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Friday, July 11, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 11/13/2005

Tragedy of the Fitz is the loss of crew

The "mystery" of the Edmund Fitzgerald only pertains to the specifics of the ship's last hours. It is no mystery that the gale warnings were given well in advance of that November storm.

Our ship, the cement freighter E.M. Ford, in the command of Capt. Patrick Gallagher, Sr., was also downbound in Lake Superior during that storm. The intensifying gale forced us to find safe anchorage under Grand Island, offshore from Munising, Mich.

So strong was the wind that only with two anchors "spread-eagled" and our engine at "half speed" ahead could we maintain our anchorage position. Weather stations reported winds up to 90 miles per hour and 30-foot waves. Coming on watch as first mate at 4 a.m., I first heard of the disappearance of the Fitz.

We departed anchorage as the weather improved somewhat, heading for Whitefish Point, only to be forced to return to our anchorage because of the heavy seas. Only after five days at anchor, and nearly running out of food and fuel, were we able to sail for our home port of Alpena.

The tragedy of the Fitzgerald is the loss of the crew. They had no say in their own safety. As a retired captain, I firmly believe that we have too much power. If a "heavy weather" captain decides to sail, his decision is final.

Yes, there were other ships out there in that fateful storm. Thank God they were spared! There was no "mystery" concerning the reporting of the severity of the impending storm. We would paraphrase Ecclesiastes to say, "There is a time to sail, and a time to seek safe anchorage." We share the pain and the memory of this great loss 30 years ago.

DONALD L. GHIATA

Oregon

I had the honor of being present in Findlay when U.S. Rep. Mike Oxley announced his retirement from politics. He was given a standing ovation from a large group of friends and constituents appreciative of the public service that he has provided to his district for 25 years.

Mike's conservative voting record always represented the majority viewpoint in the Fourth District and he will leave behind many local accomplishments, including the modernization of U.S. Rt. 30, supporting the University of Findlay, and keeping the tank plant in Lima open.

I was not surprised by The Blade editorial that criticized Mr. Oxley for being a pro-business Republican and took some parting shots at a distinguished legislator. The liberal media have never understood conservatives. But Mr. Oxley's constituents know how hard he has worked for them. The have always re-elected him overwhelmingly.

It is noteworthy that U.S. Rep. Barney Frank, a liberal Democrat from Massachusetts, paid this tribute to Mike: "At a time when rancor in Washington leads many to the extreme of trying to manufacture civility, Mike Oxley's basic personal decency demonstrates that where civility is lacking, it is not the fault of the system as much as a personal failing of the uncivil."

That civility stands in stark contrast to the venom of The Blade's editorial page. Such attacks by the unelected media weaken our political system by discouraging good people from seeking public office, I am glad that Mike Oxley was never deterred and has fought the good fight. He has my thanks for a job well done.

DICK LARICK

Findlay

The Blade's editorial opinion regarding the "disappointing career" of Michael Oxley was right on the mark regarding the waste of time and money the 82nd "safe district" congressman has expended on his district in northwest Ohio. This guy couldn't be further from the mark of responsible representation for his "hometown."

He's been big business and political junkets all the way, and now he decides not to run for office next year. Huh? Like The Blade said, in so many words, either challenger Ben Konop scared him or Mr. Oxley was afraid issues 2,3,4 and 5 might pass, endangering his precious little piece of "political pie."

It must be time to cut and run. And at what better time? So will he move back to his political base camp and hang around with those Cadillac conservatives, who have voted for him time and again without thinking? I sincerely doubt it. I hope he likes retirement on our dole. I hear Aspen's lovely in November.

SKIP CODY

Findlay

Toledo-Lucas County Port Authority indicated passenger volume at Toledo Express was down 25 percent from September, 2004, to September, 2005, a very large drop in passengers and revenue at Toledo Express. Brian Schwartz said the drop was due to 9/11, fuel costs, and companies filing bankruptcy. There is some validity to his claim.

But you can ride that pony only so often. Then you have to get real. In the same interview Mr. Schwartz said the airport was to commence work on the first phase of a $20 million improvement of the airport. Of the $20 million to be spent, if the airport is able to get back 1 percent of the 25 percent drop, I will eat my Mud Hens ball cap at home plate at Fifth Third Field. Why not spend money on new air service in and out of Toledo Express? That would be taxpayers' money better spent. Otherwise President Jim Hartung should just turn out the light on his way out. This $20 million folly is a huge waste of taxpayers' dollars.

JERRY CHABLER

Sylvania

Editor's note: Mr. Chabler is a former member of the port authority board and former chairman of its airport committee.

Republican ideas used to confuse me, but lately they've become increasingly clear, though contradictory. Republicans are against perjury and lying to a grand jury if they think President Clinton did it. But if a top Republican does it to betray a CIA agent, apparently it's fine.

Republicans say Supreme Court nominees deserve an up or down vote in the Senate. This rule does not apply if the extreme right wing of their party does not like the nominee.

Republicans may think they can keep fooling the voters with their inconsistencies. Let's hope the voters provide the contradiction to that belief in 2006.

DAVID J. JACKSON

Virginia Street

The Performing Arts School of Metropolitan Toledo is an outstanding example of how charter schools can be successful and effective. Our school seeks to meet a specific need in our community that is not met by other public schools for those who seek to pursue a career in the performing arts.

While the media will often mention the struggling status of many other charter schools, they also often fail to discuss the continuous improvement rating of ours. If you are a parent, you can be assured that your child is receiving a quality education and the specialized individual attention that only a small dynamic school like ours can provide. In other schools with hundreds of students, it's easy to become lost in the crowd. If you are a student here, you know that you have the opportunity to take the stage to display and develop your diverse talents in music, dance, singing, and theater as well as a sense of confidence and individuality.

We are a proud charter school with a state grade of continuous improvement, and yet we are so much more than what is measured by the state. PASMT provides the priceless sense of family to many students they can't find in their lives elsewhere.

Despite some struggles, we are continuously improving to become a better school, with better academics to educate people to build a better community. The media and the state report card might not adequately assess the need in our community of having a performing arts school, but students, parents, and teachers all know PASMT is one of the greatest and most overlooked schools in the area.

THEODORE LOCH

Nantuckett Drive

The legacy of President Bill Clinton (a brilliant politician) includes sex education for even the very young - and impeachment. President George W. Bush's legacy already shows him to be a statesman who awakened the world to the menace of Islam fascism.

MABLE BRIDGMAN

Sylvania



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