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School Uniforms in Alachua, Rick Scott’s 70s Nostalgia, Junk-Touching Diagrammed: The Live Wire, Jan. 3

| January 3, 2011

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Florida Court’s Ruling May Help Pill Mills

From the Sun-Sentinel: “An appeals court has thrown out drug trafficking charges against two Broward County men who obtained excessive amounts of pain pills by visiting multiple doctors, a ruling that law enforcement says may hinder the battle against rogue pain clinics. The court said in a ruling last week that even though the men obtained enough pills to be charged with trafficking, they had valid prescriptions from doctors and could only be charged with doctor shopping. That’s a lesser offense that usually results in probation rather than jail time. Police and prosecutors had hoped that jailing doctor-shopping patients for trafficking would chase drug addicts and dealers from South Florida’s pill mills, which have grown into the Southeast’s single biggest source of narcotic pills. […] Jason Blank, an assistant public defender in Broward who handled the cases, said prosecutions against dozens of pain clinic patients have been awaiting the ruling from the Fourth District Court of Appeals in West Palm Beach. “The state is going to have to … drop the trafficking charges in a lot of these cases,” Blank said. The ruling should tell authorities to focus on crimes by pain clinics and doctors rather than patients, he said. […] The appeals court agreed with Broward Circuit Judge Michele Towbin Singer that the men were obliged to tell the doctors about the drugs they had received and could be charged with withholding information from a physician – the legal term for doctor shopping – but were not shown to be trafficking. Both pleaded guilty and were sentenced to three years’ probation. The men’s lawyer contended they should be let off completely because they never lied to the doctors, who had failed to ask if they already received drugs elsewhere. But the judges disagreed, saying doing so would protect bad physicians.” The full story.

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What 1970s Reveal About Florida’s Future

More like sand piles

When even the Tampa Tribune, never known to be a left-wing paper, turns against Rick Scott, you know there’s something fishy in the water Scott is drinking. From a Tribune editorial: “Gov. Rick Scott’s “Regulatory Reform Transition Team” has proudly unveiled an ambitious plan to make the state business-friendly. The group apparently believes gutting environmental protections and any regulation that slows a development’s process will be good for business. Floridians have been down this road — with disastrous results. The perspective of the developer-dominated advisory team was evident in a PowerPoint presentation, where a slide claimed the state Department of Environmental Protection had gone from a mission of “protection” in the 1970s to one of “suppression” in the 2000s. Anyone who views the 1970s as the “good old days” either was not living here then or has conveniently forgotten about how indifference to the environment made a mess of the state. During the 2000s — when Republican appointees ran the DEP — the state enjoyed enormous growth. And when the recession hit, overbuilding caused Florida to take a harder fall than most states. Indeed, the New Yorker magazine, Wall Street Journal and other national publications highlighted how Florida’s feckless dependence on growth amounted to little more than an unsustainable Ponzi scheme. The recession’s hard lessons apparently were lost on Scott’s advisers, who not only want to curtail state regulations but would strip local governments of their own ability to protect valuable resources. […]

[In 1981], “Trouble in Paradise” by [Sports Illustrated writers] Robert H. Boyle and Rose Mary Mechem bluntly observed, “The sad fact is that Florida is going down the tube. Indeed, in no state is the environment being wrecked faster and on a larger scale.” It harshly summarized Florida’s self-destruction: “The key is water. For the last century, but particularly since World War II, federal and state agencies and a host of Floridians have been enthusiastically administering ecological enemas to marshes, swamps, wetlands and floodplains. Such areas cleanse water naturally, but now many have been drained to make way for cities, towns, housing developments, farms, industrial parks and shopping malls. This not only depletes the water storage capacity of the limestone aquifers below but also degrades the surface water. In many locations Floridians have, in essence, run a hose from their toilet to the kitchen faucet.” […] The article, and other damaging revelations about Florida’s widespread despoliation, so embarrassed former Gov. Bob Graham and state leaders that soon a series of thoughtful initiatives were launched to, among other things, save the Everglades, clean up estuaries, safeguard groundwater and curtail pollution of surface water. No longer are sand dunes cavalierly bulldozed to make way for a condo. […] Florida has come a long way since the Sports Illustrated article warned, “On the environmental front, the basic integrity of the state’s lands and waters is at stake.” But if it is Scott’s intent to undo that progress, then prospects for Florida economy and environment will be very grim.”

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  • The Full “Trouble in Paradise” Article

Alachua School Uniforms: A Good Fit?

From the Gainesville Sun: “More than six months after the Alachua County School Board enacted a uniform dress code policy, administrators say it is working — shown in the hallways and in the classrooms. Some parents and students are skeptical, citing unruly but well-dressed students and constant flouting of the stricter rules. The School Board in June 2010 passed the dress code policy in a 3-2 vote. […] More than 660 uniform dress code referrals have been issued since the start of the school year. The number of referrals spiked in November, with more than 198 students referred for breaking the uniform dress code. […] The previous policy mandated common decency, including skirts and shorts that reached mid-thigh, pants that did not sag and clothing free of profanity and sexual images. The current policy mandates solid-colored polos with collars or school-sponsored T-shirts with solid-colored and unadorned pants, skirts or shorts. “Unless you’re studying a small thing on their chest, across the boards, when you walk in the schools, everyone is much more professional looking,” [School Board member Carol] Oyenarte said. That’s the problem, Fort Clarke Middle School student Alex Sellers said. “It doesn’t change their test scores or their personalities,” he said. “It just changes how they look.” His mother, De Sellers, began giving away black “no uniforms” rubber wristbands akin to the yellow Livestrong bracelets. It started with a select group at Gainesville High, where Sellers’ older daughter attends school, but Sellers said the bands have been distributed to students in five different schools now. […] Alex Sellers said teachers at his school have resorted to “collar checks” during the cold weather snap. Students have been wearing contraband clothing under their coats, he said. Other school districts are considering moving to uniform policies, including Pinellas County, one of the largest districts in Florida. […] Alachua County’s uniform dress code is mild compared with Osceola County, which restricts colors to khaki, white and navy blue and mandates that belts be worn with pants with belt loops. Polk County has had a similar policy since 1999, which led to a lawsuit. Alachua County students may wear colors and jackets of their choosing.” The full story.

