Friday, January 21, 2022

Experts Warn FL Parents about Blue-Light Exposure, Excess Screen Time


Florida News Connection

Originally Posted on: January 19, 2022

By: Mark Richardson

The pandemic shows no signs of ending soon, and with working from home and distance learning still a reality for many Florida households, health experts are concerned about the mental, social and physical health of children using digital devices. That includes the possible damaging effects of blue-light exposure.

Scott Edmonds, chief eye-care officer at United Healthcare, said blue light is a low-wavelength, high-energy light that can boost a person's alertness. However, doctors and researchers are concerned about the effects it can have over time.

"Research shows it's toxic to the retina," he said. "It causes the retina to change its metabolism and, over the long term, could lead to retinal damage."

Experts have said the best ways to reduce blue-light impact is to keep screens at least 30 inches away from your eyes and to use a blue-light filter or glasses. Another recommendation is the "20-20-20" rule - after 20 minutes of computer work, take 20 seconds to look at something that's 20 feet away.

Studies regarding the dangers of too much screen time find other side effects, including poor mental health and not enough physical activity. Ilana Lowery, director of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit that reviews online materials aimed at kids, stresses the need for children to develop one-on-one social skills.

"When you can learn to be a critical thinker from a very young age, that sticks with you," she said. "You can't always do that when you're just watching TikTok challenges and stuff like that. When you have face time with people, you learn how to be social, you learn how to interact."

Lowery said it's important that parents who want their kids to cut down on screen time set a good example.

"It's critical, really, for families to think about how they use media as a family," she said, "and I think it's really important for parents or caregivers to model the behavior that they want their kids to have."

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the
The Trust Project.

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Grocery Shortage: Supply Chain, Omicron, Transportation Issues, Weather and Climate Change or Are They Really Just Resetting Your Expectations?



Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin  

If you have been to your local grocery store in the last few days you've probably noticed all those empty shells in the grocery aisles. It seems that there are a lot of grocery items that are short supply.

For some insight on the grocery shortages check out this article From NPR By Joe Hernandez: Grocery store shortages are back. Here are some of the reasons why.

If you happen to shop in one of the large megastores like Walmart or Target and wander through the rest of the general merchandise portion of the store you will also notice a number of empty shelves.

There is no doubt, that we are experiencing issues in all those items in the title of this Post.

The grocery issue is most concerning to me. Given the fact that the grocery industry and the food distribution system in this country have been viable for decades and has managed to cope with a seeming unending number of crises, why suddenly are we seeing these empty shelves at the grocery store?

There's no doubt that some of it is due to supply chain issues, the current state of employment in our country, and perhaps to some small degree weather issues.

During your grocery shopping trips, I'm sure you, like everybody else, have noticed that prices are increasing. Everyone seems to be blaming inflation as the as the cause for rising grocery prices.

You may have also noticed that every time these empty shells are restocked the prices are higher.

Here is a look at Grocery sales and profits from the National Grocery Association (nga) Independent Grocers Reach Record Sales and Profits.

If you're like me, I don't normally pay a whole lot of attention to the price when I find a commodity item back in stock in my local grocery store. I just grab it go to the checkout pay the price.

I can't help but wonder if it's just possible that the grocery industry is using shortages and empty shelves to ease these price increases into place.

It wouldn't be the first-time shortages have been used to justify price increases.

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Friday, January 14, 2022

Dems, Advocates Urge More Public Input in FL Redistricting

Florida News Connection
Originally Posted January 12, 2022

By: Trimmel Gomes

On the Florida Legislature's opening day, House leaders scheduled separate redistricting committee meetings at the same time - and critics blasted it as another attempt to limit public input.

Republicans in the Florida House, who control the process of drawing new congressional and legislative district boundaries, held meetings Tuesday, specifically for public comment - but both were at 4 p.m. What was scheduled as a two-hour meeting ended in just eight minutes, after only two county commissioners spoke about the redistricting process.

Just before adjournment, state Rep. Dan Daley, D-Coral Springs, called on acting chairman, Republican Cord Byrd, R-Neptune Beach, to make a change.

"I can't help but wonder if there are folks who are currently in the congressional redistricting committee, that was noticed at the same exact time, that are not here today," Daley said. "So, in the future, if we can just make sure we put them at separate times, I'd like to reiterate that request again. Thanks Mr. Chair."

