We were sorry to hear of the death of the sloth bear at the Toledo Zoo and even more saddened that the cause of death was directly attributable to human error. The Toledo Zoo has an excellent reputation among the other 188 accredited members of the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, and our professional community feels its loss deeply.
The death of the bear serves as a reminder that even as caretakers and protectors of the wild, we, too, can make mistakes. The fact that zoo officials came forward to release the findings and changes in procedures as soon as their investigation was complete speaks volumes about their professionalism and dedication to the public that supports them year in and year out.
The AZA stands firmly behind the Toledo Zoo's accreditation. We know that the citizens of Toledo will also do their part and support a zoo and professional staff that are truly dedicated to conserving wildlife and wild places.
SYDNEY J. BUTLER
American Zoo and Aquarium Association
Silver Spring, Md.
I voted for Al Gore and did feel at times he should have conceded during the Florida voting irregularities. However, I got upset over the way the Republicans chided him for what he did. Can you imagine how George W. Bush would have reacted if the situation were reversed? Can you see Mr. Bush saying, “Well it was a good race and I guess Mr. Gore won Florida by a couple hundred, so I better concede”?
Between sobs he would have grabbed Dick Cheney and said, Please, Dick, you got to think of something we can do!
In your editorial “A justice's sorry legacy” you suggested that Sandra Day O'Connor and Antonin Scalia should have recused themselves from the case for having pre-existing opinions. All during this post-election mayhem, the media, including The Blade, kept reminding us of the Florida “Republican” secretary of state and the “Republican controlled” U.S. Supreme Court.
Yet it was the “Democratic” Florida Supreme Court that put the country through this madness by trying to rewrite election law. Are you suggesting that they did not have a pre-existing opinion and interest in the outcome of this election also? If that was the criteria to be used for recusing oneself from these cases, the entire “Democratic” Florida Supreme Court should have stayed on the beach.
The truly sorry legacy is a state Supreme Court that cast aside local court decisions and attempted to legislate their candidate into office. The election is over. If Al Gore were the president-elect, your editorial pages would be calling for the country to unite behind him. Why not encourage the same for George W. Bush and move on?
It is comforting to know that Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be able to retire to Arizona's Valley of the Sun now that a Republican has been appointed to the White House. When the media first awarded Florida to Vice President Gore on election night, Justice O'Connor startled those around her at an election night gathering by exclaiming “that's terrible.”
You see, a Democrat in the White House would mean middle-of-the-road nominees to the Supreme Court, an action she could not abide. The bottom line would mean she would have to serve another four years to prevent that from happening.
However, as the situation progressed, by joining four other justices in appointing George W. Bush to the White House, Justice O'Connor could exchange her gavel for a 5 iron. Her impending retirement from the court would not affect its 5-4 composition. The cabal of five conservative justices would be maintained by George W. appointees and political injustice would continue to be meted out by this very political court.
In fact, Justice O'Connor has already been sharpening up her golf skills with an ace on a par-3 hole at her home golf course in Paradise Valley on Dec. 16. I wonder if we'll ever see Al Gore in her foursome? After all, he can thank her for all his free time.
I applaud Jenni Laidman's series about the plight of the African gorillas. She makes a compelling case against the “bushmeat” problem. However, regarding a Dec. 19 letter decrying the use of chimpanzees in U.S. bio-medical research laboratories, I feel compelled to ask the writer this question.
Did any of her loved ones die of any of the four diseases she mentioned?
My husband of 51 years had two of those diseases she listed. He contracted malaria in World War II and died of Hepatitis C after a blood transfusion containing the virus.
If I could make the choice, would I choose the life of the animal providing the means of a vaccine over my husband's life? Of course not.
This is a dilemma and, as such, priorities have to be established. There is no simple solution. Human life does supersede animal life. Some sacrifice is involved in all significant progress.
I first heard about Tom Ensign's retirement last spring. The reality of it all has only just recently begun to sink in. There are certain things that people go to first in the paper. For some it's sports, for some it's weather, for me it was Tom's column. I first discovered Tom's column when he got the earring. Since then I have been a dedicated follower. I like the way he thinks. While I wish him well in retirement, I pray that he will follow Mary Alice Powell's lead and report back frequently with updates of exploits and news of his feminine and feline friends.
I am writing to extend my best wishes to Tony Rios on his recovery and recuperation from his accident in 1999. I, too, remember this day well. My wife was the driver of the van Mr. Rios struck. She was also injured and hospitalized and continues treatment for her injuries.
Mr. Rios claims he does not remember much about the accident. As the police report that was quoted shows, Mr. Rios had a blood alcohol content of .129, over the legal limit.
I don't want to dismiss the fact that Mr. Rios is a valuable asset to the community, much of this recognition brought about by his occupation as an entertainer. He helps others in many different ways. My wife helps others every day, too. She is a supervisor at Toledo Children's Hospital and, along with her peers, provides care that improves the quality of life for children and their families in the community and region every day.
Mr. Rios made a choice to drink, then drive. He chose to put himself and others at risk. Let's keep all of this in perspective.