Columnists

Twenty years ago on the 11th of this month, the telephone rang at my house a little after 9 in the morning. The call was from the news director of the Washington, D.C. radio station where I worked. He told me to turn on the television.

One of the best-known beaches in our area is Pass-a-Grille Beach. And why not? It’s pretty, there are shops and restaurants close by, and often live music. But Pass-a-Grille is so much more than just a beach community. It is truly a place of great history.

For most, a beach vacation includes relaxing at the shoreline and playing games. Watching beach-nesting birds raise their young is generally not on the itinerary, but when vacationers encounter nesting birds on the beach, stewards step in and educate them on the species and why they are mark…

Two of the best things about living in Florida (foodwise) are stone crabs and Cuban sandwiches. Stone crabs are out of season right now. We won’t see them again until October. But Cuban sandwiches are here year-round for us to enjoy.

    “He freely gave to charity, he had the common touch. And they were grateful for his patronage and they thanked him very much. Then they sold all his contact information to a whole bunch of other charities.” (With apologies to Paul Simon).

      Oh, how I miss Haslam’s. The famed bookstore has stood at the corner of Central Avenue and 20th Street for 88 years. The building is old and tattered. It is anything but comfortable. It lacks amenities like a coffee shop or café. And I just love it.

      It has been rumored that there was a time when Gulf Boulevard was not under construction. People have also been said to have seen Elvis at the 7-Eleven and little green men from Mars. So, I guess anything is possible. But on St. Pete Beach, road construction is a way of life.

      Let’s get one thing straight: The idea of the Rays splitting their season between here and Montreal is nuts. Never gonna happen. For one thing, what would they be called? The XRays? (That’s really funny if you know anything about Montreal’s baseball history. For the rest of you, just take my…

      Aren’t you sick of being asked to rate everything you do or buy? I am. Often times I am asked about my experience with a company like this: On a scale of one to ten, how satisfied are you with your experience/or product? Ten being extremely satisfied, one being not satisfied at all. If that …

      COVID-19 and other developments have caused me to watch more TV programs than normal (whatever "normal" may mean). Following are a few thoughts that have stuck in my brain.

      I'll never forget the day I interviewed Jimmy Hoffa. It was in Syracuse, New York, in 1959. I was a reporter for the afternoon newspaper, the Herald-Journal. I was 28 years old, finishing studies for a master's degree at the local university's journalism school. And I was scared witless, at …

      I have long held an affinity for our natural environment. As a child I loved seeing the changing colors of fall leaves in Wisconsin. They just simply enthralled as whirling seeds of maple, bright red, announced the arrival of spring, even more than the new flowers to me. As time passed my fa…

      My friends: Our city attorney has asked me to remind you that these words are mine — a citizen of Seminole. As such, I would like to thank you for your thoughtful vote of confidence. You have methodically moved away from the old-timers on the council, and with the most recent election you ha…

      Encroaching old age has a few benefits and pleasures, such as (here I pause to list them, except I can't remember what they are). However, one of them occurs to me every night. It takes the form of an affectionate female who climbs into bed with me, curls up and looks at me with a demanding …

      It is midway through the 2021 Florida legislative session, and bills and amendments are flying right and left, up and down. Committee meetings are hearing bills. Bills are being vetted. Legislation is being referred to one committee after another. Some of the hundreds of bills that have been…

      In Pinellas County, it is estimated there is a shortage of 54,000 affordable housing units for low-income residents. In neighboring Pasco County, 56% of low-income households are considered housing cost-burdened. Statewide, 1 in 6 Floridians spends half or more of their income on housing. It…

      As I’ve lurched through life, I’ve found dozens of interesting classes of people. Two of them are (A) the self-determiners, those who believe each person has the freedom and ability to decide what shall be the boundaries and/or achievements of our lives, and (B) the crapshoot believers, who …

      Though the sun was shining bright on Feb. 23, 2021, it was the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office’s darkest day. Deputy Michael J. Magli was a true hero who saved countless lives and is an example of what it means to serve and protect with integrity and honor. Our PCSO family is heartbroken, b…

      Every few days — or hours — I get a phone call from a stranger, male or female, who wants to sell me a product, a plan or an idea. The caller — let's call her Sue — speaks distinctly and loudly. She may or may not apologize for taking my time, but within a few minutes she tells me her name, …

      When God, fate or other force created humans, it seems that one of the common traits baked into our minds was the need to believe that our nation (whatever its name) is the best on earth. This would be reflected in each country's music, anthems, poetry and attitudes.

      While watching a TV comedy, have you ever sat beside someone — a friend or relative — who nudges you at every laugh line to make sure you understood how funny the joke was? Did you want to kill him? Did you refrain from doing so? Yes? Good for you.

      Two days before the Tampa Bay Buccaneers won Super Bowl LV, the Washington Post published a guest column by Jamie L.H. Goodall, a staff historian at the U.S. Army Center of Military History. The writer, who holds a Ph.D. in history from Ohio State University and has written books about pirat…

      As I begin, it is mid-day on a Thursday. The ex-president of the United States is into the third day of his trial for various alleged misbehaviors earlier this month. My brain is on trial with a question that has faced most columnists throughout journalistic history: I call it the Wottinell …

      The Florida Legislature is taking another run at the short-term rental issue and legislators continue to make the same mistake over and over again — taking power away from communities on an issue that is inherently local. A workable solution must recognize that reality.

      The first time I climbed the west side steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington my ears (and other body parts) were close to freezing. Instead of taking a bus or streetcar from 16th Street, I chose to walk the entire length of Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol on my own. I was young and stup…

      After reflecting on the past year, I searched hard to capture the perfect words to succinctly and eloquently sum up 2020.

      So here we go into 2021, with our seat belts fastened. I wish all of us the best possible luck. Following is a listing of thoughts and ideas that I hope will help you and me remain stable and rational in the days ahead. These ideas come from many sources, mostly books I have leaned on. Perha…

      Here in Pinellas we take pride in our beaches. They provide us with valuable recreational opportunities; they give local and endangered wildlife a place to call home; and they support our region’s tourism-based economy. Less talked about, but perhaps equally important, our beaches also serve…

      If there is one good thing to say about the COVID-19 pandemic, it's that it has given columnists, journalists, and historians something new to write about at Christmas time.

      As an elected Supervisor of Elections, my responsibility to the nearly 400,000 constituents of Pasco County is to administer politically agnostic, fair, and transparent elections. It is a duty I proudly and willingly accept in public service and in preservation of our precious democracy.

      As you may have seen and heard recently, the world seems on the verge of going to hell, courtesy of COVID-19. I don't agree with that. But rather than bore you with my thoughts, today I'll send out a column of what other, wiser men and women have said about different things.

      If you occasionally wonder what life is all about, just try opening a pile of a week's mail after you've neglected it. Your responses may reveal some of your daily or lifetime attitudes. Here are a few of mine.

      As COVID-19 continues to occupy the attention of most of the world, a question arises: In addition to the end of the pandemic, what do people really want? If you stopped a hundred or a thousand persons on the street and asked them that question, what would their answers — or yours — be?

      On Nov. 3, I did something I had not done before. I volunteered to be an election day poll worker. I did not really know what I was getting into, but with so many workers sitting this one out due to COVID-19, I wanted to help.

      The above title could easily serve as the motto of the entire fundraising industry, which has become one of the largest and most powerful enterprises in our land.

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