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Last updateThu, 20 Nov 2014 12am

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Serving alcohol sets poor example

The April 25, 2013 issue of Alachua County Today showed photographs of Mayor Coerper and Mayor Weller serving booze at The Great Outdoors Restaurant. Some people joke about the consumption of alcohol. But, thousands of people are killed every year by drunk drivers and millions of lives are ruined in other ways.

I was married to an alcoholic. I know firsthand about its devastating effects. My former wife became an alcoholic during her student days at UF. Thousands of naive, inexperienced youth could be influenced by the photographs in Alachua County Today.

I urge Mayor Coerper and Mayor Weller to think about what they have done. If they think about it they will realize that their egregiously poor behavior is directly opposed to the interest of their constituents.

Jody David Linch

High Springs, Fla.

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Ethics Guide for High Springs City Commissioners

There is a proposal before the High Springs City Commission: Resolution 2013-C. It was drawn up based on other cities’ codes to call for appropriate conduct and ethics for City Commissioners.

Why? Why is this an issue?

The reason is that one of our commissioners, Bob Barnas, has set up a website to “trash” citizens who do not agree with him.

Former High Springs Commissioner Eric May had a “blog.” There were two important features: accuracy and the opportunity for citizens to post their opinion agreeing or disagreeing with the information. May’s “blog” did not come before the Commission.

Why then does the community and some commissioners have a problem with Barnas’s website? It is filled with descriptions, including photos of people and their place of employment that he describes as “bi atche,” “witches,” “liars,” “gossips,” “bribers,” and insinuates three of the commissioners took action as political payback. And there is no way to give your side of the story on this website.

It is of benefit to our community to have intelligent discussion, different opinions, and an informed exchange of ideas. However, there is no intelligent benefit to “name calling.” My husband and I have put in hundreds of volunteer hours for our High Springs community. Barnas’s website calls me “a liar,” and says we have tried to take over James Paul Park, and we have “bribed three Commissioners.” None of that is true. We have campaigned for two of the current commissioners and bribed absolutely no one.

In my experience a leader is an articulate person, who listens respectfully to others, and has positive ideas. Mrs. Gestrin, during the debates at the Woman’s Club, called for a return to civility. I totally agree with her. There should be a culture of civility. Citizens should speak to the Commission with respect and the commissioners should look at the person talking and appear to listen. Unfortunately, when a citizen is not respectful, the commissioners (like teachers, health workers, police and firefighters) must take the higher road and remain respectful, not vengeful.

Mr. Barnas, we have such a marvelous community, filled with incredible people. Why not change your website to a “blog” and encourage bold, intellectual and factual discussion? Why not bolster and encourage, even cheer on our community volunteers? They are working at the theater, the parks, the schools, etc. Then you will be the constructive force of our community.

Linda Hewlett

High Springs, Fla.

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Rebirth needed in 21st Century Catholicism

Now that Pope Benedict XVI has resigned, and the cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are in conclave to select his successor, I offer the following comments and suggestions to a beleaguered and corrupt church as a way to effectuate a new modern age genesis.

First, the cardinals should choose a pontiff from a small country that has not been rocked by recent clergy sexual abuse scandals. Choosing Benedict’s successor from the Americas, England, Ireland, or from a European country will be totally unacceptable and unquestionably a travesty of justice.

Admittedly, all of the church’s cardinals are eminently aware of the church’s unspeakable cover-up of clergy sexual abuse crimes that have been committed over the centuries. However, a “conspiracy of indifference” has recently manifested itself to a much larger degree in certain countries of the world.

A cardinal from any of these countries should not receive any consideration as the next leader of the Catholic Church since each of these cardinals was actively involved to some extent in perpetuating the cover-up of sex crimes committed by members of the clergy in his respective jurisdiction or country.

Many cardinals were egregiously culpable in failing to report clergy sexual predators to the law and by reassigning these known predators from parish to parish instead of having them laicized (defrocked) from the priesthood.

Selecting a pontiff from an African country would be a wise choice since the church is growing on this continent despite the sex abuse scandals confronting the church all around the world. In addition, there is a rise in the number of individuals in Africa seeking the priesthood.

