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Published: Tuesday, 6/10/2008

Rider license right idea for moped user

This letter is in response to the June 1 letter writer who does not believe a license is needed to operate a moped or a scooter. Nothing could be further from the truth.

As a former motorcycle-safety instructor with the state of Ohio for 10 years, I can attest to the fact that all mopeds and scooters should require a license.

The letter writer asks: "Come on, a motorcycle license to drive a moped that goes 35mph tops?" has obviously never ridden a two-wheeled motor vehicle. Does he realize what can happen at 35 mph if the rider does not know how to brake, swerve, or corner properly? Classes I taught rarely exceeded 20 mph in a controlled environment and students who thought they couldn't be taught something were surprised how fast bad things can happen to good people.

I trained more than 1,600 students in my career and even riders with 30 years' experience were amazed at what they didn't know.

What the perception seems to be is that "it's a scooter" or "it's only a moped." How much trouble can it be?

I encourage all riders to take the Ohio motorcycle-safety class, no matter what their experience level is. The course is $25, free if riders are under 18, and the helmet and motorcycle are provided. If you pass the course, you receive an automatic license. No other test to take. How cool is that?

To find out about a course near you, log on to the Ohio Motorcycle Enrichment Program at www.motorcycle.ohio.gov and let the good times roll.

David Thomson

Dearborn Avenue

Make health care affordable for Ohio

Gas and food prices are rapidly rising while jobs and incomes decline. It is more important now than ever before that our health care be affordable and accessible.

According to a recent poll by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Americans say that "making health care more affordable" should be the top priority to help improve the economic situation for the average American.

Healthy workers contribute to Ohio's economy. Our health-care system needs real changes to assure that health coverage is available to all, continuous, and affordable to individuals and families.

The time for those changes has arrived. We have the opportunity to make great strides in improving our state's health-care system. Our elected leaders and key stakeholder groups are developing proposals to provide quality, affordable health care to more Ohioans.

It is critical that Ohio consumers are heard during this debate. This is the reason that Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage is working to unite the consumer voice around basic health-care principles for reform. OCHC believes that health-care coverage should be affordable for individuals and families, as well as sustainable for society.

Health insurance should enhance health and well-being by promoting access to high-quality care that is effective, efficient, safe, timely, patient-centered, geographically accessible, and equitable.

Our elected officials can demonstrate true leadership by expanding this type of health-care access, thereby improving the health of Ohioans and our state's economy at the same time.

Karen Krause

Social Justice Chair

Toledo Area

Jobs with Justice Coalition

Turnpike dispatchers rude, uninterested

Over the past few years, I've contacted the highway patrol several times about problems on the Ohio Turnpike, everything from semis weaving erratically to drivers throwing beer bottles out of windows. I've spoken to toll booth attendants and dispatchers. The response has been consistent: Nothing gets done about it. I've watched as these drivers passed patrol cars going the opposite direction or passed stations, all to no avail. I know because the drivers were going the same direction I was and I had the opportunity to observe.

I'm now convinced that informing the OHP of threats like these is a waste of cell-phone minutes. I hope no tax dollars are being spent on any programs asking the public for help as it's a waste of money and time.

I don't blame the officers for this; they perform a valuable service under often tough conditions. I expect the reason lies with the dispatchers, who come across as consistently rude and uninterested in the information. Change their attitudes and perhaps it'll be worthwhile to reconsider this.

Ken Hodlik

Wauseon

Talk on race just a mutual ego massage

The recent UT panel discussion on race combined with the brutal home invasion of panel member and Blade columnist Dr. Amjad Hussain provides an excellent chance to generate discussion on some real race issues. Whether that actually happens though, is doubtful.

From The Blade's detailed description of the race panel discussion, it appeared to be nothing more than a mutual ego massage on who is more tolerant. Why can't forums like this tackle the cold, hard issues like this home invasion or the alternate possible outcome of murder? Blacks are 12.8 percent of the U.S. population. From 1976-2005, blacks committed 52.2 percent of all murders in the United States, according to the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics. In fact, the report states that blacks are seven times more likely than whites to commit murder. How's that for a topic of discussion? Even Barack Obama and his mentor would have a hard time blaming the government for that.

The outrageously disproportionate level of black offenders holds true to varying degrees for basically all other violent crimes as well. The data are available to anyone who cares to look. Instead, the response will be the same as it's always been: Point fingers, scream "racist," and blame ignorance. By definition, facts cannot be racist and the only ignorance is by those who pretend there isn't a problem. This isn't about one race being better or worse; it's about major problems that aren't going away by themselves.

By the way, a bigot is defined as a person who has strong, unreasonable beliefs and who thinks that anyone who does not have the same beliefs is wrong. Anyone who thinks I am a bigot for this letter need look no farther than the closest mirror to find one.

Mark Harrell

Maumee

Bush 'the Disaster,' not 'the Decider'

As opposed to calling him "the Decider," I believe a more appropriate name for President Bush would be "the Disaster." All the dead, wounded, and maimed resulting from his initiation of the unnecessary Iraq war are ultimately his responsibility.

The country is going broke funding a war that has accomplished nothing for the United States. I would be curious to know if the President is able to sleep at night and if he is able to look at himself in the mirror.

Dick Cheney

Maumee

Buckle up? Or use one's own free will?

This statistic was extracted from a May 22 editorial in The Blade titled "Not buckling up can kill."

You're not going to believe this, and you're going to feel duped, but it's true. Of drivers age 65 and older killed in nighttime accidents, 59 percent were buckled up. Yes, you read that right: 59 percent were buckled in when they died.

It's not as if you live in a free country anymore, so don't bother using your own free will that God gave you. Just click it or ticket, grandpa.

Look at the bright side. The insurance companies will save a lot of money on end-of-life care. Hey, wait a minute, aren't those the guys that bribed - I mean lobbied - our public officials to get the seat belt law passed?

Donald Newbury

Swanton

I would like to compliment the City of Toledo, Cemeteries Section, for the beautiful condition of Forest Cemetery on Memorial Day. This is no small task and it hasn't always looked this nice, so when a job is well done people should be congratulated.

Thank you from all the members of my family and all the veterans acknowledged with individual flags at their stones. I can't remember when it looked so nice.

John M. Mowrey

Brenner Court



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