On behalf of the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio, I'd like to thank everyone who helped provide relief to the communities affected by last week's storm ("Lucas Co. officials tally storm damage; 1 dead; over 60 structures affected," July 11).
Thanks to the help of the Dwelling Place, the Holland Free Methodist Church, and the Sylvania Senior Center, more than 300 people were able to get out of the heat during the three days in which many had no electricity.
FirstEnergy Corp. got thousands of individuals without power back up and running with impressive speed and efficiency. Columbia Gas ensured that proper precautions were taken during the cleanup process.
The Lucas County Emergency Management Agency and Springfield Township's administrative personnel and fire and police departments worked to ensure that everyone involved with the relief effort was informed and safe.
These are just a few of the organizations that came together last week. The response was a great example of how local organizations can cooperate and efficiently manage a crisis.
Chief Executive Officer American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio West Central Avenue
Utility workers should be thanked
The storm that devastated trees and downed power lines created a nightmare for folks attempting to clean up. Add the record heat and humidity, and it became dangerous for everyone.
Utility linemen worked hard to restore electrical power so folks could get on with their lives. We should be grateful for the long hours these workers put in.
They did not celebrate the Fourth of July with their families, but took a sense of pride in restoring power to their community. They know they will be mocked for not working fast enough, but they also know the community was counting on them.
Being a lineman is one of the most difficult jobs. We should show that we appreciate linemen.
Ottawa Lake, Mich.
Editor's note: The writer is an assistant business manager of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 245.
Where was FEMA, National Guard?
The storm left thousands without electricity, placing people's lives at risk, costing companies productivity, and wasting perishable commodities.
Power companies seemed to have been overwhelmed, unable to respond quickly enough. Leaving people, particularly those who are older or ill, without electricity for so long wasn't appropriate.
Where was the Federal Emergency Management Agency? National Guard units should have been called up to help clear debris, assist distribution of needed resources, and ensure safety.
Details of storm not disseminated
If I were to give a grade to the informational response to the storm, it would be a D-minus or an F.
While power-line crews and tree services worked tirelessly, the information disseminated by affected municipalities -- especially over radio -- in the hours after the storm was virtually nonexistent.
It is hard to believe that with close to 70,000 people in the western metro area in total darkness, a local AM radio station broadcast the Cleveland Indians game, and a local FM station played classical music. I searched in vain on my emergency radio for information about the storm, its aftermath, and what was being done.
What a shame it is that Toledo and surrounding communities have not come up with a plan for keeping residents better informed during an emergency. The lesson is that when a big storm hits, we pretty much are on our own.
Honk your horn to say thanks
My home lost power because of the storm. I extend my gratitude to all of the utility workers, tree removal crews, firefighters, and police officers who helped restore power and responded to dangerous situations.
Those individuals not only risked their lives to protect us, they did so in inconceivable conditions.
Those who sat in their homes complaining that they didn't have air conditioning and refrigeration should remember that many of those workers were toiling in 102 degree weather and high humidity.
It would be fitting for motorists who drive by people who work to clean up debris to toot their horns in appreciation.
High Level graffiti needs attention
Every day as I drive through downtown Toledo, I am sickened by an eyesore. The Anthony Wayne Bridge -- also called the High Level Bridge -- has been tagged with graffiti on the upper supports of this historic structure.
This indignity to the bridge's builders deserves Toledo officials' immediate attention.
Trafficking law to help victims
Congratulations to state Rep. Teresa Fedor of Toledo, Gov. John Kasich, and many others for the passage of the Safe Harbor Law, which sends a strong message that Ohio youth are precious and that sex trafficking will not be tolerated ("Trafficking law signed in Toledo; Harsher penalties set for underage sex slavery," June 28).
I commend The Blade for consistently covering this issue. However, your June 26 article "26 arrested in area prostitution sweep" included the terms "juvenile prostitutes" and "child prostitutes."
To advance Ohio's understanding of the horror of this experience, law enforcement officials, lawmakers, reporters, and residents need to refer to these youths as "domestic minor sex trafficking victims."
These young men and women have experienced force, coercion, and being held against their will. They are victims, in no way complicit in their experience.
Sister Ann-Marie Borgess
'Perils of the Pill' not that perilous
The headline on your June 11 article "Perils of the Pill: Like any other prescribed medication, there are risks," and to a lesser extent the article itself were unnecessarily alarmist.
According to a study by the Guttmacher Institute, half of all pregnancies and a third of all births in the country are unintended. Women frequently cite fear of side effects as a major reason for not using contraceptives.
Yet your article states -- far too briefly -- that the risks of major problems such as strokes are low. Many other side effects, such as weight gain or nausea, are relatively minor compared to the inconveniences and risks of pregnancy and childbirth.
Although I sympathize with the woman quoted in the article who suffered a stroke 40 years ago, the levels of hormones in today's Pill are far lower and much safer.
This type of sensational reporting continues to make women fear using long-lasting, reversible, and safe contraception. It is no wonder that the United States has made little progress in reducing unintended births over the past few decades, even though this has been a major public-health goal of the federal government.
Karen Benjamin Guzzo
Assistant Professor Department of Sociology Bowling Green State University Bowling Green
Drivers should be nice to bicyclists
When I am biking with my children, training them to be responsible, well-mannered cyclists, I wish motorists would not gesticulate wildly, honk madly, scream obscenities, pass as closely as possible, turn right between bikes, or race ahead of us and slam on the brakes.
The only outcome that could be accomplished by these dangerous demonstrations of discontent is a potentially fatal accident.
Motorists should slow down and relax.
Katie O'Leary Ross