Thankful for first responders

On Saturday, March 13, we had an an outdoor fire in our woods which got out of control. We called 911 after fighting the fire for better than two hours.

I want to thank the Paulding dispatcher, the sheriff’s deputy and the Delaware Township firefighters as well as Sherwood firefighters and EMTs who came to help us with this fire.

It is comforting to know that we have services like this available to us. After the fire, firefighters and EMTs stayed an hour or more to make sure everything was under control. The caring, concern and efficiency was impressive, and I want you to know that we are grateful to all of you.

Kathy Bergman

rural Cecil

No time to let your guard down

I’ve seen the letters from Jeffrey Horvath and Robert Kohl, both decrying the measures taken to abate the impact of COVID 19. I find their conclusions to be utterly myopic. The United States has a terrible track record in containing the virus. We have racked up, as of the time of writing, 548,000 deaths, which is more deaths than in any armed conflict in the history of the United States. While not all of these deaths were preventable, many would have been had we just taken action.

There are two great failures of logic advanced by the aforementioned. First, that public health vs the economy is a completely binary choice. And second, the punting of the responsibility for crafting public health policy to the states, an action that created a swiss cheese patchwork of regulation.

Given that there is no restriction of travel between the states, and that we have never substantively cut off air travel or international travel. It should come as little surprise that the efforts taken by any individual state would be ineffective, since individuals from other, less regulated, areas are still free to move about the country playing typhoid Mary.

Currently, we are seeing a variety of states open fully, with no restrictions whatsoever. We are also seeing incivility between private citizens who disagree on public health policy. People who don’t believe in masks are assaulting, verbally and physically, those who wear masks, and vice versa. All of this is taking place as we watch countries like Germany slam closed again because the reality is that the pandemic hasn’t passed yet.

The reality is that this is a pandemic, and policy should have been top down, but tailored to the numbers in order to determine public health policy and business regulation.

I know people want to move about freely, go to restaurants, go to a movie or theme park, but the reality is that these activities are not yet safe. If we re-open too soon on the basis of economy, it will increase the length of time we must deal with this pandemic, and it will contribute to infections and deaths caused by said pandemic.

Some seem to be at ease with such a notion. I wonder if they would be so at ease if the next to perish were a family member, or themselves?

Brian Barnett

Glendale, Mass.

Concerns about Senate Bill 22

Our state legislature has overridden the governor’s veto on Senate bill 22. That is a fact. It will impact so many things in the future, including public health’s ability at state and local levels to control food-borne illnesses, the way litigation is done if anyone feels inconvenienced or damaged by a public health order, and even the ability of the health departments to require someone to quarantine if they have a likelihood of exposure to a disease from travel overseas. I would encourage anyone who has not read Gov. DeWine’s letter to the legislature regarding the issues left unresolved by this bill to do so.

Please understand, I am aware of the function of the legislative and executive branches of government, and am glad to live under this system. However, it is important to recognize that public health gets complex when it has to be walked out in real life. What about the potential of college students coming in from a study trip abroad, for instance?

Once this bill goes into effect, if they have disease symptoms but cannot be “medically diagnosed” for a few days (due to lack of local testing, for instance) there will be nothing to stop them from spreading to others if they choose not to quarantine. How about a symptomatic food vender with a potential case of Norovirus? Under this legislation, if he is resistant to medical diagnosis or treatment, he could conceivably continue to work with food in his current setting or a subsequent one, sickening many people with no consequences whatsoever.

An oft stated sentiment is “it should be up to the people if they want to social distance, have masks and all that, not the government.” I guess I am to assume that viruses know the difference between those who choose to take the risk and those hapless bystanders that choose to eat out or have to be out with the public in order to make a living. Life is not risk free, I get it, but who offers those people some measure of freedom from people who make poor decisions if their government won’t?

Mr. Craig Riedel and others, if the legislature wants to have power over emergency mandates, then they should be willing to put in the time on making this bill work for the safety and welfare of all Ohioans. As it is now written, it does not do that whatsoever.

Pamela Bowers


Gun legislation should be a ‘priority’

We are gunned down in the grocery store. Republican Sen. Rob Portman does nothing to protect us. We are gunned down in the massage parlor. Portman does nothing. We are gunned down in the bowling alley. He does nothing. We are gunned down in homes. Nothing. We are gunned down in the movie theater. Nothing. We are gunned down in parking lots. Nothing. We are gunned down in school. Nothing. We are gunned down in synagogue and church. Nothing. We are gunned down in the street. Nothing. We are gunned down at outdoor music concerts. Nothing. We are gunned down in nightclubs and bars. Nothing. We are gunned down in malls. Crickets. During Portman’s first six years in the Senate, 208,054 Americans were gunned down.

I got that wrong. I should have written: Portman protects gun manufacturers’ profits, gun-lobby donations to his campaigns and election support from gun-greedy voters.

Now, without a re-election in his future, Portman could protect our lives with common-sense gun legislation. But money and votes, which provide political power, take priority for Republicans like Portman. The evidence is clear: American lives are not their priority.

Yet a substantial majority of Americans support gun reform. One example is the amazing 87% of Americans who support extreme-risk laws, that would allow families and police to ask a judge to temporarily block access to firearms for a person posing serious risk of gun violence.

After little children were slaughtered in their classroom, a great majority of Americans supported gun reform, but Portman and the other Republicans in Congress obstructed common-sense legislation to protect us. We continued to die by guns.

Currently, the 50 Democratic senators represent 41 million more voters than the other 50 senators. These Democrats carry the majority’s overwhelming mandate, while the minority senators carry no mandate, but instead represent the alienated, extreme right-wing. This Republican minority obstructs popular legislation which would save lives.

Citizens’ lives and well-being are the most important resource in any nation, needed for excelling, leading, innovating, creating, developing, advocating for democracy around the world, cooperating, improving, flourishing, succeeding, prospering, inventing, evolving and thriving. Saving lives with gun legislation should be a priority for Sen. Portman.

Sarah Maxwell


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