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Published: Thursday, 5/3/2012

Interstate ramps need redesign

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

A bill that would raise fines for wrong-way drivers won't solve the safety issue ("Ohio senators urge tougher fines for wrong-way drivers," April 27).

Many entrance and exit ramps were designed in accordance with the Ohio Department of Transportation's standards and requirements when the expressway system was built in the 1960s. The ramps need to be updated and reconfigured.

Additional signs and markings won't stop wrong-way drivers. Money is needed for reconstruction. ODOT should budget the cost accordingly.

I am a civil engineer and a former Bowling Green city councilman. I have had people tell me that they have almost entered I-75 the wrong way.

Motorists westbound on East Wooster Street in Bowling Green who want to take I-75 northbound need to make a left turn to get on the northbound ramp. Though there are "wrong way" and "do not enter" signs and a directional arrow on the ramp, they are inadequate, especially during winter, when they may be covered with snow and ice.

At night, a motorist who is unfamiliar with the area easily could go the wrong way. The entrance and exit ramps are too close together, with only a narrow separator.

The Bowling Green I-75 interchange is not unique. Similar interchanges also need to be redesigned.

ODOT should request money in the state budget -- without leasing the Ohio Turnpike -- for reconstruction. If one life can be saved, it would be money well spent.

Patrick Ng
Bowling Green

'Wrong-way' bill needs a refocus

The intent of this legislation is laudable, but it does nothing to prevent wrong-way accidents.

The fines come into effect after an accident occurs. No motorist is going to avoid driving the wrong way because the fine or jail time for such behavior has increased.

State Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), a sponsor of the bill, said: "Increasing the penalty for driving the wrong way sends the signal that we take it seriously." If lawmakers are going to take this behavior seriously, their focus needs to be on prevention, not penalties.

Russ Frye
Bowling Green

Like it or not, accused has rights

The anger and hurt brought on by alleged violence or violation against a family member is easy to understand ("Man accused of corpse abuse excoriated by victim's family," April 17). But victims and their families should keep some points in mind.

It is for a court to decide the guilt or innocence of the accused. Like it or not, the accused has the right to a fair trial. Public displays of vitriol could taint the jury pool, prolonging the process.

The court can only impose a sentence according to the legal structure. No sentence ever will be enough, nor will it provide closure, to a family where the pain is great. If the sentence does not seem harsh enough, people should work within the system to make changes.

The family of the accused did not commit the alleged crime. Family members of the accused often are stunned and are struggling to make sense of their world, also turned upside-down.

A strong family supports its members. Support does not mean condoning the actions or denial of guilt, but does allow for the possibility that the accused is not guilty.

Family members do not deserve to be stalked and harassed for doing what they are called to do as a family.

Marsha Manon
Temperance

Alternate energy must be embraced

The writer of the April 10 Readers' Forum letter "Fossil fuel should be embraced" said President Obama is trying to end the use of fossil fuels. The truth is that fossil fuels are getting priced out of the market by forces that have little or nothing to do with politics.

President Obama is one of the few public officials in Washington who recognize the risk to our nation if we do not observe and anticipate this.

While fracking and unconventional oil production have made previously unavailable fossil resources attainable, it has not made them cheaper.

Oil prices are higher than ever, and while they may come down for a while, there is no more cheap oil. Coal is getting more expensive because of the cost of petroleum used to mine and transport it.

Combine these developments with rapidly improving alternative-energy technologies, and we have a major change in the energy industry.

If President Obama recognizes this and promotes policies that smooth the transition, why are some people so critical? Maybe they just don't understand the changes that are sweeping the nation and the world.

Renewable sources of fuel and power soon will become the new template of energy exploration, delivery, and storage. We should embrace these positive changes.

Gary Majeski
Lynnhaven Drive
Editor's note: The letter writer is the energy committee chairman of the Western Lake Erie Sierra Club.

We've got oil; let's use it to cut costs

Why has our country endured a reset on wages and income expectations, yet everything we need to purchase, especially automobiles, costs more than ever?

Being part of a world economy dictates that wages need to be competitive. If labor costs to assemble an automobile in this country have gone down, why does the car end up costing more than before?

Almost everything that is manufactured, grown, assembled, and then transported in this country has the common denominator of petroleum.

The Institute of Energy Research says the United States has as much as 200 years' worth of recoverable oil. If the Obama Administration allowed us to develop our oil reserves, the cost of everything would begin to wane.

If we can't afford to buy the cars, clothes, and food we need, it won't be long before there are torches and pitchforks in the streets. Things need to get better sooner, not later.

Mr. Obama needs to stop his obstruction of domestic oil production before the fuel runs out of his economic recovery engine.

Mike McMahon
Robinwood Avenue

Random act of kindness lauded

I read about a husband and wife who were impressed by the treatment they received from the staff at Mercy St. Anne's Hospital ("Hospital experience unexpectedly fine," Readers' Forum, April 15).

In January, my sister was admitted to St. Anne's for surgery. I went to the cafeteria for dinner and tried to pay with my debit card, but was told cards were not accepted. I didn't have cash.

I was going to put my tray back when a woman behind me dressed in scrubs and wearing St. Anne's identification told the cashier: "I will pay for her dinner. Place it on my account." Before I could place my things back on the tray, she disappeared. I couldn't find her to repay her.

I mentioned this to my sister. She said that to pay this favor back, I would need to practice a similar random act of kindness. I did. What a wonderful feeling.

Thank you, St. Anne's and its anonymous staff member, and thank you, Sis, for keeping those random acts of kindness going.

Tricia Hines
Oak Grove Place

Writer too quick to attack liberals

The writer of the April 30 Readers' Forum letter "Abortion is in no way health care" claims that no Democrat can be pro-life. He also says: "Those who lack college educations in law and biology are unqualified to spout the ethical and scientific absurdity of the left."

Apparently no such restriction applies to right-wing vitriol and claptrap.

Joseph Pflager
Maumee

Small carts would be nice for shoppers

Why don't all grocery stores have small carts or handbaskets for their customers? Why would someone who only needs a few items want to push a big cart through the store, especially an older or short person?

If store managers believe that a shopper who uses a small cart would not buy enough items, I can tell them that you can get quite a bit in a small cart.

Eva Pratt
Maumee



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