USF’s impressive commitment to veterans
On this Veterans Day weekend, how appropriate to salute the University of South Florida. This month, the school earned another accolade for its commitment to the success of student veterans. Military Times EDGE magazine cited USF as the best four-year college in the country for veterans.
The “Best for Vets: Colleges 2017” rankings put USF atop its annual list, a first for the university — though it has regularly placed among the top five.
Last year, Money magazine cited USF as the top college in the nation for veterans.
Military Times evaluates four-year institutions via a rigorous 150-question survey submitted by each school. The survey covers five primary categories: university culture, academic outcomes/quality; student support; academic policies, and cost/financial aid. The magazine’s thoroughly evaluation process also includes an analysis of public data from three federal agencies; responses from veterans who outline the university services most valuable to them, and the editorial judgment of the magazine.
Kudos, too, to USF for its high retention and graduation rates of veterans, at 82 percent and 68 percent respectively.
Plus, USF Sarasota-Manatee has expanded its assistance for veterans and holds an annual Veterans Appreciation Day.
USF certainly shows a remarkable commitment to veterans. Let us not forget the various community organizations and government agencies that also serve veterans.
A terrible injustice on condo owners
Jeers to investors who gobble up condominium complexes by buying out a high percentage of owners, seizing control and terminating a condo association, and literally evicting the few remaining property owners. State law allows this type of theft, though the 2007 statute’s intent was to prompt developers into buying blighted properties in neighborhoods badly damaged by the hurricanes of 2004 and 2005.
The Palm Cove of Bradenton complex in no way represents blight, but the hopes and dreams of some condo buyers about enjoying their retirement home and the paradise here. At least one couple stands to lose a bundle of money. Jim and Robin Harvey paid about $140,000 for their condo in 2007. Today, if sold at the current value, they would receive $80,000 — leaving them heavily in debt.
The Riley Family Corp. bought 302 units in January for $31 million and then, according to one attorney, used “strong-arm tactics” to gain a more than 90 percent majority in the complex. The company has begun renting out the units as apartments.
Litigation is possible under a 2015 law that gives minority owners stronger protections and more options when condo associations are disbanded. One part of that law requires the company plundering a complex to pay owners who purchased their units from the original developer and are homesteaded the full, original price for the property. That’s a reasonable safeguard over greed.
Best of luck to the minority owners in their battle. And one more jeer to predatory investors.
Quote of the Week
“It was so important to see such broad-based community support for the half cent (sales tax referendum), but it was especially good to see that the majority of Manatee County voters saw the benefits of the sales tax and made the choice to invest in their future.”
Manatee County Administrator Ed Hunzeker, commenting on Tuesday vote of approval for the county infrastructure improvement investments.