A comprehensive analysis of the Ohio Turnpike is under way. Ohio, with a financial assist from the federal government, has chosen a nationally recognized auditing and financial firm to study how the toll road's revenue might best be used within the state ("Firm to study using turnpike for cash," Nov. 23).
It is the right first step.
The 241-mile Ohio Turnpike is an economic lifeline that attracts millions of dollars to northwest Ohio. It generates about $250 million annually from tolls and uses that money for operations, improvements, and debt service.
The state owns the toll road, which operates independently of government. The Ohio Turnpike and all state highways must be well maintained, with improvements made as needed.
But the costs of repairing Ohio's roads and keeping them safe are rapidly outstripping the available state and federal money earmarked for those purposes.
Gov. John Kasich has suggested leasing the Ohio Turnpike, among other options to generate ample revenue that could improve the roads and bridges in communities linked to the turnpike.
Now that the federal government has agreed to provide $1.5 million, Ohio has selected the New York-based KPMG LLP to lead a team of experts to study how best to leverage the turnpike's revenues.
The much-needed study will be thorough. KPMG will evaluate the toll road's condition and examine the costs and benefits of different options. The auditing firm will present its recommendations next summer.
Critics of this proposal believe maintaining the status quo is the best way to go. We disagree.
The viability of something so vital to the economic well-being of a region must be fully explored.
The recommendations from the experts will provide much-needed transparency for the state to make wise and informed decisions about its options.
That's why we give our full and complete support to this in-depth professional review.
Chairman Transportation Advocacy Group of Northwest Ohio Perrysburg
'Secret Santas' spirit of season
Your Dec. 16 story "Secret Santas pay off layaway bills; anonymous donors help those in need" brought a smile to my face, tears to my eyes, and warmth to my heart.
That is what Christmas is about. Giving to the less fortunate is what Jesus would do.
In a world where people only think of themselves and have blinders on as they pass their neighbors day in and day out, this story gives me hope.
My wish is that that feeling, that helpfulness, that giving, that caring remain in everyone's heart all year long,
Services should be on Christmas
I am appalled that a number of churches in Toledo are not holding services on Christmas ("Christmas Sundays pose dilemma; Pastors grapple with disrupting family time," Dec. 3).
It is refreshing to see that long-established churches are holding services. It seems that there is no room at the inn so far as some clergy and congregations are concerned -- the same ones who are concerned about putting Christ back into Christmas.
Perhaps their religion is relevant only if it does not interfere with the material comfort of themselves and their congregations.
'Thank you' goes missing
"There you go."
"You're all set."
"Your receipt's in the bag."
Are sales associates trained not to say "thank you" to paying customers?
Christmas getting too impersonal
There is no need for handwritten Christmas cards. With a few typed words and a push of a button, a hundred cards can be sent.
You can purchase a Christmas tree already decorated. No family participation needed.
With a push of a button, a gift can be bought, wrapped, and sent to any address. No need to fuss.
Christmas dinner no longer requires special recipes preserved and passed down from generation to generation, with family members involved. It can be bought pre-cooked at many supermarkets.
There's no need to wait in long lines with excited, impatient children who sit on Santa's knee and request what they want for Christmas. Santa's Facebook page does it all.
On Christmas morning, as you open the store-wrapped gifts, under the store-decorated Christmas tree, followed by the store-cooked Christmas dinner, there is no need to wonder why the joy and fulfillment of the hands-on perfect Christmas are not there.
Elfin-job story a heart-warmer
As a former teacher and administrator, I found my heart warmed by your article about Dorr Elementary School second-grade teacher Kathy Zeitler and the Christmas elves ("Now hiring: Santa helpers; Second graders apply classroom lessons in hunt for elfin jobs," Dec. 13).
What a creative, clever, substantive lesson -- a model for other teachers. Learning happens when kids are engaged.
Sister Janet Doyle
Order of Dominicans Maumee