Letters to the editor

Investing in children When families have the community support they need to provide nurturing experiences for children, those children invariably become productive adults and absolutely capable of contributing to a thriving economy. We know that from our own Publix experience with thousands of associates, and we know it in so many other ways. Clearly, those children in families lacking support are at much greater risk for child abuse and neglect, educational challenges and all sorts of other poor outcomes. When we invest in communities to create environments where all children can thrive, everyone benefits. At Publix we offer many programs to support families – for example, the Publix Baby Club, Reading Pals and investments in priorities established by community-based United Way leaders. As we see it, family-friendly policies and access to quality early child development are not only good for families, but also good for business. April is Child Abuse Prevention Month and as a long-term sponsor of Children’s Week, Publix is pleased to participate in the Pinwheels for Prevention launch event at the Florida Governor’s Mansion, hosted by First Lady Ann Scott.
We take our responsibility seriously to inform the community and our policymakers of the issues facing our children and families – and provide proven solutions to address those crucial concerns. I encourage Florida leaders to support increased funding for programs like Healthy Families Florida, an evidence-based, voluntary home visiting program proven to prevent child abuse and neglect in 98 percent of the high-risk families served. That investment pays dividends for today’s children and our communities, state, and country for generations to come. We all share the responsibility to give children healthy and nurturing experiences to help them achieve their fullest potential. The time to do that is now. Carol Jenkins Barnett, President Publix Super Markets Charities Lakeland Hash tags Since forever, # has been understood as the symbol for “number.” Recently, however, some of the Internet gadgeteers have decided that it now stands for “hash tag” — a device to call one’s attention to a particular word or phrase in a sentence, presumably to highlight its importance. Just why this has become necessary is somewhat unclear. Formerly, this was achieved by the adroit use of sentence structure and the rules of grammar. A long time ago I had a sign on my desk which read “eschew obfuscation,” but it received less than lukewarm response at best so I disposed of it. Now, in pursuit of making the point, underlining, exclamation marks and the like having proved insufficient, we now must “hash tag.” Readers encountering the # must immediately raise their attention level and observe that what follows is the critical point. In my view, this “innovation” is about as useful as the use of the inverted question mark in Spanish, a caveat that a question follows. Moreover one must now distinguish whether # means “number” or “hash tag,” hence a potential for ambiguity is created. In the service of appearing “hip” or “with it” some politicians are using # on signs on the speaker’s podium (indicating the speaker is important?) or are verbally saying hash tag in midsentence. How this aids good communication is unclear, but I have always tried to eschew obfuscation. Randy Ludacer Lake Placid Editor’s note: Hash tags usually are used on Twitter, where they electronically link your message to others with similar interests.