A recent Blade editorial on the issue of snowmobiles In Yellowstone National Park was typical of just about every one I've read on the subject. It gave the impression that the park is overrun with snowmobiles crisscrossing the countryside. Are you aware that the 780 snowmobiles per day that are allowed in the park only travel on the same roads that carry thousands and thousands of cars, trucks, buses, motorcycles, RVs, etc. through the park every day from May to September? How does the environment survive that?
I traveled more than 200 miles on a snowmobile in Yellowstone one day last year. I took note of the number of snowmobiles I saw over the last 110 miles. I saw three. Mine and the two being driven by my two friends.
In all my trips into the park, the only place where I have ever seen a congestion of snowmobiles has been near Old Faithful - the most overrated Wonder of the World in the world - which has been defaced by a government-sponsored souvenir stand.
I've spent a half hour at a time waiting for buffalo to cross the road a few feet in front of me. I've never seen a buffalo or an elk that seemed to care about the presence of the snowmobile. I don't know how they feel about RVs.
I don't sell or rent snowmobiles for a living. It's my park, too.
Next time, send a reporter to Yellowstone and get both sides of the story. I'm available for guide duty.
Voters in the Swanton Local School District must really do their homework before deciding how to vote on the 1.25 percent income tax levy for operating expenses on March 2.
Many "facts" being thrown are purposely designed to cause anger and distrust in the performance of our school board. Before jumping to any conclusions, it is the voter's responsibility to thoroughly investigate all allegations.
Our school system is in a financial crisis. The drastic cuts that have been made have just as drastically affected the quality of education. Another failed levy means even more cuts. Our children need and deserve a better education than this to be able to compete in today's world.
We are not the only school system to feel the crunch between rising costs and more state mandates and decreasing tax revenues and state funding cuts.
School board mismanagement and waste did not create this big a deficit. Cost-cutting measures alone will not solve our problem. The state is not going to rescue us. It is up to us to save our school system.
The majority of us have the same goal: The best possible education for our children at the least amount of expense to the taxpayers. But we don't seem to agree on how to achieve this goal.
Of one thing I am certain. There is a right way and a wrong way to make changes. If we feel that our tax dollars aren't being spent wisely, the right thing to do is to elect someone we trust to the board of education. The wrong thing to do is to withhold operating expenses until we cripple an entire school system, sacrificing hundreds of students whose futures depend on you.
We need everyone's help in Springfield Local Schools and Swanton Local Schools districts. These schools' levies will impact students for years to come. These districts are facing a real challenge on March 2. They must pass their levies.
When levies fail, the only ones who suffer are the students. We need to show the students we care about them and want to see that they can compete with other students in the 21st century.
I know you are thinking I have a personal interest in seeing that these levies are passed. As superintendent of Lucas County Schools, my primary interest is the students.
Each one of these districts is under the leadership of excellent people. The staff in these districts are people who continually make personal sacrifices for students and are committed to making learning enjoyable. Each and every day they show they care.
Schools today are continually being asked to do more and more. In fact, they are expected to solve the social problems of the country.
All of these districts have done an excellent job of providing many programs to meet the growing needs of their students. It is now time for everyone in these districts to make education their top priority. Remember - children are our most precious resource.
Vote "yes" on your school levy March 2 and don't let the students in your school district down.
THOMAS B. BAKER
Lucas County Educational Service Center
The Northwood Local School District is asking voters to support the renewal of our five-year 2.5-mill permanent improvement levy. A permanent improvement levy can only be used for improvements and repairs to school property.
Please understand, this is not a new tax. A renewal means we are not asking for any new money. Renewal of this levy will continue to collect the same dollars that have been collected since this levy was first passed in 1999, specifically earmarked for improvements and repairs to district buildings.
Renewing this permanent improvement levy will continue to provide the funds needed to make the necessary repairs, replacements, and improvements to extend the useful life of all our district buildings and equipment, which protects and maintains your community investment.
Our buildings and facilities are a source of community pride and involvement as families come together to support the programs and activities that involve their children at each of our school buildings. We ask you to consider the needs of our youth in Northwood and how your support to renew this permanent improvement levy will benefit the community as a whole.
As elected school board members, one of our primary responsibilities is to be good stewards of the tax monies approved by our voters, and we assure you that the district will continue to be cost effective and accountable for the funds that are entrusted to our schools.
Northwood Local Board of Education
I can understand the uproar over Janet Jackson flashing America, but why hasn't anyone spoken out against Justin Timberlake's symbolic attack of her on stage? It's as if ripping a woman's clothes off is cool as long as no one sees what's underneath.
Yes, I know she was a willing participant in a shabby ploy for national attention (as if she can compete with our politicians). But aggression toward a woman is not cool and shouldn't be made to seem so on national television.
I guess it would be OK with folks if he pretended to beat and rape her as long as we didn't have to see her breast.
North McCord Road
Starting at an early age, I have been taught that you cannot beat hate with violence. The war with Iraq is just the opposite. Instead of helping these poverty-stricken people and trying to mend our differences and gaining peace, we invade their homes and kill innocent people. It is also a sad note that the tragic events of 9/11 are being used to justify this war.
You cannot drive out hate with violence, for violence is the fuel for hate.
If a 15-year-old boy can realize this, surely readers can.
George W. Bush says he is going to run on his record. Great news!
More than 2 million jobs lost, a unilateral invasion of another country without provocation, more than 500 military men and women killed, thousands injured, not counting Iraqis, a Medicare prescription drug bill that takes care of insurance and pharmaceutical companies and not seniors, deficits in the hundreds of billions of dollars, an environmental record that is shameful, billions spent on Iraq while important programs are cut in the U.S.A., and National Guard service where Mr. Bush was missing.
Bring it on, George!
SHARON E. WULFF
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