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Published: Sunday, 4/2/2006

Act of bravery changed our family's lives

Coingate, war, bomb threats, drugs, prostitution, bankruptcy, greed, and fraud. It makes big front-page news every day. Every once in a while a story comes along that is good news, a happy ending, that shows there is still good out there.

Our daughter's life was saved on Nov. 20, 2004, by Patty Rupert. Jillian Badenhop-Fitzenreiter was mere seconds away from being burned alive when Patty pulled her from her burning car. She didn't do it for money or fame. She didn't do it because she knew Jillian. She just did it because someone needed help.

Congratulations to Patty on receiving her Carnegie Medal for Bravery. Our family's lives were forever changed that day because of her selfless act of compassion. Instead of walking to the cemetery, we were able to walk Jillian down the aisle to get married last year.

Let's hear the good news more often: ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

TOM and KATHY BADENHOP

Liberty Center, Ohio

Luke Boggs is executive director of Americans for Wal-Mart, and, not surprisingly, feels Wal-Mart's success is good for Ohio. While his claim of no affiliation to Wal-Mart may be true, the organization certainly has enough of a vested interest to write to The Blade all the way from Alpharetta, Ga.

Mr. Boggs asserted in his March 27 Forum letter that most of the critics of Wal-Mart are "labor bosses jealous of union-free Wal-Mart's terrific success." I am not, nor have I ever been a union member, but that does not preclude me from seeing the costs of the company's practices on local communities and the nation.

While Wal-Mart may pay millions in state and local taxes, it also places an incredible burden on the state as well. In Michigan, for example, it has recently been estimated that Wal-Mart employees seeking Medicare help cost the state more than $45 million.

The figures are probably similar here in Ohio. Likewise, Wal-Mart has more full-time employees collecting food stamps than any other company in the United States. I would guess they cost the state more than they actually contribute to the economy in the form of taxes.

Also, the elimination of jobs in Ohio to satisfy Wal-Mart's strong-arm purchasing tactics is well documented. One may look no further than Rubbermaid, a company that, under Wal-Mart pricing pressure, closed a factory in northeast Ohio, eliminating 1,000 jobs.

In fact, since 2001, Rubbermaid has closed dozens of production facilities and fired thousands of workers, mostly to meet Wal-Mart demands.

Wal-Mart is involved in more than 40 class-action suits, mostly based on its labor practices. Unfortunately, these are now what are considered good jobs and "success" in America.

RANDY ARTHUR

Circular Drive

An immediate military withdrawal from Iraq is not "cut and run" or treason. It is the most humane and logical end to what has become a moral, political, and financial catastrophe. There is no longer any doubt that the war against Iraq was unprovoked and unnecessary and we have created a lawless terrorist state.

The biggest sacrifice is being made by the Iraqi people, at least 50 percent of whom are children, who are being killed and maimed in exponential numbers because of the continued occupation. Without our presence, the perpetual cycle of retribution will have one less target.

Diplomatic and international support is crucial if Iraq is ever going to survive, and "staying the course" as it exists will never create the conditions where that is possible.

The only way to have peace is to be for peace, and so far America has failed miserably in creating the conditions at home or abroad where peace could even take root, much less flourish.

SALLY J. KELLER

Sabra Road

It feels as if Satan is assaulting us from all sides. Only a few months after the death of our 1-year-old son, we have now lost our church.

The bishop says he understands the pain involved in closing churches, but I disagree or he wouldn't have made the decision in the first place.

His solution of forced closings or mergers may relieve the priest shortage for now but does not address recent declines in parishioner membership. I wonder if the diocese has considered that people may be leaving the church because they don't feel church leaders value their opinions.

As a member of St. James, we were shocked when our name was on the list of churches to be closed. The diocese said we should have seen this coming because we were clustered a few years ago with two other parishes. Should we then assume that the newly merged churches are to be part of the next wave of closings?

Secretariat Leader of the Diocese Mike Wasserman has been quoted as saying that the diocese would eventually like to have only one church in each county. This would be similar to St. Michael's in Findlay, which "serves" 9,000 Catholics but only has about 33 percent attendance on any given Sunday. Our church used to have about 80 percent attendance before we were closed, but that is the difference between a big city church and a small rural one. Unfortunately, a diocese composed of small churches requires more priests to operate.

With the number of priests continuing to decline, it seems that more closings are sure to follow. Is your church next? Ask the man whose name is on the deed to the building and on all of your church assets, Bishop Leonard Blair.

MARK McGINNIS

Kansas, Ohio

A March 17 story, "Children's antipsychotic drugs may not help them," should have parents fuming. Health-care costs are skyrocketing and GM, Chrysler, and other companies are responding by cutting coverage, raising co-pays, and limiting drug and treatment choices. Meanwhile psychiatrists and groups like NAMI and CHADD are busy pushing to get as many kids as possible on long-term treatment with mind-altering, expensive psychiatric drugs under the guise of special education or suicide-prevention screening.

While such groups tout the need for school-based mental-health screening, such as the controversial TeenScreen program now being heavily pushed in Ohio schools, figures available on the CDC Web site clearly show a decline in teen suicide over the last 20 years.

An FDA advisory panel recently recommended black box warnings be put on all ADHD drugs like Ritalin and Adderall as they can cause sudden death and heart failure. In 2004 the FDA mandated black box warnings on antidepressants like Prozac and Zoloft because they can cause suicide and violence such as took place at the Columbine and Red Lake schools.

Now a study says the very expensive antipsychotic drugs like Zyprexa and Risperdal being given to many children to treat ADHD do not work on them. Between 1995 and 2002 the number of children prescribed antipsychotics jumped fivefold to 2.5 million and those figures are four years old.

If you wonder who is a prime cause of driving up health-care costs which are being passed off to you, look no further than those people busy putting children on unnecessary, expensive psychiatric drugs. They are bankrupting our health-care system with their demands for mental-health parity and mental-health screening of all children. They are hooking our kids on expensive psychiatric drugs that can potentially make them violent and suicidal.

ERNEST RYAN

Temperance

Just to expand on the notion that "experts" rate Japanese vehicles superior to U.S. models, Consumer Reports rates the Honda Ridgeline truck as the " most dependable/most reliable."

Are they guessing it will last longer? Maybe they are hoping they last longer. Honda built its first pickup for sale in the U.S. less than six months ago. No proven track record at all.

Consumer Reports should stick to testing toasters.

DAVID POWELL

Sylvania



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