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Red Horse Bread

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During the pandemic, I cook all of our meals at home.  I try to keep as much variety in the fare as possible; I’m always trying something new, or reaching back to re-discover traditional southern foods that we love.  I cook French, Italian, other European, North African, Thai, Indian, and of course, southern American soul food. I just put away the deep fryer for a while, in the interest of cardiovascular health, after having made some fried chicken and red horse bread this week.Red horse bread is a form of hush puppy, but the history of red horse bread pre-dates hush puppies.The earliest recorded use of the term “hush puppy” dates to 1899[1].But those puppies were inspired by red horse bread, which dates back to pre-Civil War times in the Carolinas.Some even trace the roots back to creative cooking by 18th Century nuns in Louisiana.My husband’s father, whose name was also Tom Cooley, made red horse bread, which he called red hoss bread, and served it with fish.My Tom has fond memories…

Teachers

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I was a very shy little girl.  I was so shy I shuffled my feet when I entered a room full of people.  I lacked self-confidence.  Because I was a year younger than many of my classmates (due to my passing an early entry kindergarten test), I thought I was inferior.  The teachers that I had for kindergarten through third grade did little to help me come out of my shell.Then came the reading test and Mrs. Hardesty.I took the reading test, convinced that I would be placed in the remedial group.Instead, I was placed in the small group of kids who read exceptionally well.I was incredulous, but then I had to admit, I loved to read books – real books, the kind that serious adults read.And then there was fourth-grade teacher Mrs. Hardesty.She was a lovely, energetic, and whip-smart lady who loved to teach kids.She brought out the best in each and every one of us.My self-confidence grew enormously.I felt happy about my possibilities.Before Mrs. Hardesty, I dreaded school.During and after Mrs. H…

It is not about the money

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By and large, what fuels our local government, the City of Sanibel, is income from property tax.  Where does most of this revenue come from?  Residential or commercial property?
According to the Lee County Property Appraiser’s 2020 Preliminary Tax Roll Totals for Sanibel, the island has about $4.87 billion in taxable residential property out of a total of $5.36 billion in taxable real estate.By and large, it is the residential property owners, not commercial property owners, who fund the City.
In addition to property tax income, the City of Sanibel has some other revenue streams, such as charges for services like planning department permits and solid waste tipping fees.Much of these are services for residential property dwellers.
By definition, those who vote in Sanibel elections are Sanibel residents.
Sanibel residents should rule when it comes to making decisions about how this island is governed and developed.Do they?Do elected and appointed officials always put the interests of r…

How to Save Lives and the Economy

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How economically valuable is a face mask mandate in terms of reducing the need for broad lockdowns with their well-documented negative effects on GDP (Gross Domestic Product)?  That was one of three questions that the people at Goldman Sachs recently answered, using their analytical tools.[1]  You can read the nitty gritty details of how they conducted their analysis in their recent publication on the subject, but here is the bottom line from Goldman Sachs:
“Thus, the upshot of our analysis is that a national face mask mandate could potentially substitute for renewed lockdowns that would otherwise subtract nearly 5% from the GDP.”How serious is a 5% drop in the GDP?That’s about how much the GDP fell in the first quarter of 2020 – the worst quarterly decline since 2008, during a deep recession.Our economy cannot sustain continued declines such as this.

“Our analysis suggests that the economic benefit from a face mask mandate and increased face mask usage could be sizable,” the Goldman…

They fought for a cause

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This past Spring, I had the honor and pleasure of getting to know my great-great-grandfather, William McAdams, as I studied and transcribed letters that he wrote while in the Union Army during the Civil War.
I frequently wonder what he’d think of things the way they are now:how much farming has changed since his days, how big our cities have become, how quickly and easily we travel.Except for his 3 and a half years in the Army, he stayed at home or nearby.Home was a busy, multifaceted, yet simple farm on the prairie of central Illinois, near a town called Kansas.
I know that he would be perplexed, to say the least, to know that monuments to Confederate officers stand in places of honor in many public squares, and that schools and military bases are named for Confederate generals.Throughout his letters, he referred to the enemy as “rebels,” “Secessionists,” and “Secesh.”He considered them to be treasonous traitors.
He and several of his neighbors volunteered to serve in the Union Army…

Sea Hares

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On Mother’s Day in 2016, we saw some marvelous things.  There were several of them, these strange little creatures, moving about gracefully and silently in the water beneath and around our dock.  My husband and I had never seen anything quite like them.  We’d only been living on Dinkins Bayou for about a year, and before that we had not lived on salt water.  We had never seen such a weird and beautiful creature that swam like a sting ray, by flapping its “wings,” which are called parapodia.
The next day, I posted photos of the creatures on Facebook and asked my knowledgeable friends, “What is this little sea creature?”


The answers came quickly:sea hares, a.k.a. sea slugs.Wildlife educator Richard Finkel replied, “Sea hares.They come to shore in spring to deposit their eggs.”
Sea hares are gastropod mollusks; they have a small internal shell.Off the coast of California, sea hares are black, and they are significantly larger than our Gulf sea hares.
Sea hares eat algae – nothing but al…

With Liberty and Justice for All

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The removal of Confederate statues and memorials is nothing new.  This has been going on for decades.  According to Jane Dailey, associate professor of history at the University of Chicago, “Most of the people who were involved in erecting the monuments were not necessarily erecting a monument to the past.  But were rather, erecting them toward a white supremacist future." 
A white supremacist future goes against core American values such as liberty, equal rights, and justice.When we decide to take down these monuments and statues, relegating them often to museums, we are deciding to uphold these core American values.We are not erasing history; we are accurately portraying who we are as a country.

In America, we have a strong union, unlike the sometimes seemingly tenuous union in Europe.Our union was forged by the Civil War – the deadliest war in our history.When we remove statues of Confederate generals from places of public honor and put them in museums where they are displaye…