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What You Missed This Week in La Gaceta

From As We Heard It, by Patrick Manteiga

► David A. Straz, Jr. had a very successful spaghetti feast on Sunday. It was attended by 250 to 300 people. It was part of his listening tour to hear what people want of their city and to see if there is support for him to run for mayor of Tampa. If Straz listened to that crowd, he’d file today.(to read more, buy a paper)

► Our Public Defender Julie Holt and the Hillsborough County School Board entered into a groundbreaking agreement to protect students’ civil rights in our schools.
When a student is going to be interrogated by law enforcement on campus, the Public Defender’s Office will provide an attorney to act as a student advocate if the student or the student’s parents or guardians make such a request.
The School Board also commits to train its personnel to notify students and parents of this right before being interviewed by law enforcement.
This is a necessary protection, as students in the past have offered false confessions and law enforcement has taken advantage of waiting to interview students on campus instead of in their homes in hopes of circumventing the students’ parents. …(to read more, buy a paper)

► There is a lot of advocacy in social media and in old fashioned protesting in regard to our public education system. It’s nice to see because this kind of pressure can cause changes, but we believe this pressure is aimed at the wrong targets. … If the teachers came out in these numbers to pressure Senators Dana Young and Bill Galvano during their campaigns or State Representatives Jackie Toledo, Jamie Grant, Ross Spano and Jake Raburn, they could have made big impressions in their races. These are the people who need to commit to increasing teacher pay. …(to read more, buy a paper)

► Congratulations to Mary Freeman for being honored with the President’s Award for her lifetime achievements from the Democratic Women’s Club of Upper Pinellas. It’s nice to see loyal Democrats honored for years of service and volunteering.(to read more, buy a paper)

► Last Friday, the last planned group of bronze busts were unveiled as part of the Downtown Riverwalk Historical Monument Trail. This group makes 30 monuments and completes the first phase.
Steve Anderson was the driving force behind the project since its inception over 10 years and deserves big thanks from the community. … inductees included: Victoriano Manteiga – (1894-1982) Prominent lector and founder and publisher of La Gaceta Newspaper and this writer’s grandfather.
Naturally, we are very proud of his accomplishments and our heritage.(to read more, buy a paper)

From Chairman of the Bored, by Gene Siudut

► … Not counting the unborn child killed inside the womb of Crystal Holcombe, who was also killed, the ages of the deceased ranged from 17 months to 77 years. I wish that were the most shockingly depressing sentence I’ve ever written, but these shootings happen so often, those 15 minutes in that church will be a distant memory once the next shooting happens.
Every time there is a shooting such as this, people offer their thoughts and prayers. I’d like for people to offer more, but at the moment, I will offer my thoughts and prayers as such:
Lord, I pray there is a hell, and my thoughts are that Devin Patrick Kelley needs to spend a lot more than 15 minutes there.(to read more, buy a paper)

From O’Pinions To Go, by Joe O’Neill

► Back in the day, President Ronald Reagan relied on an old school preparation device for his foreign negotiations, especially his summit sit-downs with Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev. He brought along index cards that he would keep nearby among his official papers and documents. It was a reminder of key points. Sort of shorthand for presidential cheat sheet.
Well, that was then – and that was Reagan, not exactly known as a detail wonk. We get it. Nothing left to chance. We also know that the ultimate fail-safe backup was Secretary of State George Shultz, who once had to provide cover when the president’s index cards fell on the floor – across from the Soviet delegation. Shultz seamlessly stepped in and advanced the U.S. talking points until the cards were recovered and rearranged. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From In Context, by Doris Weatherford

► Yes, I know I should have written this for last week’s column or maybe even the week before that, but we historians like to wait until things have settled. It turned out that no one chose to disrupt Halloween with genuine horror, which many feared. The date, however, meant more to me than Halloween as usual, as it was the 110th anniversary of my mother’s birth on a Minnesota farm. On October 31, 1907, she became the oldest of my grandparents’ eventual 12 children. Their parents had been immigrants from German-speaking provinces before there was a united Germany. Except for one family branch, they came from farming lands near the Baltic Sea, close to modern Denmark and Poland. …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Silhouettes, an interview with Rick Valdez, by Tiffany Razzano

► As a child growing up in West Tampa, Rick Valdez spent much of his free time playing baseball and other sports in local parks.
Decades later, his passion for physical activity and the outdoors endures – he’s recently been named director of the Hillsborough County Parks and Recreation Department.
“I’m a product of parks and rec. I was a parks kid growing up,” he said. “I personally know the difference playing sports made in my life, and I know the difference it makes in other kids’ lives. The impact we have on kids in the community is really special to me.” …(to read more, buy a paper)

From Líneas de la memoria, por Gabriel Cartaya

► … Conozco a Al Fox –como todos llaman a Alberto A. Fox Jr.- desde que comencé a trabajar en La Gaceta. En la primera conversación que sostuve con él, comprendí que Cuba constituye para él una pasión desbordada. Ha dedicado más de 15 años a luchar a favor de que las relaciones entre Estados Unidos y la Mayor de las Antillas sean normales, debidamente abiertas como con el resto del mundo, incluyendo países con sistemas políticos de orientación comunista, como es el caso de China o Vietnan.
En ese esfuerzo, en 2001 creó la “Fundación Alianza para una Política Responsable hacia Cuba”, ha visitado numerosas veces La Habana, ha propiciado los intercambios de delegaciones culturales y empresariales entre la ciudad de Tampa y la Isla, ha influido en la firma de acuerdos de colaboración entre ambos países y fue una figura importante en el acercamiento que se produjo entre los dos gobiernos en el último tiempo del gobierno de Barack Obama.
Ahora, cuando ha retrocedido el nivel de relaciones entre Estados Unidos y Cuba, por intereses políticos que desconocen el verdadero latido de ambos pueblos, Al Fox ha vuelto a La Habana con una pequeña delegación de Tampa y Saint Petersburg, insistiendo en su convicción de que lo mejor para los cubanos, para los tampeños, para los estadounidenses y para todo el mundo, es que, respetando la diversidad de pensamiento, de estructuras políticas y de decisiones nacionales, se fortalezcan verdaderas relaciones de intercambio y amistad entre los dos gobiernos, porque sólo así estarían cumpliendo con el deseo del pueblo a quien deben representar. … (to read more, buy a paper)

From Briznas culturales, por Leonardo Venta

► … Un día como hoy, del 2005, Fernando Bujones –vencedor de múltiples lides contra las fuerzas del mal para salvar cautivos cisnes sobre el escenario– sucumbió en el Hospital Jackson Memorial de Miami, a los cincuenta años, a causa de una fatal emboscada montada por un agresivo cáncer.
Bujones –calificado por la crítica de danza del New York Times, Anna Kisselgoff, como “el mejor bailarín norteamericano de su generación”– nació el 9 de marzo de 1955 en la ciudad de Miami. Sus padres, cubanos, decidieron regresar a su patria cuando él tenía siete años. Es allí donde comenzó su formación como bailarín con el Ballet Nacional de Cuba …(to read more, buy a paper)

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