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Published: Sunday, 12/11/2011

Letters to the Editor

Ships entering Great Lakes scrutinized

In response to your Nov. 20 editorial "Dangerous ballast": Foreign vessels that enter the Great Lakes region undergo the most stringent ballast management and inspection regulation in the world.

They are required to exchange their ballast water while still at sea and flush empty tanks with ocean water. To ensure compliance, the U.S. and Canadian governments stop, board, inspect, and test every foreign ship that enters the Great Lakes. Since these protections were put in place in 2006, there have been no new discoveries of aquatic nuisance species in the lakes.

You mention the billions of dollars in revenue that recreational and commercial fishing brings to the region. The shipping industry is important to the overall economic health of the region too.

It supports 227,000 jobs, produces $33.5 billion in economic activity, and generates $14.1 billion in wages annually. Over 40,000 of those jobs are in Ohio.

The marine industry is committed to doing even more to eliminate the risk of nonnative species entering the lakes through ballast water. The industry supports international rules requiring owners of oceangoing vessels to install environmental technology to clean ballast water to standards established by the International Maritime Organization in 2004. The IMO is the maritime arm of the United Nations and coordinates international shipping policy.

The legislation approved by the U.S. House is good for the environment because it puts into place a uniform system of environmental protection. It is good for the economy because it creates a consistent regulatory framework for business.

Inconsistent and conflicting local regulations have stalled progress on protecting the Great Lakes from invasive species. This chaotic mix of rules has not led to environmental protection but rather has created regulatory chaos, confusion, and inaction.

We need common-sense federal ballast-water regulations that protect the environment while preserving jobs.

Laura Blades

Director of Public Affairs American Great Lakes Ports Association Washington

Christmas service OK on a Sunday

If Christmas Day is a family day, what better way to spend time with family than by worshipping Christ together ("Christmas Sundays pose dilemma; Pastors grapple with disrupting family time," Dec. 3)?

The pastor can bring his or her family too. They also need to hear God's word.

A Christmas Day service takes only an hour and leaves plenty of time for presents, food, and holiday cheer.

For those church leaders who say they don't want to add to the burden of their volunteers, make it a simple service. You only need someone with a key to open the door.

It won't matter if not many people show up. Jesus said where two or three are gathered, He would be there.

How sad it would be to have a family show up to worship, only to find the doors closed.

Kristy Strawn

Archbold, Ohio

God willing, she'll be in church

No church on Christmas? I could not believe my eyes when I read this in The Blade.

No church so people can stay home with their families? No church because not enough people show up to make it worthwhile?

Church is about Christ. Christmas is Christ's birth. Don't separate them.

Do we hold church to please parishioners or to please God? It is a wonderful thing when Christmas falls on a Sunday. Embrace it.

Thank God my church, Hopewell Wesleyan Christian Church on West Alexis Road, will be open for services at 10 a.m. Christmas Day. God willing, that is where you will find me.

Alice Ruetz

Yondota Street

Changes to Mass augment faith

I can't understand the objections to changes in the language of the Catholic Mass ("Missal revisions problematic," Readers' Forum, Dec. 2).

The changes are simple and consistent with Catholic tradition, which seeks to impart a clear understanding of the Mass to the layman.

The change in the Nicene Creed from "We believe" to "I believe" allows parishioners to speak for themselves and personalizes the prayer. It is said in unison, and therefore is communal and fits the New Evangelism of the church.

Another important change comes just before Holy Communion. It is: "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." No problem here either.

In Holy Communion, we ask Jesus to heal us spiritually. So relax and enjoy the Mass. These changes feed our reason and augment our faith.

Dave Scheuerman

Petersburg, Mich.

Architect doubts contract procedure

Recent Blade articles indicate a gross lack of stewardship and professionalism in procedures for awarding City of Toledo contracts ("Bell offers stricter procedures for awarding rehab contracts," Dec. 1).

Why does the federal government mandate precise controls on tax money sent from Washington? Toledo officials seem to assume they do not have to be responsible for tax dollars if they come from Washington.

I am an architect who teaches a course in construction contracts at the University of Toledo. The basis of construction contracting dates to 1888.

The system has always been clear. It is also clear that federal and city officials are felonious in the use of our tax money.

Daryl Blanchard

Ottawa Hills

Media's inaccuracy hurt Grand Rapids

The media hype over potential flooding in Grand Rapids, Ohio, cost us small-town merchants thousands of dollars of income ("Area residents slog through wet, wind; Heavy rainfall puts November in record book," Nov. 30).

TV stations hyped the flooding situation in our village, yet no water was ever downtown. But because of the inaccurate coverage, our village saw no visitors for days.

Journalists should have phoned the village office for an update before their stories aired, but that would be asking too much and does not get ratings.

It is hard enough for small businesses to survive the Washington mess without media stepping on us. Please leave us alone, and we will prosper without your help.

David LaRoe

Owner LaRoe's Restaurant Grand Rapids, Ohio



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