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Serving Kissimmee, St. Cloud, Poinciana, Harmony, Narcoossee, BVL Lifestyles Editor Peter Covino writes about how you can save drive-in theaters ... Page B-1Lifestyles Former Astros manager finally has time to putt aroundPage A-7Sports Osceola Countys first stadium saw its own share of roadblocksA Major League Baseball franchise is tired of holding spring training at its Brevard County facility and wants to move west to Osceola County, where civic leaders devise a plan to pay for the construction of a new baseball complex and just need government approval to move forward. Sound familiar? See page A-2 Index CountyPage A4, Editorial Page A7, Sports Page B4, Community Page B1, Lifestyles Page A2, Local news Page C1, Classied Page C3, Legals Page B7, ObituariesSome fast-food workers across the country plan to strike Thursday, demanding $15 per hour minimum wage and the right to form a union. Do you support their cause? Yes, I do. Vote at www.around osceola.com Results from the Aug. 17 Question of the week: Are you looking forward to the new school year starting Monday? Yes, I am. 87.2% 8.5% 3.5% 0.7% Editorial Commissioners got the messageThere was one absolute we knew going into Board of Osceola County Commissioners, who voted on a proposal to build a new spring training baseball complex. There was no possible way everyone attending would walk out happy. See page A-4 For the latest activities, events and classes see ...Page B-4 Community By Tiffanie Reynolds Staff Writer It was teamwork that stopped the random shootings that terrorized Osceola County and resulted in two homicides earlier this summer, and Kissimmee Police Department Chief Lee Massie and that team Tuesday night at Kissimmee City Hall. Members of the Central Florida Metal Detector Society, Treasure Coast Archeological Society, Kissimmee and St. Cloud officers and others were honored for their part in the investigation, which led to the arrest of Konrad Schafer, David Damus, Victoria Rios and Juan Muriel. The investigation lasted 15 days, from the third week of June to the second week of July. It was the largest investipolice chief. It was an amazing effort on the part of the law enforcement community to work together in a collaborative effort, to share information and to take all their egos out of play and just make a dedicated commitment to solving this crime, Massie said. were involved in the case. The collaboration with civilians was unique, said Kissimmee Police Det. Georgie Torres, a key detective in the case. It even altered the strategy of the investigation. Between these three agencies (including St. Cloud PD), we have some of the best in the business. I truly believe that. good things happen. And we never let go. We never let up, and we never stopped until we solved it, Torres said. The biggest challenge in the investigation was the random pattern of the shooting incidents. In the beginning, the bullets left in houses and apartments across Kissimmee and St. Cloud were the only pieces of evidence that law enforcement had. But, it was the death of 17-year-old Kissimmee resident David Guerrero that marked the seriousness of the investigation. Guerrero was shot and killed in the early-morning hours of June 26 along Breaking the area around the homicide into grids, it took both the Central Florida Metal Detector Society and Treasure Coast Archeological Society 20 minutes to find the casing of the bullet that Law enforcement, citizens receive honors for shooting investigation News-Gazette Photo/Andrew SullivanCity of Kissimmee Assistant City Manager Desiree Matthews, at left, was first in a procession of city officials lined up to shake hands with members of the Central Florida Metal Detectors Society and the Treasure Coast Archeological Society. See Honors, page A-2A Christmas woman, who claimed she shot and killed her boyfriend in selfdefense on Tuesday, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder. Wendy Hanks, 33, is accused of killing Darren William Haverty, 40, of Holopaw. Deputies responded to day morning after Hanks claimed she and Haverty were in a physical and verbal fight. Hanks explained that she shot Haverty in selfdefense as he battered her and then approached her with a knife. However, Osceola County detectives discovered evidence at the crime scene, as well as in the autopsy of Haverty that claim of self-defense. On Wednesday, Hanks was charged with firstdegree murder and taken to the Osceola County Jail. Father let accused killer Schafer pick out gunThe father of the accused gunman in a Kissimmee homicide and other random shootings around Osceola County purchased the gun for the teenager, Kissimmee police officials have said. According to the arrest affidavit, Lothar Schafer, who was arrested Monday and charged with culpable negligence and permitting a minor to unlawfully possess a firearm, took his son, Konrad Schafer, to Mega Gun and Armory in Kissimmee on June 24. The elder Schafer purchased a hi-point .45 caliber rifle that Konrad picked out. When interviewed by detectives July 8, Lothar Schafer said he stored the firearm in an unlocked suitcase in his closet. The rifle was not in the suitcase during the interview, but it was later found hidden behind a washing machine. Police allege Konrad Schafer, 15, used the gun to kill David Guerrero, 17, who was waiting at a bus stop early on June 26. Schafer teamed up with 20-year-old David Damus, police say, to shoot the gun at houses in Kissimmee, St. Cloud and in unincorporated Osceola County. The pair face nearly a dozen charges in those incidents. The Osceola County has filed charges against Damus and the teenage Schafer in the July 3 home invasion, robbery and murder of 22-year-old Eric Roopnarine, who detectives say was shot with the same rifle and then stabbed to death.Woman shoots, kills boyfriend