We totally agree with the Jan. 15 editorial, “The big dig.” Friends of the Crooked River has advocated for correcting Akron’s combined sewer overflows for two decades.
In the early days, when progress seemed nonexistent, our advocacy was quite adversarial. Things have changed. The city is committed to remedying the abominable situation, which it inherited.
And Friends of the Crooked River is a working partner with the city of Akron in the effort to remove untreated sewage discharges into the river. It was part of the Citizen Advisory Group, which spent the past two-and-a-half years reviewing the work of the city and its consultants.
The group was satisfied with the original plan. Since then, water quality protection and speed of implementation have been strengthened twice. Allowing no overflow events, the current plan is the most closely controlled solution in the country.
Some of the engineering is forward-thinking and provides cost savings over current methods. Friends of the Crooked River is more than satisfied now.
All the parties in the lawsuit are satisfied, including the city, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the federal EPA and the Justice Department. Only the federal judge seems discontented.
Judge John Adams says he is concerned the cleanup will take too long and unduly affect the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Representatives of the park served on the advisory group and attended public meetings. If they agreed with Adams’ concerns, they have not officially done so.
Like the rest of the region, Friends of the Crooked River is very concerned about contaminated water in the park. The Akron plan will improve conditions in the park to a higher degree and over a shorter time than would consent decrees for other Ohio cities, including Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati and Toledo.
Adams says he speaks out of concern for the Cuyahoga River, designated an outstanding recreational resource. Friends of the Crooked River was instrumental in obtaining the designation. We believe the plan is proactive in re-establishing a swimmable Cuyahoga on a timeline both appropriate for the budget of the city and feasible for the project’s engineering requirements.
By proposing $100 million for sewers in its current budget, the city is moving ahead in good faith. However, without the decree, the city’s good faith is something that could change. The river and area citizens need the protection of the stipulated penalties that would be part of the implementation calendar in a consent decree.
We are waiting for Adams to do the right thing by certifying the consent decree. Wasting time and resources on extended litigation can only add delays and sour positive momentum.
Friends of the Crooked River
Stories of two universities
We have two universities that played basketball Saturday night, one in Akron and one in Kent. The one in Akron, in Summit County, overcame a 20-point deficit to win its game and remain undefeated in the Mid-American Conference.
The university in Portage County did not win its game, and reached a 2-4 record in the conference.
And yet the school in Portage County gets on the front page of Sunday’s Sports section, including a picture, while the school from Summit County gets buried on Page 9. The newspaper even put a smaller picture of the other team on the front page of the A section, with a brief blurb indicating it had lost.
This is a travesty to the University of Akron, which has its home right here in our community. This is not the first time Akron has been slighted in favor of that school in Portage County. Enough, already.
Keith A. Klafehn
Restrict guns, benefit criminals
According to a recent article (“Shooting of boy, 4, is declared homicide,” Jan. 25), on an average day last year, Akron police officers took about two “illegal” firearms off the city’s streets. According to Akron Police Chief James Nice, gun violence has taken hold in his city.
Nice and the Akron police have been tracking over 1,200 guns seized in the past two years. “It’s every day. It’s just crazy,” the chief said. “How is it that so many people in Akron have an illegal gun?”
Yet your paper is filled with letters and calls for ever-more-stringent restrictions on gun ownership and operation. The calls for a ban on “assault weapons” are mindless. A well-trained individual can fire three magazines of 10 rounds each in not much more time than is needed to fire a 30-round magazine from a .223-caliber “assault weapon.” And do any of you know the difference in the impact on the human body of that .223 round compared to a .38 hollow point or a round from a 1911 .45-caliber handgun?
I read the Beacon Journal and other papers on a daily basis and note that gun crimes are rampant in this area. Are your readers and the misguided politicians in Washington of the belief that the criminals are going to obey these proposed new laws?
In the early 1960s, there were on average about eight homicides per year in the city of Akron, and the population of the city was half again as large as today. There were plenty of guns in the city back then, just more law-abiding citizens.
The city of Chicago has very strict gun laws, and it had over 500 murders last year, most from handguns, which would not be affected by newly proposed laws.
The law-abiding and responsible gun owners of northern Ohio and the rest of America should not be asked to give the lawbreakers an even greater edge.
Toward reducing gun violence
Many thanks to Editorial Page Editor Michael Douglas for his outstanding Jan. 27 column (“Guns don’t kill, 4-year-olds do?”). All of his points make sense and give me hope that some positive action could be taken to reduce gun violence.
I have always felt that it is a mistake for people to keep a handgun in their homes. Too many tragedies occur when this happens. The recent death of Jamarcus Allen is just one of several stories we read that show what can happen when parents don’t keep firearms out of the reach of young kids.
As Douglas stated: “A gun in the home is four times more likely to be used in an unintentional shooting death or injury than in self-defense.”
Now we read that a University of Akron student is pushing to form a group to abolish the university’s rule forbidding the carrying of firearms on campus.
I cannot imagine a greater possibility for bedlam on a college campus than arming a large group of 18- to 21-year-olds who have no concept of how to control themselves should the need arise to fire a weapon.
That would certainly be as absurd as the idea of allowing all teachers or theater employees to carry weapons.
Douglas says that “there may be no stopping an Adam Lanza, but, surely, there are ways, taken together, to reduce gun violence.” Let us hope that several responsible persons and agencies move toward this end.
William O. Brown Jr.
Veterans in need of employment
I am disappointed in the lack of support for veterans looking for employment here. I have spent the past seven years of my life defending our nation, only to return to the area where I grew up to be treated as though I have no work experience.
While many human-resources people and business owners were sitting comfortably in their homes at night with their families, I spent the past two years being shot at on a daily basis in Afghanistan.
I am not looking for sympathy. I chose to defend our great nation. All I am asking is to be considered for positions and to be able to provide for my children.
It truly is a shame that more people here are not appreciative of the sacrifice, not only the soldier but the soldier’s families make. Again, I am not looking for a handout. Just a fair chance to provide for my family. Supporting our troops goes beyond putting a sticker on your car.
Gateway to soaking taxpayers
I have read the article about the taxpayers of Cuyahoga County still paying for the Cleveland sports complex, and I am confused (“Taxpayers still paying for sports complex,” Jan. 28).
We have the owners of the Progressive Insurance Co., Dan Gilbert and now Jimmy Haslam reaping the benefits of Cleveland’s professional sports at a cost to the taxpayers, who are still in debt. But the money boys can’t seem to help out with the problem, as I read it.
If I’m wrong, I’d like somebody to explain it. But not being one of the money men in Cleveland, I’m sure they could overwhelm me with numbers to make me understand.
Or is this another example of figures don’t lie but liars figure?