I want to join the president of the Toledo Board of Realtors in putting a positive spin on the real estate market in Toledo. It's a great time to buy.
While the real estate market has been going through some adjustments, the financial markets have also made changes, recognizing the need to adhere to more traditional mortgage guidelines. Those who will be affected the most are borrowers at the lower end of the credit spectrum, and those who cannot verify their income.
Lenders look for cash resources, stable sources of verifiable income with percentage guidelines to qualify, and an acceptable credit history. However, if a borrower's profile is weak in more than one area, it will be harder to find a loan.
Low down payment and no down payment loans are available, as well as many special programs for first-time home buyers.
Interest rates are very low. They're not at the 40-year low of a couple of years ago but they're still at a 30-year low.
Low rates mean affordable monthly payments.
Private mortgage insurance is required on low-down-payment loans. Earlier this year, the Internal Revenue Service made PMI tax deductible (subject to some restrictions, consult your tax adviser). PMI alternatives are available.
There's no shortage of mortgage funds. Mortgage-backed securities provide ample funds for qualified buyers. Investors are still eager to finance quality loans.
Since guidelines have changed, home buyers should start with a pre-approval to determine their qualifications. Support your community. Choose a reputable, local lender with competitive rates for dependable service and communication. Realtors and lenders can tell horror stories about working with unknown, out-of-town lenders.
Mortgage Bankers Association of Northwest Ohio
I've been blessed to work at GM/Powertrain Toledo for 30 years. I appreciate the standard of living this has provided my family. But I'm increasingly frustrated with GM management decisions, and more appreciative of sacrifices by my union sisters and brothers.
Recently we were informed by management of future production plans. Much of the lecture was to promote new GM products. Only minutes were spent on how production of the new 6-speed, rear-wheel-drive transmission will be cut in half, from about 2,600 per day to 1,300. We were told this is a positive thing. Just a little more than half the planned new machinery will be installed. Freed floor space might be used to make another product. Huh? Then why did local union leadership agree to sacrifices so we could get assured new work from GM? Why did we give up the die cast, press metal, tool room, and other jobs as quickly as we did?
Here's another confusing management decision. As an electrician I am instrumental in helping the company save energy dollars. Wherever production isn't working, we turn off lights and ventilation. But when nobody is in the new 6RWD plant (i.e., contractors) the lights and the air are all on. Does that sound like a company trying to save energy? Could it be that since the Port Authority owns the new building, GM doesn't care about energy costs there?
Is the Golden Rule that the ones who have the gold make the rules? That's not what I was taught. If you don't belong to a labor union, you should. If you do belong, don't give up a thing without a fight. All of us should be wary of corporations who promise jobs in exchange for tax abatements.
The patent-settlement issue addressed in pending congressional bills is complex but on this the courts and experts agree: Settlements between brand-name companies and their generic challengers - even those that include a payment from the brand to the generic - can help promote competition and increase patient access.
Settlements resolve costly and time-consuming patent litigation, often allowing the generic medicine to enter the market before the patent is due to expire.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America continue to believe that a blanket ban on certain types of patent settlements could decrease the value of patents and reduce incentives for future innovation of new medicines. A sweeping ban is also unnecessary because the Federal Trade Commission and others already have the authority to review and evaluate any patent settlement agreement between a brand name company and a generic company.
The courts and enforcement agencies are in the best position to review these settlements on a case-by-case basis.
These facts are overlooked in The Blade's Nov. 17 editorial, "Costly drug delays." In addition, the editorial references a story from the Associated Press about pharmaceutical industry spending on lobbying over a 12-month period.
The AP's estimate, however, is dwarfed by the $55 billion that pharmaceutical research companies actually invested in research and development last year alone. Those investments help to provide a steady stream of life-saving medicines.
The Partnership for Prescription Assistance, sponsored by America's pharmaceutical research companies, is a clearinghouse for more than 475 patient-assistance programs. PPA has helped to connect more than 4.4 million patients - including more than 230,000 in Ohio - with programs that provide free or nearly free medications.
Senior Vice President
Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America
I've read a lot of stories about abortion. I keep searching for one about the father's rights.
I've read about how it's a woman's body and she can do with it as she sees fit. I disagree with the part about doing whatever she sees fit, even if it is her body. The child's father should have the same rights as the expectant mother but he doesn't.
I do not believe a woman should be able to get an abortion without the written consent of the father. Where are his rights? A woman can get an abortion without the father ever knowing he was a dad. How many thousands have been robbed of fatherhood because a woman chose to abort their baby without his knowledge or consent?
But they say it's a woman's body. Right. If she chooses to have the baby, by law, the father is expected to pay half of the child's bills, even if he is notified some 10 years later. There is something terribly wrong with this picture.
The writer of the Nov. 21 letter to The Blade regarding Hillary Clinton's experience must be from another planet. Either that, or the writer hasn't watched the Democratic presidential debates on television, read the newspaper, or used a computer with Internet access. If you want to know what kind of president Ms. Clinton would be, go to www.snopes.com and search for "Hillary Clinton." You will discover who this person truly is.
I have no objection to a woman in the White House. However, I would prefer a woman with governing experience. It is also very important to consider more than just the political experience of candidates. Are they honest? How will they represent us in world affairs? We need a president who will bring America back to the respected world leader that it once was.
I hope that next year we elect a president that we all can be proud of, regardless of our political beliefs or party affiliation. To do so we must weed out the less desirable candidates prior to our national conventions.
Carl R. Nagel
Positive change is afoot in Iraq. Violence is down, stability is up, and people are returning to the homes and neighborhoods that they once fled. The forces of disorder that were unleashed when the United States invaded the country are retreating.
This is great news, and we should celebrate it by ending our occupation of Iraq. A popular bumper sticker around town is Support our Troops. The best way we can support our troops is to bring them home now.
ROBERT A. KELSO