I enjoyed last week's PBS special about the national parks and am sure many of your readers did too. But our community also should know that, right now, Congress is working on another important land conservation issue.
New legislation pending in the House of Representatives, championed by Democrat Rep. Marcy Kaptur and Republican Rep. Bob Latta will preserve a critical tool for land conservation in our area. The Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 1831, seeks to make permanent a tax incentive for conservation that would otherwise expire at the end of 2009.
This incentive protects clean water, natural areas, and working family farms by enhancing the federal tax benefits for landowners who donate conservation easements to organizations like ours. These agreements help conserve natural resources important to northwest Ohio while keeping land in productive private ownership.
The enhanced incentive has proven effective, helping land trusts across the country conserve 535,000 more acres in 2006 and 2007 than in the two years prior to its enactment. Black Swamp Conservancy joins America's 1,700 other land trusts and their 2 million supporters in calling on Congress to make this important conservation tool permanent this year.
We hope that Sens. George Voinovich (R., Ohio) and Sherrod Brown (D., Ohio) will show the same bipartisan support for land conservation as Ms. Kaptur and Mr. Latta, and co-sponsor the Senate's Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, S. 812, as well.
Thanks to generous and thoughtful landowners and a helping hand from Congress, we'll be able to conserve even more land for years to come.
Black Swamp Conservancy
I have been meaning to add my fervent, heartfelt "Amen" to the well-reasoned, well-put Aug. 22 letter on end-of-life counseling.
As an 84-year-old retired registered nurse, I do not believe that I will be placed on a floe if a health-care reform bill is passed. Also, as an RN, I have many times heard well-meaning people say, "Yes, do everything to keep Mom or Dad alive," thinking that they are doing the patient a favor. There is more to life than just breathing, and there is a time when we all must go.
I am fortunate in that I have good health insurance through my former job, but I really care about those who don't. How awful that must be. Something must be done.
Gertrude A. Dunham
There's plenty wrong with the study The Blade uses to justify Ohio's charter schools, but going into detail would miss the larger point.
Ohio has a problem with charter schools, and it has nothing to do with teachers unions. It has everything to do with the cavalier way that Ohio allowed charter operators to open schools and the state's virtual lack of accountability and oversight of charter schools for many years. Public schools, including charters, can succeed only if they are financially and academically sound and if teachers are given the resources and tools to do their job.
Ohio Federation of Teachers
Thanks to The Blade's reporting, we all know that Bob Alexander, his wife, his daughter, his daughter-in-law, and his stepson are currently on the YMCA payroll.
Your readers should know that Todd Tibbits, senior vice president of operations/chief operating officer, has a wife, Denise, who is director of member services. Also, the incoming chairman of the board of trustees, Rob Koenig, is married to Casey Koenig, director of the gymnastic program that was pulled from the South Y and moved to a rented facility in Perrysburg.
I wonder if I have missed other examples of this corporate culture at the Y. Kind of reminds me of the patronage shown by the royalty of Europe to their friends and family. I am sure, however, that the Y folks have better teeth.
Sue Ann Batts
Ohioans may or may not eventually approve casino gambling, but doing it with the specific terms of Issue 3 will create major legal problems.
First, specific detailed constitutional amendments for any purpose deprive the legislature of its role of making law after deliberation and debate. Amendments to Ohio's Constitution should be broad and general, such as "Casino gambling may be permitted in the State of Ohio in such form as the legislature shall determine."
Such an amendment would favor no group over the other, no community over another, and would allow the people, through their elected representatives, to shape the details of any gambling initiative.
The constitutional limitations and specifics of Issue 3 will open the door to numerous court challenges and resolving the problems will be time-consuming and costly.
There will be no immediate relief to the economic conditions now existing in the state, and Issue 3 is not the magic bullet to end our economic crisis.
Gerald J. Briskin
Members of the Ohio House who voted in favor of H.B. 176 voted to deny one of our most basic constitutional guarantees: The freedom of religious expression.
The behaviors associated with certain "sexual orientation" are contrary to our religious convictions. The Ohio and the U.S. constitutions guarantee our freedom to make decisions based on such deeply held convictions. Further, courts have established criteria that groups of persons must meet to qualify as a protected class under civil rights laws. Those who self-identify by their "gender identity" do not meet those criteria.
I would suggest we remember this as the 2010 election approaches and vote for candidates who respect our beliefs and retain those who uphold our constitutional rights.
Rev. Carolyn Eyre
Words cannot describe my feelings when I read that Toledo is No. 8 in a nationwide Top 10 list. Wow, it was incredible to read until I saw that it was the list of the nation's 10 poorest cities.
Carty loves to brag about Toledo's ratings and tout statistics, so I wonder why he is silent on this distinction. Hmm, maybe he is busy looking for my mailing address to write a check so I can go to the store to pick up my prescriptions, bread, milk, bologna, and eggs since I don't have a job and am living well below the poverty line.
I must confess that during his reign as mayor he has certainly helped bring families together in Toledo. We are having to move in together to keep from being on the streets.
Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for all you have done "to us" as opposed to "for us."
South Park Lane
After months of reading opinions, editorials, and letters to the editor, I have come to the conclusion that we need to tear down the Statue of Liberty. It is obvious that most people are against what it stands for.
Judith S. Willcox