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Charting People Who Touch Your Junk

Thanks, as always, to Chart Porn.

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Video: Shel Silverstein Narrates The Giving Tree

From Open Culture: “Back in 1964, Shel Silverstein wrote The Giving Tree, a widely loved children’s book written now translated into more than 30 languages. It’s a story about the human condition, about giving and receiving, using and getting used, neediness and greediness, although many finer points of the story are open to interpretation. Today, we’re rewinding the videotape to 1973, when Silverstein’s little book was turned into a 10 minute animated film (now added to our free movie collection). Silverstein narrates the story himself and also plays the harmonica. Watch:

Christmas Rewind: Rylee’s Gifts

Rylee Macdonald with Flagler County Fire Department Lt. Brian Gilbert. (Click on the image for larger view)

There’s no rule that Christmas stories should run on or before Christmas. Here’s one we almost missed: 10-year old Rylee Macdonald spent six months collecting stuffed animals for to donate to children who are being transported to the hospital by paramedics. She’d initially started the project for her Girl Scout troop as a to give the animals to kids in need at the hospital. When that didn’t pan-out, she donated them to Flagler County Fire Department teams who transport pediatric patients–about 100 animals she’d collected from friends and families in her neighborhood. Stuffed animals play a crucial role between paramedics and children being transported: it changes their demeanor and helps break the tension between paramedics and children at an age where they are attached to their parents. Rylee, her mother Jennifer, sisters Madalyn and Ivy-Miah, and brother Tre` all got a tour of Flagler County Emergency Operations Center. The children were given a plastic fire helmet and enough fire education materials to share with all their friends at school. Rylee was also given a V.I.P Tour of the Dispatch Center, where all 911 calls are received, and all Fire and Police units are dispatched and tracked.

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Florida Hospital Flagler’s PR Push: Lindsay Rew

Lindsay Rew (Click on the image for larger view) Florida Hospital flagler volusia

Lindsay Rew (Click on the image for larger view)

Lindsay Rew has been working in PR at Florida Hospital Flagler since May 2007, when she joined the operation as a marketing coordinator. She was promoted to marketing manager in 2008 (she’d worked at the now-bankrupt Centex Properties before that). In the waning days of December the hospital announced that she would be elevated again to a slightly higher rung on the PR ladder: PR director for the six Florida Hospitals in the Flagler-Volusia County region (five in Volusia, one here). Her new assignment begins today. Rew, the news release from the hospital tells us, is a Palm Coast resident and graduate of the University of Florida in Gainesville and is currently pursuing her Master of Business Administration from Stetson University in DeLand. Congratulations.

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Palm Coast’s Holiday Joy Ride Saturday

So it looks like the “Holiday Joy Ride” is back on, without the holiday. The ride, you may recall, is one of those co-productions between the city of Palm Coast’s PR machine and one of its latest catches, in this case Renny Roker, the sometimes-actor, sometimes-businessman trying to fast-talk the city into building him a BMX track, and so far, with City Manager Jim Landon’s unilateral endorsement, succeeding. The “joy ride” was his bait, a way of drumming up attention and, he hopes, public support. It was scheduled for Dec. 18. Not enough people lined up. Thankfully, Roker and the city could blame it on the weather. So they’re doing it again Saturday, Erik Estrada permitting. The host of “The World’s Funniest Moments” may, Roker says, be starring in a BMX reality series set in Palm Coast, and for which Roker’s production company (that is, Roker himself) will be auditioning Saturday. The actual rides on the city’s trails and roads take place at 11 a.m. or 1 p.m. You can still decorate your bike and enter it in a contest. The International Mountain Bike Association and the Southern Off Road Mountain Bike Association will host clinics and show off their wares.

In his emails to press and sponsors, Roker writes: “We are producing portions of this event for a potential airing on David Letterman program. To alter this schedule could adversely affect our national TV production.” That leaves you with the vague impression that there is a “national TV production” afoot, and that Letterman is somehow involved. Not the case. Roker merely plans to gather as many people as possible in a bunch, hold up signs about themselves, and yell to the camera something to the effect that this is Palm Coast, then send the clip to Letterman as a response to Letterman’s own discovery of Palm Coast a couple of months back. Not a bad ploy, if you can keep up with the fast talking.

Here’s a map of the ride’s route (click on it for larger view):

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A Few Good Links

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3 Responses for “School Uniforms in Alachua, Rick Scott’s 70s Nostalgia, Junk-Touching Diagrammed: The Live Wire, Jan. 3”

  1. Jim Guines says:

    Once upon a time, Flagler Schools were way ahead of the game when it came to possibly passing a policy on uniforms, but they could not get the votes I guess they decided that that inovation was not for them. Maybe John Fisher will bring it up again as one of his special projects.

  2. Norma Finkelstein says:

    Seems that individuality and self expression are more important than focusing on education. Let Finland have the #1 spot, as well as all the other countries between that and #39. At least we’re not #40!
    Public education in this country needs to be its own entity, independent of political partisanship.

  3. Jeramy says:

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