The frenetic holiday season of 2003 is over. Decorations are coming down, children return to school, adults return to their jobs, and the pale of winter covers Toledo and the region for the next several months.
As we settle into our routines, I want to thank Luke Shockman and The Blade, as well as Melissa Voetsch and WTOL, for the coverage provided to readers and viewers about my kidney donation and the transplant into Mike Wrede.
Of greater importance is the gratitude I have for Drs. Matt Rutter (my surgeon) and Mike Rees (Mike's surgeon), Sue Schwartz, our transplant coordinator at Medical College of Ohio, and all the nurses, residents, and support staff at MCO for their tireless skill, concern, and care during this process.
The decision I made to donate a kidney to whomever the MCO transplant team deemed the most eligible was a private and personal one. So agreeing to let the public-at-large in on this event was a little uncomfortable.
The outpouring of good wishes from total strangers for Mike and me has been an amazing gift to both of us. Apparently spending far too many years in Washington, D.C., had jaded my sense of folks' good-heartedness.
The residents of Toledo, Lucas County, and Ohio have completely erased my skepticism, replacing it with a real sense of pride in Ohio as part of our nation's heartland. I am truly grateful to be back home.
The need for more donors - samaritan, friend, family or cadaver - remains critical in Ohio. To anyone who steps forward to be evaluated for living donation - and my hope is that some will - I offer my hand in friendship to help in any way I can to make the process of donation as free of fear and trepidation as possible.
The recent tragic death of an Ohio first grader after a table fell on him at an afterschool YMCA childcare program drives home the need for safety to be a top priority in state-licensed childcare sites.
The Ohio Department of Job and Family Services is responsible for licensing and inspecting child-care centers. However, they only visit sites twice per year. One visit is announced, the unannounced is usually six months later.
Although licensing specialists do the best they can to find any violations, sometimes things fall through the cracks. Therefore, a good inspection record still may not be an ideal indicator of a center's day-to-day operations.
Parents can start by reviewing the last inspection record, which is to be posted at each site. They can also access the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services website to review the inspection records of all state-licensed centers.
They must also know to look closely at the center's "culture." It is up to the for-profit and not-for-profit owners and administrators to set the tone for safety in each site. They are the ones who must set a higher standard.
For instance, the state of Ohio states that a child-care provider must be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED. That is a minimal requirement. Therefore, administrators need to ensure that staff does have the education, experience, and training to oversee the health, safety, and well-being of our children. Center administrators and staff must be held accountable. If they chose to make child-care their "business," then they must answer to the consumers: the parents who patronize their sites. Our children deserve that much.
As a conservationist I am appalled by the rampant disregard of environmental needs.
It is as though the advances of the last 30 years have been lost. Half the new cars sold are gas-devouring SUVs that normally carry only the driver. In the recent past people were at least ashamed of being polluters.
Now they take a perverse pride in it. The general attitude seems to be "I am going to waste all the gas I like and I don't care how many lives it costs to keep the pipelines open."
The party in power scorns conservation efforts as the equivalent of picking up pennies on the sidewalk despite evidence that the savings are substantial.
Vice President Dick Cheney brushes off conservation as a non-essential personal virtue. This unwillingness to deal with growing pollution ensures that eventually clean air and water will be luxuries enjoyed only by the privileged while everyone else will suffer early onset of debilitation and death.
How has greed so engulfed us? Can we not live simply so that others can simply live?
I take exception to the headline, "Teachers allege breach of faith," in your Jan. 7 story about Swanton Local Schools.
Nowhere in the story do either of the two teachers quoted make a statement like that and it misled your readers, although the facts were accurate for the most part.
Overall, readers were left with the impression that the school board is trying to hide something, when in fact the matter will be discussed at the next regular board of education meeting on Jan. 20 (the other two meetings held since the loan was not approved were special meetings with a specific agenda).
There is a large group in our community that includes school board members, administrators, union and non-union employees, parents, non-parents, young adults, business people and retirees working together to pass the March 2 levy.
I want residents of our district (and our neighbors, for that matter) to know that there are hundreds of people in Swanton who are dedicated to the education of our children and who have gotten over our differences of opinion for the sake of the children, our community, and our future.
A recent Blade editorial titled "The perils of Pakistan" was an erroneous portrayal of events in South Asia.
Unfortunately, President Musharaff has been the target of two assassination attempts, but looking beyond the immediate responsible are the same banned terrorist organizations aided and abetted by the Pakistani government, to destabilize not only Kashmir but also the rest of India.
A cosmetic shift, not a seismic shift, in policy has pitted them in opposite camps.
It would be inappropriate to mention Gen. Pervez Musharraf in the same breath as Anwar Sadat and Yitzak Rabin, who were visionaries and true champions of peace.
Whereas, it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee of India, who initiated the peace process in the sub-continent. If anything, Mr. Musharraf was responsible for initiating the Kargil war, while the prime ministers of the two countries were at a peace summit.
For the United States, engaging Mr. Musharraf, a staunch supporter of the Taliban until 9/11, was an act of political expediency.
A more pertinent concern should be the transfer of nuclear technology from Pakistan to North Korea and, recently, Iran. It would be naive to assume that such a transfer could take place at a scientific level without the knowledge of Mr. Musharraf.
Plebiscite in Kashmir is a non-event anyway, for it was based upon withdrawal of Pakistani forces from Kashmir. Second, 400,000 Hindus have been ethnically cleansed. Third, the people of Kashmir have spoken repeatedly through free and fair elections, including the MORI report, wherein 61 percent of Kashmiris favored union with India and only 6 percent with Pakistan.
One would expect The Blade to be more circumspect and precise in nature rather than superficial.
In the 2000 election, George Bush ran as a compassionate conservative. Yet he is against Canadian prescription drugs. How much compassion is he showing those American senior citizens whose incomes are so low that they cannot afford to buy their own medicine in the country they live in?
Is the Canadian prescription drug plan better or the United States' plan? It's an easy answer: Canada, hands down! Ask any senior citizen getting his or her prescription drugs from Canada.