Police news Hanks See Police, page A-3 By Ken Jackson Staff Writer Makinson Island remains closed to visitors after a fire July 26 destroyed the woodfloored pavilion in the public area. The power is out. Osceola County fire officials requested the Kissimmee Utility Authority open a feeder to cut power to the island that night because of arcing power lines near the fire. Osceola County Public Land Manager Bob Mindick said the pavilion was destroyed and the land must be cleared of debris before the public can use the native park again, but the process has been hindered by the remote location. The 132-acre Makinson Island is the southernmost of three islands in the northern part of Lake Tohopekaliga. Mindick said major damage was confined to the pavilion. We had some native trees damaged but we saved some ,like a 150-year-old oak, he it up and make arrangements Pavilion fire closes Makinson Island See Pavilion, page A-3Making streets saferNews-Gazette Photo/ Andrew SullivanOsceola County Sheriffs Office Training Division Sgt. Mark Nagy displays an illegally-modified shotgun surrendered during Thursdays Gas for Guns event. The annual event allows an anonymous exchange of unwanted weapons to the Sheriffs Office in exchange for fuel gift cards. A total of 112 weapons were collected during the 12-hour event.
Page A2, By Ken Jackson Staff Writer A Major League Baseball franchise is tired of holding spring training at its Brevard County facility and wants to move west to Osceola County, where civic leaders devise a plan to pay for the construction of a new baseball complex and just need government approval to move forward. Sound familiar? The scenario played out Monday before the Board of County Commissioners, who voted down a proposal to build a $98 million baseball facility for the Washington Nationals. But it was also the talk of the town in 1983, when county officials agreed to build, maintain and manage Osceola County Stadium. The Houston Astros worked out the deal to play in Osceola County, where theyve come every February for almost 30 years. Don Miers, the countys sports facilities manager, also was involved in Osceola County Stadiums mid-1980s construction. As Houstons first director of Florida operations, he was on the baseball side of it then. In the aftermath of Mondays no vote, Miers and Mike Bast, then a county commissioner, reflected on how the Astros deal came together. The Astros previously trained in Cocoa, but the team felt the facility wasnt being maintained to professional standards. Miers said that led the team to broker a deal with Osceola County. The commissioners at that time enjoyed a build-up of tourist tax money, he said. This was the first baseball stadium to be built in Florida with tourist taxes, before that nobody knew if you could. We had to ask the state. Now everybody copies that model. Port Charlotte and Plant City built stadiums shortly after us. Miers noted that AustinTindall Regional Park and the Osceola County Softball Complex were built in the 1990s using the same business model. The original plan drawn up by county planners included a 10,000-seat multipurpose stadium, a center-court tennis arena surrounded by a dozen other courts and a 5,000-seat softball stadium with three practice fields, but hotel industry members balked at the scope and price of the project. It was then that County Commissioner Larry Whaley joined forces with baseball consultant Peter Bavasi, the former general manager of the San Diego Padres and Toronto Blue Jays, who worked to convince a team to move to Osceola County. With the Astros on board, county and tourism officials agreed to build solely a baseball complex. Bast said that with tourism tax dollars being used solely for tourism marketing at the time, quite a bit piled up, to the point that it was burning the proverbial hole in the countys pocket. As a board we decided, Lets go for it, he said. It wasnt going to break into anybodys budget or bankrupt anyone. Back then there was also not as much red tape. In fact, as I recall, we paid for it up front. The price tag came to about $5.5 million. The deal closed late in 1983 and construction began in May 1984, and was completed just as the Astros rolled in for spring training in 1985. They hosted the New York Yankees on March 8 in the inaugural Grapefruit League game. Its a schedule that sounds orderly now, but Miers, who began working at the stadium on Oct. 1, 1984 as Houstons first full-time Kissimmee employee, said it wasnt easy at all. The Tourist Development Council originally voted against it, he said. But the commissioners went against their recommendation and approved it. Bast said it wasnt out of place for the Commission to vote a different way than the TDC. They are an advisory board. They do not have authority to make deals, he said. Thats the way it was then, at least. Miers remembers the land the stadium sits on now as pastureland, but Bast recalls it a little different. It was a swamp! Bast said. When we did the groundbreaking, we wanted something different than a couple of guys with shovels. We invited kids out and gave them bats to hit balls into the site. They hit the balls and then a bunch of them went running after them right into the mud. Those kids came out of there up to their heads in it, all for a baseball. The stadium was ahead of the curve in many ways, not just in its funding source. By building a cloverleaf of practice fields and a large clubhouse, the Astros were able to have the entire organization (major and minor leaguers) together during the spring rather than in separate locations. Osceola County Stadium also was the first Grapefruit League complex, according to Miers, to accept credit cards for payment and utilize Ticketmaster for advance ticket sales. The Astros kept Miers and his staff busy most of the year. They moved their Class A minor league team from