What parents dread
On May 22, we buried our son, Michael A. Agana, among family and friends who loved and admired him.
We have sadly endured what every parent dreads — the loss of a child — and although our hearts are aching, we are grateful for the outpouring of support the Tampa community gave to our son and our family during our most difficult moments.
We'd like to thank the good people who made rescue attempts at the accident scene and the Tampa Police Department for its rapid response. We'd also like to thank all the friends who visited, sent thoughts, cards, notes, flowers, donations, food and prayers, along with the doctors who treated Michael.
And finally, although there are many others who touched our lives during Michael's final days, we'd also like to thank the members of the Tampa news media who gave us our privacy when we asked for it.
It seems our mourning of our amazing son will never end, but we take refuge in knowing that he is now closer than ever with God.
Michael's life was a blessing to us and all who knew him, and words can never capture how much we will miss absolutely everything about him.
Alvin and Jennifer Agana
The AP article "How the term 'pink slime' entered the lexicon" (Business, May 29) raised several questions in my mind.
First, what is "pink slime"? Beef products' filler recaptured protein from trimmings that otherwise would have been discarded, and when added to ground beef, allowed the food service industry to increase the lean protein without raising costs.
Consumers included school districts, and via McDonald's and others, you and me. Not exactly Nobel-worthy, but by all accounts a useful product.
Of course all that changed when former U.S. Department of Agriculture microbiologist Gerald Zirnstein coined the term "pink slime" in a 2009 interview. As of today, Beef Products Inc. has had to close three plants, costing 650 people their jobs.
That got me wondering about Zirnstein's qualifications. I searched for peer-reviewed articles and found nothing. In fact, the only thing that floated to the surface were news articles about Zirnstein. It would appear that coining the term "pink slime" is his sole accomplishment, which may explain why he's a former USDA microbiologist.
We've seen his ilk before — just recall the Alar scare in which another "researcher" caused a panic that impacted apple producers and consumers for years.
So what should we call these purveyors of shoddy or non-existent research, whose only objective seems to be to make a name for themselves while screwing things up for the rest of us? I came up with the term "Frack-ademics."
It resonates, doesn't it?
Rights a two-way street
I guess I am just sick and tired of reading about the constant whining lately by people associated with the protest movement's "Resist the RNC" and the "Free Speech Project."
They are constantly complaining about the city infringing on their "civil rights." Well, grow up. What about the civil rights of the folks participating in the Republican National Convention itself, such as delegates, guests, RNC staff, etc.? What about their rights to be able to come and go as they want? What about their rights not to be harassed by protesters? Is anyone thinking of them?
This is a two-way street.
It seems to me that the mayor has bent over backward to accommodate protesters as it is, and they always seem to want the city do more. But in all this there is not a mention of the rights of the bona fide attendees.
Free speech does not mean everyone has to be subjected to people getting in their face because they disagree with them. This is, after all, a large event for Tampa, and they need to maintain some semblance of order and security as a top priority.
Welcome job creator
I read Frank Sargeant's "Pie in the Skyway?" (Outdoors, May 27) about Bill Blanchard's proposed Skyway Preserve Resort. It is certainly a welcome job creator of the first order in the weak economies of Hillsborough and Manatee counties.
Of further interest is the much-needed public boat launch ramp to relieve long boat travels in manatee-infested waters from the current isolated ramps.
The comments from the St. Petersburg-based Agency on Bay Management follows the usual environmentalist "no" outcry. I think it is time to create a more balanced and positive response for this and similar bay-area improvements, particularly when they don't require taxpayer support.
Sun City Center