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Today's Opinions

  • Pearl Harbor Day, does anyone care?

    Today is Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Does anyone care?

    There are tons of written information, movies and historical information on the sneak attack perpetrated against the U.S. 7th Fleet and other military installations on the island of Oahu, Territory of Hawaii, on Dec. 7, 1941, by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

    It was a Sunday morning, much like this Sunday morning Dec. 3 at 7:50 a.m. as I try to put into words why remembering Pearl Harbor is so important these 76 years later. It is important for many reasons pertaining to national security, public policy, foreign affairs and many, many other governmental decisions. On that sleepy Sunday morning, the Japanese bombers from the “land of the rising sun” laid waste to the U.S. 7th Fleet and killed 2,403 Americans. That was the dawning of the era in which the United States became the dominant world power.

  • Still much work to be done to protect manatees

    Earlier this year, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service downgraded the West Indian manatee’s Endangered Species Act status from endangered to threatened.

    Although Save the Manatee Club believes that the species is endangered throughout a significant portion of its range, we are most concerned that downlisting will give the public and policymakers the impression that their work to protect the manatee is complete. Such an attitude risks undoing decades of effort and hard-won gains to conserve Florida’s treasured marine mammal and leaves us far from what is still needed to ensure the species’ recovery and long-term survival.

    Recent years have seen record manatee deaths from new and increasing threats, including extreme cold events, red tide outbreaks, and a still-unexplained unusual mortality event on the Indian River Lagoon. Last year, an unprecedented 104 manatees died from impacts with watercraft, and 2017 is closing in on yet another manatee watercraft mortality and injury record.

  • Happy Thanksgiving

    I suppose I should write a Thanksgiving column about all the things for which I am thankful. I’m probably not going to do that. First, there is not enough space for such a list. Second, I take for granted most of the things that should be on the list and I can’t think of a single one of them right now.

    There is the obvious; my wife. I’m deeply in love my wife and am very thankful for her. She recently returned from a weeklong trip from visiting her sister in South Carolina. I’m glad she’s back. I don’t do well when she’s gone. I’m barely functional.

    My wife is very supportive of me regardless of how stupid she thinks I’m being or how stupid that thing is that I’m doing. I'm not admitting to stupidity, mind you, but I am a man and based on recent revelations and allegations of sexual misconduct, men do seem to be generally stupid.

    Have you seen any of those guys? I believe the women because those men ain’t handsome.

  • Our own hidden treasure

    Henry David Thoreau said, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”

    We are so lucky and I am so grateful to have in our midst the Nature Coast State Trail. It is truly a part of the preservation of Florida’s Nature Coast.

    Like the springs throughout this area, the trail is one of the best kept secrets for easy and close contact with nature. It is a valuable asset for recreation and eco-friendly transportation, and I along with my better half and our two dogs use it every day as part of our exercise routine.

    The trail is a long skinny extension of the state park system that connects Trenton, Chiefland and Cross City. It offers a peaceful break from the hectic pace of life where you can walk, skate, ride your bicycle, horse or skateboard without the danger of highway traffic as motorized vehicles are strictly prohibited along the well maintained and paved reclaimed railway bed.

  • Thank vets, thank their families too

    Last week, I used the Opinion page to reprint a story I wrote in 2005 for the Cleveland (Tennessee) Daily Banner. The story was about William “Bill” Norwood, a former POW held captive by the North Koreans during the Korean War. This story is about his wife, Liz, that I wrote five years later in 2010.

    I want you to read this story because spouses do not get the recognition they deserve.

    --

    Liz did not know Bill before he joined the Army. She didn’t know how captivity in a North Korean prisoner of war camp affected him, but she did see how the war and being held captive by the enemy changed her neighbor and she knew being married to a former prisoner of war wouldn’t be easy.

    Her neighbor was in the same prison camp as William “Bill” Norwood. “I knew the neighbor next door and he’d been back. I didn’t have a clue I’d ever marry someone that far away, me in Kentucky and him in Tennessee. It just worked out. It was the way it was meant to be,” she said.

  • Picking trash in Levy County Part 4: Good citizens

    By Ed Emrich

    I hate trash. l know that’s a bold statement in these days of political correctness when you are not allowed to hate anything. But, really I do! I’m just being honest with you.

    My father instilled the notion in me that trash discarded by thoughtless people is wrong at a basic level and it chews up so many of our local resources to clean it up, money that could be better used to fix bridges or pave roads.

    I hate trash, but I love this area so I am willing to do something about it by safely picking trash along my road in my community in my state. It’s a monthly effort to give something back and to help keep the Nature Coast natural. But, picking trash is not for the faint of heart. It is truly disgusting what some people throw out of the windows of their vehicles or stop and dump along the road. When you pick trash, you see the seedy underbelly of society in full bloom. You see the chaotic and wasteful way that some people live ... by desensitizing or self-medicating with alcohol, tobacco, sugar, fast food and the broken dreams of a winning lottery ticket.

  • Are former Prisoners of War ever really free?

    I originally planned on writing something silly as I often do until I went to the Veterans Day luncheon Friday in the Haven Community Center. There are many things wrong with the United States of America, but there are many more things that are good and those good things far outweigh the bad.

    When the Pledge of Allegiance was spoken and the National Anthem was sung Friday, veterans with crooked backs, stood. Veterans in wheelchairs sat more erect and regardless of their condition, saluted, recited the pledge and then sung the anthem.

    The contrast between the men and women who sacrificed their health for their country and able-bodied professional football players was striking.

    I understand why they took a knee. Issues being ignored need to be addressed and talked about. However, we’re not talking about racism, police shootings, church shooting, school shootings, workplace shootings, black on black violence, white on white violence, black on white or white on black — we are only talking about the protest.

  • Was it a UFO or an Air Force refueling operation?

    Between 1952 and 1969, the U.S. Air Force conducted a study of UFO sightings known as “Project Blue Book.”

    Project Blue Book goals were to scientifically analyze UFO data and to determine if UFOs were a national security threat. In those 17 years, more than 12,000 reported UFO sightings were analyzed. Most of the “UFOs” were explained away as known aircraft or naturally occurring phenomenon.

    The project ended in 1969, when it was concluded there was nothing anomalous or dangerous about the reported UFOs and that there was no evidence that any of the UFOs were in fact extraterrestrial, according to the history website Fold3.com.

    One sighting was reported on a late Sunday night at about 10 p.m. Oct. 30, 1955, in Williston by a police officer whose name was redacted from the report. The officer was 40 years old and had attained a fifth-grade education.

    The report noted the “Source gave much thought to each question and asked and seems fairly sure of his answers. In the opinion of the investigator, source was fairly reliable.”