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Published: Sunday, 12/14/2008

Do not end Christmas tradition

I was dismayed to learn that the Lucas County commissioners are considering ending Children's Wonderland. For 45 years, this has been an affordable annual Christmas tradition for scores of families that has been passed down through the generations.

There is Santa, of course, and a train ride. On the way out, the little ones must have a wax figurine made. Come on, commissioners, have a heart. Yes, the economy is difficult but it will recover.

You see, I have a very selfish motive. Our organization, Friends of Side Cut Metropark, has a silent auction of wreaths as our only fund-raiser every year at Children's Wonderland. And when I review these bids, many are from outlying areas; Deshler, Napoleon, Findlay, and Monroe. I've even shipped items to Florida. All the money raised stays right here in Maumee for use at the park, another local treasure.

Work this out so that this tradition stays alive for the Toledo area and outlying communities. Maumee, step up to the plate. You should realize how much revenue is generated by families visiting from outlying areas that buy gasoline, eat at area restaurants, and shop at The Andersons, Meijer, and other stores.

Alaina Meister

Director

Friends of Side Cut Metropark

A new airline is servicing Toledo. Direct Air began service to and from Toledo on Nov. 24 and my husband and I were on the first flight into Toledo Express. What a pleasant experience that was for us. The flight was flawless, the cost was very reasonable, the service was great, all personnel were pleasant, the flight arrived on time, no luggage was lost, and, best of all, we were home in about half an hour. What a pleasant change from arriving in Detroit and having to wait for luggage and then travel home, especially in bad weather.

Direct Air has service from Punta Gorda/Fort Myers twice weekly and either has or will have shortly a similar service to Myrtle Beach. If you fly to either of these areas, check out Direct Air at VisitDirectAir.com. Toledo Express is such a convenient airport and it would be a real shame if Direct Air were to fail as AirTran did.

Give it a try; I think you'll like it.

Jane Wood

Bowling Green

How much longer will the Ohio Senate allow the children of this state to suffer?

I ask this because a bill that would reduce injuries and save the lives of children ages 4 through 8 - the booster seat legislation - has been held up in the Senate's Highways and Transportation Committee.

Any emergency physician, trauma surgeon, nurse, or parent whose child has been saved by one will tell you that booster seats reduce injuries and deaths in children. Period. Studies saying otherwise don't exist.

So what are we talking about? Why does this committee have a problem - any problem at all - with a $20 life-saving device? Why is this not law already? Forty-three other states have passed booster seat laws because they understand that seat belts were designed for adults and that children need booster seats.

Shame on us for not protecting our children as they do. The Senate needs to pass this law before the current session ends and the bill dies.

Shelagh Erskine

Columbus

While I agree that there is a serious cat problem, I am not sure that making our dog wardens "animal control" officers is the answer. They are overwhelmed just with their anti-pit bull efforts.

It's no surprise that Tom Skeldon would dig in his heels and object to any change, increase in responsibility, or need for revenue; but I am shocked that the dog wardens do not have the micro-chip scan capabilities.

How many dogs that are lost or stolen could end up at the pound, without a collar and overpriced Lucas County registration tag attached? Chances are, if a dog owner takes on the expense of having a pet chipped, the data base will have accurate information to locate the owner, and the owner is very likely to pay the associated fees to recover their dog. In reality, having a scanner could actually generate enough revenue to pay for itself. Scanning capabilities should be a must for the Lucas County dog warden.

Vikkie Lewis

Holland

I beg to differ with a statistic in The Blade's Dec. 5 guest editorial "No bailout for private lenders" claiming that only 8 percent of college students take out private loans.

Consider that the cost of attendance (tuition, fees, books, room and board) for four years at the University of Toledo and Bowling Green State University is now upwards of $70,000.

Federal direct student loans offer a maximum of $19,000 toward the cost of a four-year degree, and many parents are unable or unwilling to pay or borrow all of the additional tens of thousands of dollars needed, so it falls on the students themselves to take out private loans to fill the gap.

I'd wager that if you gathered a group of 100 UT and BGSU students and asked for a show of hands of how many had private student loans, a lot more than eight hands would be raised.

Bob Seybold

Berkeley Drive

President-elect Barack Obama could certainly do much worse than channeling the spirit of Abraham Lincoln, as Marilou Johanek wrote in her Dec. 5 column. As we celebrate in February the 200th anniversary of Lincoln's birth, we recognize him, along with George Washington and Franklin Roosevelt, as one of our three greatest presidents, and perhaps the greatest of the three.

Mr. Obama's evocation of Lincoln seems to center on his choosing former rivals for cabinet positions as Lincoln did in 1861.

However, we need to recognize that all did not go well within the first Lincoln cabinet. It is true that his chief rival for the presidency, Secretary of State William Seward, became loyal to Lincoln, but this came only after some time in which Seward experienced his president's wisdom. Two key members of Lincoln's cabinet, Secretary of the Treasury Salmon Chase and Secretary of War Simon Cameron, were gone during Lincoln's presidency, Chase for disloyalty and Cameron for tolerating corruption in his department. We can credit Lincoln, however, in selecting fine replacements, particularly Edwin Stanton to head the war department.

It is to be hoped, of course, that Mr. Obama's "team of rivals" will be loyal to him and provide the expert leadership that he requires. It is also to be hoped that President Obama will fulfill the great expectations that his election has brought forth. Being a student of history, President-elect Obama certainly appreciates what Abraham Lincoln has meant to our country, and certainly knows as well that even the greatest can err.

Gerald Bazer

Carrietowne Lane

I was moved by the Dec. 6 article in The Blade about holiday care packages for U.S. troops. Sending "goodie" boxes to our troops at war is an admirable act of charity.

I was, however, upset by the shipping cost of $11 a box. While we are bailing out the greedy corporations, can't we at least suspend these shipping costs during the holiday season?

The Blade should champion this worthy cause and immediately contact our congressional representatives, urging President Bush to sign an executive order doing it quickly.

Tom McGrail

Bexley Drive

With the major auto makers executives offering to take a pay cut to $1 per year if they get federal fi nancial support, who is going to tell our congressmen to take similar pay cuts to help pay for the national debt they rung-up?

WILLIAM L. SNITCH

Lynbridge Lane



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