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Longing for Lotus Leaf
Written by Nancy Spencer   
Sunday, November 17, 2013 12:00 AM

Whew! Sometimes, it’s hard to keep up with things.

Just as I was getting into full Thanksgiving mode, we learned Lotus injured her knee and may have to have surgery next week and the family won’t be able to come home for Thanksgiving.

Big - fat - bummer!

I haven’t seen my husband’s sister, her husband or Lotus since they were home for Thanksgiving three years ago. I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up and, especially, decorating the tree with Lotus. My husband and I have it all planned out. We’ll go from Thanksgiving to Christmas in a few short hours.

I am hoping to share the stories behind some of my ornaments and drink hot chocolate and eat pumpkin pie and just have auntie time and make some memories.

My other nieces and nephews are grown and scattered and some have children of their own.

 
Letter to the Editor
Written by Staff Reports   
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:55 PM

DEAR EDITOR:

The Allen County Council on Aging, Inc., Senior Citizens Association of Bluffton, Inc., Senior Citizens Services, Inc., and Delphos Senior Citizens, Inc. thank the voters of Allen County for the passage of an elderly service replacement levy. The passage of this levy insures the above four agencies can continue to provide vital services to all Allen County’s senior residents.

These agencies working together provide a multitude of services. As this segment of our population grows, the demand for services to meet their needs increases.

On behalf of these agencies, boards, staffs and participants, we thank the Allen County Commissioners and voters for their continuing support of services that benefit Allen County’s elderly.

Sincerely,

Diane Bishop, Executive Director

Allen County Council on Aging

Betsy Winget, Executive Director

Senior Citizens Services, Inc.

Joyce Hale, Director

Delphos Senior Citizens, Inc.

Tonya Meyer, Director

Senior Citizens Association, Inc., of Bluffton

 
Letter to the Editor
Written by Staff Reports   
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:55 PM

DEAR EDITOR:

City of Delphos Citizens:

It has come to our attention that the dispatching of our police, fire and EMS is being considered by the Council as non-essential to the operation of the city. The cost of three dispatchers, their benefits and insurance supposedly could help balance the budget. As a former dispatcher, I hope the citizens of this community realize what this, in essence, means to their safety and well being.

One: If your home catches on fire and your 9-1-1 call is dispatched, do you want to risk having a delay calling out our fire department should there be an event or crisis in Lima where your call will be coming from to our fire department? Likewise, do you want having a heart attack, accident or life-threatening emergency with one of your family to be held for even seconds because there is no longer anyone in our city’s police department to page out a squad?

Two: How is it that this can take place? Were we told, beyond saying that cuts would have to be further made if the levy didn’t pass but nothing about the disbanding of our dispatch department was ever stated beyond getting no replacement for those police officers retiring? Will the cost of doing away with these officers and dispatchers really warrant the savings supposedly reflected versus the problems created by doing without them? Why are these the only options given to us because as former dispatchers, we have seen what can and does happen when you have to rely on a larger entity that is NOT familiar with your streets and roads in paging out police or fire or EMS.

Three: I would like to know who among you would be allowed to run up a water bill the way the company in the industrial park ran up a $400,000 bill? Why were they allowed to get away with this with no stopping them? That should never have happened and now you as taxpayers are going to lose because you didn’t vote for the levy or so we are told but wait, was this the plan all along? How can this be when you the taxpayers weren’t made aware of the full ramifications of not voting for this levy? Interesting, isn’t it, that the fact that it was to be the employed and not the retirees who are on limited income already who would have to pay for the levy? Time to ask our council men who’s idea this was and why as a community we will seriously lose if this taking away of our dispatch center is implemented????

Retired Dispatchers

Mary Grothause

Karen Wiechart

Mary Lou Wrocklage

 
Strengthening Social Security for generations to come
Written by Sherrod Brown   
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:52 PM

As a grandfather of two, with one more grandchild on the way, I appreciate what a wonderful gift it is when grandparents can spend more time with their grandchildren by living longer and healthier lives – which happened, in part, because we, as a nation, invested in Social Security.

Today, almost 63 million Americans receive Social Security benefits. And in Ohio, that number is nearly two million. Yet, just as we as grandparents are there for our families, we need to make sure that Social Security is there both now and for future generations. In fact, preserving and expanding social security is a moral issue.

Here’s why this is a moral issue. For nearly two-thirds of seniors, Social Security provides more than half of their cash income. For more than one-third of seniors, Social Security provides more than 90 percent of their income. And for one-quarter of seniors, Social Security is the sole source of income. Think of that. After working hard all their lives, one out of four seniors would be destitute, having no income, without Social Security.

Unsurprisingly, Social Security helps to lift approximately 600,000 Ohioans out of poverty. In fact, if we didn’t have Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for seniors over age 65 would be 48 percent. Because of Social Security, Ohio’s poverty rate for this group of seniors is 8 percent. The result is that seniors are able to live happier and healthier lives providing them with the time and opportunity to spend more time with their families.

Yet, Social Security is under attack by those who wrongly think it adds to the federal deficit and want to cuts benefits under the false premise of deficit reduction.

Even though Social Security is operating at a surplus and is funded separately from the rest of the government, these are the same politicians who want to give extra tax cuts to the wealthiest two percent of Americans and tax breaks for big corporations while using every budget impasse as an opportunity to “reform entitlements.”

What this reform entails is always the same: cutting Americans’ hard-earned, Social Security benefits. Naysayers say that the program is unsustainable. But I don’t hear the same thing about the Department of Defense or tax loopholes for hedge fund managers.

