WHO IS AMERICA?
"This is America—we speak English here!" We hear that kind of rhetoric directed at our immigrant communities all the time, and the words are usually uttered by people whose only language is English. Folks on the receiving end are more often than not already immersed in a bilingual lifestyle, to a degree that most native-born Americans can only imagine. University of North Florida's Spinnaker's Alan Vargas recently profiled a new student at UNF who really embodies the kind of fluency our newer citizens are bringing to the table.
"Klaudia Ndreu moved to the United States from Albania when she was 19 years old," Vargas writes. "She speaks four languages and wants to change the way people think about the role of women in society." So far, so good. She joined the English Language Program (ELP) at UNF after graduating from high school in her then-capital city of Tirana. "I had to fight my way to the U.S.," she said. "My parents were scared to send their daughter alone across the world." It's a reasonable fear, given the climate these days. But Ndreu is fearless, and she has spunk to spare. She credits the ELP program, which gave her 22 hours a week of intensive language instruction, with prepping her for success.
For many immigrants, English becomes a second language; for Ndreu, it is her fourth. After finishing the ELP, she took two semesters at FSCJ before retaking the SAT and earning entry to UNF, where she is now preparing for her junior year. Her parents are surely proud of her—and so is her (new) country.
IT WAS THIIISSS BIG
Florida Man loves his fishes—this we know. We also know that he's very good at catching them, a fact reaffirmed recently when the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission approved five new records for fish caught over the past year, including an amazing 826-pound Bluefin tuna caught in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Destin. According to the Beaches Leader, "The [FWC] maintains state all-tackle records for the heaviest marine fishes caught in Florida waters, or in federal waters extending directly outward of Florida state waters, for 77 species in both conventional tackle and fly-fishing categories."
Other records were set for hardhead catfish, whiting and almaco jack. One record was set by a woman, Sharon Kartrude Pryel, who reeled in a 26-pound horse-eye jack, which is apparently a thing. "Saltwater record-holders receive a certificate of accomplishment and a prize pack and, beginning this year, will be awarded a custom ink fish print to memorialize their catch, courtesy of Fish Print Shop." But the biggest reward of all, of course, is the bragging rights.
TERMED OUT … EVENTUALLY
The current political situation has gotten Americans on the left and right nostalgic for term limits, which was a popular gimmick in the awful Gingrich Revolution of 1994. The fact that nearly every one of them (save for the late, great Tillie Fowler, whom we could really use right about now) double-crossed the voters and failed to heed their promise should offer some hints as to its viability, but nope. Clay Today's Wesley LeBlanc reported that term limits may be coming our way soon.
The county commission voted July 10 to send the question of term limits to the November ballot. "[T]he measure would cap at three, four-year terms in office for Clay County Sheriff, Property Appraiser, Tax Collector, Clerk of Circuit Court and the Supervisor of Elections," he writes. Commissioner Gavin Rollins, one of the three who voted in favor, brought the ordinance. Of course, it would've been weird if he had not.
The Charter Review Commission had previously rejected this measure, which stalled out after a 7-7 vote. Alternate member Richard Klinzman assailed the whole thing as a gimmick rooted in malice, designed to target specific pols in the area. "This was personal," he said. "It was complete hatred for whoever these people are." Before passing the measure, commissioners went so far as to declare that they "were all extremely satisfied with their work and happy to have them serving the county," according to LeBlanc. Not that it matters, because if it passes the November vote, it will not take effect until 2032, by which point presumably every current official in Clay County will be long gone. But, if there is anyone left then, well, that's probably who the measure was meant for.