the mainstream media have a double standard.
 ... Read More 
Tuesday, August 8
It’s always heartbreaking when I hear that yet another Florida black bear or Florida panther has gotten killed on a Florida road.

So far this year, vehicle collisions killed an average of two endangered Florida panthers a month. And for bears, the toll is worse: About 20 black bears die every month on roadways as they travel the state looking for food and mates. And we all see many other dead creatures - deer, squirrels, opossums, bobcats, birds, reptiles and more - along our roadsides. This hurts people too: An estimated 200 people are killed and 29,000 injured yearly in the U.S. when their cars collide with animals.
 ... Read More 
View more archives
Community Calender
• Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2017
St. Petersburgy mayor candidate forum
ST. PETERSBURG – Candidates for mayor of St. Petersburg will speak and answer questions at a forum moderated by the League of Women Voters Tuesday, Sept. 26, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at City Hall, 175 Fifth St. N.

The forum will be televised live on StPeteTV, the city’s government-access channel, which is available on Spectrum Channel 641, WOW! Channel 15, Frontier Channel 20, and on the city’s website, www.stpete.org.

Replay of the forum will be available on StPeteTV and accessible through the city’s YouTube channel.
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• Thursday, Sept. 28, 2017
Historical presentation
SAFETY HARBOR –  Actress Nan Colton will portray Miep Gies and tell her story of courage at 6:30 p.m. on Sept. 28 at Safety Harbor Public Library.

Gies, along with other silent partners, hid Anne Frank and her family for more than two years, supplying food, news, and emotional support at great personal risk.

The library is located at 101 Second St. N., Safety Harbor.

For more information, call 727-724-1525, ext. 4112, or visit www.SafetyHarborLibrary.com.
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Poet’s Portable Sense of Home
ST. PETERSBURG – A Poet’s Portable Sense of Home will be presented Thursday, Sept. 28, 7 p.m., in the Dan and Mary Miller Auditorium, at Eckerd College, 4200 54th Ave. S., St. Petersburg.

Peter Meinke, Ph.D., the poet laureate of Florida and professor emeritus of literature at Eckerd College, will discuss and read poems about his peripatetic life that has taken him, his wife Jeanne and their four children to live in many places while still calling St. Petersburg home.

For information, email events@eckerd.edu, visit eckerd.edu /events or call 727-864-7979.
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Tai Chi and Qigong classes
ST. PETE BEACH – Tai Chi and Qigong classes are presented Mondays, 11 a.m.; and Thursdays, 12:30 p.m., at the St. Pete Beach Community Center, 7701 Boca Ciega Drive, St. Pete Beach.

This class is designed to reduce stress, inflammation and disease associated with stress, as well as improve postural alignment and flexibility. The class combines specific movements, coordinated breathing and a calm focused mind used in traditional Chinese medicine, Tai Chi and Qigong practices that will improve health, vitality and longevity.

No prior experience is necessary. The cost is $5 for adults or free for SilverSneakers. Visit www.spbrec.com or call 727-363-9245 for more information.
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Wee-Time at Weedon
ST. PETERSBURG – Wee-Time at Weedon will be presented Thursday, Sept. 28, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., at Weedon Island Preserve, 1800 Weedon Drive NE, St. Petersburg.

This free program is designed to introduce children ages 3 to 5 to the wonders of the natural and cultural world. Every second and fourth Thursday of each month children are treated to a variety of stories and hands-on activities that connect them to their environment.

Preregistration is required. To register, visit www.weedonislandpreserve.eventbrite.com. For information, call 727-453-6500.
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• Friday, Sept. 29, 2017
Tarpon Springs Prayer Breakfast
TARPON SPRINGS – Tarpon Springs Shepherd Center and Florida Hospital of North Pinellas will present the fifth annual Tarpon Springs Prayer Breakfast Friday, Sept. 29, 7:15 to 9 a.m., in Theofilos Hall at Spanos-Pappas Community Center, 348 N. Pinellas Ave., Tarpon Springs.

This is an opportunity to gather together in prayer and unite neighbors, raise awareness, and challenge community members to action. Attendance at this event has exceeded 200 guests for the past two years and organizers anticipate the number being closer to 300 this year. Once again North Pinellas County community leaders, state and local politicians, city commissioners, elected officials, clergy and concerned citizens are invited to attend.

The breakfast will be buffet style and the program will begin promptly at 7:30 a.m. The cost to attend is $25 per person or $200 for a table of eight. Sponsorships ranging from $100 to $5,000 are available.

For sponsorship information, call Ada Del Gais at 727-940-5358.

Tarpon Springs Shepherd Center is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that has been providing services to the community for more than 43 years.

For information about this event or on the services provided by the Shepherd Center, visit www.tscenter.org.

To register for the Tarpon Springs Prayer Breakfast, call 727-939-1400, ext. 405 or email to m_mccormack@tscenter.org.
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• Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017
Boogie 4 Belleair
BELLEAIR – Boogie 4 Belleair, the Belleair Community Foundation’s premier fundraising event, takes place Saturday, Sept. 30, 7 p.m., at the Dimmitt Community Center, 918 Osceola Road.

For the event, the community center will be transformed into a sophisticated nightclub venue for dancing the night away. DJs, floor shows with dancers, delectable hors d’oeuvres, and sophisticated libations await those in attendance. A silent auction will offer up items donated by Belleair businesses.

Proceeds support the renovation of Magnolia and Pat Wall parks. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at www.bcfworks.org or in person at Bella Vino Wine Market or the Belleair Recreation Department.
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Booster Club Golf Tournament
SEMINOLE – The Seminole High School Boys Basketball Booster Club will hold its 26th annual Golf Tournament on Saturday, Sept. 30, 2017 at Seminole Lake Country Club, 6100 Augusta Blvd.

Registration begins at noon with a 1 p.m. shotgun start.

All proceeds benefit the varsity and junior varsity basketball teams. Donations and contributions are tax deductible. 

Sign-up online at warhawkhoops.com. Early registration ends Aug. 30.
 ... Read More 
Butterfly program
CLEARWATER – A program on butterflies will be presented Saturday, Sept. 30, 10 to 11:30 a.m., at Moccasin Lake Environmental Education Center, 2750 Park Trail Lane, Clearwater.

Attendees will learn about and see images of Florida’s collection of butterflies and moths. The program also will include a walk-through Moccasin Lake’s butterfly garden.

Cost is $3 with a Clearwater recreation card and $4 with no card.

Call 727-793-2976.
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Feed the Critters Food Truck Rally
LARGO – The inaugural Feed the Critters Food Truck Rally will take place Saturday, Sept. 30, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., at George C. McGough Nature Center, 11901 146th St., Largo.

Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase food from one of the food trucks while taking part in this feathered and furry fundraising event. There will be special raptors and reptiles on hand. Donations are appreciated. There also will be a raffle.

For information, visit www.facebook.com /thefriendsoflargonatureparks.
 ... Read More 
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Tampa Bay Newspapers
9911 Seminole Blvd.,
Seminole, FL 33772
Phone: (727) 397-5563
Fax: (727) 397-5900
Submit News