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Published: Monday, 5/26/2008

Nix surcharge on renewable energy bills

A recent editorial in The Blade about a Michigan House renewable energy legislative package inaccurately stated that I co-sponsored the measures. I want to clarify that I did not sponsor the legislation, nor do I support the bills in their current form as they will increase utility rates on already overburdened state residents.

Instead, I support a Senate proposal unanimously passed in March that would institute an aggressive renewable portfolio standard without a government mandate or a surcharge on consumers. The measures call for state government to purchase increasing amounts of renewable energy during the next two decades as long as the energy can be economically produced.

Senate Bill 1000 would require the Michigan Department of Management and Budget to purchase 3 percent of renewable electrical energy by Jan. 1, 2009, 10 percent by 2010, 20 percent by 2020, and 25 percent by 2025. The purchase requirement will exist as long as the price of renewable energy is within 5 percent of nonrenewable energy.

Although the Senate Republican proposal will not place a mandate on consumers, ratepayers will still have the option to buy renewable energy. Under Senate Bill 1040, consumers could receive an income tax credit up to $200 a year to offset the higher cost.

I have also sponsored a companion measure, Senate Bill 1041, which would require utility companies to include information on customers' bills to educate consumers about the availability of renewable energy programs and potential tax credits. We want to encourage state residents to buy renewable energy, but we don't want to impose a government mandate.

Under the House proposal, there is no guarantee that the 10 percent level of renewable energy usage will even be achieved. The only guarantee is that a new 20-year tax will be created for state residents to pay. The Senate is taking a deliberative approach to RPS legislation to ensure that the higher cost of renewable energies is not simply passed on to residents via higher utility rates.

We all agree that reliable and affordable energy is essential for Michigan's 21st-century economy; the difference is in how to achieve these goals. The Senate favors a government-first approach that calls on state government - rather than private rate-payers - to lead the way on renewable fuel usage.

Michigan must develop a clean, efficient, and economically feasible energy source, but this should be accomplished without further injuring its fragile economy.

sen. Randy Richardville

17th District (R., Monroe)

Traditions observed in Oregon, E. Toledo

I wish to take this opportunity to lament the way the local community observes Memorial Day. I believe there has been a slide into celebrating everything and everyone rather than it being a day of remembrance. The local parade is an example of combining Armed Forces Day, Veterans Day, and the Fourth of July.

Memorial Day was intended to be, and should remain, a time to remember and honor those Americans who died fighting for this country. It's not for living veterans, active-duty personnel, National Guard, or Reservists. These groups all have their own "days" for recognition, and well they should. However, we should not impinge on the memories of those who gave their all with the atmosphere and trappings of a circus.

I am proud to say, however, that the tradition of remembrance is alive, well, and practiced by the East Toledo-Oregon Memorial Day Association. We hold services at the five cemeteries east of the Maumee River. We begin at 9 a.m. at Willow Cemetery on Pickle Road. With assistance from the Oregon Police Department, we then travel in procession to St. Johns Cemetery, North Oregon Cemetery, St. Ignatius Cemetery, and Oakwood Cemetery in Jerusalem Township. We then complete our observance at the Veterans Memorial located at the Christ Dunberger American Legion Post around noon.

Any person wishing to partake in a more traditional and somber observance is more than welcome to attend.

Gary M. Arquette

President

East Toledo-Oregon

Memorial Day Association

Urge Congress to act on Alzheimer's cure

I commend former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor for testifying before the Senate Special Committee on Aging. As a caregiver for her husband, who has the memory-stealing disease Alzheimer's, she told the committee that 5 million Americans presently have this dreaded disease. My wife, who died recently of Alzheimer's, as well as my father and mother-in-law, all fell victim to this illness. I fear for my own future as well as for our daughter and son as they become older. Having the disease on both sides of our family increases their risk.

Alzheimer's afflicts 1 in 8 people 65 and older and nearly 1 in 2 people over 85. Fortunately for my wife, we placed her in the best dementia-care facility in this area. She stayed in our home for five years before I placed her in a facility when her care became more difficult for me.

I will never be called to Washington to appear before Congress but I will tell everyone I can of the need for increased research for a cause and cure.

As a nation, we can continue to ignore the problem of Alzheimer's or we can become serious and find the long sought-after cure. Let's tell Congress that we want that cure and that we want it now before we bankrupt our nation and ourselves.

Richard A. Buehler

Blackthorn Drive

Honor Flight brought tears to veteran eyes

On April 30, my husband, Herman Holden, a World War II veteran, was one of the 29 fortunate to make the Honor Flight to Washington. They were to see the memorial dedicated to World War II veterans.

My husband was so impressed with the memorial that he had a hard time trying to tell me about it, with a tear or two on his cheeks.

There will be other trips and hopefully others will get to take them. My sincere thanks to everyone for making my husband's dream come true. Thanks to everyone even if it was just a small part. The trip was well planned.

God Bless America and all our veterans. We haven't forgotten those who died for us.

Doris Holden

Willis Boulevard

How will Clinton stand up to scrutiny?

There will be a lot of pressure on the Democratic super delegates to choose the candidate most able to prevail against Republican John McCain. Party representatives are very apt to turn to electability polls or head-to-head polls in making that judgment. However, there are some serious risks to giving polling data that much importance in the final decision, particularly at this stage.

Polls are samples of opinion rooted in specific places and times. They reflect the conditions that prevail at the time they are taken. At present, Senator McCain's camp is not intruding into the give-and-take between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. But that will end when the Democratic convention is over.

The question isn't how Senator Clinton does in head-to-head polls now; it's how she'll do once Senator McCain opens up her baggage and starts holding up the contents. Things that aren't being talked about now, such as how close she came to perjury charges during Travelgate, the shameful necessity of returning objects that left the White House with her when they were not supposed to, and greater scrutiny of her money trail.

Polls taken now regarding electability don't reflect the conditions that will prevail after the primaries. My fear now is that party leaders and super delegates will be prevailed upon to turn to Senator Clinton based on current electability polls that don't take into consideration just how besmirched she will become in the general election if she is nominated.

Carol Brikmanis

Oak Harbor

While it's really nice of Meijer to give their credit-card holders a discount on gas prices, I just wonder how much of a discount you are really getting if you can't pay the credit card off in full within 30 days. Add up the interest; are you really saving?

Read the fine print before you pump. That gas may end up costing you a lot more than $4 per gallon.

Kathleen Hooker

Centennial Road



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