Daytona Beach to Kissimmee, and the Osceola Astros (later called the Kissimmee Cobras) were born. The teams Gulf Coast League affiliate was here in the 1990s and came back in 2009 to play during the summer. The complex, which went through an $18 million renovation paid for in part by a state subsidy completed in 2004, also has hosted the teams Instruc tional League in the fall, an umpires school in the winter, the Senior League World Series until 2001 and numerous other youth and fantasy camps. And that list doesnt include the amateur baseball tournaments put on by the United States Specialty Sports Association and other national organizations. People dont realize the Astros are here year-round, Miers said. Except for two years when I went to work for the Detroit Tigers in Lakeland, Ive been here the entire 29 years. Im biased, but I feel the facility has proved itself over the years. Im proud of all weve done here. Bast said the era of being able to construct a similar new facility may be over locally, as signified by Mondays Commission vote. I think it is. Youre going to bankrupt the county for the next 30 years. Thats a dumb thing to do, he said. The Astros owner we dealt with (John McMullen) was more reasonable. He helped develop what is now Kissimmee Bay. killed Guerrero, after officers couldnt find any evidence in the area. That casing became a key piece of evidence for the case, as it matched the casings found at several home shootings. This wasnt the first investigation that the societies have assisted with. The Central Florida Metal Detector Society has helped law enforcement dozens of times over the past several years, according to President Alan James. Its part of what they do as a service club, giving their time as well as money to help in investigations. For James, every investigation is a new challenge, from terrain to what theyre searching for. James treats every investigation with the police as unique. he said. All of them are special, because every circumstance is different and the terrain is always different and the item that were looking at is always different. So, we just go out and do what were supposed to do, James said. The matching casings helped law enforcement agencies to identify the make and model of the gun used in the incidents. Thats where Torres took the biggest risk in the investigation, according to Massie. He had to reveal the investigation to the public by calling gun stores in the area and asking about purchases. The very first store he called, Mega Armory, was where employee Felix Soto sold the .45 caliber high point rifle to Lothar Schafer, father of Konrad Schafer, the day before the shootings started. Regular customers, nothing to suspect, Soto said of Schafer and his son. With Sotos cooperation in the investigation, officers were able to identify the suspects and arrest them in a matter of hours, officially closing the investigation. Knowing that the shootings were going to stop, and knowing that the citizens were going to be safe and that the (victims) families, at least, would be able to start the closure process, said Torres. Due to the excellent police work, Konrad Schafer, as well as the three other suspects, are currently in the Osceola County Jail. Lothar Schafer, Conrads father, was arrested Tuesday night by Polk County Sheriffs deputies for culpable negligence and allowing unlawful possession of a firearm. He was released on bail Wednesday morning. HonorsContinued from Page A-1 Contact Tiffanie Reynolds at 321-402-0434 or by email at treynolds@osceolanews gazette.com. Osceola Countys first stadium deal saw its own share of roadblocks Proudly serving Osceola County since 1994. Experts in home nancing. 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Saturday, August 24, 2013 NEWS-GAZETTE, Page A3 to rebuild the pavilion with a concrete floor, but it will be closed until then. According to a report from Osceola County Fire Rescue, units were able to get to the scene 20 minutes after receiving the alarm, thanks to transport from the Sheriffs Office. The pavilion fire was fully involved when units arrived, and a second transport of personnel and equipment followed to help extinguish the fire without incident. Nobody was injured in the blaze. While county staff said repairs will cost $20,000, the report listed the cause of the fire as undetermined and the State Fire Marshals Office is compiling its report. Mindick said information hed received led him to believe the fire was an act of vandalism. Somebody burned it down. Since more people are starting to use it, its sad that someone would do that, he said. Weve had folks express how disappointed they are that it happened and have asked how they can help get it back open again, and we really appreciate that kind of response from the public. One of the hidden gems of Osceola Countys eco-tourism base, the island is accessible only by boat. It has limited facilities and is open for primitive camping for those who can access the island. During a subsequent interview with Konrad Schafer, the teen noted he took the rifle from his fathers house regularly. She said his father found out about one of the early shootings in the nearly two-week sequence and took it away from him, but Konrad said he was able to access it again and continue with the shootings. With probable cause that the father did nothing to hinder the teenage sons access to the rifle, Kissimmee police Monday issued a warrant for Lothar Schafers arrest. Polk County Sheriffs deputies took him into custody Monday evening. He has since bonded out. Damus and Konrad Schafer are scheduled to first appear in court in the Roopnarine homicide on Oct. 8 and Nov. 13, respectively.PoliceContinued from Page A-1 PavilionContinued from Page A-1 407-518-9820 We Pay The Most For Your Used Gun 072513.TNG G G U U N N S S Concealed Weapons Classes1352 Bill Beck Boulevard KissimmeeOffered in English and Spanish 082413.SNG 407-498-3077407-891-0777857 E. Irlo Bronson Hwy. (US Hwy. 192) St. Cloud, FL 34769BUY IT HERE PAY IT HERE wwwWWW useUSE D carcCARC O mpaMPA N yflYFL .C OO M OLE RONNIE NEEDS THE MON EYYOURE OK WITH US! I Will Co-Sign Your Loan! Stop in and let Steve help you get into the car you want at payments you can afford!