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Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

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What is killing our reefs?

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014

Published in The Tampa Tribune, Sunday September 28, 2014 By Chris Ingram

Earlier this month, my wife Amy and I took a trip to St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands, for a week of rest and relaxation. It was our fourth visit to St. John in the past 12 years.

St. John is unique, as it is mostly preserved thanks to the generosity of the Rockefeller family, which donated 5,000 acres to the U.S. government in 1956. Following subsequent purchases of land by the federal government, Virgin Islands National Park now covers 60 percent of the island.

St. John and the park are famous for its coral reefs and picturesque beaches — one of which is considered among the 10 best in the world. The park has miles of trails for hiking through mountainous tropical rainforest, and the reefs are favorites of snorkelers and scuba divers — though the latter is prohibited in most reefs within the park’s boundaries.

During our week in St. John, we visited a different beach or two each day, selecting those with the best snorkeling. September is the beginning of what is usually an active hurricane season in the Caribbean, so there are fewer tourists, many restaurants and tourist-related businesses are closed and the normally packed streets of Cruz Bay, the largest town in St. John, are nearly bare.

A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.

A colorful (and fast) Reef Squid swims the reefs of St. John.

The trade-off of having to potentially dodge hurricanes is an acceptable one when you consider you can go to the most popular of St. John’s beaches, Trunk Bay in the park, and share it with no more than a half-dozen people on most any day there isn’t a cruise ship in port at nearby St. Thomas.

Although much of St. John will never be developed because of the national park, that doesn’t mean St. John’s ecosystem is being adequately preserved and protected — directly or indirectly.

The first time we went to St. John a dozen years ago, we snorkeled at Trunk Bay and were dazzled by the plethora of fish, sea turtles and vibrant colored corals just 75 or so yards off its sandy beaches. Every time we have been back since that first visit, we have noticed the corals are in decline, and the overall health of the reef appears worse.

Unfortunately, other reefs we snorkeled looked to be in similar deteriorating condition.

The obvious question is: What is the cause of the rapid deterioration of St. John’s coral reefs?

Some suggest that (more…)

Gasparilla photos

Monday, January 27th, 2014

My wife and I took the girls down to Gasparilla for the first time this year. Fortunately we were in the safe(r) confines of the City of Tampa’s tent that didn’t require fighting the crowds as much. We all had a great time. Some of my favorite pictures are attached.


Click on any photo to enlarge.

All photos copyright 2014 411 Communications.

Sheriff Gee helps get things started.

Sheriff Gee helps get things started.

My Bay News 9 counterpart Ana Cruz tosses beads from a TPD cruiser  driven by Chief Castor.

My Bay News 9 counterpart, Ana Cruz, tosses beads from a TPD cruiser driven by Chief Castor.



IMG_0735 My girls waiting for the parade to start.


Stop action/blurr photo I took getting bored watching the FHP cycles drive up and down the parade route for what seemed like 20 minutes after the parade started.


Casey with “Buccaneer Bob” Martinez — Florida’s former governor.


Bucs cheerleaders.


Mayor Bob (thanks for standing up to the pirates!)


Conservative radio host (and Rough Rider) Bill Bunkley.


Scariest pirate of the day (and my favorite pic).


Me and all my girls with Mayor Bob. Thanks for the invite Mr. Mayor!


Tampa City Councilman Charlie Miranda.


On pins and needles when an elf is in the house

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

The Tampa Tribune, Wednseday, December 25, 2013

By Chris Ingram

If you have children younger than 10 years old in your house, chances are you are familiar with the “Elf on the Shelf” — the storybook that comes with a 10-inch elf doll.


Photo by JPR/Pinterest

The quick summary of the story is: The elf arrives around Thanksgiving and watches the kids in your home. Every night after they go to bed, he flies back to the North Pole to report to Santa whether they have been naughty or nice. Before they awake in the morning, he returns and perches himself in a different place in your house. There is only one rule: The elf cannot be touched.

This is all fine and dandy fun for the kids, but it’s no cake walk for parents who now have an additional task to do at bedtime. Namely: Don’t forget to move the elf to his new spot in the house before going to bed.

A few days ago, we forgot to move our elf. Our twins, Mia and Jordyn (ages 7), woke up to find him where he had been the night before. The girls were concerned that he was sick, but I quickly assured them he hadn’t moved because Casey, their older sister, had been at Girl Scout camp, and he didn’t want to move while Casey was gone.

Another morning, Jordyn accidentally knocked him from his perch, and he fell on the floor. She cried so hard you would have thought the apocalypse was coming. After 20 minutes of tears, I told her that once we all left the house, the elf would reposition himself. She was only certain she hadn’t killed the little guy when she returned home from school to find him off the floor and back in his previous spot.

Apparently near-elf death is not a phenomenon unique to my house.

My friend Alexis told me her husband brought their kids home one day only to find their elf’s head (Click here to read the full column in today’s Tampa Tribune).


Chris Ingram is the president and founder of 411 Communications a corporate and political communications firm, and publisher of Irreverent View. Ingram is a frequent pundit on Fox News and CNN, and has written opinion columns for the Washington Times, UPI, and National Review online. He is the Republican political analyst for Bay News 9, the only 24 hour all news channel in Florida’s largest media market. The opinions expressed here are those of author and do not represent the views of Bay News 9. E-mail him atChris@IrreverentView.com.