Byrd thanked Daley, adding that he would "be certain" to pass on Daley's comments to House Redistricting Committee Chair Tom Leek, R-Ormond Beach.

The Fair Districts Coalition, which includes such advocacy groups as the League of Women Voters and Florida Conservation Voters, had sent a letter to Leek, protesting having less than a week's notice for the meeting, as well as the geographical limitations and lack of accommodations for anyone with COVID-19 concerns.

The House State Legislative Redistricting Subcommittee was mostly empty, something Acting Chairman Byrd didn't seem to acknowledge in his closing remarks.

"I'd like to thank all members of the public that traveled here today to share your thoughts on the workshop maps and the redistricting process," he said. "I look forward to this next stage of our process."

On Monday, two bipartisan Senate subcommittees advanced four redistricting maps with almost no public testimony. The maps are poised for a vote on Thursday, even as groups urging fair representation call foul.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member 

Sunday, January 9, 2022

Mayor Ken Welch - Now the Work Begins


WEST COAST        
Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin  

Now that Ken Welch has been sworn in as Saint Petersburg’s next Mayor, he will have to hit the ground running.

He's off to a pretty good start, picking his top city staff consisting of Stephanie Owens, Janelle Irwin Taylor, Tom Green and Doyle Walsh. It looks like a good team to me, and you can get more details on the new Mayor’s top staff from the Tampa Bay Times by: Colleen Wright: Meet incoming Saint Petersburg Mayor Ken Welsh's top City Hall administrators.

Ken Welch brings a wealth of political experience to the Saint Pete Mayor's office. Where he may come up a bit short is in the area of functional business management.

The City of Saint Petersburg is a very large business. Employing nearly 2800 people and providing services ranging from streets, roads, water and sewer services to law enforcement, the breadth and depth of management problems are an ongoing concern. The new Mayor will quickly find that day to day operational issues require an ongoing level of his attention.

Here are just a few of the critical issues the new Mayor faces:

  • The Tampa Bay Rays
  • Tropicana Field redevelopment
  • Crime
  • Rent control
  • Reparations
  • Climate change
  • Coastal flooding
  • Transportation
  • Police reform
  • Racism
  • Fair representation for the whole city
  • Staffing as retirements increase

Then there is the whole issue of dealing with a contentious City Council. See the Tampa Bay Times By: Colleen Wright: St. Petersburg’s new City Council avoids a coin flip to pick chair, vice chair.

My predictions are that the new Mayor will not put up much of a struggle as the Rays work to leave Saint Petersburg for Hillsborough County and more than likely a split season with Montreal. He will dump the developer picked by former Mayor Kriseman and revisit the whole Tropicana Field redevelopment issue with a sidebar emphasis on moderate - and low-income housing in the redevelopment area as an attempt to work through the very contentious issue of reparations.

If the new Mayor decides to make a major run at some form of rent control in Saint Petersburg, he will more than likely attract a time-consuming level of attention from the legislature and possibly even Governor DeSantis himself as he ramps up his campaign for reelection. I see the chances for a formal form of rent control as very slim at this point.

As flooding continues to increase in the northeast portion of Saint Petersburg, there will be more calls for some sort of action on the City's part. Should we have a bad spring storm season, and/or an aggressive hurricane season these problems could become a major issue for the new Mayor.

Ken Welch has spent his entire political career, in an elected Commission roll where the primary responsibility is developing policy and procedure. In his new role as Saint Petersburg Mayor, he's the person everybody holds responsible for everything that goes wrong and gets little credit for those things that go right.

It will be a major gear shift for the long-time Pinellas County politician. As the Mayor, you don't enjoy the privilege of pushing your chair back from the dais and letting the rest of your City Council do the hard work. The job is pretty much 24 hours a day seven days a week.

Is he up to the challenge? Time will tell.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook  (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share o  Facebook , follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

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Friday, January 7, 2022

Abortion Among Big Issues to Watch in FL 2022 Legislature


Florida News Connection

By: Trimmel Gomes

As the U.S. Supreme Court deliberates the latest challenge to Roe v. Wade, new abortion laws are already in the works ahead of Florida's upcoming legislative session.

