I appreciate the stories and editorials you have published about the plight of those who are struggling in our state. Most important were your stories on the massive cuts to families on welfare and the continuing problems facing the Appalachian region ("Poverty & Politics," May 20-21).
These stories are not readily visible to the public and all too often remain out of sight and out of mind. Yet the reality is that thousands of families cannot take for granted that they will have food or shelter.
These and other important issues have been brought to light because of the hard work of The Blade's staff.
Director Athens County Department of Job and Family Services Athens, Ohio
'Addiction' needs better definition
I agree with your May 22 editorial "Addiction affliction" that the valid distinction between substance abuse and addiction would be lost with the proposed revisions to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
"Addiction" places a negative stigma on the individual who is chemically dependent, and can cause him or her not to seek help. Those who are labeled mildly addicted will rebel against any help, because they do not see themselves as addicts.
Not everyone who abuses drugs will become dependent. Substance abuse is not a brain disease. Chemical dependence is a brain disease and should be treated as any other disease.
There is more research to be done on this topic. Placing behavioral addictions in the revised manual should be reconsidered.
U.S. should heed Adams' prediction
In his May 17 op-ed column, "English: The new Latin," Gwynne Dyer cites President John Adams' 1780 prediction that in succeeding centuries English would become the world's most universally read and spoken language.
That prediction has been validated, as Mr. Dyer notes, by one of the most respected universities in Italy, which announced that starting in 2014 all its courses will be taught in English.
In contrast, the United States, with an ever-enlarging immigrant and new-citizen population, continues to oppose establishment of English as our official language. The issue is stymied by special-interest groups, election-seeking legislators, and citizen apathy.
The wisdom and foresight of Adams' prediction 222 years ago should be heeded, so that our country can participate fully in the international community of the 21st century.
Unlike animals, people have a choice
The elephants and other animals housed at the Toledo Zoo had no choice; they were put there for people to see and learn about them ("Zoos should house homeless," Readers' Forum, June 1).
Homeless people have a choice. They can pick themselves up and find a life and a job -- maybe working at the zoo.
They can check themselves into a rehabilitation center and start a new life. The animals do not have a choice like that. It will be hard, but life is not easy for anyone.