The difference in headlines could not have been more striking. One screamed “A poorer, dumber Summit” (Beacon Journal, June 8), and the other, “Shaking Off The Rust: Cleveland Workforce Gets Younger And Smarter” (June 5, Forbes magazine).

Could we be talking about communities less than 60 miles apart?

But let’s move on. How can Akron and Summit County garner the attention of the national media because of its highly motivated, highly educated and a highly trained work force?

The elements are present: our work ethic, ingrained in our DNA; the local educational system, with two universities; and work force training opportunities throughout Summit County.

Our task is to find ways to keep our children and grandchildren who grow up with strong Midwestern values and educations here in the area to contribute to our communities and raise their families. It appears the leaders in Cleveland have a head start in investing in infrastructure, making the city a strong center of employment, arts and entertainment, with a growing number of residences. A vibrant center city is what makes a community attractive to younger members of society.

Improving a city takes both public and private investment. The leaders of Summit County and Akron have done their part in bringing tax dollars back from Columbus and Washington to improve roads, parks, schools and to retain employees.

Voters have seen this investment and have an opportunity to maintain the momentum by passing the sales tax issue before us in November. For a few pennies, we not only can assure a strong Summit County safety force but create an arena in downtown Akron that taxpayers will own and can point to so our youth will see an investment in their future.

I would like to challenge local developers to get on board and do their share by investing in empty buildings in downtown to create residences for young couples, single professionals and empty nesters to take advantage of the lifestyle a city has to offer.

If the local developers cannot commit, then maybe it’s time to bring those who have found a way to be successful in Cleveland to Akron, so that, someday, the headline will read: “Shaking Off The Carbon Black: Akron and Summit County Find New Wealth.”

John Villilo

Akron

Show urgency?about gun violence

We’ve had all-night coverage on television about tornados touching down and the seriousness of these storms.

I think this is great, but I wish we had as much fervor about keeping people and children safe from gun violence. We could save lives. Is there any reason why a child dies because he or she gets hold of a gun? Why can a criminal buy a gun at a gun show with a background check?

What purpose is there for an assault weapon that can mow down little kids at a school? I thought we lived in a civilized country with rules of law. We are not a country like Nigeria, which has bands on terrorists kidnapping girls.

The National Rifle Association opposes anything that would keep people and children safe. As long as gun manufacturers keep selling guns, they keep funding Republicans who do their bidding.

Now we have a smart gun that would prevent a gun from going off without the owner being there, but it is opposed by the NRA.

Isn’t it time we start doing things today to save lives?

Jacalyn Luli

Green

Stand up for ?Kent water

In recent years, a national struggle has developed between oil and gas companies wanting rights to unobstructed hydraulic fracturing projects, as well as waste injection, and citizens trying to protect their water quality.

Currently, Ohio has more than 200 injection wells. In 2004, House Bill 278 was passed, taking control of oil and gas drilling away from local communities and giving it solely to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Currently, ODNR basically cannot deny a permit to a driller if the driller adheres to the criteria in the legislation.

Kent residents are fortunate to live in a chartered city. They can compose and circulate an initiative petition to add an environmental bill of rights to their city charter. The Kent Environmental Rights Group, on whose behalf I am writing, working with the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund, has composed such an initiative and hopes to obtain enough signatures to get the bill of rights on the November ballot.

If the amendment is passed, residents of Kent will have taken a stand for their collective right to potable water, clean air, a healthy environment and, more specifically, the right to keep their famous, high-quality water safe from either hydraulic fracturing operations or waste injection.

Some issues are partisan. KERG’s initiative is not. The effort to amend the Kent City Charter comes down to a simple question: Do Kent residents want control over their local environment, particularly the quality of their shower and coffee water? KERG hopes that the answer will be a resounding “yes” in November.

Mim Jackson

Kent

Loyalty to ?big energy

If this country had always resisted new technology, we would still be driving Conestoga wagons.

We will continue to have dirty, polluting power plants in Ohio thanks to Gov. John Kasich and Ohio House Speaker William Batchelder (“Two missing vetoes,” June 18). Ohio’s governor and legislature have once again shown us where their loyalties lie, and they are not with the health of their constituents or the environment.

The Ohio GOP cares naught for the health of the people of Ohio, but it does care that a polluting company got spared from two years of clean air mandates to continue its poisoning of the atmosphere.

I am sure this solidified future campaign donations, which we all know our elected officials will do anything to secure. On top of it, FirstEnergy’s Anthony Alexander is cheerleading to increase the county sales tax to “improve public safety” and pay for a new arena for the university.

Considering that FirstEnergy paid no federal taxes from 2008 to 2012, it is relatively obscene for the CEO of this company to push for county taxes to be raised on the people his company supposedly serves. I suspect FirstEnergy serves only itself.

Also, I was not aware that the public was not safe in Summit County. I suspect the majority of residents will be surprised to hear that, as the crime rate in Akron has held relatively steady for more than a decade.

Many cities in Summit County are listed as among the safest in Ohio. If Akron wants to beef up its safety forces, it should present that to the people, along with the evidence to support it.

Meanwhile, Alexander should probably keep quiet on the subject because he has shown who he is and represents, and it is nothing to be proud of.

Mary L. Tabatcher

Mogadore

Dumb stand ?on nuclear power

This past Sunday’s article by Managing Editor Doug Oplinger should have been an apology to Summit County citizens and not a justification for the newspaper’s choice of words in the June 8 headline, “A poorer, dumber Summit.”

I think we can all agree that lack of access to college for many poorer Summit residents makes pursuing a college degree nearly impossible.

Even dumber was the June 5 editorial “Leadership and flexibility on the climate,” about the state legislature and Gov. John Kasich retreating from energy efficiency and renewable energy standards.

The editorial stated, “A country truly determined to confront climate change, sooner rather than later, would look more aggressively to nuclear power.” Nuclear power?

While Germany is moving to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022 and seeking to reach 80 percent of its energy through renewables by 2050, are we to believe nuclear power is a viable option for the future of this planet?

Just ask those most affected by Fukushima, or Russians affected by Chernobyl, if we are to believe nuclear power is the way of the future. The Perry nuclear power plant operates on the same principle as Fukushima’s power plant (boiling water). If Perry were to melt down, it would affect more than 2 million people.

Patrick Carano

Tallmadge