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Informed Personalities from Across the State, Across the Spectrum
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“I want to connect the dots, in a unique way that makes readers think."
Thursday, August 16, 2012 — Rick Outzen

The phone call has become all too common for Coach Lumon May. Over his 20-plus years of coaching young kids from the poorest neighborhoods of Escambia County, May has helped hundreds of boys and girls deal with the realities of poverty. A few, like Trent Richardson, the third pick in the recent NFL draft, achieved athletic success.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012 — Rick Outzen

Last week, St. Joseph School in Greenville, Miss. was destroyed by fire. The 62-year-old, red-brick high school played a key role in my life. My father was in the first graduating class -- in the top five of a class of five. I graduated 25 years later, at the top of a class of 48 students, many of whom were second-generation Italian- and Lebanese-Americans.

The school is embedded in my soul. I’ve often...

Thursday, June 07, 2012 — Rick Outzen

Once the pride of Northwest Florida, another sad chapter is playing out in Okaloosa County, and once again, the central themes are money and politics.

Last month, the federal government sued to seize the home of the late Mark Bellinger, former executive director of the Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council. The FBI says Bellinger bought a posh Destin house with $747,000 from the BP oil-spill...

Thursday, May 17, 2012 — Rick Outzen

State education leaders warned us the new Florida Comprehensive Assessment Tests were tougher. School superintendents told us that test scores and school grades might dip. And boy, were they right.

The first year after the 2010 Florida Legislature added a writing requirement to the FCAT, more than 80 percent of fourth- and eighth-graders scored at Level 4 or higher -- a big success. At the 10th-grade...

Monday, April 30, 2012 — Rick Outzen

The killing of Trayvon Martin has brought to light the role a Northwest Florida lawmaker played in the passage of the “Stand Your Ground” law that gave Martin’s killer the confidence to follow and shoot the teenager.

Former State Sen. Durell Peaden, R-Crestview, should be considered an accessory in Martin’s homicide. He sponsored the 2005 bill that empowered vigilantes like George Zimmerman to stalk...

Thursday, April 19, 2012 — Rick Outzen

On April 20, I will be thinking about Blair Manuel and his three daughters. Blair was one of the 11 men killed two years in the explosion of Deepwater Horizon, a floating drilling platform 48 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico.

We have gotten caught up with the millions of gallons of crude oil that washed up on our shores, the billions paid out in claims and the glorious BP ads...

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 — Rick Outzen

Having a nice place to live is part of the American Dream. Work hard, apply yourself and you’ll make a good life for yourself and your family.

But a far different storyline is playing out in Florida these days. For when it comes to paying the rent, too many Floridians find their paychecks coming up short. In fact, the Great Recession has put rent “out of reach” for a wide swath of workers here, according...

Monday, March 19, 2012 — Rick Outzen

BP says its proposed $7.8 billion settlement will complete the company’s commitment to Gulf Coast citizens and businesses for damages caused after its rig exploded two years ago, killing 11 men and dumping more than 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.

In a press release, BP Group CEO Bob Dudley said the proposed settlement represented significant progress toward resolving issues from...

Thursday, March 08, 2012 — Rick Outzen

The Florida Legislature has finally figured out how to destroy public education -- under the guise of “school choice.” After all, everybody likes choice, unless it involves abortion, contraception or gay marriage.

The so-called “parent trigger” bill is the crowning blow to a decade-long effort to take “public” out of education and unload struggling schools, especially those that serve poor, black,...

Thursday, February 23, 2012 — Rick Outzen

When did Jesus become a Republican? I missed that chapter in the Bible, but I am Roman Catholic so there are a few chapters I may have missed.

From the Republican presidential stump speeches, Jesus appears to have become more like Donald Trump playing “Celestial Apprentice” than the unemployed carpenter and itinerant preacher in the Gospels. He has traded his sandals for Gucci loafers. Each GOP candidate...

by Dr. Radut.