John Ashley‘s passion for his hobby, model airplanes, is commendable, but his call for new leadership is more than a little excessive (“MetroParks need new direction,” June 21).

MetroParks, Serving Summit County is a gem that has an estimated 5.2 million visits per year from citizens of the county and visitors who enjoy the 11,500 acres of beautifully maintained public park land.

They come to hike and bike on the 125 miles of trails, swim in the lakes, picnic or participate in the many educational and recreational programs available to the public.

The park is a leader in environmental stewardship, with award-winning green buildings and the capacity to impart a respect for nature into the hearts and minds of those who visit.

The Corsair Model Aircraft Club represents the interests of, best guess, 100 to 150 people with a hobby that doesn’t really lend itself to public park land. At least that is the judgment of the park leadership.

Given his understandable bias, it is no surprise that Ashley does not agree, just like I didn’t agree years ago when I was told that I could not ride a horse in Sand Run Metro Park, even though the land was originally donated for bridal trails.

I didn’t like it, but the fact that MetroParks serves the recreational needs of thousands of people was more important than my personal equestrian leanings.

I found other places to ride, and the Corsair Model Aircraft Club can and should find other places for its activities. No need to agree with me or MetroParks, but Ashley shouldn’t expect the probate court or anyone else to support his mission to change park leadership over this decision, which came from the same people who have given hundreds of thousands of visitors a wonderful park system.

All the best to the Corsair Model Aircraft Club.

MetroParks, Serving Summit County leadership — keep up the good work.

Steven B. Shechter

Akron

Require drillers ?to disclose

I do not support hydraulic fracturing (commonly referred to as fracking) as a viable solution to our nation’s ongoing energy concerns. But I fully understand that various energy concerns have heavily invested in this ongoing practice, and this letter is not going to alter that.

Instead, I wish to draw attention to the fact that drillers are operating outside the law by claiming chemicals used in the fracking process are trade secrets, and thus can be kept a secret not only from the general public, but also from the first responders who are called upon to assist those in need when a spill occurs.

The federal Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act requires facilities to report any hazardous substances to state and county emergency planners, and to local fire departments.

The state of Ohio illegally exempts drillers from these laws by allowing them to claim trade secrets without first receiving approval from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Accidents and negligence occur. These situations have happened in the past, and they will happen in the future. The very least we can do is provide our first responders, medical services and hazardous materials teams with the knowledge necessary to properly care for those affected.

The Ohio legislature should compel oil and gas drillers to operate under the same chemical reporting, trade secrets and emergency planning standards as other industries.

Paul Fogarty

Medina

Before teaching ?comes preparation

I have to respond to the June 24 letter criticizing teacher education programs (“Bringing rigor to teaching teachers”). The writer used the recent National Council on Teacher Quality’s Teacher Prep Review as an excuse to make harsh, sarcastic and unsupported statements reflecting his own uninformed opinions.

The report can hardly be viewed as an accurate assessment of teacher training programs.

Conclusions were sometimes based on partial, outdated or incorrect information, giving rise to mistakes in the report. For example, Stanford was criticized for not requiring math education courses when in fact three such courses are mandatory.

It is clear that the report is not reliable enough to serve as a basis for conclusions about any teacher training program in particular or teacher training in general.

The writer professes to know that undergraduate education courses are so shallow that they could be taken over the phone. I wonder how many he has taken.

Has he also taken graduate courses in administration and special education? He has concluded that they are a waste. I wonder if he also criticizes business administration programs, since they, too, teach such “weak” administrative skills as budgeting, management and the supervision and evaluation of employees.

Calling special education degrees lacking in substance is outrageous. Special education teachers must be knowledgeable about the many developmental and behavioral disabilities students may have and know what techniques can best be used to teach nontypical students.

Teaching is not easy. Teachers must design lessons that enable all students to “get it,” despite the fact that the students in their class have varying degrees of experience, intellectual ability, physical development, emotional stability, respect for others and interest.

Do any teacher preparation programs prepare anyone to be an expert at all these things upon graduation? No; much of it can only be mastered through experience. However, the country is full of teacher preparation programs that provide their students with a rigorous education in their teaching fields and a solid understanding of how to effectively convey that information.

There is a “bar exam” that must be passed in this state before a teacher candidate can be certified. It is called the Praxis, and it measures knowledge of math, science and English, the candidate’s specific teaching field and the candidate’s understanding of teaching practices at specific grade levels.

Like the council’s report, the writer’s letter is long on opinion but short on factual data.

Mary Jane Jones

Streetsboro

Honored

As a former reporter at the Beacon Journal, I feel honored to have worked for John Dotson.

He did more for journalists and journalism than can be put into words.

Eric Sandstrom

Grand Junction, Colo.

Scandals? ?Let’s look again

It is unfortunate that so many recent letters have been about “scandals” in the Obama administration.

Let’s look at the Benghazi “scandal.” The president called it a terrorist attack on the Monday after the incident. Before that, the State Department and the CIA did not know who was responsible for the attack. Hence, their prepared statement read by Susan Rice did not contain any details as to the responsible party.

Respected ex-ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and others wrote a report with no implication of misdoing by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton or the president.

In short, there was no “scandal.” The people who failed to provide adequate security were punished. As an aside, the Republicans in the House cut funds for security forces at State Department facilities worldwide. Now that’s a scandal.

Let’s look at the Internal Revenue Service. The requirement to obtain nonprofit status was in a law that stated organizations must be exclusively for social work.

In fact, in 1959, it was the Republicans who changed the wording of this law to include the “social work” aspect for getting nonprofit status. Recently, it was revealed that the IRS supervisor in Cincinnati, a Republican, did in fact hold up applications for organizations that appeared to be political in nature.

As a result, tea party applications had a difficult time getting approved.

Eventually, almost all such organizations were approved. Of course, to claim that these groups were involved in social work is completely irrational. Again, no “scandal” was present. And again, Republicans jumped all over it, making many completely false statements in the process.

Republicans, especially those in the House of Representatives, have outdone Harry Truman’s description of Congress as “do nothing.” All the Republicans want is to shrink the government at a time when people — especially the poor and the middle class — need government more than ever. Talk about scandals.

James H. Trapkin

Akron

Need to know

Since 9/11, the world has changed so completely from when we knew who the enemies were. They do not wear uniforms anymore, but hide among us with impunity.

Having read the defense of the National Security Agency, I am very concerned about the trade-offs on the issue. But I have come to the conclusion that we can’t wait for a judge to issue a warrant because of the immediate need to know.

I know it is a terrible trade-off, but it is one that I think is necessary.

Patrick Bozzelli

Cuyahoga Falls