I am writing to you regarding the hatchet job Emily Bliss performed on Apollo Middle School's principal ("We Have a Problem," March 29).
Let me ask you a question: If you had a daughter that came home with a sleazy picture -- and stated that someone in the faculty of her school had given it to her -- would you expect the principal to launch a very serious investigation? Is it possible that your daughter might have lied about where it came from? Sure! Is it that principal's responsibility to take immediate action on any and all information, and to delegate the investigation to the proper authority? Yes! Is it possible that this basketball coach asked the students to back her up? Hmmm... let me think about that one.... Yes!
So, with that single example, I can see right through you and the pitiful few teachers that have come forward to gossip about someone who wants nothing more than to maintain a school in these fiscally difficult times. What is your agenda? Do you simply want to take a vocal minority of troublemakers and ruin the career of an honest and sincere person? I have never seen a worse attack on an individual.
My child goes to Apollo Middle School. I attend almost every PTSA meeting at my child's school, and I have interacted with our principal on a number of occasions. She is always willing to stay after to speak with us and address specific concerns that a parent can have. My child doesn't attend a perfect school (whatever that is), but she does go to a safe school. She has the same advantages at Apollo Middle School as any child in Weston or Miami Lakes. As I read this story over with my daughter last night, I could see that it troubled her.
A child shoved a pencil up the nose of another child! How can the principal prevent this? Under the rules it is very hard to deal with problem children. These problems are better addressed by the school board, which could toughen the punishments that a principal, counselor, and teacher can provide.
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Free at last:
I wish your article about medicinal plants and David McLean had been more elaborate, with drawings of the plants ("State of the Garden," Paul J. Williams, March 22). There is a plant called iboga that grows mostly in equatorial Africa, Gabon and Senegal, maybe also in South America and the Caribbean. In Gabon the natives squeeze juice out of root shavings and administer it in initiation rites of passage from boyhood to manhood, a sort of bar mitzvah. It is slightly hallucinogenic and causes some vomiting but has been relatively safe throughout the centuries. It has been known in the U.S. for 35 years and was studied by the University of Miami Medical School from 1990 to 1995 to treat all kinds of addictions.
Patent quarrels over the pill form, ibogaine, brought research to a halt, when all they had to do is use the juice from the iboga root instead. Let us gather private and government funds and resume research trials using the juice of the iboga to treat all our drug, alcohol, and nicotine addicts, saving society a bundle and preventing human misery. Imagine all the prison and jail inmates, all the hookers, all the drug addicts of all kinds, all the A.A. members and DUIs... being safely administered iboga juice two days under medical supervision for pennies... then seeing the addictions and cravings disappear forever miraculously, with minimal counseling, without the pharmaceutical companies taking us to the cleaners!
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The Furs await:
Wanted to thank you for the article on the local music scene ("Rock in a Hard Place," Jeff Stratton, March 15). That was by far the best thing I've read about the scene in the year or so I've lived in South Florida and one of the best on music promotion that I've ever read.
I've been asking the same questions about the same artists and shows since I got here. After 17 years of going to largely indie/altrock shows in the Cambridge/ Boston area -- and then a couple of years of catching what I could in Tampa/St. Petersburg -- I wasn't prepared for SoFla and the dearth of good shows and venues. Just couldn't get over how dire the situation is down here. Stratton's article went a long way toward explaining why. I don't get out as much as I used to or follow bands with quite the same passion as before, but I still buy new music and try to support artists worth supporting.
Acts like Alejandro Escovedo (who I wanted to see but was too lazy to attend solo) or the Meat Puppets (out of town that week) still interest me. I did make it to the Southern Culture on the Skids show and managed to drag a couple of people out with me. Did Hall promote that one? I can't remember if he was the guy who took my money. Well, your piece has inspired me to do what I can to further support the local scene. So I guess there [was] no way out of the Psychedelic Furs show at Orbit -- ha ha.
Thanks again for an outstanding piece of writing. You could have published that in any national music rag, it was so well written and reported. Outstanding job. Keep up the good work!
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Coppers should do their job:
Emma Trelles' interesting article ("Street Life," February 15) drew interesting constructive comments, which shows that if we citizens got together to take control of our streets, we could implement solutions that work and are very inexpensive. Have you ever tried calling 911 as a nonemergency to report people selling drugs or prostituting in full view in front of your business or domicile? The police simply find it ridiculous receiving such calls,... as if to say "How dare you expect the police to perform real work?"
If you call from a payphone by an all-night eatery such as IHOP or Denny's, you will notice that none of the police cars parked nearby will move out to take care of business. After all, aren't they paid to conduct idle chat, eat all night long, and later collect fat pensions? My proposition: Fire the entire police department and let us hire 15 percent as many people, saving lots of taxpayers' dollars. The new cops might actually work instead of sitting, eating, chatting, et cetera. Right now we are getting robbed bigtime by the whole police department.
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