Here’s a general rule of thumb. When people tell you that they want to “save” social security by cutting the benefits of the people that have paid into the program, it’s a pretty good indicator of their intentions.

What they don’t tell you is that we can not only strengthen social security, but also extend its life, by making sure that middle class Americans and wealthy Americans pay into social security at the same rate.

That’s why I’m co-sponsoring the Strengthening Social Security Act of 2013. This legislation would do a number of things to improve Social Security and ensure its solvency.

First, it would change the Social Security benefit formula so that all beneficiaries will get an extra $60-70 a month. Too many seniors have to pick and choose which bills they can afford to pay each month. This extra money would help make sure they don’t have to choose between paying the heating bill or rent.

Second, it provides a cost of living adjustment or COLA that actually reflects the rising costs seniors face. The current formula used to calculate COLAs for Social Security recipients actually measures the costs of younger, employed individuals—and simply does not reflect a retiree’s true expenses, which can include high prescription drug bills.

Finally, this legislation would ask the wealthiest Americans to contribute to Social Security the same percentage that working- and middle-class Americans do. This will extend Social Security’s surplus an additional 16 years, from 2033 through 2049.

For millions of seniors, Social Security has meant food on the table and a roof over their head. And for our nation, Social Security has meant a lower poverty rate. Because of Social Security, more seniors are able to enjoy life and spend time with the families. That’s why I’m proud to support this legislation to strengthen and expand Social Security so that it can be there for generations to come.

 
Obamacare’s gift to the GOP
Written by Kathleen Parker   
Friday, November 15, 2013 9:51 PM

WASHINGTON — In spite of everything — the GOP’s internal scrimmages, the government shutdown, the party’s transparent attempts to derail Obamacare — Republicans keep getting second chances.
The question is, can they handle prosperity? Do they even know what to do with it?
With the myriad problems besieging Obamacare, from the non-rollout to the minuscule number of enrollees in the health insurance exchanges, this is no time for gloating. Rather, it is time for Republicans to get very, very busy with their own ideas for across-the-board reforms.
The party of “no” must become the party of “we can, too!” This doesn’t mean sacrificing core principles, though some could use a little shelf time. It does mean picking battles Republicans can win and avoiding skirmishes that further alienate centrists and minorities.
Forget building a larger tent, which increasingly looks like a pup for two white guys and a flashlight. Ditch the tent and build a coliseum. Install Doric columns, if you like, and grab an obelisk on your way to redemption. At no extra cost, here’s an inscription for the keystone: Waste not, want less. Waste not this moment; want less than perfection and aim for the possible.
This was always House Speaker John Boehner’s battle plan, but he finally concluded that leading his conference where it wanted to go was preferable to inciting a civil war. In a recent interview, Boehner told me he thinks at least some of the better-death-than-compromise caucus had come around to understanding that attaching Obamacare to the continuing resolution, resulting in the government shutdown, was the wrong tactic.
Even so, “at least some” may not be enough. And who knows what Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, has up his sleeve as new deadlines loom for budget and debt-ceiling negotiations early next year?
In the meantime, House and Senate Republicans have a small window, while Obamacare is hugging the shoals, to show why their ideas are best. Americans frustrated with Congress and disappointed by the president are primed for someone to pick up the bullhorn and say, “We hear you.”
It’s too bad “compassionate conservatism” has become tarnished because compassion is what is needed in today’s GOP playbook: Compassion for the hungry whose food stamps House Republicans excised from the farm bill; compassion for 11 million immigrants who are prisoners in illegal limbo; compassion for gays, lesbians and others seeking protection against workplace discrimination.
These are not such difficult choices in the scheme of things. How to guarantee that Iran can’t weaponize its nuclear capability? That’s tough. Not so tough: Helping the poor feed their families, finding a path for citizenship along with other immigration reforms, extending equal protections to individuals whose sexual orientation should not be a firing offense.
The Senate also has passed a comprehensive immigration bill with the help of 14 Republicans that contains a relatively strenuous path to citizenship that includes paying back taxes and fines, and getting in line behind others seeking citizenship. Hardly a giveaway. Even so, some Republicans aren’t on board with the path to citizenship. Although Boehner told me he hopes to get an immigration bill to the House floor next year, others say 2014’s midterm elections make this unlikely.
Phooey.
What’s really not likely to happen is a Republican White House — ever — without Latino voters. There’s only so much Republicans can accomplish when they control only half of one-third of government. Consider that the biggest states with the largest concentrations of Hispanics — Florida, California, Texas and New York — also convey 151 of the 270 electoral votes needed to be elected president.
Appealing to Latinos doesn’t mean Republicans have to pander or bow to President Obama’s wishes. It means doing the right thing. Even though a slim majority of Americans (53 percent) think most immigrants here illegally should be deported, according to a Reuters/Ipsos online survey last February, a more recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found that 65 percent favor a path to citizenship if it requires essentially what the Senate bill proposes.
The draconian option of deportation would be an unlovely sight. Not only would families be torn asunder, but America’s crops would wither on the vine, as they did in Alabama after that state’s crackdown prompted a sudden, mass exodus. Yet again, unyielding principle prevailed over common sense and survival.
Time is of the essence if Republicans hope to refresh their image in the public square. Picking battles wisely, acting compassionately, creating rather than negating is the only way forward. Jar the hardwoods, campers, there’s daylight in the swamp.
Kathleen Parker’s email address is This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 
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