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Welcome to Thinking Out Loud, a blog that contains postings from The Tampa Tribune’s Editorial Board and from various Tribune Community Columnists. Unlike the unsigned editorials that represent the newspaper’s institutional voice, the blog postings offer personal perspectives on the issues, personalities and events of Tampa Bay. We invite you to participate by posting your comments. We’ll do our best to respond.

Joe Guidry

Joe Guidry is the deputy editorial page editor of The Tampa Tribune. He is a Tampa native and a graduate of the University of South Florida. He is married and has an adult son.

Jeff Stidham

Jeff Stidham grew up and lives in Bartow. He has been with the Tribune for nearly 22 years, the last 10 on the editorial board.

William Yelverton

William Yelverton is a Tribune editorial writer who has worked for the paper nearly 22 years. He lives in the Dade City area.

Jim Beamguard

Jim Beamguard is a Tribune editorial writer. He is a native of North Carolina and a graduate of Davidson College. He and his family live in Brandon.

Jackie Papandrew:

Jackie Papandrew is a freelance writer and editor. Her syndicated humor column appears in publications in the United States, Canada and India. She lives in Largo with her husband and children. Visit her website at

Camille Beredjick

Camille Beredjick is a senior at Chamberlain High School, an avid musician and a scribbler with a quirky sense of humor. In the fall, she will be attending Northwestern University to study journalism, political science and music, and she plans to pursue a career in journalism.

Jim Harnish

Jim Harnish is in his 17th year as Senior Pastor at Hyde Park United Methodist Church in Tampa. He and his wife, Marsha, have two daughters and two grandchildren. He is a graduate of Asbury Theological Seminary and received the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Bethune-Cookman University. He is the author of six books and numerous articles and studies. He enjoys playing with his grandchildren and cheering for the Florida Gators.

Angela Hunt

Angela Hunt is a novelist living in Pinellas County with her husband and two 220-pound mastiffs.

Sheryl Young

Sheryl Young was a Tampa Tribune Community Columnist in 2005-2006. A freelance writer since 1997, including the Tampa Bay Business Journal, Tampa Style Magazines, St. Pete Times and nationally in Better Nutrition, Today’s Christian Woman and more. She’s received a First Place Amy Foundation national "Roaring Lambs" Writing Award, and has lived in Tampa Bay with her family for over 20 years.

Christie Gold

Christie Gold teaches English and journalism at Freedom High School in Tampa where she advises Revolution, the school newspaper. She has been both the Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year and Florida Journalism Teacher of the Year. She lives on a small farm in Wesley Chapel where she trains as a competitive equestrian.

Natalie D. Preston

Natalie D. Preston is a karaoke singing, only-child pouting, Seminole Tomahawk waving, newlywed bride blushing, 50-state traveling, girlie girl who loves to shop, read, run and jump up and down on her soapbox.

Fernando Figueroa

Fernando Figueroa is a researcher, educator and lives in Riverview.

Gary Beemer

Interests include humor, politics, economics, community and world affairs, finance, people, religion, music, sports, current events, the arts and education.

Nicole Yunger Halpern

Nicole Yunger Halpern is an undergraduate at Dartmouth College, where she studies everything she can get her nerdy little hands on. Desired major: life. No, not necessarily biology. Life.

Kris DiGiovanni

Kris DiGiovanni is a Tribune Community Columnist, Huffington Post contributor, Daily Kos diarist, and teacher, who recently moved from NW Hillsborough to another planet - a small beach community in Pinellas County. She also blogs at

H. David Braswell Jr.

H. David Braswell Jr. is an Information Systems Professional. He is a native New Yorker and a lifelong NY Giants fan. He attended college in California (Cal State Northridge) and moved to Tampa in 1998.

Sean Marcus

Sean Marcus teaches creative writing, journalism and reading at Chamberlain High School. He has one son and is expecting a daughter in early March. He can be reached at

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A sad day in Happy Valley

Posted Jan 22, 2012 by Natalie D. Preston

Updated Jan 22, 2012 at 04:48 PM

I heard news upon returning home from a six-mile run.

Coach Joe Paterno dead at the age of 85.

JoePa, as he was commonly referred to, and Coach Bobby Bowden had a back and forth relationship in their quest for the title of the most winningest coach in NCAA Division 1 college football. As a tried and true Seminole, my first allegiance was to Bobby Bowden, but that didn’t stop me from rooting for Penn State and JoePa’s and his efforts.

My support even followed me to Michigan State University. Spartans didn’t know what to think of an alumni relations staff person who openly supported Penn State and Florida State.

But, no worries. I survived and soon returned home to the Sunshine State.

Around the time of my relocation, things started to turn bad for Penn State. Of course, bad then was nothing compared to the bad of a few months ago. Nonetheless, the football team was on a horrible losing streak. One season after another they had more losses than wins or finished 50-50.

And, like a lot of high profile football programs, the school administration, boosters, football fans and alumni had little tolerance for not being a ranked team or receiving a bowl game invitation. Soon, full-page ads appeared in newspapers calling for the firing of JoePa.

At the time, I thought the move was premature. So what? The team had a few bad seasons. Look at the overall impact that JoePa had on the football program and university fund-raising.

The man himself was not just a motivator, father figure and football coach. He was probably one of Penn State’s most effective fund-raisers—and if the U had handled his firing differently JoePa’s positive impact on fund-raising would probably continue in light of his death.

Just like I survived Michigan State, JoePa survived folks calling for his firing. In fact, he did better than survive. He led the team to a major comeback.
Penn State became a ranked team again and was back on the bowl circuit. They even beat my beloved Florida State in the Orange Bowl in 2006.

When the teams were announced I said that Penn State got cheated. They were higher ranked and deserved to play a better team in the Orange Bowl. However, the game proved me wrong. After several overtimes, Penn State squeaked by us with a 26-23 win in Miami.

The upswing continued for JoePa and Penn State until October of 2011.

The alleged sexual misconduct is horrible and anyone who did not act to notify university authorities and law enforcement should be investigated. Furthermore, anyone found to have participated in sexual misconduct with a child should have their genitals removed.


It’s rare that I don’t have a comment on something, but I will refrain from addressing the actions of the Penn State Board of Trustees.

However, I will say this.

JoePa died of a broken heart and I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

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