I was hired by the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association to present four seminars on the No. 1 issue that faces parks and recreation agencies around the country: recreation costs in this economy ("Plan puts recreation programs in peril," Dec. 6).
The parks system I represent has created enterprise ventures that generate income. Our commission has $12 million in reserves and can meet the recreation needs and wants of our residents.
My journey started in the Cincinnati area, and I traveled to the Toledo area, the Cleveland/Akron area, and Columbus. More than 200 professionals in the parks and recreation field learned techniques that could assist them in surviving the difficult economy.
As I watched the news in Toledo, I saw a report about the troubled state of the city's recreation budget. An official said that in the face of cuts, the city would have to do things differently. I was excited to address the seminar the next morning and suggest ways to help the city.
At the seminar, there were representatives of departments from across northwest Ohio and Michigan. There were no representatives from the City of Toledo.
If representatives from Toledo had attended the seminar, they would have left with many ideas about how to do things differently.
Executive Director Charleston County Park and Recreation Commission Charleston, S.C.
Editor's note: A representative of the City of Toledo's Division of Parks and Forestry said the city belongs to the National Recreation and Parks Association and the Ohio Parks and Recreation Association, but has not attended conferences because of fiscal priorities.
Power of philanthropy aids Adrian College
It is terrific to see that philanthropy is alive and well in Adrian ("$20M gift passes to area college by default; Adrian president calls money 'game changer.'" Dec. 25). That is wonderful news for the students of Adrian College and their community.
While it may appear otherwise, a charitable gift is rarely made by "default". What makes philanthropy -- donations large and small -- so appealing and worth study is that we often overlook the subtleties involved that inspire and motivate us.
Every day, the worthy nonprofits within our region work in quiet ways to spark future gifts. From interaction with staff and the testimony of grateful clients to the leadership of board members, something slight and unconscious conveyed today has the potential to result in a seemingly unrelated decision 50 years from now.
Kudos to the Adrian College staff and board -- past and present -- for nurturing a positive donor relationship, from grandfather to granddaughter.
Editor's note: The writer is president of Aly Sterling Philanthropy LLC, Maumee.
'Austere' budget? Join the crowd
The Lucas County budget was described by county officials as "austere" and "alarming" ("Lucas Co. OKs tighter 2012 budget: $565M plan cuts jobs by attrition, not layoffs," Dec. 14). Some departments had their budgets cut by as much as -- gasp -- 10 percent.
Now for the good news: No one was laid off, unions cooperated, and as County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz said: "The silver lining is [that] it has caused us to find ways to work together."
I'm sure the unemployed, the laid-off, and businesses in decline are glad that someone knows how to control things. Now, if we can get the 1 percent of the population that controls the wealth to pay its share.
Hospital's star not as stellar
A bit of holiday spirit is missing for my neighbors, my family, and me this year, because Toledo Hospital has eliminated the large star on the roof of its North Cove Boulevard entrance.
I always enjoyed seeing the star. It was visible from many vantage points in West Toledo. The new one on ProMedica Parkway is barely visible.
Even more depressing: A large green tree on top of ProMedica's Flower Hospital facility in Sylvania is visible for miles.
Billionaires need to run for office
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has stepped up to run as an independent candidate for the Russian presidency against former president and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin ("Russian politics heat up; Tycoon to oppose Putin for presidency; Billionaire businessman owns NBA's Nets," Dec. 13).
Wouldn't it be great if some U.S. billionaire would do the same thing for our 2012 election? Just think of it: a candidate without ties to our ineffective Democratic and Republican parties. Couple that with independent candidates to oppose all members of Congress who will be running for re-election in 2012. We might come up with a Washington that actually will be functional.
How about limiting senators and representatives to one six-year term? That way, there would be no need for members of Congress to vote along party lines to assure their party's support in the next election, because they will not be running again. There would be more time spent on the nation's business, as opposed to time and money wasted on re-election efforts.
A civilian oversight committee should establish and maintain wages, perks, health care, and retirement benefits for Senate and House members. Does that sound like a plan?