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Friday, July 11, 2014
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Published: Sunday, 11/8/2009

Opera founder's true legacy

As a former member of the Toledo Opera chorus, it was with some dismay that I read the Nov. 1 article, "Toledo Opera's 50th year reflects commitment, vision." I must take issue with the statement that "controversy befell the organization in the early '80s when it was discovered that [Lester] Freedman was also involved with the Dayton opera."

This is not accurate; and Mr. Freedman's memory and legacy deserve better treatment on the 50th anniversary of the company he founded. In truth, it had been known and accepted for years that Mr. Freedman ran both the Toledo and Dayton opera companies; that the same productions and casts were shared between the two cities, and that this was a common practice among smaller, regional performing arts companies as a means to split and defray costs. The end result was that two Ohio cities enjoyed opera of the highest quality.

The controversy in the early 1980s was caused by the board of directors' repeated inability to raise funds for annual budgets which they themselves had approved. Mr. Freedman was made the public scapegoat for their private fiscal failures.

I had the privilege during Mr. Freedman's last years to sing alongside such artists as Robert Merrill, Roberta Peters, Chester Ludgin, Lilli Chookasian, Maralin Niska, Jon Garrison, and Dominic Cossa, among others. Those events rank among the cherished memories of my youth, and I have to thank Mr. Freedman, and his wife, Frances, for that. Theirs was a vision that provided a rare gift to Toledo and Dayton both.

David Billnitzer

Altadena, Calif.

In response to the Oct. 14 editorial "Pakistan in peril," first of all, most Pakistanis are moderate, progressive, and tolerant Muslims who do not dislike the United States. Pakistanis also realize that their economy has been saved with nearly $13 billion in U.S. and western aid since 2001.

Pakistan has been unfortunate since its birth in 1947. It has been saddled with 30 years of military rule, which did not permit the development of civil society and democratic institutions.

Pakistan's military has played a major role in shaping and conducting its foreign policy. It will take many decades of stable, efficient, and honest civilian government to assert control over the military. The U.S. Congress and administration should realize that insertion of a few passages in an aid bill cannot possibly alter this relationship and strengthen the civilian control over the military.

U.S. and NATO allies should know that they will not succeed in Afghanistan without Pakistan's support. The troop surge will be meaningless if Pakistan's military is not willing to fight the Pakistani Taliban and eliminate their training camps in federally administered tribal areas.

U.S. and NATO forces have to be willing to fight a 30 to 40-year war to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the strategy has to be achieving small victories and limiting loss of life.

Riaz N. Chaudhary

Oregon

I found The Blade editorial regarding the dog warden to be irresponsible and grossly inflaming the public regarding a very difficult job and public policy.

I can only imagine how difficult it is to deal with irresponsible dog owners and stray dogs in these economic times. I want more from my local newspaper. Facts and common sense.

Being raised on a farm south of Toledo gave medirect experience of irresponsiblepet ownersdumping unwanted pets in the country. The consequence was packs of wild dogs and cats killing small game and living a terrible existence.

As to The Blade's referenceabout the dog warden's policy on pit bulls, take into consideration what happens when pit bulls bite. The bite of a pit bull is much stronger than an average dog, causing much more damage. Mycommonsense approachis that for every responsible pit bull owner there are 10 irresponsible or possible criminal owners.

The dog warden and his staff have a difficult job. I challenge The Blade to extend a positive hand; otherwise I question your true motivation.

By the way, your use ofthe term "concentration camps" to make your point is inappropriate and insensitive to those who had any connection to that terrible time of history. I find it inexcusable and will not be subscribing to The Blade without major changes in integrity.

Jim Sworden

Midwood Avenue

As a former Toledoan, I wasshocked andhorrified by how many dogs are euthanized and how few are adopted there. I moved from Toledo to Portland, Ore., and have lived here for 17 years. I knew Tom Skeldon from high school and it saddens me that he has gained the reputation of being callous and hard-hearted toward dogs.

It took my breath away to see how many pit bulls were euthanized, along with so many others, and how little effort was made to adopt them out.

I own a 7-year-old pit bull and understand the tremendous misconception about them, which is all due to improper upbringing and bad owners. They are immensely loyal dogs that would do anything for their owners. And they now face a fierce, vicious stereotype and are killed without a second thought. I also own a fantastic mixed-breed dog that came from the pound here. Both are wonderful dogs. "Pound puppies" have often proved to be the most loving of companions.

Tom would benefit from investigating how it works in other cities and states. I am grateful to see that there is an effort to have him removed or, at the very least, make him accountable for the job he does.

There is a great effort on the part of the animal shelter where I live to evaluate and put dogs up for adoption. In the future, I hope to read of positive changes Toledo has made in this area. It would go a long way in polishing the reputation of the community.

Mary Pat Whitaker

Troutdale, Ore.

In regard to stray dogs: Where do these dogs come from? Do they fall from the sky? Whose responsibility is it to raise and care for these animals? I suggest they come from irresponsible pet owners.

The dog warden does his job policing the county, picking up strays and providing short-term housing and food. Yes, Lucas County deserves better, but let's not put this sole responsibility on the government.

Lucas County deserves more pet owners who provide proper care for their dogs. It is sad to hear about the euthanization [but] where are the owners of these pets?

Let's not put all the burden and sole care for lost dogs on the dog warden. Yes, there are many people who adopt and seek adoption for pets, but that does not remove the demand from pet owners.

As the sign read at the vigil, "Love Our Dogs, Don't Kill Them." The responsibilty starts at home.

Hank Douglas

Holland

As a Catholic, I found the Oct. 25 editorial “Catholicism on the make” to be crude, offensive, and ill-informed. The Holy Father, Pope Benedict, is not attempting to “steal” or “recruit” members away from the Anglican church. He is being incredibly generous in offering inclusion back into the Catholic faith to those who wish it.

As for whether he will allow denial of his authority as “head of the church,” that is not even in the realm of possibility, as it was Christ Himself who declared Peter to be “the rock on which I will build My church.”

JANET MILLER

South Reynolds Road



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