I am pleased to see that the governor of Ohio is on board with 44 other governors in charging citizens parking fees to access their own state parks. Certainly most Ohio Republicans can afford the minimal $5 daily fee, and as an added bonus they won't have to put up with the squalling brats of the hoi polloi who don't have $5.
Perhaps this could be the start of a good thing. If the Ohio Legislature can't fund parks in the $51 billion Ohio budget, maybe it could more easily factor in some additional user fees to help defray construction costs of luxury state park villas for well-connected political contributors?
Or, hey, maybe we could use some of those pesky park trees to build new schools! You know, log cabins, Abe Lincoln, mom, apple pie?
Ah, but you know, I think this fee thing won't generate much revenue anyway. Heck, after paying for this winter's heating bill, the 9 percent increase in junior's state college tuition, and the prescriptions that weren't covered by your new Wal-Mart job, where are you going to find the money to fill up with $3 a gallon gasoline to go to the park anyway?
Thank goodness for compassionate conservatism!
Bruce J. Kiacz
In his recent letter, Sylvania Mayor Craig Stough raised several questions about two Sylvania fire levies on the May ballot. Since his questions were based on inaccurate information, the trustees would like to set the record straight.
First, Mayor Stough used incorrect levy numbers, referring to a combined levy amount as "just under 5 mills." The correct figures: 1.1 mills for a 20-year capital improvement levy and 2.95 mills for an operating levy. The combined millage is 4.05.
Second, Mayor Stough cited incorrect costs. Fire and rescue cost per resident in 2004:
City of Oregon: $105.36;
City of Perrysburg: $119.75;
Sylvania Township: $130.40;
Perrsyburg Twp.: $135.04;
City of Toledo: $159.48, and
City of Maumee: $160.53
Third, Mayor Stough stated proposed staff increases would be "30 more firefighters." The proposal is to replace two retirees and add one inspector, one staff position, and 18 firefighters.
Fourth, he had the number of stations wrong. He said "five totally new stations." The proposal is for one new station and replacement of three existing stations located in areas where traffic has become unacceptably dangerous. Those stations require such extensive remodeling that renovation would be "throwing good money after bad."
Finally, the mayor suggests that more study be performed. A citizens committee of city and township representatives conducted a comprehensive facilities study. Both levies are a result of two years of review, including outside consultants, internal analysis, National Fire Standards comparison, and public hearings. The mayor was invited to all public meetings and only attended one.
The mayor's letter was written before the trustees voted on a proposal for reduced millage. It is unfortunate for the citizens of Sylvania Township and City that incorrect information was used which creates a false and misleading impression of our fire department and our community.
Sylvania Township Trustees
Our ill-functioning Lucas County Board of Elections' recent decision for the touch-screen voting system is not the system recommended for funding by the secretary of state, not the system chosen by the New England states, including the city of Boston, not the system chosen by the citizens in the Silicon Valley, where touch-screen computers originated. But it is a system "hackers" love to break into to influence the votes.
All of the above voters use the optical scanners, a system that has 25 or 30 years of practical experience, not only for the voters, but is used by learning institutions for grading test papers, hospitals for menu preparations, and other similar applications.
We have worked in the polling places for the last 10 or 12 elections and have experience with both systems. We have also determined the optical scanner system will more accurately do the work of four or five touch-screen machines. Guess what Diebold said to overcome this deficiency: Buy more touch-screen machines. At $6,000 a pop, what a sales pitch, and the Lucas County Board of Elections bought it.
I challenge the county commissioners to invite me to one of their meetings for more reasonable discussions on voting machines. I am in the phone book.
Oak Valley Court
OK, we will never agree on how well the trucking industry has improved its safety record or the 9 million people within the trucking industry who are committed to raising that safety bar year after year.
What we will agree to is that one trucking related accident/death is one too many and we are committed to improving this and have.
Healthy trucking is vital for the economy and yes, there is always a push for larger, heavier, and longer hours within reason because the consumer demands it.
When it's got to be there on time and at the lowest possible cost - that's what the nation demands. And these drivers on the road will do this at a national average of $45,000 per year.
What we would like to see, as I suspect would most trucking companies, is a method by which drivers could run fewer hours and fewer miles, spend more time at home, and tip the pay scales toward yearly earnings of about $75,000 per year.
So for now, whether the trucker is at fault or if he is on a "parallel" road instead of the turnpike, he's going to make news. It's no wonder there is a shortage of eligible applicants to drive these rigs.
Not only has it become cost-prohibitive to become an owner-operator with equipment, fuel, taxes, and insurance costs, the career itself has become less attractive. The nation's truckers log approximately 200 billion miles per year with safety being "front and center," our highest priority.
Sr. Vice President
Craig Transportation Co.
Bishop Leonard Blair should develop a better appreciation for the work and sacrifices made by the residents of the historic Vistula community. Those residents, both Catholic and non-Catholic, along with others who have adopted St. Joseph's Parish to heart, are delivering on their vision of a thriving urban enclave.
St. Joseph's and historic Salem Lutheran Church are at the core of a grass-roots effort to restore neighborhood vitality to Vistula. The spiritual focal points and social services delivered by these churches is a source of pride and progress.
Father Majoros is to be congratulated for using the Tridentine Rite as a bridge between the old and the new. He uses the beauty and poetry of the ancient Latin rite as a moving expression of contemporary faith.
What purpose does it serve to wrench this expression from its people, march it across the cold, broad expanse of Cherry Street, and plop it in an under-utilized relic?
Is it in the interest of well-heeled, suburban, Sunday commuters?
St. Francis de Sales sits in the middle of a sterile business district, not a parish community. Why not just give it to the Oblates of St. Francis de Sales as a chapel and worship center in the memory of their founder and patron saint?
I hope Bishop Blair does not threaten to rescind permission to use the Tridentine Rite as a means to get compliance to his wishes.
I am tired of people complaining about the Ten Commandments on display on the front lawn of the courthouse.
To put an end to this complaint, how about selling me that tiny piece of property? I'll buy it and pay the taxes. Then you can erect another sign behind the commandments: "Private Property, no trespassing."