The irony of thousands of ash trees being cut down on Arbor Day marks a tragic chapter in the history of Metroparks. The impact of the Ohio Department of Agriculture's emerald ash borer eradication project at Pearson Metropark will be extensive and severe.
The park district's staff has advocated for the preservation of eastern Lucas County's only metropark, but the state agency has compelling evidence that it is already too late to spare the trees from this insidious invader.
If the decision were ours to make and the problem limited to Pearson, the course of action might be different. But the agriculture department has jurisdiction in this matter and the stakes are greater than any one park or community.
Following a protocol created by a national task force made up of foresters, entomologists, and other experts, the state is waging a war against time in an effort to save 3.8 billion trees in Ohio. The fate of billions more trees in communities across the eastern United States may depend upon stopping the beetle here.
Metroparks will continue to do everything in its power to minimize the impacts of the eradication project on Pearson and Oak Openings Preserve, where the beetle has been found, and the other metroparks still at risk of infestation. The forest is resilient and will rebound with renewed growth, helped along by a replanting campaign we hope to begin soon.
One way we can channel our disappointment in a positive way is to urge our federal lawmakers to close the door to exotic species that arrive on American shores at the rate of one every eight months. The cost of prevention is small compared to the cost to our native plants and animals. Pearson Metropark is proof of what we stand to lose.
Metroparks of the Toledo Area
Columnist Thomas Sowell seems to have no trouble understanding how natural economic forces shape the financial marketplace. Why then does he resort to bizarre conspiracy theories to explain things that are clearly the result of natural social forces shaping the workplace?
He is alarmed that, in the universities, "it is not at all uncommon to find a whole academic department - sociology for example - without a single Republican."
Does he imagine that there are long lines of neo-con applicants outside the dean's office being hit on the head and carried away by liberal trolls who live in the basement?
People who choose to spend their lives studying the problems of society - poverty, discrimination, class mobility, community health, and the like - tend to see the Democratic Party as more aligned with their interests than the Republican Party.
If I were to visit a businessmen's club with a $5,000 initiation fee I would not be surprised if I didn't find a single Democrat. Such people tend to see the Republican Party as more aligned with their interests.
Earlier columns have expressed fears over reports that a majority of workers in the news media are Democrats. Isn't this clearly because people who spend their lives observing at first hand, reporting, and analyzing the facts of political life tend to become convinced that the Democratic philosophy is the preferable one?
But, no! Mr. Sowell would have it that the "liberal media" have been taken over by a sinister left-wing conspiracy.
It's really quite simple: People who spend their lives helping others tend to be Democrats. People who spend their lives helping themselves tend to be Republicans.
Mr. Sowell can rest easy. The things he hears going bump in the night are just the neighbors downstairs coming home from the 3-to-11 shift.
A Forum letter said our fraternity is "un-Christian" in privately sanctioning a member for what we refer to as "un-Masonic conduct."
While most of our members are Protestant, we only ask a belief in one God, the father of all. The Founders' idea of tolerance of all good men of faith; that all men are created equal; and that how you call upon God was your business are the most peculiarly Masonic (and American) of ideas then and now.
Our ritual is made of allegories of prudence, fidelity, and integrity related to the building of King Solomon's Temple.
To be "a Good Man and True" is our first lesson. Each man plays his role in making something greater than himself, even if he never lives to see its completion.
To act on the plumb uprightly; to meet on the level man-to-man; to part upon the square not crooked - those are our terms. We risk our reputations and those of the fraternity, and we willingly agree to scrutiny from our peers when we act out of bounds. There's an appeals process.
The only sanctions we impose are reprimand, suspension, or expulsion. That applies to organizations such as Scottish Rite or Shrine. You don't have to be a Mason to be accepted at Browning Masonic Center.
We are not a religion, nor are we "superior to religion." We don't proselytize. We choose to accept common moral principles not interfering with Godly, family, or personal obligations. Not every man should be a Mason. Many other men live a Masonic life and never affiliate. How sad. They only need ask.
Sadder still is making explanations for one who in the name of Christ runs down a group that they don't understand. But we've defended free speech for 229 years, too.
PAUL C. PETERS
Toledo-Fort Industry Lodge #144
Free and Accepted
Masons of Ohio
Work is to start this year on Main Street in East Toledo. Part of this project will include the removal of the railroad bridge that serves as a gateway to East Toledo. Also included is the construction of a new pedestrian walkway over the roadway.
Some might say just tear this old bridge down and be done with it.
On the other hand I believe there are those who would say this has been a part of the East Side landscape for a long time and should be preserved.
There is a solution, and it is the same as what took place with the bridge near Owens Corning. This bridge was refurbished and is still in use today.
I know we have the knowledge and resources to incorporate this old bridge into the new pedestrian walkway, so let's save the "Gateway to East Toledo."
PAUL J. GIBBS
Seems silly to waste space about this, but here goes. A recent Forum contributor thinks that smokers only crack open their car windows in nice weather and do so because the smokers cannot tolerate secondhand smoke.
Every smoker I know has a car window cracked open when smoking and driving, regardless of the weather. Even if it is pouring rain or freezing cold, it is cracked at least an inch. My guess is that the writer failed to notice this before now; a window opened an inch may not be noticeable.
If the windows are shut tight, the air circulation tends to blow the smoke into the driver's eyes. Even if the air conditioner or heater is not turned on, this seems to happen. A window cracked open, even an inch, tends to pull the smoke away from the driver's eyes. And of course, a cracked window helps the ventilation.
Restaurants have expensive air cleaning systems and cars do not. A car interior is tiny by comparison. Apples and oranges.
Not smart to toss a cigarette out a car window. Too easy for it to fly into the back seat, or into a truck bed or another car window. And not worth the littering fine.
I may have missed something in the discussion of the school bus and child safety, but where is the responsibility of the parents in all of this? I know for sure that if I had a child alighting a school bus on a busy street, I would be at the school bus door to escort my child safely across the street.
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