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Published: Monday, 2/23/2009

Why spend for another airport?

How many airports do we need to service the aviation needs of northern Ohio?

We already have Cleveland Hopkins International, Burke Lakefront, Akron-Canton, Lorain Regional, Norwalk/Huron County, Griffin-Sandusky, Erie-Ottawa Regional, Sandusky County, Mansfield Lahm Regional, Fremont, Metcalf Field, Toledo Express, and several other nearby public airports.

Two of these have all-weather runways of 9,000 and 10,000 feet that could serve the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for its moon project. Customers of water parks, amusement parks, business, and government have plenty of nearby choices.

Most of these airports are really struggling; many struggled even in normal financial times. Why would any responsible elected official spend $80 million for an airport at Plum Brook Station in Erie County? It will only add to the financial pain of existing airports, most paid for by financially stressed taxpayers. In this case, Erie County taxpayers must pony up $800,000 10 percent matching funds.

Is Erie County in good enough financial shape to fund another airport when there already is one 15 minutes away?

Kenneth Benjamin

Put-in-Bay, Ohio

Editor s note: The writer is past president of the Erie-Ottawa Regional Airport Authority.

The village of Harbor View is trying to hold up a billion-dollar construction project that will offer 1,500 to 2,000 multiple-year jobs as well as 150 permanent ones paying $45,000 annually, all the while we are in the midst of one of the worst recessions since the Great Depression?

Harbor View consists of one looping street with median house value at $59,506 as of 2007. It contains about 43 homes and several mobile homes and has roughly 130 residents. Aside from that, it is situated between the BP/Husky oil refinery, the Bay Shore power plant, a coal yard, and a rail yard.

I might extend some sympathy had FDS coking decided to build a plant near Lakeside, Ohio, but the people of Harbor View knew what they were getting into when they moved into the village: cheap property due to heavy industry.

As for the pollution, the permit will allow 51 pounds of mercury to be released into the atmosphere annually. This is a drop in the bucket compared to most power plants and refineries.

As for waste water, not one drop will be disposed of in the Maumee River or Lake Erie. All other emissions are very minimal due to state-of-the-art technology in the coking process, which includes using the steam from the process to generate electricity at an adjacent new power plant with no extra emissions.

As a regional community, we have to ask ourselves a question: Will we continue on the same path and die a slow death or will we reinvent ourselves?

Are we going to actually turn away industry and jobs? I d like to think that the good folks of northwest Ohio are smarter and more progressive than that.

Rob Branyan

Oregon

A Findlay-area reader recently questioned whether the Toledo Area Regional Transit Authority s newly installed waste-oil furnace was a potential health problem for TARTA employees working in our bus storage facility.

I would like to take this opportunity to assure all readers that TARTA puts the safety of its workforce uppermost. We do not utilize equipment that represents a threat to an employee s health.

The specific furnace involved meets the standards set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for such burners, is approved by the Underwriters Laboratory, and utilizes technology required by the Used Oil Management Association.

If a problem should develop with the furnace, it will be removed immediately.

I would like to thank the writer for his concern, and assure everyone that TARTA follows all applicable health and safety regulations for the protection of its greatest asset, its employees.

James K. Gee

General ManagerTARTA

My sister in San Carlos, Calif., received a $437 citation in the mail for a violation recorded by a red light camera. After doing due diligence, she e-mailed public works, asking what is the 85th percentile speed, and the timing of the yellow light at the involved intersection? No answer.

After a visit to city hall and then being escorted to the police department, she was told to expect a call. One week later she received an e-mail saying the yellow was currently set at 4 seconds but it had been 3 seconds. When was it changed? The day she went to city hall.

My sister then asked for the timing chart for one year and who actually set the lights. She was advised that there had been a malfunction and her ticket would be dismissed. The person who set the lights had retired. (The minimum duration for the yellow light is 3.2 seconds for 30 mph speed limit. It was set at either 2.9 or 3 seconds when she was ticketed.)

Thanks to my sister s resourcefulness and determination, 411 tickets at $437 each were dismissed. That amounts to $179,607. Traffic school costs will be returned plus the administration fee for traffic school of $57 per person. The total refunded was over $200,000.

There are many morals to this story. Pick one.

Rikhard Laiho

Findlay

I was disgusted when I read The Blade story describing the sexual-harassment settlement involving Ohio s former attorney general, Marc Dann.

Mr. Dann and his cronies were run out of office due to this scandal. The need for some type of settlement to the women involved was a foregone conclusion in the public mind.

But since when do attorneys fees consume 20 percent of the award in a slam-dunk? Was this the first sexual-harassment case ever prosecuted? Was new law created in this case? What terribly excruciating negotiations were necessary to merit the attorney s fees being $95,000? What did the attorneys suffer from besides excessive greed?

There is no honor among thieves.

Mark J. Konwiczka

Risingsun, Ohio

This letter is in reference to a few citizens in Fayette who believe it is OK to fly the American flag upside down.

They need to obtain a copy of the United States Flag Code, which states when and only when to fly the flag upside down. Trust me, none of the reasons are to protest an issue. People use protests such as taxes, economy, the President, war, schools, and many others when in reality they are only showing disrespect and lack of patriotism.

The flag should never be displayed with the union down, except as a signal of dire distress in instances of extreme danger to life or property.

I am a very proud Army mother. My son has been in Iraq for 24 months and is now doing a 15-month deployment in Afghanistan.

Those who fly the flag improperly are showing contempt for a symbol I hold very dear to my heart, and that is disrespectful.

Sandy Rice

Fayette, Ohio

Usually I start my morning with the radio coming on and the gloom and doom starts, then the TV news, and then The Blade, more gloom and doom. But last week there was a story written by Tom Henry that caught my attention. It was about Feed Lucas County Children run by Tony Siebeneck.

What an uplifting story, something that truly works for the public good, not costing the taxpayer a dime.

Tony, keep up the good work and I wish you continued success.

Bill Gilligan

Sylvania Township



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