* With Approved Credit082413.SNGVehicles may no longer be available by the time this ad publishes. Some photos are used for art purposes only. See dealer for more info. *W.A.C. 05 FORD F150 4X4Super Crew, Super Clean! 02 MERCURY MOUNTAINEERClean, Pwr Win & Locks CHRYSLER TOWN & COUNTRY LX6 Cyl., Stow-N-Go Seating 05 CC HEVY AVEOClean, Gas Saver, Manual Transmission CHEVYCHEVY IMIM P ALAALA V6, 4 Door, Sedan 02 FORD EXCURSION XLT5.4 Lt., Loaded, 3rd Row, Cloth DODGE DURANGO SLTV8 Magnum FORD F350 XLTV10, Dually, Workhorse 95 OLDS CUTLAS SU pP REME*Low Down & Weekly Payment. Great Car, Low Mileage VOLKSWAGEN pP ASSAT GLS4 Door, Pwr Windows & Locks, Clean CC HEVY CORVETTE COU pP Ew/Ride Control, Leather, 2 Removable Hardtops, Falken Z-Rated Tires CHEVY SUBURBANGreat Family Vehicle 99 MERCURY GRAND MARQUISClean, Pwr Windows & Locks 04 pP T CRUISER4 Cyl., Low Mileage 05 FORD F1504x4, Super Crew 05 CHRYSLERCHRYSLER P ACIFICAACIFICA CHEVYCHEVY VENTUREVENTURE Dual Sliding Doors, Great Vehicle 01 FORDFORD TAURUSTAURUS SESE 54Dr., 6 Cyl. FORD ECONOLINE 250Ready For Work!, Shelving JUST $ 45 A WEEK* 97 TOYOTATOYOTA CAMRYCAMRY LELE V6, Clean, Power Windows & Locks JUST $ 45 A WEEK* FORDFORD TAURUSTAURUS SESSES 4 Dr., 6 Cyl., Clean Super Clean, V6, Pwr Win & Locks 02 CHRYSLER SEBRING LXI CONVERTIBLE 08 DODGE CARAVAN SE Loaded, Capt Chairs 07 CHEVY SILVERADO LT Leather, Loaded, On-Star HURRY...OLE RONNIE NEEDS THE MON EY Used Car Company Welcomes DAVID VILLEGAS Come Let David Help You Get Into Your New Vehicle Today. HABLO ESPA OL
Page A4, Preaching and politicsTo the editor: This is to the person who left a card about Obama in the pew at the Catholic church. What part of our law in this country do you not understand? Have you ever heard of separation of church and state? So your card states that we must pray for Obamas conversion. You veil your distaste and displeasure of the leader of the free world by cloaking it in prayer? How convenient. If you want to drive more people out of the church that already have been driven out, you found the way. Instead of speaking politics, you should be preaching Christs good will and service. Perhaps then more would come to know the church as the comfort and sanctuary Christ intended it to be. Toni Rapinesi St. CloudA painters view of mold and mildewTo the Editor: Under normal conditions, most of us would not expect mold and mildew to interfere with a painting job. Instead, we might find sanding to do, maybe a few nicks in the wall to spackle, and possibly some dust to remove. For a painter, surface preparation is always an essential part of a quality paint job. Still, on inspection, the presence of mold indicates that painting will have to be postponed, until the area is cleansed properly. The presence of bacterial growth, especially in a room of ones home, would make most people cringe, and walk away. However, if one views it in a safe way, then cleaning it will be of little trouble. For certain, I recommend wearing snuggly-fitting long rubber gloves, a paper hazard suit, eye goggles, and an organic vapor respirator. Especially when there is quite a bit to remove. By the way, you, do not want any of the solution and/or vapors to seep into any part of your body. As far as products go, bleach appears to be the most effective, affordable and readily available product. When it comes to using a healthy and safe product, bleach is not the choice by far. Get online/on the internet, and you will find a variety of organic and non-volatile mold and mildew removal products that can be mixed with water. As I found out the hard way, cleaning mold, when using a respirator, is ineffective sometimes. If you are going to be doing a lot of mold and mildew removal with bleach, your best bet is to use a fresh-air supply respirator system. This will ensure that bleach will not get in your eyes and/or in your lungs. My preferred method of mold and mildew removal is to use a garden sprayer to apply a chemical solution to the affected surfaces. When the mold is very heavy, I recommend spraying two applications, with about a five-minute interval between the applications. As this is done, a towel or sponge can be used to wipe the areas where the mold is releasing at a slower rate. As this is taking place, it is then a good idea to have a fan on to circulate the air in the room. After the mildew has disappeared, it will take some time for the odor to dissipate. So, be patient. During the time that you are cleaning mildew, watch for the physical symptoms that the mildew and/or especially the chemical (bleach) solution is affecting you. Look for watering and/or burning eyes, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, and skin rashes. Mentally, you may notice disorientation, lack of focus, and confusion. If you notice any of these, and/or any other unusual, symptoms, get out of the environment. Be safe and be careful. As far as products are concerned, there are many available options. Yet, only very few have the effectiveness of bleach, without the toxicity. The first, Moldstat, is a concentrated p eroxide-based cleaner, and it is ver y effective. Next, Molderizer is an organic remover, sold in five-gallon containers, and also is concentrated. The last, VitalOxide, is a antimicrobial and disinfectant. This product contains chlorine dioxide, which is said to have little odor. Of the three, I prefer Moldstat. You can make up to 21 gallons of solution per package of concentrate. That makes it extremely cost-effective. As you may