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Today on Context Florida: Bridging divides, energy & economy and Robert Avossa

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Today on Context Florida:

Shannon Nickinson says we should bridge our divides to make America stronger. Flags of the Confederacy — from the “Rebel flag” to the “Stars and Bars” — are a painful fissure, a wound we worried every day we allowed it to fly on public property. “Celebrating” heritage that was largely built on oppression and hate is nothing to be happy about. It is a truth we white folks may not like to acknowledge, but it is true nonetheless. Taking down that flag makes Pensacola stronger.

When speaking about energy for our country, Barney Bishop says one is typically labeled either a shill for big oil or a left-wing environmentalist, depending on argument. That’s never been clearer to Bishop than during the past month when his comments on the topic made the rounds in print and online. To be clear, many Floridians think smart energy policy can include a sound environment and that it must for our economy and way of life. Energy is not only important to our way of life, Bishop says, but also our economy.

Catherine Martinez reports on Robert Avossa, the new Palm Beach County schools superintendent, who hosted a group discussion with an enthusiastic group of 250 to 300 in the Glades Central High School media center this past Thursday evening. Avossa said he plans to put the best and most-experienced teachers and administrators in the schools that need them most. He committed to retaining teachers and raising graduation rates. Avossa, a former schools superintendent in Atlanta, said he hadn’t brought a 90-page strategic plan from Fulton County, Ga., but that he wants to hear from Palm County residents about what they want done.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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