Monday, March 10, 2003

Readers' Views

City Council just gets in the way

TO THE EDITOR: Concerning Gregory Korte's "Tarbell floats idea of tax on water taxi" (March 7), I was disturbed by Councilman Tarbell's idea to tax Ohioans for taking a water taxi to Kentucky to park and party after the games (just another reason to live in Kentucky). I was outraged by the last paragraph where Council Member David Pepper states, "The average citizen in Cincinnati and Kentucky is excited about a water taxi, and the politicians need to figure out a way to make it happen."

BB Riverboats owner Allen Bernstein has already figured out a way to "make it happen." He's a businessman and entrepreneur. What Pepper means is that the city needs to figure out a way to cash in on Bernstein's ingenuity and hard work. He needs to realize that city council doesn't produce anything. They just get in the way.

Howard McEwen, Bellevue


Taxing water taxi is short-sighted

Jim Tarbell's idea of taxing people on this side of the river to use a water taxi is just one more example of an elected city councilman run amok. How clever for the boat owner to offer this service for a nominal fee. How childish of Tarbell not to see the service and using of the river as a boon for both Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

The goal is to revitalize our downtown, but Newport keeps outdoing Cincinnati. I think this has to do with the short-sighted city council and mayor of this city

Donna King, Kennedy Heights


Sick and tired of schools taking beating

Regarding the article "$140 million from schools" (March 6), it's nice to see that our kids get to suffer again. Gov. Bob Taft has taken his inability to run our state out on our children, our teachers and our schools. Too bad our children are not treated as good as our professional sports' teams.

Who knows, maybe Mike Brown will let us hold classes in his brand new stadium that we are paying for. I don't know about the rest of this country, but I'm sick and tired of our children's education, teachers and schools taking a beating.

Paul Jones, Green Township


Asbestos actually prevented injuries

In his letter ("Jury ward caps are price controls," March 7) Hector Polanco states, "... huge jury awards destroyed the asbestos industry, as it should have been." He evidently believes the designers and engineers that sought to provide the best possible insulation from fire were evil people who deserved financial ruination.

While the indiscriminate use of asbestos for building insulation was not a great idea, no one has addressed how many deaths and serious injuries were prevented through the use of asbestos. My father was a volunteer fireman, and he was very happy that his jacket and boots were asbestos lined.

Dan Wagner, West Chester


Shingles story good but more to know

I read with interest the excellent article on shingles by Peggy O'Farrell in the March 5 edition ("Chicken pox virus returns as more painful shingles"). The article was a complete and concise review of this painful condition, but there are a few additional points worth mentioning for completeness sake. Shingles is often misdiagnosed until late in its course when treatment options are less effective.

Anyone who experiences a rash of fluid-filled blisters in a confined area of the body should seek immediate medical attention to see if it could possibly be shingles. Although the most common location is on one side of the trunk, it can occur anywhere on the body as David Letterman's case has demonstrated. Early diagnosis is key. Another treatment modality not mentioned in the article, and unfortunately not known to some primary care practitioners, is the use of epidural injections and other nerve blocks. Epidurals, widely used for relief of labor pain, are safe and highly effective in the treatment and prevention of post herpetic neuralgia - the dreaded complication of shingles that can cause severe pain for months to years.

These blocks can be done on an outpatient basis in a short period of time with minimal discomfort and, like drug therapy, should be initiated as soon as possible for best results. And, lastly, don't believe the old wives' tale that warns, "If the rash encircles the trunk it's fatal." Although the intensity of the pain may be incapacitating, the myth is false.

Thomas R. Ware, M.D., Chief of Anesthesia, Middletown Regional Hospital, Middletown


Other streets can be vibrant, too

Thank you for Greg Korte's article "20-somethings looking into proposals" (March 4). The council members and their young aides should be commended for their enthusiastic and creative ideas regarding neighborhood development. So let's encourage them to be as enthusiastic and creative for all the neighborhoods.

I'm not sure we need a Beale Street as council members' memo to City Manager Valerie Lemmie proclaims, but Cincinnati desperately needs neighborhood destinations and marketable images.

If Main Street is an entertainment location, then what is Avondale? If Hyde Park is upscale boutique shopping, then what is Over-the-Rhine? Main Street is not the trickle down end for neighborhood economic recovery, but it's a beginning. What neighborhood is next?

Tom Baumann, Westwood


Waldorf students do love to read

As a parent of two Waldorf grade-school students, I consider the Cincinnati Waldorf School a treasure. One point of clarification, though - the March 6 article implied that reading was downplayed at the Waldorf School. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Pushing early reading is avoided, but building an early love of literature is greatly emphasized. In the early childhood program, teachers tell stories daily. Parents are encouraged to read to children, while videos, computer games and television are discouraged. As the average American child spends hours each day in front of a screen, I find this emphasis refreshing, and it is what brought me to the school.

Reading in the Waldorf grade school is taught through a blend of whole language and phonics. Both my children eased into reading without stress and both have become avid, excellent readers.

Instead of standardized tests, parents get detailed reports of what their children have mastered and what they are working on. Instead of endless worksheets, students create math books, French dictionaries and journals. Best of all, my children love school, they love to learn and they definitely love to read.

Elaine Olund, Clifton


Sprawl is harmful to core urban areas

Over the past 50 years or so, a new breed of living has grown massively in the United States, more so than any other country in the world. This alarming phenomenon is known as suburban sprawl. This is the development of rural land to scattered, low-density developments, better known as sub-divisions. Sprawl began after WWII with inexpensive federal housing loans and the great highway boom starting in the 1950s. It is a serious problem affecting communities and the environment.

Sprawl has caused Ohio farming to suffer as prime farmland is converted to other uses. Farmers are pressed to make a living in farming. Globally 3 percent of the land on Earth is suitable for growing food. Farmland in the United States is being lost at a rate of 1.4 million acres per year. Between 1954 and 1992, 28 percent of Ohio's farmland was converted to non-agricultural use. In the two decades preceding 1990, while Ohio's population increased 2 percent, consumption of farmland increased five times that rate. This has left a mark on the portion of our economy that most depends on agriculture.

Since sprawl depends so heavily on automotive travel, in the last 40 years, the number of vehicle miles traveled increased four times faster than the population.

We don't have to destroy community, environment and history. We don't have to spend our lives in cars and shop at over-priced, glamorized strip malls.

Sprawl is the root of almost every major problem I see in our country. And with a little effort and planning, it can be eliminated in future development.

Katie Busemeyer, Hyde Park, Senior at Virtual High School

Housing loan fund: $100 million
Library gift: Good for Clifton
Job fair: Opportunity for educators

Readers' Views