I recently learned that women only earn 77 cents for every dollar a man makes and I thought, that doesn’t sound right. It is 2014, and women are still not viewed as equals in the workplace? A majority of families depend on income from men and women, making equal pay not just a women’s issue. On average, the income difference between men and women is just over $7000 a year. That’s huge!
As a co-owner of Receptor Sound and Lighting I have seen the difficulty women encounter when entering the engineering and production profession. Even with a specialized degree most sound and lighting operators start off doing equipment set up and tear down. Men are reluctant to hire women in that position due to heavy lifting and the fast pace required. I know first-hand that women are just as capable as men at doing this job. My business will never deny anyone the opportunity to pursue a career in audio engineering and you can bet we will pay equally, but fixing this problem can't just be about individual businesses doing the right thing.
I joined the Main Street Alliance to draw attention to issues like equal pay and help the community that my business depends on. Families are struggling to balance rising child care costs and student loan payments and could really benefit from added revenue. Extra money in their pockets will bring them out to local concerts and music festivals and allow them to put their hard earned money back into the community. Equal pay is good for small businesses and our community.
Andy Lytle, Owner of Receptor Sound and Lighting and Main Street Alliance member
Residents in the old part of the City of St. Cloud are mystified as to why the City Council has suddenly made sidewalk/bike path construction on a sleepy side street their number one priority given that most of the main streets have been without usable sidewalks for many years, including one dangerous thoroughfare where school children are forced to walk in the street.
Beginning on Sep 13, Fifth Street residents have appeared before the City Council on four separate occasions to explain and document the hardships and property devaluation the proposed sidewalk will impose. Because of the small lot size in this old part of town, sidewalk construction will eliminate needed parking spaces for many residents including one handicapped woman (walker with oxygen bottle) who will be able to access her home only with great difficulty once the sidewalk is built. Other residents will experience increased flooding due to storm water runoff. One family already has to sandbag their home to protect it against runoff from the street and adjacent right-of-way, and the proposed sidewalk will make it much worse. Additionally, sidewalk construction will destroy residents' landscaping and a total of 13 mature trees including a 100+ year-old oak tree that shades the outdoor living area of an 88 year-old woman who lives alone in the home where she raised her family. The City has made no offers to purchase devalued property or to compensate residents.
In a final Nov 8 vote (deftly orchestrated by the Council to occur after the Nov 6 election), the City Council has voted to build the sidewalk despite citizens protests and documented evidence that the sidewalk is unneeded (very low pedestrian and vehicle traffic) and unwanted.
Residents are also dismayed over the sneaky and deceptive practices employed by the City to achieve their sidewalk goals. The sidewalk project, which includes portions of both Fifth Street and Michigan Avenue, was apparently in the planning stages for approximately 18 months beginning in March 2011, but residents were not informed of the sidewalk construction until August 3, 2012, only 10 days before the scheduled beginning of construction. Some residents received letters from the City, but most got the news from a neighbor.
The City initially told residents that the sidewalk was being constructed for the safety of school children traveling to and from school. Countless residents testified before the Council that no elementary students had ever used this portion 5th Street and only a couple of middle/high school students use it presently. The Council even ignored the testimony of Osceola County District 5 School Board Member, Tom Long, who provided detailed student proximity data and stated that there was little use and absolutely no safety issues on this portion of 5th Street. He recommended the Council focus their efforts on 17th Street where sidewalks are sorely needed for student safety. Also exposed during deliberations with the Council was the fact that the City had used bogus student usage data in order to qualify for a Federal Safe Routes To School grant that partially funds the proposed sidewalk, claiming that 300 to 500 students would benefit from the sidewalk when the real number is 2 to 3 students.
After the preposterous safety pretense was debunked, the Council retreated to the position that they were merely implementing the Council adopted City Sidewalk Plan, which had been hidden from public viewing (despite repeated requests) until a copy was finally posted on the City website two days prior to the Nov 8 Council Meeting. The Council's refusal to listen to reasonable and logical arguments supported by hard data, and their determination to cram the sidewalk down residents' throats has led residents to conclude that the Council is not being upfront with citizens about the real reason for building a sidewalk on 5th Street. Since citizens are being kept in the dark, we can only guess as to what the hidden agenda really is. (i.e., two miles west of the proposed sidewalk Fifth Street dead-ends into the Walmart parking lot)
Regardless of the Council's reasons for continuing with the unpopular sidewalk, the fact remains that they have acted shamefully by demonstrating their lack of concern for residents' problems and in the way they have deceived residents regarding the sidewalk. (the lone exception is councilwoman Mickey Hopper who has been consistent in her support of the residents)
History Repeats it Self,the former director from Animal Control was never held accountable for his actions,and when the Fire Chief came along and made him responsable for his actions. The chief was crusified. The new interm fails to be held responsable for her actions(hey Sexy)and Animal Control is still a very hostile work place, when you go there,you are greated by very unfriendly staff,and the place smells.What have we done morality and ethicly? Our Country prides it self on anti-bulling and a "selected"group follow,bully,harrass and report everything you do.these selected few are left overs from the past,as the hostile enviroment continues and the staff are exposed to experiencing the violation of human rights.
I have recently retired from the Osceola School District and now feel free to express my opinions about our latest superintendents. Michael Grego was not a nice person. I was told that he publicly berated and humiliated several of our administrators. His whole administration was all about the FCAT . . Not what was good for the students, just how to teach them how to take a test. I truly believe that the goal of our educators should not be to teach kids how to take a test, but how to teach them learn and how to attain knowledge. Mr Grego was not open to suggestions and there was not even the slightest hint of teamwork with him and the people he brought wih him. I believe that he came to Osceola County with the idea that we were all rubes and that he knew best and should not be questioned in his decisions. It seemed like he wanted glory more than he wanted to help the students and staff in our district. His idea that all students "will" achieve above grade level was, at best, silly. There is a Bell Curve for a reason . . . Not all people have the same degree of intelligence. That does in no way imply that some students are not capable of achieving an education, it just means that not all people will rank at the top of their class. He also did not acknowledge that we have a huge transient population, and those students are going to have a more difficult time than some of their peers. When Terry Andrews came on board I was very hopeful that the dictatorial methods of the Grego administration would go by the wayside. I was very disappointed in Terry when he made decisions and appointments without consulting any of tthe people who would be affected by those actions. Again, we were being ruled by a dictator, not someone who was asking the people in the "trenches" what they needed in order to do the best we can for our students. In my view, the district needs to function as a team, not as an oligarchy. They have administrator meetings and it would be nice if the superintendent actually asked the administrators what they thought rather than telling them what would be happening to them next.