know, painting is secondary to removing mold or mildew from an infected area. Yet, once this is completed, you may need to repair the surface of the wall, or even cut out sections of drywall that were severely affected, and replace the drywall. When its OK to paint, get out your primer and/or finish. Brush where you need to brush e.g. corners, tight spots, around window and door frames. Then, roll the paint on to bring your walls back to life. The presence of mold and/or mildew is a certainty, as long as the conditions for its existence are met. And, at certain times of the year with temperature change, and higher humidity, the mold and mildew are going to grow. Important footnote: It is prudent to use all protective gear that is provided, or available, every time that you must expose yourself to mold and mildew. There are many employees who, as part of their jobs, are exposed to mold and mildew, and a bleach product to clean it. Often, they are not properly equipped, through safety precautions, which can protect their health in the long run. Robert D. Hajtovik St. Cloud There was one absolute we knew going into Mondays meeting of the Board of Osceola County Commissioners, who voted on a proposal to build a new spring training baseball complex. There was no possible way everyone attending would walk out happy. In the end, the commission voted 4-1 to decline the project, which came with a $98 million sticker price. But with most of it being financed, the countys total bill after 30 years would be, if you place stock in the tourism industry experts numbers, more than twice that. The funding, aside from a $10 million grant from the state and $10 million spread out over the 30 years, was to come from Tourist Development Tax dollars funds used to market and promote the local tourism industry. That group saw the Washington Nationals, owned by the billionaire Lerner family, potentially getting handed money hoteliers need to keep money flowing through the U.S. Highway 192 corridor instead of staying north in Orlando by the big theme parks, and being asked to make no investment in the deal other than paying annual rent. Tourism officials said the deal would hurt efforts for future projects and cripple the budget of Experience Kissimmee, our convention and visitors bureau, a stance echoed by the Kissimmee/Osceola County Chamber of Commerce. Commissioners got that message, and may have sent one as well: as a government entity, they will no longer blindly mortgage themselves to the hilt longterm under the guise of If you build it, we will come. Fred Hawkins made it clear Monday finances, not baseball or the Nationals, motivated their vote when he said, Get your checkbook out and join us. That should be lauded. The losers are local baseball fans who got used to seeing Houston Astros baseball in town every March. It is a quality of life perk theyve enjoyed, and while the Atlanta Braves do their spring thing at Wide World of Sports, its hard for many residents to make that connection with Disney. Our feelings are mixed. This deal would have hurt the county, but we hope one day a deal can be reached with a franchise that sees the value in upgrading or expanding the existing Osceola County Stadium. It would also help the county if the Astros would pick up their phones and negotiate with the county if theres any possible deal that would keep them here after spring of 2016. Submit letters to the editor to Osceola News-Gazette, 108 Church St., Kissimmee, FL 34741. If you wish to fax your letter to the newspaper, the number is 407-846-8516. Email letters to news@ osceolanewsgazette.com. No more than one letter per writer will be published each month. An individual will be allowed to submit one letter of rebuttal if he or an organization he represents is the subject of a letter to the editor. All letters should be no more than 500 words and should include the name, address and daytime phone number of the writer for verification purposes. The News-Gazette will not publish the writers phone number. Letters to the editor are published on Thursdays and Saturdays. They also may be published in other Florida Sun Publications, including on the News-Gazette website. If you have any questions about letters to the editor or the Opinion page, contact Editor Brian McBride at 321-402-0436. Email at email@example.com. Our view Got a gripe? Commissioners got the messageThe world is a ghetto. That is, yes, the title of an old song by War. It is also the reality presented by Elysium, the new film by director Neill Blomkamp. It posits a ruined Earth in the year 2154, overcome by overcrowding, disease and environmental and economic collapse. Los Angeles is a dusty brown shantytown where people live on top of one another like some favela in Rio. Then the camera takes you up to the orbiting habitat to which the wealthy have decamped, Elysium. Its Latin for paradise, and thats what this is, assuming your idea of paradise is a McMansion with a manicured lawn the size of a city park where you live a life of vaguely sterile luxury. Blomkamp has given us a tale perfect for these political times. It is an allegory of income disparity, a cautionary saga of what happens when more and more resources are concentrated in fewer and fewer hands. One of those resources is adequate health care. On Earth, if you get sick, you fill out a form and try not to die in the waiting room before the doctor gets around to you. On Elysium, they have this device that can instantly cure anything from lymphoma to radiation poisoning. Our hero, Max, afflicted with the latter and given just days to live, resolves to somehow make his way up there so that he can be healed. The movies political implications have not escaped the conservative punditocracy. Rush Limbaugh pronounced it anti-capitalist, pro-socialism. But some in the liberal punditocracy have also been