In mid-September the local media down in Stuart visited a neighborhood roiled by a man who relished doing yard work and working on his car — in the nude.
"I came out Sunday night to put the trash out" one unhappy resident recently told WPBF, "and I look over and he is bent over, winding up his hose, and I'm like that is my view of the neighborhood." Police say they are powerless because the man, although naked, does not behave in a lewd or lascivious manner.
Perhaps the neighbors should offer their friendly exhibitionist a copy of "Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette," which was first published on this day in 1952.
Vanderbilt, a first cousin to railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt, worked as in advertising and public relations in New York in the 1930s and '40s. She also wrote a syndicated column. According to The New York Times, the publishing house Doubleday approached her about writing a book in the late 1940s. She then spent five years researching and writing her etiquette guide. The tome, the Times observed, spanned "the behavioral spectrum from the placement of a soup spoon to the running of a mansion full of servants." The book sold millions of copies. Vanderbilt subsequently hosted television and radio programs on gracious living, and expanded the audience for her column to 40 million readers.
Folks in Stuart should pass along what Vanderbilt wrote in her chapter on proper attire: "Good manners and appropriate dress are, or should be, part and parcel of good people. ... Taste in dress is innate in some, acquired in others — but it can had by any man who wants it." Of course, you have to wear the clothes first.
GARLAND: Speaking of inappropriate clothing, we garland Florida Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum. We disagree with many of Gillum's policy prescriptions, but applaud him for recently firing a campaign aide, Manny Orozco-Ballestas. Orozco-Ballestas posted pictures of himself on social media wearing a shirt that highlighted the states Donald Trump won in 2016 and referred to them as "Dumbf---istan." He also replied to a Trump comment by posting, "you need to be executed." We've said it before, and will say it again, you cannot claim the moral high ground over Trump if you behave like Trump. Good for Gillum, if he truly seeks crossover appeal.
GIG: Racism is an ugly thing, and needs to stop. But we gig University of Georgia student Klarissa Gulebian for her method of doing that. According to ESPN, UGA baseball player Adam Sasser, who is white, allegedly shouted racist comments at Bulldogs' back-up quarterback Justin Fields, who is black, during a recent football game. Gulebian posted about the situation on social media, the university found out, and Sasser was booted from the team. He subsequently apologized. Good. But Gulebian told ESPN she first asked a police officer on duty at the game to stop Sasser. "I involved the police officer and told him there was somebody using racial slurs," Gulebian explained to ESPN. She only turned to social media when the cop kept an eye on Sasser but did nothing else. Shouting racist slurs is awful, but it's not a crime. Free speech is in trouble, especially on campuses, and we don't need people like Gulebian turning law enforcement into the thought police.
GARLAND: As for good things on campuses, we applaud Florida Southern College for hosting its first-ever Reading Festival for the 160 students, from second to eighth grade, at the college's Roberts Academy, the on-campus school dedicated to assisting children with dyslexia. We always encourage efforts to get people of all ages to read more, and this had the added bonus of reaching children who struggle with a task that comes easily to most of us.
GARLAND: We applaud the Knights of Columbus Dr. L.J. O’Rouke Council 4726, Columbiettes Auxiliary and Charles Carrol of Carrolton Assembly 1500, all of which are in Winter Haven. Combined they donated more than $30,000 to St. Joseph Catholic School in Winter Haven. The funding provided scholarships for some students and helped other local charities.
GARLAND: We commend the Lakeland Fire Department. The National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation recently gave LFD its Life Safety Achievement Award for 2017. The award recognizes initiatives — such as fire code enforcement, education programs and public service communications — that work to save lives. No fire-related deaths occurred in the department’s service area in 2017, and none so far in 2018, as of this writing. Well done.
GARLAND: We salute Allen & Company, which recently donated $100,000, spread over five years, to the development of Bonnet Springs Park in Lakeland. The financial services company also set up an account to support the "perpetual care" of the 180-acre site, which is expected to open in 2020. Taxpayers should appreciate the continued efforts from private-sector donors like Allen & Company to ensure this ambitious facility remains privately funded.