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Published: Saturday, 3/17/2001

The Ohio EPA's database is open to the public

In a recent editorial, The Blade asked “Who does Ohio EPA serve?” I can tell you: We serve the citizens of Ohio. Based on misinformation printed in the Columbus Dispatch about our “database of contaminated or potentially contaminated sites,” you said that Ohio EPA is keeping information from the public. A phone call to Ohio EPA would have revealed just the opposite.

The database of sites that our Division of Emergency and Remedial Response maintains is not confidential. Due to outside rulings dealing with private property rights, we no longer annually publish and sell the Master Sites List (MSL), a list of contaminated or potentially contaminated sites. However, citizens can still contact us to request information about sites we're aware of.

Both newspapers told about a woman who unknowingly built a home near a contaminated site in 1995. The site was put on our MSL in 1991, and we were still publishing the MSL report in 1995. Site information was available to the prospective purchaser before she built her home. The same information is still available, and I encourage prospective buyers to do their homework before making a purchase.

You also said that Ohio EPA “meekly accepted” last year's Environmental Review Appeals Commission ruling that our list of contaminated sites was published inappropriately. In the three years prior to that ruling, Ohio EPA had already taken the issue to the Ohio Supreme Court, seeking to keep publishing the list without going through impractical bureaucratic hoops. We lost.

While we no longer publish a report, we still maintain a database on all sites for which we have a file, regardless if the site is contaminated, potentially contaminated, cleaned up, or confirmed as not needing any cleanup. An open-records law request is not necessary; we provide the information upon request as a service to the public.

CHRISTOPHER JONES

Director

Ohio EPA

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What's happening to East Toledo? I have been an East Sider all my life and have never been ashamed to say so, but as of late it is really shameful to see how some people live.

I guess if you don't have a couch on your front porch or garbage laying everywhere you don't fit in. I know it has been a long winter and it's hard to get outside, but it doesn't hurt to bend down and pick up old cans and junk and throw them away. It's not fair for people who care about their property to have to look at their neighbors' garbage.

I say it's time to take pride in where we live and clean it up. Be proud to be an East Sider!

RUTH TIBBLE

Deal Street

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I read with interest your March 9 editorial, “All that for shoes?” Several years ago, we studied Indonesia at the School of Missions. There is a Nike factory in that country. An example was given of a young woman who works in that factory. She makes $71 a month by working 60 hours a week. Compare that with the price of the Nike shoes.

ELEANOR TAYLOR

Berkey

Another tragic shooting at a high school once again makes headline news. As I watched the story unfold on television, I was incredulous at what I saw. In the aftermath, a group of young men were standing in a circle, holding hands, heads bowed in prayer. A mother and daughter were in each other's arms praying and giving thanks to God that they were unscathed. In fact, many people were in prayer.

This senseless shooting is just another manifestation of the rampant moral decay in this country.

So put up more metal detectors in schools, install security cameras, and lock the classroom doors. Take down any pictures of God, ban the prayer groups, and throw away the Ten Commandments. Just be prepared for the consequences. Don't forget to say thanks to the ACLU.

Who said prayer doesn't belong in school?

DONALD F. SWIDER

Alexis Road

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Adults must begin to understand the true value of human life, and that it does not matter what you call it, that we are all children of God, that we are all holographic parts of the whole, or that we all have the seed of the Buddha within us.

When we begin to show children by example that they are all precious, when we can teach our children about love and compassion instead of judgment and hate, only then can our children stop needing to feel better about themselves by tormenting children who are different. Only then will violence in our schools be a thing of the past.

JUDITH JACKSON

Petersburg, Mich.

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With regard to guns in the schools, educators and police are overlooking the most obvious problem: backpacks, airline carry-ons (the ones with wheels), and duffel bags. As a school bus driver for Washington Local Schools, every day I see students who carry the above-mentioned items so large that they can hardly handle them. What is in them is unknown.

The duffel bags are big enough to hold any kind of weapon you could think of. Any number of items can be hidden in this luggage. At airports they X-ray these items just for safety reasons. I have no idea why they carry enough luggage to take on a two-week vacation. There are a few exceptions - students who play sports - but the majority of these students are not involved in activities that need this kind of baggage. There should be guidelines as to what you can carry into a school. If you limit the source you would also limit the problem.

THOMAS KALUCKI

Penelope Drive

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Raoul Wallenberg, “The Lost Hero,” and the scholar award we established in his name in 1987, were celebrated with the faculty performance of “Music to Nourish the Soul,” last month at the University of Toledo.

An audience of about 170 included UT Board Chairman James Tuschman, current Wallenberg Scholar Deborah Kesling, and last year's scholar, Andrea Woolley, who were treated to an eclectic and emotionally nourishing program. It included tenor Eric Johanson's soaring rendition of a Hebrew prayer, cellist Marc Moskovitz's soulful strings accompanied by Illana Kennell's piano virtuosity, and a dramatic reading of Carl Levine's play The Wallenberg Mystery, set in 1944 Budapest.

The reading featured performance artist Peter Van Schaick, university professors Joel Lipman, Dorothy Siegel, Michael Jakobson, and theater maven Jennifer Rockwood.

The concert netted more than $1,200 for the Wallenberg endowment. It marked the start of a campaign to increase the endowment by at least $20,000 in order to raise the award from $2,500 to keep pace with tuition increases. Tuition at UT is well above $4,000.

I can still hear the voice of the late Panos Bardis, professor of sociology at UT from 1959 to 1989, saying, “Bob, he was a giant,” speaking of Wallenberg. As always, Panos was right on the mark. This award in Wallenberg's name, I believe, deserves to stand above others and I will work long and hard to that end, the same as Raoul Wallenberg worked to save the powerless and the helpless in 1944 Budapest. I cannot do any less! I will not do any less!

ROBERT KARP

Oak Alley Court

The Ohio General Assembly's plan to fund education from proceeds of gambling is almost as bad as Chinese school children being required to manufacture fireworks to fund schools. When are the lawmakers of Ohio going to realize that children are the greatest asset the state has?

It's time to overhaul the tax structure so adequate, stable, and reliable funding is available for all districts. Stop dancing around. Bite the bullet and fund education properly.

BETTY CARSTENSEN

Curtice



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