Letters to the Editor – November 12, 2021

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Explore other uses

I congratulate the city on the possible creation of a new cultural and community center, which would be a joint venture between the University of Florida and Gainesville in the former Fire Station 1 on Main Street. However, I think the city should explore other possible uses for this property before committing to spending millions on a renovation project.

The fire station is a unique but unattractive building. The layout is specially designed for rapid movement of firefighting equipment and personnel. In all likelihood, the barracks will not offer the versatility that should be considered, due to the lack of precise information on the future projected uses of the property.

If a specific use for this building is not identified, it may be better to raise the fire station and develop a more versatile building, which will satisfy a variety of places. Perhaps the replacement building should have architectural significance to complement other large buildings nearby like the Hippodrome State Theater, the courthouse or the recently renovated Masonic Lodge. The nicer our downtown, the more likely it is to attract visitors, businesses and developers.

Or maybe if we sold the fire station to the developer of Lot 10 AMJ and provided sufficient grants, the city could raise a few hundred thousand dollars for the property.

John J. Wernery, Gainesville

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Attack on academic freedom

During the Dark Days (1950s-60s), the Johns Committee attacked the faculty of the University of Florida, focusing first on “Communists” and then on homosexuals. (Visit the Matheson Museum for history.) Then you have the impact of segregationists over the decades.

Fast forward to today and academic freedom is once again on the chopping block. I was appalled by the hasty appointment of Dr Joseph Ladapo to a term without faculty input, and then by his fast track to the post of State Surgeon General.

And now UF faculty members are barred from engaging in the sacred activities of presenting rigorous scientific findings in court. This is an attack on academic freedom and freedom of expression and will have a lasting impact on all Floridians. Donors to UF must be careful!

Kristina Fields, Gainesville

Useful information needed

The Ocala medical meeting reported in the Sunday newspaper is not a “battle of good versus evil”, it is about following science or one’s emotions.

Your continued broad coverage of the emotions of a small group of doctors without a balanced number of reports or the science does not help our community understand that getting the COVID-19 vaccine in this public health emergency is important to health, the security and economy of our community – as well as our ability to return to “normal” life.

There are over 985,000 practicing physicians in the United States and less than 800 in Ocala. Please report this less as a horse race and more as acknowledging that we need useful information.

Alice Hadley, Gainesville

Other coach recruits

I don’t know if anyone has watched, but Dan Mullen’s good years at UF have been with players recruited by Jim McElwain and Will Muschamp. Right now the offensive and defensive lines are made up of undersized players and the linebacker body can’t run and doesn’t know where to go.

The only guys Muschamp and McElwain couldn’t recruit were quarterbacks. It doesn’t help much that Mullen can be a quarterback guru if he can’t recruit all the other guys. The reason the Gators are losing now and lost last year is that their big guys aren’t big.

George Barnett, Micanopy

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