Encouraged by possible federal changes, conservatives are moving full speed ahead in the Statehouse with proposals like House Bill 167, which would require doctors to conduct a test and inform a pregnant person of a heartbeat.

Lillian Tamayo, who recently announced her retirement as president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of South, East and North Florida after 22 years, said on the Sunrise podcast, she is going into her final legislative session ready to fight.

"Doubling down on all the effort of assuring that we continue to provide healthcare to our patients, to keep our doors open," Tamayo stated.

The Texas-style "heartbeat bill," sponsored by Rep. Webster Barnaby, R-Deltona, would also allow people to sue physicians, clinics and anyone who helps someone else obtain an abortion. Florida's 60-day legislative session begins Tuesday.

Tamayo described her departure from Planned Parenthood as bittersweet. She noted despite increased efforts to overturn Roe v. Wade, the battle has always been constant in her eyes, although she calls this a "red alert moment" for pro-choice advocates.

"To stand in solidarity and to fight for justice, that is the work ahead and the work that I will imagine I will continue to do in a different way, following my departure," Tamayo emphasized.

So far, Florida's GOP leaders have not signaled much support for the Texas-style abortion bill. But Democrats have countered by filing legislation, including House Bill 709 and Senate Bill 1036, to bar any individual, state or local government from interfering with a person's right to seek an abortion, including legal penalties for doing so.

Content for this Post is provided by Florida News Connection, a Bureau of Public News Service.  Public News Service is a member of the The Trust Project.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Sunday, January 2, 2022

2022 New Things to Consider – The Electric Vehicle

WEST COAST        

Opinion by:  
E. Eugene Webb PhD
In Search of Robin  

The new year is here, and you may have a list of New Year's resolutions you're going to start working on.

If you're concerned about climate change and global warming, one of the things that may be on your list of New Year's resolutions is acquiring an electric vehicle. It may be a car, an SUV, a pickup truck, or a new delivery vehicle for one or more of your businesses.

If an electric vehicle, or an EV as they're now being called, is high up on your list, you may want to check out our series of posts entitled the Electric Vehicle Revolution.

In this series of posts, we look at electric vehicle hazards, things you need to know about driving around with electric vehicles, and perhaps most interestingly we take a look at what kids should know about electric vehicles and finally, things to consider in an electric vehicle purchase.

The electric vehicle is going to literally revolutionize are driving, bicycle riding, and walking going forward. The way we approach the world of vehicle traffic will change primarily because of one unique electric vehicle characteristic. And that characteristic is simply silence.

Virtually all of us have spent our entire lives with both a visual and an audible sense of vehicular traffic. As the number of electrically powered vehicles on our streets, highways and interstates grow, we will be able to depend less and less on our audible senses for a perception of what is occurring around us. That one characteristic will affect all of those around us when we drive or are around an electric vehicle.

There is little doubt that the electric vehicle will revolutionize how we drive and how we commute. But the immediate question is. How do we coexist with the fossil fuel powered vehicle and the electrically powered vehicle on our roads, streets and highways?

Join me beginning with the new year in a review of our four post series entitled The Electric Vehicle Revolution: Buying, Driving, And Living With Electric Vehicles.

These posts could save you a lot of money, a lot of grief and perhaps a lot of heartbreak.

E-mail Doc at mail to: or send me a Facebook  (E. Eugene Webb) Friend request. Like or share on  Facebook , follow me on TWITTER  @DOC ON THE BAY.

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Saturday, January 1, 2022

Start 2022 off Right with January 1 Prayer Pod

 These days you may find yourself wanting to turn to God in prayer more often. I hope you find Prayer Pods helpful in your prayer life during 2022

January 1
Prayer Pod

We all want to pray but sometimes we find it difficult to begin our prayer.  Many Pastors and Ministers suggest you begin your prayer by praying back God’s words from Scripture.

These daily prayer PODs are constructed to help you in your prayer life.

January 1
Pray: Lord hear Your words: Psalm 7:17 I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High

Lord hear my request: (Say your needs, wants, fears, thanksgivings) -  In Jesus name I pray – Amen.


You can find Prayer Pods every day at: or just click the Prayer Pod graphic over there.