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Watch out for the politically correct police — they’re on the warpath

Saturday, November 9th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

Almost as predictably as the decennial census, every decade or so the politically correct police (PCP) aim their sights on the Washington Redskins, for what they view as the team’s racist name.

Although the intended meaning of an individual’s usage of a word, and how it is interpreted by those who hear it is subjective, Smithsonian Institution senior linguist Ives Goddard has concluded that the term “redskin” was first used by Native Americans in the 18th century to distinguish themselves from whites.

Former Redskins owner Jack Kent Cooke said, “I admire the Redskins name. I think it stands for bravery, courage, and a stalwart spirit, and I see no reason why we shouldn’t continue to use it.”

Daniel Snyder, who is the current owner of the National Football League team, has said he will never change the name because “what it means is tradition, what it means is competitiveness, what it means is honor.” Adding, “It is not meant to be derogatory.”

But facts about the origins of the word, or the intent of owners current or past, are not relevant to the PCP.

But why should they stop there?

Verlin Deer In Water

In an effort to help them with their efforts to make the world as politically correct as possible, I have compiled the following short list of other team names that should be changed. Like the Redskins team name controversy, these are based on ignorance of facts and renaming any of the following would do nothing to actually make the world a better place.

This being Tampa, we should start with the Buccaneers. A Buccaneer, of course, is akin to a pirate. Pirates rape, rob and plunder. These are bad people, and they are extremely dangerous and threatening. The Bucs should rename the “pro-violence” name they have and change it to one that would more adequately reflect the team when it is on the field. I suggest the Tampa Bay (more…)

Now, here’s something to get upset about

Monday, September 30th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, September 28, 2013

There are a lot of things a parent can, and should, get upset about as it relates to their children, their education and things to which their kids are exposed.

A lot of people were upset because of the Common Core State Standards for education that would have replaced the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) in 2014. But Gov. Rick Scott recently put the brakes on those plans, so now all is wonderful in education in Florida, and tea party types can go back to sticking their heads in the sand.

Seriously. Tests don’t educate our kids, and they aren’t what we should be getting worked up about as it relates to their development or education. But the tea party needed to do something to appear legitimate so it got worked up about Common Core.

If there is ever something to get fired up about, or if you ever wondered why we’re raising a morally tone-dead generation of citizens, take a look at the recently released video game Grand Theft Auto 5 (GTA5).

In the fifth version of GTA, players assume the role of one of three criminals, and then drive around a fictional city and commit or witness crimes including: carjacking, assault, drug use, murder, prostitution and rape. Actually the company claims the rape scene isn’t actually rape; rather, it is meant to “imply cannibalism” — because that’s so much better.

The video game had sales of $800 million in its first day of release. By day five, it had broken the billion-dollar mark and is on track to become the No. 1-selling video game of all time.


The game is intended for adults, but it is apparently all the rage among teenage boys who are its unspoken target audience.

A mom with a 13 year-old son was over at our house last weekend and she said her son has been begging for GTA5. So she did some research on it and told him he can’t have it, and why. He kept begging for it, and she kept telling him no. At some point he frustratingly told her, (more…)

Tightening a bond during another cherished summer

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

By Chris Ingram

The Tampa Tribune, August 3, 2013

Tightening a bond during another cherished summer Published: August 3, 2013 It is hard to believe, but summer break is almost over. In the next few weeks, school-aged kids will forego lazy days, late nights, beach trips and just hanging out in exchange for backpacks, homework, earlier bed times and dreadful school lunches.

The pastor at my church once reflected that your kids are only children for 18 years. He said that means only 18 summers to spend with them.

He urged parents with young children not to take that time for granted, and to enjoy the 18 (or fewer remaining) summers you have with your kids while they are still children.

I think about his pointed remarks often, and at the end of each summer reflect on what more I should have, or could have done with my kids. Time is precious, and you can’t get it back.

Last week we took the girls to North Carolina, where we rented a house on Lake Toxaway with a pontoon boat. We spent lazy mornings fishing off the dock and tubing on the lake. Since our part of North Carolina was experiencing long and heavy downpours every day, most of the afternoons were spent indoors playing games, reading and watching more children’s movies than any adult should ever be forced to watch.

We played cards, and I got beat playing “Junior Monopoly” by my three girls, who have a combined age of 21 to my 42.

Donald Trump, I apparently am not. (more…)

Celebrate Sinatra!

Wednesday, July 10th, 2013


Tampa’s secret agent…

Thursday, May 30th, 2013


About Rotary

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013


As Rotarians, we live a life of service every day. We serve our communities, our countries, our neighbors, our businesses and the world at large.

The Rotary motto of “Service Above Self” gives us extraordinary joy, lasting friendships, roots within the community and it solidifies the integrity and strength of our businesses and organizations.

For more information about the Rotary and the Downtown Tampa Rotary Club, visit the club’s website at: http://www.rotarycluboftampa.org/

If you are interested in attending a Rotary Club meeting, or learning more about Rotary click here: http://www.rotarycluboftampa.org/contact-us

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