The United States just experienced one of the mildest winters on record. The oil and gas companies (companies we depend on for our survival) cranked up the price of natural gas in the name of "profit recovery." Heating bills skyrocketed exponentially, as did company profits. By the time our government investigated "price gouging" (wink, wink), thermostats were turned down, profits made.
Now, the price of gasoline (another commodity we depend on for survival) is reaching the stratosphere. How big of a pile of money do energy companies have to amass at our expense?
Our media claim gas now is a better deal than in 1981, with inflation factored in. But in no way have wages for the commoner kept pace.
It's reported that Americans' disposable incomes rise, but that's because $400 million in going-away presents were paid to execs; factor that with the guy that ain't got squat! If you factor in the cost of the war we're probably paying $30 a gallon, but don't fret, we're building schools in Iraq!
What's pathetic is that high energy prices mean everything else we need goes up as well. How does someone earning $10 an hour survive? No wonder crime is rampant.
I fear our country has become the very country our forefathers fled more than 200 years ago, one governed and owned by the rich and powerful on the backs of the many.
My only hope is that good can come from this in the form of an electric car, or maybe we'll melt the polar ice caps a little less quickly. Don't look for any leadership from our government in the form of conservation, even though it is looking into price gouging (wink, wink).
Recently I had the pleasure of introducing Stephanie White to the top 25 student scholars of Indianapolis high schools. With poise, enthusiasm, and charisma, Stephanie charmed her audience, which also included the favorite teachers of student honorees and 175 Rotarians.
Stephanie White is now a member of the University of Toledo women's basketball staff. What a great addition, not just for the basketball program, but for the university and the community.
Former national prep player of the year, All-American, NCAA basketball champion, and collegiate player of the year, Stephanie's greatest accomplishments may have come in the classroom: a two-time Academic All-American, including the top Academic All-American in the nation in 1999. The former WNBA star who spent her final four seasons with the Indiana Fever is a role model in every respect.
Toledo has suffered bumps and bruises over the years, business-wise and pride-wise. Sometimes, an infusion of fresh air is needed to make people, neighborhoods, schools, and businesses feel good about themselves. Stephanie White has the capabilities of injecting pride into any project.
The university and community have a true winner in their midst. She is an ideal ambassador for Rocket basketball, university academics, and Toledo, a younger version of John Savage. Here's hoping all seize the opportunity!
Richard M. Markoff
As president of the Sylvania Ohio Sunrise Lions Club, I read with interest your May 7 article about recycling. You did mention some sites for gathering eyeglasses.
For the benefit of Sylvania residents, the Sylvania Sunrise Lions Club has collection boxes at the Jewish Community Center, Kingston Residences, Oak Leaf Village, the Sylvania Senior Center, St. James Athletic Club, as well as several local optical practices. The recycling of these eyeglasses provides many people from poverty areas of the world the opportunity to see with corrected vision.
Lions Clubs, especially in Ohio, have sent thousands of these recycled eyeglasses as part of our vision mission to those in need around the world.
My children attend the Toledo School for the Arts and they just had their year-end gala event "Kaleidoscope." This is an event held at Owens Community College's new Performing Arts Building. The students show off the things they work so hard for. It was my third year attending and no news media covered it. This is done very professionally and the students perform like a major Broadway production. The faculty and staff work very hard with the students, both their academics and with the art of the student's choice.
The good news is they don't need levies to run this school. I think Toledo Public Schools should seriously look at this school and see how it budgets money without draining tax money from property owners. It has taken an old downtown building, possibly historic, and transformed it into a school. I can say nothing but "great job" to the students and the staff at TSA for the "Kaleidoscope" production. Plus they work without a union and the staff seems very content.
As for the failed Toledo Zoo levy, Louie the baby elephant is growing and needs his home refurbished so we can keep him. Let's face it, with rising gas prices the average family can't afford even a trip to Cedar Point. The zoo is one of our main places to go for family fun. The price of one day at Cedar Point can buy you a year's worth of fun with a family zoo membership. The zoo has many improvements that could have been done with the passage of the levy. It needed to get out and inform the public of these improvements that would make the zoo more exciting and allow it to keep Louie. I hope the zoo tries again in the fall.
Michael J. Farkas
Toledo Public Schools board member Robert Torres makes the comment, "The district still has to prove to our constituents that we have been responsible with our funds." I can't believe Mr. Torres actually thinks it's about responsibility. It's economics: We have $75 oil, the dollar is sinking, gold is inflating, and middle-class jobs have been exported to communist China, Mexico, and God knows where.
Taxpayers, whether in Toledo, Lake Township, or any other school district in the Midwest, can't afford the level of government we have. Some 40 percent of all adults in this country do not pay income tax because of their low household income.
Most new jobs created in this country in the last 10 years are minimum wage with no benefits. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur long ago warned us of these unfair trade agreements. These are the realities of the new global economy where downward wage pressures are across the board.
American autoworkers compete with Mexican autoworkers; American computer programmers compete with Indian computer programers; American teachers compete with Chinese teachers.
The Toledo Public Schools district just doesn't get it and I hope the voters of this city realize it. The potentially indulgent levies show poor planning and a lack of courage. TPS has shown no effort to make hard choices internally and chooses instead to go the easy route with increased taxes. Additionally, this levy will cause further corrosion of Toledo's middle class. Many don't use the public schools and the increased tax burden would certainly move more families to the suburbs.
Like the zoo, TPS seems to treat the taxpayer as a blank check. Stop taking us for granted.
Kudos to former President Clinton, the Lucas County Health Department, Dr. Bill Zouhary, and anyone else who had the courage to confront the soft-drink manufacturers! Shame on our boards of education, our school administrations, and our local politicians, whose utter disregard for the health and safety of our children allowed soda sales in our schools in the first place.
How many children today are faced with obesity or worse because of their greed?