Last week: What a week for news! IBM eliminating medical benefits for retirees as they will now be eligible for the health care exchanges sounded the bell that health care reforms are starting to be implemented and the effects are coming in ways people hadn't thought.
Looking ahead: Preventing child abuse. This not just the Department of Children and Family’s responsibility, we all share a piece of this. My heart breaks every day when I read in the paper about another horrific tragedy for one of our own children in this community. How can we help stop this? What will it take?
Last week: Go Diana Nyad Go!!! She is an inspiration to us all with her perseverance, teamwork, focus, strength, and courage. She chased a dream for decades that we all shared. She gives us hope that we can summon that perseverance in our every day lives for the dreams that we have too!
Looking ahead: We need to be talking about ensuring our economic recovery remains strong and stable. Housing prices continue to rise, auto sales are positive and hiring/employment numbers are starting to grow. But the situation is still tenuous and requires our attention especially for a healthy recovery here in South Florida.
Last week: In this last week we recognized and remembered the anniversaries of two devastating hurricanes, Andrew and Katrina. Both completely changed the way we prepare for, respond to and ultimately rebuild from disasters both as individuals and communities. Entering the most volatile storm period of the year, we are reminded to make sure we are prepared and ready!
Looking ahead: This week I am in Peru visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley in the region of Cusco. I had the privilege of meeting the President of the region of Cusco, Peru and am struck by the challenges he is managing. This amazing place is clearly focusing on preserving the rich culture and heritage of its people along with the historical significance of the Inca ruins while meeting the demands of visitors worldwide to experience this place and economic pressures to provide more work and opportunities to its people.
Last week: I am in awe of the elementary school clerk whose courage and strength talked down an armed gunman and protected hundreds of children from harm. I think we all wish and hope that we might be able to muster that if put in a situation. Antoinette Tuff did it and reminded us that we have the power and ability to fight and protect what is important. Thank you, Ms. Tuff.
Next week: President Obama embarked on a bus tour this week and part of the trip focuses on higher education. He is proposing a rating system for colleges based on various outcomes and linking financial aid to those ratings. Higher education is critical to our state's economic growth and to the success of hundreds of thousands of Floridians. We need to watch these proposals and evaluate their effect on our public and private institutions as well as the needs of our students.
Last week: Shark Week!!! This has become an international phenomenon! Sharks are an integral piece of the oceans’ ecosystem. Helping to study and understand them helps us do a better job protecting sharks, as well as their habitats and environment both locally and on a global basis.
Looking ahead: Back to school! In the next couple of weeks our young people will be starting and returning to school. This is such an exciting time for parents and children, too. Our teachers and educators bear a tremendous responsibility by taking on the care and development of our kids. We need to be talking about and understanding how our education systems grow and develop to meet the
Last week: In recent weeks we have seen several frightening and tragic accidents occur with the modes of transportation on which we depend - planes, trains and buses. In many ways we take the ease of travel for granted. We need be vigilent that the equipment is well maintained, those individuals operating the equipment are extremely well trained, that the latest technologies are utilized, and that there are adequate oversight systems in place to ensure the highest degree of safety.
Looking ahead: I think the economic recovery is something that we have to keep our eyes laser focused on. We are seeing a steady increase in home prices and some recovery in the job market. Also our region's economic development organizations are having success attracting new companies to the region. This weekend parents will be shopping for school supplies and school clothes, so hopefully we will see spending boosts locally as well. But we are not out of the woods and we need to discuss what we can do to help with the recovery and what the government should be doing.
Last week: This week, I am attending an institute for higher education administrators at Harvard. One of the hot topics was the New York Times article on the increase in cyber attacks on the computer systems at research universities. These attacks are coming primarily from China and number in the millions each week. Florida is home to several research universities and these attacks require tremendous protection and investments in technological infrastructure.
Looking ahead: Seeing the smoke stacks come down at the FP&L Plant in Port Everglades is very exciting for our community. It will be interesting to learn more about the new technology that will power Fort Lauderdale.
Last week: The shareholders' approval of the Office Depot/Office Max merger this week is important news for our region. The next steps include identifying a CEO and selecting a home for the corporate headquarters. We certainly want and need them to stay in S. Florida.
Looking ahead: The availability of prescription pain medications continues to plague our community. Many community based organizations and local law enforcement members have fought hard to ensure tougher laws, reduce pain clinics and implement a statewide database. But each day we are reminded of the addictions people are battling and the devastating effects on their families. We also still see and hear how readily available these drugs are. We have to keep talking about drug addition - the availability of both legal and illegal drugs and how we can continue to work to reduce this chokehold on many of our neighbors, coworkers, and family members.
Last week: This week in the news we were constantly reminded of the courage and bravery embedded in our first responders and service men and women. The tragic loss of 19 firefighters in Arizona demonstrated the dangerous situations our first responders and armed forces encounter daily. The 4th of July coverage reinforced this and I want to express my gratitude and admiration for their bravery.
Looking ahead: With the near abduction of a young girl right in Fort Lauderdale, I hope we will talk about how we can continue to improve the protection of our community's children. Parents, law enforcement, schools, local agencies and faith based organizations are all keeping watch over our children. But the perpetrators continue to get more aggressive.
Looking ahead: This week I join the citizens of South Africa and the rest of the world in praying for Nelson Mandela and his family. His courage, strength and conviction exemplify a purity of heart and purpose most of us can only hope to achieve. Our world is changed for the better because of him and I want him to know that he matters to us here in South Florida.
Last week: This past week the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a case challenging race-conscious admissions at universities. There are opinions on all sides of this issue. Here in South Florida, I see our colleges and universities committed to maintaining and enhancing diverse student bodies while enhancing access to educational opportunities. This makes makes our colleges and universities true places of learning, tolerance and discovery.
Looking ahead: The proposed Office Depot/Office Max merger will have an impact on Palm Beach County and Boca Raton. Office Depot shareholders meet July 10 to vote on the merger and their annual shareholders' meeting takes place August 21. Office Depot is a wonderful community partner, strong economic force, and large employer. Where the company makes its permanent home is still up for consideration. I hope they choose to stay in S. Florida.
Last week’s headline: The Pentagon is considering combat roles for women in elite forces. We know that women have been a crucial part of the forces serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Women are already involved in combat assignments in a variety of ways. I appreciate the thoughtful and deliberative process the Pentagon is demonstrating in their consideration of this significant change.
June 16, 2013
Last Week: The story of Edward Snowden. I think that while we inherently suspect that all of this information is accessible, this week we are reminded that in fact it is. This causes conflict as we want those who seek to break the law, use our identities and plot attacks on our country to be caught in the nick of time. But we want privacy for our own information and communications. There is not an easy or clear answer on this.
Looking Ahead: What type of job and internship opportunities are available this summer for teens in high school and young adults in college?Copyright © 2015, CT Now