David Patch's Jan. 4 article, “Amtrak winter service gets travelers' cold shoulder,” neglected to cover the actions Amtrak took to take care of our guests who were delayed during the holiday travel period.
First and foremost, we apologize to all of our guests who were inconvenienced by these delays. It is important to note that November and December were record cold and snowfall months, especially in Chicago, where all of our eastbound trains are serviced and assembled. The weather created havoc at a busy travel period for all types of transportation in many parts of the country. Many people were stranded in airports for days on cots and floors waiting for flights that never took off.
Amtrak took extraordinary measures to help minimize the inconvenience our guests experienced. Complimentary food and beverages were often provided on board and for guests waiting at stations; many guests were offered bus and taxi service where practical at no cost to them. In some cases guests were housed in hotels and flown when flights were available, the costs paid by Amtrak.
We provided many guests with full refunds, waiving all penalties and rules. We often issued transportation credits good toward future trips and we kept our guests informed with as much information as was available. Many of our employees worked long hours away from family to make sure our guests were getting the best possible service under the most challenging of weather conditions.
Some of the delays were due to frozen switches, signal problems, power outages, and other operating problems that our railroad partners worked valiantly to correct. While some of our trains ran late, they operated safely.
I am pleased to report that the trains serving northwest Ohio are now running much more closely to schedule.
FRANK W. STOY
Amtrak Marketing/Brand Management
Central Union Plaza
Discussion about voting problems in Ohio last Nov. 7 points out that voting machines are too tall for some people (and too low for others). They are wearing out and results are frequently faint and hard to read. A “3” can look very much like an “8.”
I can attest to those complaints. Furthermore, the crowd at our polling place was huge. Those of us who worked at Ward 6 at the Fraternal Order of Police building on Independence Avenue were kept busy all day, with long lines so that people had to wait up to 90 minutes to vote.
The parking lot of this former school overflowed, with people blocking other cars or parking on the grass and down the street. Some people who arrived before work, decided to leave in hopes of having time to vote later, only to find lines even longer.
We all agree that Americans should take advantage of our voting privilege. What concerns me is how could we possibly handle the crowds if more than 50 percent of eligible voters actually voted? We compared notes with other precincts in the room; we all found that about half of the registered voters on our rolls had turned out.
I hope upcoming meetings will address these problems.
The article by Luke Shockman on “Learning to live with the dying” was a splendid tribute to Hospice of Northwest Ohio. As hospice volunteers, we can attest to the compassionate loving care that the entire staff extend to each and every one of their patients. How fortunate we are to have this facility and its extended care program in our community. Thanks for the story.
KEN and MARY ANN CULPERT
West Sylvania Avenue
While watching the reports of the hearing concerning John Ashcroft for attorney general, I am reminded that the squeaky wheel gets the grease. I would like to encourage Blade readers to let their senators know their feelings on this matter.
If the outcome does not reflect your choice and you did not encourage your senator to vote as you thought best, then you have no one to blame but yourself. However, if it does reflect your choice, you can give yourself a pat on the back for being a part of the great decision-making process.
A Readers' Forum letter titled “Jesse Jackson speaks for every American” was downright ludicrous. I can assure the writer that Jesse doesn't speak for me or anyone I know. True enough, he does stand up for some social ideas that have merit, but, a national spokesman? Not! Jesse Jackson and the Rev. Al Sharpton didn't speak for me during the Tawana Brawley fiasco of years past. Marches and protests abounded for weeks following this young lady's claim that she was raped and tortured by a gang of white thugs. It turns out that her story was a fabrication (which she finally owned up to); she simply made up a cover story to keep from getting in trouble.
And Jesse wasn't speaking for me when he was arrested last week in Oklahoma for protesting the administration of a well-deserved death penalty. It just so happens that the inmate was the first black woman executed in this country since the 1950s. I wasn't protesting nor was I arrested.
The writer also claimed that “Everyone, including Mr. Bush, knows that Al Gore would have won the election if the votes had been counted.” I count myself among those who voted for Mr. Gore. I was quite disappointed that he didn't win. That said, I think that the writer, and all the crybabies making similar claims, should face the cold hard facts: Despite all the recounts and rhetoric, there is nothing proving that Al Gore won the election. George W. Bush rightfully won and I will support him. As for an American spokesman, wouldn't that be the President?
DAVID J. DILLON
We are Springfield Township residents with one son left in school. He has played football, basketball, and baseball since he was in seventh grade. We have seen the positive effects of these extracurricular activities. They have kept him occupied and out of trouble, provided physical activity, given him respect for authority, the will to win “as a team,” and healthy self-confidence. All of the above are necessary in real life.
He'll be a senior next year and faces the very real possibility of having no sports to pursue, not even on a pay-to-play basis, if the Springfield school levy does not pass on Feb. 6.
The chance to improve his skill levels will be eliminated and with no sports in the school, what college scouts will even know he exists? Translation: No college scholarship! We realize this levy couldn't possibly come at a worse time with heating bills and some property taxes almost doubling, but to defeat the levy only punishes the kids and the teachers, and at what cost to the voter? Maybe what it costs to take a family of four to a fast-food restaurant once a month! I think we can all make this sacrifice!
If the levy doesn't pass, I'm afraid there will be many “ripple” effects. We love our home and neighborhood, but we will be forced to look at another school system. We can't imagine any school being well-rounded without extracurricular activities to make well-rounded young adults.
Please vote! Think of the kids when you do and don't take away their chance to be the best they can be. Remember, they have no say about what matters to them.
STEVE and MARILYN HALL