displeased. Alyssa Rosenberg of ThinkProgress scored the movie for failing to speak truth to power in its silence on the causes of the inequities it depicts. There are elements of truth in both arguments. But the movie actually seems determined to make another point altogether, albeit one that probably flies under the radar because of its very simplicity: Were all in this thing together. So the space station is not just a space station. It is the science-fiction equivalent of the gated community. Or of America as viewed from some Mexican hovel. And Max is not just a guy with a gun who storms the space station. He is the man standing outside the gate, the poor woman fording the Rio Grande. We have been conditioned by years of conservative dogma to view such people with scorn, as too stupid, too lazy or too lacking in foresight to rise above their circumstances takers to use some Fox News terminology. Crippled by an entitlement mentality to use some more. By the inverse of that logic we, because we live north of the border, within the gate or on the space station, were obviously farsighted, energetic and smart enough to steer the proper course. What narcissistic balderdash. Yes, initiative, intelligence and planning are all elements of success. But luck is, too, whether defined as getting a good break someone else did not get or escaping a bad one someone else could not avoid. Point being, the membrane that divides have from have not is thinner and more permeable than those lords of self-satisfaction who go on Fox preaching the gospel of up by my bootstraps would have you believe. Our shared humanity demands a compassion, an ability to give a damn about those have nots, not often evident in such lectures. Martin Luther King said it thusly: All life is interrelated. Meaning, what affects some of us will eventually affect us all. We must evolve humane and effective means of managing that inevitable reality. The fantasy of escaping it behind an impermeable barrier is just that, fantasy. Because the people caught on the outside will always do what Max does, what you or I would do in the same situation: try to find a way in. The question is not whether they will get in. Its how we will treat them when they do. Leonard Pitts is a columnist for The Miami Herald, 1 Herald Plaza, Miami, Fla., 33132. Readers may contact him via email at lpitts@ miamiherald.com. Their view OSCEOLA NEWS-GAZETTE(USPS Number 513540) (ISSN 1060-1244) Published each Thursday and Saturday for $52 per year, by Sun Publications of Florida, a division of Lakeway Publishers of Florida, Inc. All rights reserved. Periodicals postage paid at Kissimmee, FL. Postmaster: Send address changes to: News-Gazette, 108 Church St., Kissimmee, FL 34741. Call 407-846-7600. Fax 407-846-8516. Email at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Osceola News-Gazette is on the World Wide Web at: www. aroundosceola.com.Year 117 No. 72 Editor BRIAN McBRIDE Sports Editor RICK PEDONE Lifestyles Editor PETER COVINO Chief Photographer ANDREW SULLIVAN Circulation Manager KATHY BECKHAM Production Manager STEVE KRAUS Staff Writer KEN JACKSON Leonard PittsTribune Media In a world of Elysium Y our view Want to submit a community event? Submissions for community events must either be printed or typed on a full sheet of paper and mailed or delivered to the News-Gazette office, faxed to 407846-8516 or sent by email to email@example.com. Handwritten listings on scraps of paper will not be accepted. The deadline for Thursdays edition is Monday at noon For Saturdays edition, its Wednesday at noon. If any current community events have to be canceled or changed, contact Editor Brian McBride at 321-402-0436. O PINION O PINIONSun Publications of Florida cannot be held responsible for advertising claims. We reserve the right to refuse or discontinue any advertising, and to edit editorial content. All materials in these publications are copyrighted. Publisher will not be liable for any errors in advertising to a greater extent than the cost of the space occupied by the error, and accepts responsibility only for an error in the rst weeks issue.
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Saturday, August 24, 2013 NEWS-GAZETTE, Page A7 Some big bass are being caught in local tournaments. The Extreme Bass Trail had a tournament last weekend and it took over 30 pounds to win. In fact, it took over 30 pounds for second place also. Third place was 29-plus pounds. Most of the fishermen Ive talked to are not doing that well. Hot humid weather seems to keep a lot of the fishermen off the water. The ones who are fishing are going out early in the morning and coming off the water by midmorning. The bass that Ive been catching are in pretty heavy cover. Ive been using top water baits early and fishing a plastic worm up to hard edges of hydrilla or to the edges of Kissimmee grass. Trust me, there is a lot of hydrilla to fish. With water levels as high as they are and water flowing everywhere, the chances of spraying hydrilla are slim to none. I have heard some talk of using the harvesters to take hydrilla out of Goblets Cove. Basically its just a quick fix to make the area fishable for now. The downtown ramp in Kissimmee is still closed so you will have to use the alternative ramps for getting your boats into the lake. Some bluegills and shell crackers are still being caught around reeds, shell beds and up in Shingle Creek. If you go out on the water keep an eye out for afternoon storms. They can come up in a hurry and be pretty rough this time of year. S end information abou t your big catch to capjac@ usfamily.net. Jacque MitchellFishin Fun Follow us on Twitte r Astros boss still loves the game A baseball legend Sports briefs Tournament fishermen land plenty of lunkers By J. Daniel Pearson For the News-Gazette For one of the few times since 1961, Osceola County resident Hal