Letters

Good News! The Food May Be Chancey, but You Won't End Up Hospitalized
In response to Jen Karetnick's article about Islands Cafe ("Restaurant 101," August 27), I would like to make the following comments: It seems pretty sad to me that a restaurant critic has to go around critiquing educational institutions. Thank God we don't have people like Ms. Karetnick going to M.I.T. and trashing second-year computer engineering students because they can't design a perfect computer.

Although I don't think any of us Johnson & Wales students lost sleep over the review, this sort of critique can potentially hinder a student's motivation to learn and achieve.

Chef John Reed was the success behind Chef & Apprentice (the former Johnson & Wales University practice site Ms. Karetnick spoke so highly of), and he achieved that success with trainees cooking his food. I personally think Mr. Reed does an outstanding job of running his restaurant/classroom as an institution of higher learning. And keep in mind that he does this with a staff that changes every twelve weeks!

Mr. Reed is not only a restaurant/classroom manager, but he also serves as an instructor of sanitation management at Johnson & Wales. This tough academic requirement teaches students about food health and safety and leads to state certification. Ms. Karetnick's carrot sticks may have been a little ripe, but I guarantee she won't be leaving our restaurant in an ambulance.

The students here at Johnson & Wales are very proud of Mr. Reed. We count our blessings not only for having him, but also for having a facility like Islands Cafe at the Bay Harbor Inn to sharpen our skills.

It seems to me Ms. Karetnick's husband was right. Practicum sites are not for her.

Gemall Deeb
Miami

How About Cooking for Each Other
I have two comments for Ms. Karetnick in response to "Restaurant 101": Where do you expect student chefs to get practical experience? And I'm glad my Johnson & Wales teachers, unlike Ms. Karetnick, have not missed the mark as to what an educator is.

Jackie Terr
Miami

Fascell: Giving Politicians a Good Name
It is very rare that I find myself writing to newspaper editors. After reading John Lantigua's article "He Made Dade" (August 20) about Dante Fascell, however, I felt compelled to tell you what an exceedingly good job you have done telling the story of one of the giants in the history of Dade County. New Times has helped tell this story to many of the people who had no idea of the important contributions this gentleman made to the community.

Too often things that should be said are left unsaid. You have turned the spotlight on this amazing politician -- and I use the word politician in its finest sense. Thanks for doing all of us a favor.

Arthur H. Hertz, chairman and CEO
Wometco Enterprises
Coral Gables

Fascell: A Conflicted Friend of the Earth
Your otherwise excellent profile of former Congressman Dante Fascell neglected to highlight his many efforts to protect the South Florida environment. Few public officials in Florida had so important a role in the formation of Everglades National Park, Biscayne National Park, and in protecting public lands in the Keys. During his tenure as one of the most powerful members of Congress, the population of South Florida soared, overwhelming one of America's unique ecosystems, the Everglades. He knew it, and hoped for the best.

I am deeply grateful for having had opportunities to listen to Congressman Fascell, after he departed public office, talk candidly about society, politics, and the environment. He speaks wistfully about shortcomings, missed opportunities, and the deep conflicts that put our natural resources in such peril. In a sense, he embodies those conflicts more than any other Florida public official with the exception of Sen. Bob Graham, whose favorable record on national environmental legislation is clouded by compromise at the state level.

Though he was the single most influential politician in support of Biscayne National Park and the magnificent waters so many millions of people cherish today, Congressman Fascell also helped lead the successful Miami-Dade mayoral campaign of Alex Penelas, architect of a plan for a new commercial airport at Homestead Air Force Base. That facility will, if built as planned, devastate Biscayne National Park, Fascell's legacy, and establish a tragic precedent for our national park system.

Our national parks are the best idea America ever had. We cannot passively assume that Congressman Fascell's contributions will endure. Today local, state, and federal laws protecting our natural resources, our national parks, and our environment are under a withering assault by exploiters, schemers, and cynics. At the federal level, rider after rider attached to bills proposed by an anti-environment, Republican-led Congress have immobilized protection for the environment. At the state and local level, our legislatures are profoundly influenced away from protecting the environment in favor of special interests.

I recall Congressman Fascell's grim assessment to me, that our species is likely headed the way of the dinosaurs. If that happens, future generations -- our children, our grandchildren -- will pay dearly and with great pain for our short-sighted selfishness. The Sierra Club is fighting that possibility. We remember Congressman Fascell's efforts with understanding tempered by anger and determination.

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