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Published: Thursday, 1/31/2008

EITC helps families meet their needs

Today is National Earned Income Tax Credit Awareness Day and a perfect time to remind residents to get the credit they deserve. If you've been following the news, you know that our leaders in Washington are working on an economic stimulus right now that will put between $600 and $1,200 in the pockets of local residents.

But did you know that a tax credit of over $4,000 is available to thousands of working families in northwest Ohio every year, in good times and in bad? The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) was designed to help families with children and low-income individuals put money directly into their pockets. In these tight times, that money could help pay for child care so a parent can work or pay for health-care costs so a family can stay well.

Families who qualify for the EITC can also get their taxes done for free at 13 different VITA sites throughout Lucas County. There, professional tax preparers will assist families to collect their refund without taking even one dime in "refund anticipation loans" or other so-called fees. Families and individuals deserve to keep what they've earned and this free tax preparation will make that happen.

Even if you don't qualify for the EITC, the benefits to our local economy are enormous. The EITC is truly the best economic stimulus available. If everyone who qualified for this money took advantage, we'd bring millions of dollars into our local economy, supporting local businesses, jobs, and wages.

The EITC can help thousands of families meet their needs, but only if they take the time to learn more. If you'd like more information about how you can keep the money you've earned, please call United Way's 2-1-1 or visit http://co.lucas.oh.us/eitc.

Ben Konop

Lucas County Commissioner

Wade Kapszukiewicz

Lucas County Treasurer

Schools must focus on academic success

Speaking at freshman orientation, an area high school principal complained about student difficulties with state exams. He then extensively covered the school's social programs and finished up with its vast sports opportunities. Walking off stage, he suddenly stopped and returned to the microphone with a final comment, "Oh, and we have a great academic program too."

Though the reason for this school's mediocre academic performance couldn't have been more obvious, it apparently eluded the administration!

Two years before, I sat in a junior high orientation for gifted students. The meeting was followed by a question-and-answer session with enthusiastic parent participation. Only one parent inquired about academics. Other queries related to social activities and sports.

Relocation across the state line has put us in a different school district. Priorities here also appear murky. Academic achievement isn't even rewarded with a grade card. Students and their parents are asked to gain access to the Internet to find grades, saving paper. Meanwhile, students in gym class are periodically bused to an area bowling alley-lounge for recreation.

Misplaced priorities appear widespread. A central Ohio chemistry teacher told me that he was limited to an inadequate $300 for chemistry supplies, forcing him to make up the needed balance from his pocket. As a coach, however, he was allowed an unneeded $3,000 for soccer supplies.

While our nation continues hemorrhaging viable manufacturing jobs, we talk up our schools' social programs and sports. Failure to prepare our students academically for serious competition in a world-class workforce, leaves them unequipped for the future, and the future of our nation in question.

David A. Warner

Temperance

Attack on director of elections reckless

For almost four years, Jill Kelly has served the public in a leadership position at the Lucas County Board of Elections. Before that, she held several important roles, including kindergarten teacher, domestic relations court magistrate, assistant county prosecutor, and my mother.

She taught me right from wrong and persevered as a single mom after my father, Dan McNamara, passed away. Mom's respect and adherence to the law inspired me to follow in her footsteps and become a lawyer.

As elections director, my mother successfully implemented new voting machines, reached out to a new generation of poll workers, and cured many dysfunctions that had plagued the office for years. Like all election directors, she has faced the challenges of constantly evolving election equipment, new voting laws, and, unfortunately, navigating local political squabbles. Despite these odds, the fairness and accuracy of elections under her supervision have not been questioned. Under her leadership, the Secretary of State took the office off administrative oversight.

As her son and as a member of Toledo City Council, I cannot remain silent while Jon Stainbrook, a political operative with a dubious past, accuses my mother of election shenanigans. After the death of my father, my mother virtually ceased to be active in the Republican Party. Under no circumstances would she risk her reputation, job, or law license for something as trivial as an intra-party power struggle.

If Mr. Stainbrook seeks to control the Lucas County Republican Party, so be it. But he should not recklessly accuse a woman who has been serving this community in the highest and best tradition of public service for more than 30 years.

Joe McNamara

Cranbrook Drive

GOP has no part in Dems' racial fight

In all the years that I have been reading The Blade, I never thought it could sink as low as it did on Jan. 17. Kirk's cartoon was an attempt to divert the racial war the Democrats are having to the Republicans. This attempt by The Blade's closed-minded left-wing kook editorial staff to drag the Republicans into this racial mud fight within the Democratic party was disgusting.

The Blade should be ashamed of itself trying to inject race into the this campaign, but it doesn't surprise me. The Blade will do whatever possible to help the Democratic candidate.

You make the supermarket tabloids look credible.

Ron Buermele

Imperial Drive

Make rebate checks only for U.S. goods

If Washington wants to stimulate the economy by sending us all rebate checks, how about sending us vouchers to be used only for the purchase of goods and services produced in the United States?

How will rebate checks stimulate the economy if the money goes straight to China or some other foreign producer?

Kurt Meyers

Schneider Road

Get the facts straight on State Rt. 2 crash

I am the aunt of the driver involved in the State Rt. 2 accident of three and a half years ago. The Jan. 23 letter writer should get his facts straight before writing to The Blade to slander my nephew. Brian Woody was not drunk when that accident occurred. His blood alcohol was 0.02 percent and he had a negligible amount of Valium in his system. A first responder saw unopened cans of beer in his car and immediately assumed he was drunk because of the extent of the accident.

My nephew and our family will suffer along with the family of the deceased for the rest of our lives. We know that God will be there to help with our pain. Brian was, in fact, sentenced to 19 years in prison and is at this time still serving his sentence without chance of early release or parole. Our family grieves for not only the victims in this newest case but also with the Gagnon family. This is not something that any of us will truly ever recover from.

J. Engler

Liberty Street

Driver in fatal crash serving 19 years

As one of the attorneys involved in the civil lawsuits arising out of the June 2004 accident on State Rt. 2 that killed six and severely injured one, I feel compelled to respond to a Jan. 23 letter in the Readers' Forum that is inaccurate. The author wrote that the driver who caused the crash served less than three years for his crime.

The driver, Brian Woody, is incarcerated at the Toledo Correctional Institution, and is serving an 19-year sentence. His sentence was recently affirmed by an appeals court.

Ted B. Riley

Goddard Road



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