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Published: Tuesday, 12/11/2001

English is a basic of civic, cultural heritage

As an unfunded federal mandate, a last-minute executive order by ex-President Bill Clinton now entitles everyone in this country to receive all government services in the language of his/her choice.

Effectively making the United States multilingual, and informing immigrants that learning the language of our country is neither expected nor required, this edict controverts a basic element of our civic and cultural heritage for more than two centuries - the English language.

A requirement to provide interpreters and/or translators for Medicare and other health care settings seriously challenges the ability to offer cost-effective and quality health care. Extending the scope of multi-lingualism to traffic signs would be a perilous threat to the safety of all and probably increase demands on our overburdened emergency services.

A significant majority of our citizenry and more than half of state legislatures have averred that English should be our official language. In this critical era of multiple threats to the integrity and well-being of our country, it becomes mandatory for President Bush to overturn Executive Order 13166. He can reaffirm and solidify our national spirit and values, at the same time fostering the ambitions and desires of legal immigrants to be woven into our society and culture.

HOWARD S. MADIGAN

Sylvania

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Recently, when I was driving on Central Avenue between McCord Road and King Road in Sylvania Township, I was unable, for a brief moment, to locate Percentum Road, where I had lived during my youth for 16 years. No landmarks remain and, in what was once a heavily wooded area, not a tree was left standing up to a quarter mile back from Central Avenue.

My great-aunt was staying at the Arbors at Sylvania Rehabilitation Center (located between Meijer shopping center and the woods that surrounded the west side of my old neighborhood) and witnessed this sudden destruction.

Having a bedside window overlooking the woods, my aunt (along with the staff and other patients) anticipated each day the appearance of the birds and animals that visited them in the clearing near their building. It was an irreplaceable part of her healing process. But one day she was traumatized to find the entire woods being uprooted and cleared without the slightest opposition or warning.

What is the price of progress, especially when one considers the emotional pain endured by patients at the rehabilitation center? Is it possible, or even necessary, for citizens to form local nonprofit organizations to outbid national chain stores for the preservation of small pockets of land, not just for the animals, but for our own emotional well-being? How is balance achieved in a commercial culture whose survival rests on continued expansion?

My aunt told me that environmental concerns were of little consequence to her until she had a front-row seat to the devastation caused by what we define as “progress.”

Ironically, the woods that were destroyed were cleared to make way for a home improvement store.

FAITH A. SIEFKER

Defiance

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As a former resident of South Toledo, I was dismayed to read of the threat to the future of Harvard School.

Hopefully, the reaction of residents at the recent meeting will convince school board members to leave this neighborhood school intact.

Outside consultants can indeed introduce fresh ideas when studying a situation. But there is also the danger that they are unfamiliar with the history and the fabric of a neighborhood, and unaware of the negative impact that unwanted change can bring. Clearly, the parents are happy with this school.

Building contractors may be more comfortable tearing down and starting from scratch. But from an aesthetic viewpoint, it is unlikely that a building can be erected on this hilltop site that can look any more majestic or in harmony with surrounding structures than the current Harvard School building.

BRIAN TAYLOR

Cleveland

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Regarding the article “Wellness industry takes on state,” nutrition certainly is important to health. Vitamins are essential nutrients and a lack of them results in deficiency diseases.

However, most people in the United States do not eat a diet deficient in vitamins. Rather, most people eat a diet that is too high in calories for energy needs and is too high in saturated fats (including trans fatty acids). This diet puts them at risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, etc. Taking vitamin supplements just cannot make a poor diet a healthful diet.

Dietitians have extensive training in the field of nutrition. Like other health professionals, they base their recommendations on solid research.

For example, recently the National Cholesterol Education Program reviewed research on high blood cholesterol. The panel concluded that lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of heart disease. They recommend weight control, exercise, smoking cessation, diet changes, etc. The panel stated that dietary supplements are not recommended because of the lack of evidence that they reduce the risk of heart disease.

As health professionals, dietitians give objective and unbiased information. Giving advice on supplements and selling them mixes in the motivation for profit. How many of us would rely solely on the information from the used car salesperson? Or would we get a second opinion from someone who does not stand to gain from our purchase?

Public health professionals believe that we need more, not less regulation of supplements. A recent study in a prestigious medical journal analyzed 22 ginseng supplements and found that eight products did not have any active ginseng in them. Whether ginseng works is a moot point in a product without it.

Ongoing research may find that supplements improve health. Until then, I recommend doing what works: exercise and a good diet.

DEBRA BOARDLEY

Associate Professor of Public Health

University of Toledo

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Our postal system needs help. We should all double our postage (two stamps instead of one) for the month of December, including all commercial mail. I am sure your research department can come up with an estimate of the potential income to the U.S. Postal Service.

I intend to do this, and hope The Blade takes the lead to convince the rest of the country to do the same.

KEMAL ONAT

Maumee

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“If we can't govern, let's obstruct.” That seems to be the battle cry of the U.S. Senate, whose power comes not from votes of the people, but from a disgruntled senator from Vermont going against the wishes of his own electorate.

Isn't it curious that with congressional elections less than a year away, President Bush is now being blamed for the faltering economy while at the same time a partisan Senate blocks every meaningful presidential initiative toward bolstering that economy?

The country would be better served if senatorial pouting stopped, and the work of the people began.

Unless, of course, the senators are willing to risk joining Osama bin Laden in the graveyard of history.

EDWIN F. DURIVAGE

River Road

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A recent editorial thanked NATO for helping in the current terrorism war, but in the part about wars in which we received no help from Europe (and you listed Montezuma, World War I, Omaha beach, Mekong Delta, etc.) you omitted the thousands of us who were at Inchon. Frozen Chosin. Outpost Harry.

It's disheartening to always be part of the “Forgotten War.”

DENNY BARRETT

Perrysburg



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