I think we would all agree that the government should stay out of the private sector as much as possible. Unfortunately, the world of business gets lost in the pursuit of the almighty dollar, sometimes forgetting that employees are people who have value on a personal level. Employees, staff, sales associates, customer service reps. They are people with complex lives, loves, children, families, bills, just like the people in charge (supervisors, managers, foremen).
Our recent snowstorm highlighted an issue that seriously needs to be legislated. Authorities have set up a system of snow emergency levels to measure the safety of travel during weather events.
If you drive during a Level 3 snow emergency and you are not an "essential" employee, you are subject to fines or arrest. These rules are in place to save lives. Plow drivers need to be able to do their jobs safely and efficiently. Emergency personnel need clear paths unhindered by vehicles stuck in snow drifts to offer assistance to those in need.
Many companies stay open during these dangerous conditions, expecting employees to drive to restaurants, department stores, garages, gas stations, etc.
How can companies be so heartless as to expect employees to break the law and endanger their lives? Obviously, we can no longer rely on the judgment of our employers so we must seek legislation for our protection.
During Level 3 snow emergencies, all nonessential businesses should close or face hefty fines. The sheriff's office should have the power to enforce this, or set up a hotline to report companies that do not obey the law. No one should have to choose between the potential loss of life and the potential loss of employment. Demand safety now, before the next snowstorm blows in!
Snow emergency levels need to be taken seriously. Unfortunately many businesses keep their employees at work even if a Level 3 is expected. Employees are then stuck with a tough decision if they leave while it's still safe.
When employees are home and waiting to hear if a Level 3 has been lifted, miscommunication is the norm. What to do?
Why put the burden on the employee? If unnecessary businesses are found open during a Level 3, they should be fined. And not a dollar amount but with community service hours. This could work on the buddy system, so employees won't fear that they'll be blamed for the report. City workers and essential businesses that are open could report nonessential businesses being open. Calls could be made, too, if a business is open when it shouldn't be.
Enough already with the snow-level emergency blues. Since common sense has been abandoned, make the employer responsible. Sounds like a good idea to me.
BEVERLY A. ETHINGTON
If we have an opportunity to keep our friends, daughters, and sisters from getting cervical cancer, one of the leading causes of death in young women, shouldn't we do all we can to help?
The HPV vaccine, known as Gardasil, is now available to help protect against certain strains of HPV, which is known to cause cervical cancer.
This vaccine, which comes in a series of three doses over a six-month period, costs more than $300 and is only covered by some insurance plans. Students at the University of Toledo are forced to have UT's health insurance plan if they aren't on another plan already, but UT's health insurance doesn't cover the vaccine. This leaves the cost up to the students, who are already faced with the high costs of tuition and housing.
But what cost is worth it - $300 or protection from cervical cancer? UT needs to take note of this serious health issue and help protect against HPV.
Allison M. Dow
Our Statehouse Republican leaders are pushing to cut or eliminate Ohio's inheritance taxes. The stated opinion is this: If a person works hard and carefully saves his earnings, these saving should be passed on to that person's heirs and none of it should be taken by taxes on that person's estate.
But I know that most of these large estates did not come from hard work. Here is a personal example. About 70 years ago my parents bought a farm. They paid $60 per acre. When I and my siblings inherited this farm 30 years ago, I was able to buy my siblings' share from them for $1,400 per acre.
Today this farm is worth at least $3,000 per acre. I do not remember working hard for this wealth.
If my estate is taxed at the present rate and if my estate has a value of $1 million, the inheritance tax will be $58,000. Will anyone feel sorry for my heirs? They would only inherit $942,000.
I am sure that almost all wealthy estates come from inheritance or good investments. The statement that inheritance taxes break up large estates or put people out of business is seldom true.
The big estates get broken up because of heirs who want their share now. The extremely wealthy stay wealthy because the inheritance taxes are a small percentage of the wealth or because they know how to avoid these taxes.
I do not understand why any politician would favor fewer taxes on the wealthy when such cuts would most certainly require higher taxes on the middle class. Ohio is definitely in a financial bind and will be required to raise taxes on something.
In regard to the letter on speeding in construction zones, I am an 83-year-old driver who has logged well over a million miles on the road without a scratch.
In the late 1940s, I drove a truck with a 55 mph governor on it. This will teach you patience. I never saw an accident caused by someone driving 20 mph, but I did see several caused by impatience and speed.
I witnessed six deaths on the road because of this. I lived on State Rt. 2 for 35 years before the Bono curve was changed. You could depend on seeing semi-trucks out in the field almost every week because of speed.
Across the road from me, three telephone poles were knocked out and the neighbor's tree had the bark knocked off. On my side, one pole, a cherry tree, and four vehicles in my yard.
I had a trucker pass me on I-70 I clocked at 90 mph and a cement trucker pass me on I-280 at 70 mph. If either would have had a blowout, I wonder how many could have been hurt by these drivers.
I could write a book on my experiences on the road, so if someone is driving 20 mph stay off his bumper, show a little patience, follow the rules of the road, and live longer.
How sad that the loss of eight of our proud U.S. servicemen only deserved to be on Page 2, while the loss of a finger made Page 1. Sounds like something that George W. Bush would do.
In this time of great shock and tragedy, we should seriously consider not charging minors as adults, but charging adults for the crimes of their minors. If this were the case, you can be sure parents would care about where their kids are and what they are doing - and we probably would not have had to watch a funeral yesterday.
The individual who provided the gun to the 15-year-old who allegedly shot and killed Detective Keith Dressel must also be found, arrested, and tried for murder.
Richard F. Weisfelder
Swan Creek Drive