Lanier did not put on a baseball uniform. And its something that Lanier, 71, is not particularly happy about. Baseball has always been in my blood, Lanier says. And w hen something has been such a huge part of your life for so long, its hard to walk away from it. Lanier managed the Houston Astros for three seasons, from 1986-88, and led them into the 1986 playoffs. An avid golfer, Lanier spends most of his days at Kissimmee Bay Country Club where he sports a single-digit handicap. Remembering how much he loved Kissimmee when he was at spring training, he and his wife, Pam, moved here five years ago. Lanier was saddened to hear that the Astros might be leaving Kissimmee when their lease at Osceola County Stadium expires in 2016. The spring training fan base was almost like an extended family to the players and coaches. I had a lot of great memories of fans and the atmosphere they created. Lanier said. You would like to think something could be done with the stadium to keep them there, but like anything else, its a business. Whether its the Astros or another team or a couple of teams, I hope we can keep spring training in Osceola County.Destined to be a proBorn on July 4, 1942, Laniers earliest recollections always includ baseball. Laniers father, Max, pitched 15 seasons in the Major Leagues, mostly with St. Louis. Max Lanier won 108 games, played on two All-Star teams and won a pair of world championships. He posted a career ERA of 3.01 and was the winning pitcher in the sixth and final game of the 1944 World Series. It was growing up in that environment that led Lanier to the Major Leagues. It certainly helped point me in that direction, Lanier said. As a kid it was an unbelievable experience being able to walk inside the clubhouse at Old Sportsmans Park in St. Louis and be around Major League baseball players. After a stellar high school career as a pitcher at Boca Ciega High School near St. Petersburg, Lanier signed a free agent contract with the San Francisco Giants. I wanted to be a pitcher like my dad, but he felt I would be better served as an infielder. He said my career would last longer, Lanier recalls. Hal advanced quickly through the Giants farm system and made his Major League debut on June 18, 1964. Lanier, who hit nearly .300 in the minors, got off to quick start in the majors. In his first series, he went 8 for 16 with a home run. I never had any illusions that it was going to be that easy in the majors, Lanier said. I guess word got around because in my first at-bat in the next series, I took about a 90 mph fast ball in the ribs. It was intentional and sort of like my, Hey kid, welcome to the Majors moment. He enjoyed a terrific rookie season, hitting .274 and earning a spot on the National League All-Rookie team. Lanier spent the next seven years with the Giants, where he played in 1,100 games as the teams starting shortstop and second baseman. Considered an outstanding defensive p layer, Lanier l ed National League middle infielders in fielding percentage several times including the 1966 season when he committed just five errors and recorded a .991 fielding percentage. The Giants won 90 or more games six times with Lanier but never advanced to the World Series. We had some really good teams but it was before they split the leagues up into divisions, Lanier said. Unfortunately we finished second five straight years behind either the Cardinals or the Dodgers.Playing with the greatsLanier played during one of baseballs golden eras with legends such as Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, Juan Marichal and Willie McCovey. His opponents were greats like Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax, Ernie Banks, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan and Willie Stargell. Lanier says Mays was a favorite. When Willie started his career, he played against my dad. So when I came up with the Giants, he kept calling me Maxie after my dad and the nickname stuck. But Willie had a huge heart, he would look after the younger players, pick up the check at dinner and things like that. He had so many endorsement deals and sponsors were giving him all sorts of products and he would turn around and take care of his teammates. Clemente is a legend in his native Puerto Rico 40 years after his untimely death in a plane crash. It didnt matter whether you played with him or against him, he raised your level of play, Lanier said. Not only was he a consummate professional and a great five-tool baseball player, he played the game the right way. It didnt matter if his team was 20 games out of first place in August, if he hit a one hopper back to the pitcher, he was running to first as if his life depended on it. Roberto played all out, full speed, all the time and trust me, other players noticed. Lanier said hitting against Koufax and Gibson was no picnic, and the same applied to Ryan. I had to face (Ryan) at the tail end of my career and he was just starting. He had the electric fastball but not the control he later developed. You were more than a little nervous standing in the box not knowing where the ball was going. Lanier said Pirates Hall of Fame slugger Willie Stargell used humor to endear himself to fellow players. I was basically a defensive player and I knew it, Lanier, a career .228 hitter, said. Still it didnt keep me from being a bit of a hothead when I struck out and other players knew that and would get on me. I remember taking batting practice in Pittsburgh one day and Stargell walked by the cage and said, Hal, I think I know why you are struggling at the plate. Always looking for answers, I asked him why and he smiled and said, I think you are allergic to wood. Stargell was bigger than life and a really nice guy on top of it. After eight years in a Giants uniform, Laniers played two years for the Yankees. It was there that Lanier got to know another