Once a new pope is selected, the first act on day one of his papacy should be to make the following statement to the world which I also challenged Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI to make during their individual reigns:

‘We, the popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests of the Roman Catholic Church, have been grievously and sinfully wrong since the beginning of the church’s history by protecting predator clerics at the expense of the victims of clergy sexual abuse. Humbly, we openly admit our culpability and, in professing our shame, ask for forgiveness from God and all humanity for the unspeakable crimes we have committed against sexually victimized children and their families throughout our history as a religious institution.”

On day two as pontiff, he should immediately take steps in rescinding the canonization process for Pope John Paul II since this pontiff failed to institute any meaningful action in addressing the clergy sexual abuse crisis confronting his church. Canonizing a person who had the ultimate responsibility as well as moral obligation of ridding the church of rapists of children, and who did very little, is unimaginable and outrageous.

I challenge the church’s new leader to have the courage to affect change in Catholicism by starting meaningful dialogue regarding married priests, the ordination of women priests, the taking of communion by Catholics at other Christian churches, and the taking of communion by members of other Christian denominations at Catholic Mass.

Priests were allowed to marry well into the 12th Century and women fulfilled the role of deacons in the early church. I implore the church to bring back these “Christian” practices to today’s church and go one bold step further by embracing women into the priesthood. It is simply the “Christian” thing to do!

Encouraging and allowing the sharing of communion among believers of the same Jesus Christ is a “no brainer.” It is simply the “Christian” thing to do!

It is time for renewal, reformation, and rebirth in the Catholic Church. It is simply the “Christian” thing to do!

Will the new pope have the courage to lead a broken and corrupt church into a new genesis of transparent righteousness? I can only hope and pray.

Robert W. Wilford

Alachua, Fla.

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Time for High Springs to move forward together

I commend Commissioner Barnas for apologizing to Suzie Clark.

There have been uncivil and even mean things said on both sides.  Well, the time has come for all character bashings to stop.

Stop the name calling.

Stop the blame game.

Stop trying to prove you are right.

Let the commissioners do their job without constant badgering from the constituents.

Even though I haven't lived in High Springs a long time, I remember when I came here seven years ago things were lot different.  People worked together.

Now it seems nobody wants to do anything because they are afraid of being criticized.

Let's face it folks - everyone makes mistakes.  To prove this is true, just look at your pencils and you'll find even you have used your erasers.  No one is perfect.  The big person corrects those mistakes and moves forward.

I am not sure how to turn all the negativity into something positive, but I do know that we have some extremely intelligent, hardworking and creative people in High Springs and their talents should be used for the good.

Mr. Barnas has taken a good first step.  Won't there be others of you who will follow that footstep?

 Arlene Levine

High Springs, Fla.

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Bullying in our schools

If we look back over the years, we will find that bullying is not new to any community or school. There has always been the class bully. There were some unique ways in which my father dealt with the situations that arose in relation to bullying. However, times have changed, and society has also changed, but the problem yet arises.

Many children are afraid to report the situation, yet there are some who are merely aware of the situation and not involved in the bullying. There was a recent episode in which a child was being bullying by most of her third grade class. The teacher was not aware because the child had a talkative personality and when she complained it was merely dismissed. The problem went unsolved until another student cried to her parents and revealed the problem. The parent of the student being bullied was not aware until those parents got involved and alerted them. A possible detrimental situation was avoided and the teacher was alerted.

Our children as a whole are wise and extremely astute. They seem to have some unique ideas that will help combat the bullying situation as a whole and I feel that we should give some serious ear time to their ideas.

It’s going to take parents, teachers, the community, the churches and other governing bodies to combat these issues. We all need to listen so we can avert the disasters accompanying bulling and help make Alachua schools and Alachua County a model.

The children of M.A.P. (The M.A.P. Muppets) are putting on a program co-sponsored by the Alachua County Library entitled : “If I Could Change the World...” This program features the children’s ideas and is a free event scheduled for Saturday, March 16 at the Alachua Branch Library at 11:30 a.m.

It has been reported that in the 2010-2011 school year there were 143 cases of bullying in our public schools. This meant that Alachua County had the 4th highest rate of bullying in the state, with one case for every 192 students. We want to make Alachua the best. Please come and join us.

Jacqui Moorer

Alachua, Fla.

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