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Letters to the Editor

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Rethink move to W.P.

This is in response to “Seriously consider cat park” in Nov. 18 issue.

You will have to squeeze this Lemon harder to get a straight answer from him (speaking of myself, as I must, in third person) regarding the proposed Fleet Felines Cat Park.

I can tell you in earnest that my proposal (“How about a cat park?” published Oct. 27) did elicit an e-mail in which I was said to have made myself look foolish. My mother did indeed tell me that “Every time you point a finger at someone, three point back at you.”

As to the advisability of your considering Winter Park as your winter home, please let me caution you that we have no Carolina-style barbecue here, nor do we have trees that blush red, yellow and orange. Nor do we have Saturday morning picking and singing jam sessions such as one finds in nearby Union Grove, N.C. No sir. Not here.

You, your wife and your trans-species cat may wish to remain in your lovely state of Oz. I fear there is little enthusiasm here for the cat park and would advise you, thereby, to steer clear of our fine, but incomplete community.

Yours till all the Carolina barbecue shacks burn to the ground,

—Robert Lemon

Winter Park

Rick Scott was a better bet

This is in response to the Observer’s editorial of Nov. 11, “Governor for Sale”.

Fortunately, the governor for sale in Florida lost the election. Alex Sink’s campaign was paid largely by trial lawyers, teachers unions and public service unions, plus a somewhat confused group of social idealists who dream of a European-style welfare state with popular spending programs and unsustainable benefits.

Under Gov. Sink, there would have been no tort reform, no public pension reform and no education reform that holds teachers accountable, but instead gives them tenure right out of the starting gate. There are too many entitlement abuses to go into here, but they’re taking their toll on the taxpayers of Florida and showing little in return.

I hope readers noted in the Observer editorial that the relative clause, “that pled guilty to defrauding the Medicare system,” referred to the health care company and not the CEO Rick Scott, who resigned because his board of directors refused to let him fight the charges (or talk about the case after his departure).

So if it’s Rick Scott’s $315 million parachute that rankles, look elsewhere for the crime. Rick Scott was never charged or convicted of anything.

Rick Scott used his own money to finance his campaign. He did not have to sell out to anyone, Democrat or Republican, lobbyist or special interest group. Those who want real fiscal reform, whether by putting the brakes on a high-speed rail boondoggle or bringing down stratospheric malpractice fees, have a better chance with Rick Scott than Alex Sink.

Alex Sink did not lose because she was outspent. She lost because she stood for nothing but her obligations to those who paid for her race.

Rick Scott is a blast of cold but refreshing air.

—Kathryn Grammer

Winter Park

Holiday eating: It’s all about sensible portions

The holidays can put even the most health conscious parents to the test when it comes to keeping their family’s healthy habits on track. With goodie bags having leftover Halloween treats and the promise of Thanksgiving stuffing and Christmas cookies just around the corner, it’s no wonder we’re all resolving to adopt some diet by New Year’s day. So, what can we do to make sure our healthy habits don’t get lost in the hustle and bustle of the holidays?

Rather than trying to eliminate the holiday goodies altogether, it’s more realistic to try to enjoy them with moderation. You and your family can both enjoy the holiday meals and treats while being mindful of sensible portions. Start with providing smaller portions for smaller tummies. Your child’s hands can help guide you in their appropriate portion sizes:

•Provide a palm-sized amount of protein (meat, poultry, fish, or soy)

•Grains (rice, pasta, noodles, or cereal) and starchy vegetables should be limited to one fist, and

•Fruits and vegetables should take up half the plate consisting of two cupped hands.

Children and adults tend to eat more if they have oversized portions on their plate, so it is important to start with the right portion size. It takes time for your child’s brain to recognize fullness, so wait 15-20 minutes prior to giving them seconds. If they are still hungry, then let your children ask for seconds and provide more vegetables.

Eat meals together as a family and model eating a balanced meal with protein, grains, fruits and vegetables. Leave the television off. By practicing portion control and putting the right amount on your plate, you will be a role model.

Create a positive eating environment and listen when a child tells you that he or she is full. Try and get rid of the “clean your plate” habit.

Avoid rewarding good behavior with foods of any kind. A hug, praise, extra playtime and stickers are all good alternatives.

Use smaller plates and use small glasses (4 – 6 oz) for drinks too.

Try to avoid the idea that dessert is a reward for eating the “healthy food” or cleaning their plate. Make dessert a special treat, rather than part of the everyday meal.

Many people forget to consider their beverage choices; the beverage is part of the meal too. For children ages 2 and older, choose water or milk. Encourage two to three servings of low fat (1 percent) or nonfat (fat-free) milk each day. (Choose whole milk for tots 12 to 24 months old). Three-quarters of a cup (6 ounces) of milk is all young kids need at mealtime. If they are still thirsty, offer water to finish out the meal.

Of course, these tips aren’t just for the holidays. Portion control is important to follow every day. The great thing about taking the approach of moderation during the holidays is that it will teach your children a healthy way to enjoy their favorite foods year-round. For more information on portion control and healthy eating habits, visit www.KidsHealth.org

—Dr. Lloyd N. Werk

Division Chief of Consultative Pediatrics at Nemours Children’s Clinic