Many customers in our state suffered extended electrical outages because of the recent ice and snow storms. While the hope always is that power be restored as soon as possible, I recognize that the electric companies have a difficult job. Workers from all of the utilities are to be commended for their tremendous efforts and for sacrificing their holiday to help others in need.
It is always difficult for residential consumers to bear the loss of electricity. Health and safety are two of the important concerns that must be addressed when access to lighting, cooking, heating, and hot water are impacted.
Although major storms cannot be prevented, each electric company has an obligation to trim trees and maintain its power lines. Each company currently has a different approach. In order to minimize the number of outages and their severity, the Office of the Ohio Consumers Counsel (OCC) believes that uniform statewide standards should be developed.
These standards could also help prevent non-weather related outages and hopefully result in the more careful selection of trees and shrubs in areas near power lines.
Let there be no doubt that outages would have occurred because of the recent storm, but consumers may have been better off had each electric company been required to follow defined rules that would hold it accountable if proper maintenance is not performed.
Readers can contact the OCC as a resource if they experience any reliability problem with their electric company. As their residential utility consumer advocate, we can be reached toll free at 1-877-742-5622 or on the web at www.pickocc.org.
Ohio Consumers Counsel
With the New Year, Catholic parishes of the Diocese of Toledo have been called to lift up our troubled world in prayer. We invite people of every faith to join us in asking the one God of us all to show the world the way to peace.
Even with all our terrible power, our horrific might and extravagant wealth, we Americans cannot recreate the world in our own image and likeness.
Indeed, the tsunami calamity, an international catastrophe, confronts us with our own vulnerability.
Our Christian tradition names this season Epiphany, for its brighter days reveal one who is Son of God and Son of Man. Epiphany recalls the storied journey of Magi from the East, three Wise Men from ancient Iraq in search of the King of Kings.
We have no alternative but to follow, to come together with the nations and fall on our knees before the Prince of Peace. America is not without sin. We must ask forgiveness.
His kingdom is at hand. But first we all must repent our hatreds. We can do this. Our collective prayer can change us. People are fundamentally good. Hope is not dead.
Make the New Year s first Sunday the Day of Prayer for Peace.
FR. MARTIN DONNELLY
Diocesan Priest Council
Diocese of Toledo
I wonder what the families of the soldiers who have been killed or injured think of President Bush as Time s man of the year, especially at this time of year. Makes you wonder who was on the board to make that choice, when you consider the number killed or injured since he landed on the carrier with his chest puffed up and his grin proclaiming MISSION ACCOMPLISHED last year.
An earthquake powerful enough to alter the planet s axis, shorten our day by three microseconds, raise the level of the island of Sumatra above the sea, and push it as much as 120 feet southwest.
A 30-foot wave spanning thousands of miles, moving at up to 500 mph, crushing anything and everything man can build, drowning or maiming thousands upon thousands.
A flood that is projected to spark epidemic disease and starvation across several continents.
And some still try to convince us our hair spray bottles are going to destroy the fragile planet.
CHAD D. BAUS
Quite simply, it is not the role of public education and public government to institutionalize religion. No matter whether you believe in a higher being or by what name you call it, its place is in your heart, your home and/or your place of worship. For those people who believe quite fervently that religion should be part of their children s education, let them home-school their children or send them to parochial schools.
I talk to my God on a daily basis. At the very least, He guides me in always keeping those less fortunate than I in my thoughts and deeds, by being ethical in my dealings with others, by working constantly to protect the environment and all creatures great and small of whom he made us all stewards, and by protecting the rights of all humans to live without want and in dignity.
South Cove Boulevard
As a retired Marine, I applaud your recent editorial concerning the travesty of justice imposed upon Army Reservist Maj. Catherine Kaus. In an effort to accomplish the mission assigned to her, Major Kaus took it upon herself to acquire any logistical equipment that was readily available.
Rather than reward her for displaying initiative and sound judgment, the Army decided a court martial was in order. Talk to veterans of any war and they will tell you that scrounging and cannibalizing of equipment is standard operating procedure in a combat situation.
The Army brass that initiated the charges against Major Kaus should put down their donut and coffee cup and place themselves in that situation.
If this is an example of an Army of One and Be All You Can Be, heaven help us.
ARMAND D. GRAVEL
Port Clinton, Ohio
The time has come for Ohio to get on board with many other states and enact a bottle- and can-return law. Every street and parking lot is littered with broken bottles and flat cans. The people of this area should be ashamed.
If bottles and cans were worth 10 cents each, they would not be lying around.
No one wants costs to increase, but the amount of litter is way out of hand. Michigan works with return; Ohio could do it also.
LOUIS F. STEFANONI
Isn t it funny that after a public outcry from Toledo taxpayers, Mayor Jack Ford and City Council announced that they would be able to avert critical job layoffs as well as a trash fee by implementing spending cuts?
Wow, what a novel idea. Too bad they didn t think of it in the first place!
Eureka! I ve discovered a way to fund Toledo s government.
Driving to work today I observed three instances of yellow/red light-running, and was reminded of our German friend s reaction to this northwest Ohio phenomenon. Each time he saw a light-runner he would shout, 250 dollars! 250 dollars! (In Germany a yellow light is considered the same as a red light, and running either subjects the driver to a $250 fine. Cameras are mounted at the intersections to ensure obedience to traffic laws.)
Based on my experience today, the city would be $750 richer. Multiply that by the number of intersections in the city, times 365 days, and Mein Gott! the city is funded!