icon, Mickey Mantle. It was during spring training and Mickey had just been retired for a couple of seasons, Lanier said. We were standing around the batting cage and Mick was watching. When Bobby Mercer and Thurman Munson took their turns in the cage, Mickey started giving them batting tips. When I stepped in, I looked at Mickey and said, Anything for me? Mickey just looked at me and said that his tips only worked for good hitters and he started laughing.Managing with greatsWhen his playing career ended, Lanier went into coaching. He spent time in the Cardinals farm system before being promoted to the teams AAA club in Springfield, IL. It was there that Lanier would play in one final game. I had been retired about four years. It was the final game of the season and the Cardinals called up about 10 players to the majors and they werent going to send us anyone, Lanier said. I had to start pitchers in the outfield and I put myself in at shortstop. I went 1-for-2 and was due up in the eighth inning. They put in a sidearm pitcher and I didnt want to hit against him so I sent up a pitcher to pinch hit for me. Going one for two in that game allowed me to say I hit .500 in my final year. Two years later, Cardinals Manager Whitey Herzog hired Lanier from 1981-85, when the team won the 1982 World Series and the National League pennant in 1985. Lanier said Herzog was the best manager he ever knew. More than any other man, I credit Whitey for getting me ready to manage in the Majors. Guys loved playing for him but he also knew how they had to be handled. I dont think I ever was around anyone who understood more about the game than Whitey did. Lanier said Herzog was a visionary. It was back in 1982 I heard Whitey say that he not only thought inter-league play was going to happen in Major League baseball, but it would be good for the game. Now, he was talking about this 15 years before it was instituted. Following the 1985 season, Lanier got his shot at managing in the Majors. Both the Pirates and Astros had openings, Lanier said. It was pretty much conceded that Jim Leyland was going to get one of those jobs and I was going to get the other.A great rideThe Astros h ired Lanier and as a rookie manager his team would go 96-66 and win the National League West. But the team dropped a gutwrenching six-game series to the eventual world champion New York Mets, with four of the games being decided by a lone run and the final two going long into extra innings. That series just ate me up, Lanier said. The Mets had a great team and great pitching but we were right there with them. A hit here or a play there and we could have easily won that series. It was that close. Despite being named Manager of the Year in 1986 and recording a solid .523 winning record in three years with the Astros, Lanier was dismissed after the 1988 season. Although he never returned to Major League baseball, Lanier would spend the better part of next 17 years managing in the independent leagues. In 15 seasons, Lanier coach teams like the Sussix SkyHawks, the Normal Cornbelters and Winnepeg Goldeyes. Although he had played, coached and managed in the Major Leagues, Lanier enjoyed independent baseball. First of all, baseball is baseball and independent league baseball certainly would compare to Class A or AA in a lot of ways. We had some former Major League players that were released and still wanting to play and we sent a lot of young guys back to organizational baseball and some of those got to the majors, he said. Those teams were also a big deal to hometown fans so it was a great atmosphere to be in. It was also unique because you were not only the manager, but you were also the player personnel director and baseball GM. Lanier was named manager of the Yuma Desert Rats of the independent North American League for the 2013 season. But the team folded before the start of the season. His pro baseball managerial record stands at 1,226-1,041. He doesnt watch much baseball on television, he said. Im still a fan and can admire todays generation of players, Lanier said. But its not the same as being on the field. He said his regrets are few I guess the only one I really have is that I never got another shot at managing a Major League club, Lanier said. But, thats OK, because Ive had a great career in baseball. I was fortunate enough to play for 10 years in the majors, I got to manage in the majors and I was around some of the greatest players and managers of all time. If another opportunity to manage comes along, I would consider it, and if it doesnt, thats fine, too. Its been a great ride.Houston won 96 games, division crown in 1986 under Hal LanierAbove, Hal Lanier (right) with assistant coach Dennis Menke at spring training in 1986 at Osceola CountyStadium. At right, Lanier now spends plenty of time on the golf course at Kissimmee Bay Country Club. News-Gazette File Photo News-Gazette Photo/Andrew Sullivan MLB Player:Batting: .228 Fielding: .975Pro Manager:1,226-1,041 Hal Lanier Football section coming ThursdayThe annual Osceola NewsGazette football preview section will be published Aug. 29. The football section covers all eight Osceola County high school football programs and i ncludes stories, schedules, rosters and photos of the local football programs. Visit the newspapers website (aroundosceola.com) for the most complete coverage of Osceola County high school football and all local high school sports.Silver Creek stops PHS in ClassicPoinciana opened the high school football season Thursday at ESPN Wide World Sports with a Kickoff Classic against Siver Creek, Col. Silver Creek won the game, 41-25. It was t he Eagles debut under Coach Jeff Mathis. The preseason game does not count in the standings. Poinciana will play its regular season opener Friday at 7 p.m. at Eagle field against Gateway.
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