The founder of ASK-GARY links the story, the editorial; the school tax does not earn much
Hotel developer and anti-vaccine activist
The irony struck me when I read two seemingly disparate articles in the Nov. 2 Herald-Tribune, “Controversial Hotel Development at South End of Siesta Key Gets Sarasota County Approval” and “Falling Immunization Rates in Florida Put Our Children at Risk.”
The developer of the seven-story hotel in question is Gary Kompothecras, founder of 1-800-ASK-GARY, a medical / legal counseling service.
More than two years ago, before anyone heard of COVID or focused on the currently raging debate over childhood immunizations, he was invited to a Sarasota Tiger Bay Club meeting to give another perspective on life-saving immunizations for children, sharing the stage with knowledgeable pediatric and health services. officials, who stressed the importance of these vaccinations.
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This anti-vaccination proponent stunned the clearly uncomfortable and embarrassed public by spitting out his paranoid right-wing conspiratorial rhetoric about the dangers and ills of these routine childhood disease prevention health practices, supplemented by baseless charts, but certainly colorful and graphic trying to influence and renew its position.
One can only hope that his proposal for a new hotel on Siesta Key is anchored on more solid ground. Ask Gary.
John Marggraf, Sarasota
Manatee District officials thank voters
On behalf of the more than 50,000 students and 6,600 school district staff, we humbly thank the citizens of Manatee County for their overwhelming support in Tuesday’s referendum election.
We are delighted that the Single Factory Extension will keep our students and schools competitive with neighboring school districts like Sarasota and Pinellas counties.
Special thanks to those who organized and contributed to the “Forward Manatee” citizen campaign, led by Co-Chairs Dr Denise Davis-Cotton and Ernie Withers, with the tireless help of Susan Harrigan, Ivory Matthews and Jackie Barron.
In addition, the renewal of this referendum would not have been possible without the approval and support of various organizations, including:
• Manatee Chamber of Commerce.
• Centraide Suncoast.
• Bradenton Region Economic Development Corporation.
• League of Women Voters.
• Coalition for Early Learning.
• Community Manatee Foundation.
• Exchange of Gulf Coast builders.
• Manatee Education Association.
• Neal communities.
• MCR Santé.
• C&M road builders.
• Medallion Houses.
• Jones Potato Farm.
• Public education defense fund.
• Schroeder manatee ranch.
• Woodruff and Sons.
• Decorative paving concepts.
• Westcoast Electric.
Thank you, County of Manatee.
The above letter was signed by Manatee County Schools Superintendent Cynthia Saunders, Manatee Education Association President Pat Barber and Manatee County School Board Members Charlie Kennedy (Chairman), Reverend James Golden ( vice-president), Chad Choate, Mary Foreman and Gina Messenger.
Commission ignores objections to hotel
I was saddened, but not surprised, to read in the Nov. 3 Herald-Tribune that the hotel and garage on Old Stickney Point Road had been approved by the Sarasota County Commission.
I sat in the bedrooms on November 2 for four hours until I was allowed to speak. I was the only speaker not living on Siesta Key who addressed the disastrous effects on traffic – not only on Stickney Point but also up and down the Tamiami Trail – that will result from a garage of over 200 spaces, with entrances and exits on Stickney Point.
This road is already congested. In season, it may take three traffic light cycles to turn left from Tamiami.
For those of us who pass through Tamiami on a daily basis to reach the shops and cultural venues north of Stickney Point, the traffic noise will be unbearable. Worse yet, if ambulances are blocked, lives could be lost.
Thanks to Commissioner Nancy Detert for voting against the hotel!
Ruth A. Brandwein, Sarasota
The tax will not move the needle in manatee schools
The renewal of the education tax on a mill in Manatee County on November 2 makes little difference. If You Always Do What You Always Did, You Always Get What You Always Got (“Voters Approve School Tax Extension Helps Reimburse Teachers,” Nov. 2.
Globally, the United States ranks 38th in math and 24th in science. Nationally, Florida ranks 22nd, based on ACT, SAT, and graduation rates.
China and India both have more above-average students than the overall U.S. school population
We use an agrarian school calendar, based on the needs of our country from the start. Study after study confirms that more time with instruction equals greater achievement. We should have at least 200 teaching days with equidistant breaks and a teaching model based on continuous improvement skills-based teaching.
There should be a close relationship between colleges of education and practitioners that does not currently exist.
Students should not be held in a discipline for a whole year and then fail. Students should be allowed additional time in areas after a trimester where proficiency has not been achieved.
So the extra 30 minutes of teaching time funded by property tax is a small start, barely enough to really make a significant difference.
George Byron Kenworthy, EdD, Bradenton
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