To text or not to text? Ohio House says not while driving.
On March 24, a bill similar to one Toledo City Council recently passed, banning writing, sending or reading a text-based communication on an electronic wireless communications device while driving a vehicle, came before the Ohio House.
Selected statements from the representatives made in session prior to the vote provide some of the legislators’ reasoning for and against House Bill 415.
One of the two primary sponsors of the bill, Nancy Garland (D—District 20) thanked those who helped work on the bill, including Sharon Montgomery, whose husband was killed in 2000 by a driver who was on a cell phone at the time of the fatal accident.
Garland said, “Texting while driving is a significant safety hazard that has implications for every driver on the road.” She said those who text look at their phones “4.6 seconds during a 6-second interval. This equates to driving the length of a football field at 55 miles per hour without looking at the road.”
“The time has come to prohibit drivers who text and put those around them in danger, the time has come to save lives,” said Garland before asking members of the House for their support.
Mike DeBose (D—District 12) the other main sponsor of this bill, said, “This is not a Democrat or a Republican bill, it’s a people bill.” He said he’d like to have talking on a cell phone outlawed too, “but one thing at a time.”
Matt Huffman (R—District 4) said banning the use of electronic devices of all drivers between the ages of 16 and 21 was a better idea, suggesting mature drivers had more control.
“When you receive a call, you are allowed to look at who calls [in this bill] but you can’t read a text?” he said. “We need to do something about this, but let’s do something about the real problems and not over-regulate the citizens of this state.”
Barbara Sears (R—District 46) said driving while distracted is a serious issue in Ohio. She listed behaviors she had witnessed during her drives back and forth to Columbus that are as distracting as texting. Among them were eating, drinking, holding a pet on a lap while driving, putting on makeup and shaving.
“We already have laws on the books that deal with this issue, under the Ohio Revised Code we have 4511.20 ‘Operation in willful or wanton disregard of the safety of persons or property,’” Sears said. “We don’t need a law that only highlights one thing.”
Sears said they should “go back to our law enforcement officers and say look what is already on the books and start enforcing what is already on the books.”
John Domenick (D—District 95) said, “almost eight years ago … cell phones were the popular thing, ‘oh you can’t introduce a bill on that, you’ll have all the utilities and phone people going crazy on you, you don’t want to do that John, no.’ Eight years later we’re talking about texting and ‘no we don’t want to do that, we already have laws on the books’. ”
“Let’s massage this bill, which we have just done, and let’s vote for it because we are out of the curve on this, 20-some states have this and before long we won’t have to do anything because the feds are going to take charge. We rely on the federal government to do it all, what are we here for?” Domenick said.
“We’re here to do what we are supposed to do, and that’s vote for this bill and save lives, I get tired of us always talking, talking, ‘sit down John, you’ve talked enough’,” he said to the laughter of some in attendance.
Eighty-five voted yes, 12 voted no; with 53 Democrats and 46 Republicans making up the House, the bill received bipartisan support. It now moves on to the Ohio Senate, where the 33 Senators, 21 Republicans and 12 Democrats, will decide its fate.
Toledo Free Press contributor Lisa Renee Ward is operator of the political blog Glass City Jungle.com.
Archive for March, 2010
To text or not to text? Ohio House says not while driving.
Can you believe it! We are in the middle of March Madness, and Major League Baseball teams are getting ready to break spring training camps and head north for opening day. The Mud Hens’ first pitch is only two weeks away!
I have started to gather errant golf balls from my lawn and after 13 events, the PGA Tour regular season is almost 33 percent complete, and no one named Tiger has won a tour event yet. But since golf’s No. 1-ranked player has been taking his sabbatical, patching up things at home and getting in touch with his softer, more gentle side, it has given some of the younger players on tour an opportunity to show their stuff and snatch up some trophies.
Yes, the PGA Tour has survived the loss of its premier draw for the last three months. The tour may not have thrived, but it still has a strong heartbeat and is holding its collective breath as Tiger gets set to make his 2010 debut at the Masters on April 8.
Phil Mickelson has yet to make an appearance in the winner’s circle, but the world’s No. 2-ranked player, Steve Stricker, has continued his consistent solid play with one win and four top ten finishes in just six starts this year.
Ernie Els was able to sneak in a win at the Blue Monster, and veteran Jim Furyk finally broke through with a win after a two-and-a-half year drought at the Transitions Championship. Meanwhile, the other ten events have been won by relatively young players.
Dustin Johnson, Bill Haas, Hunter Mahan, Camilo Villegas and Derek Lamely are all under the tender age of 29 and have collected victories this year. Even Cameron Beckman, who won at Mayakoba in Mexico, just turned 30 in February. These younger guys are taking advantage of Tiger’s absence and are learning how to win on the PGA Tour.
Anthony Kim and Rory McIlroy are a couple of notable young guns who haven’t won yet this year. Anthony Kim does have one top ten finish and three top 25 finishes in only five tournaments thus far. Rory McIlroy has only played in three events on the American Tour, but has four top 10s in just six starts on the European Tour. I expect to see both of these players excel as we approach the Masters and move into the heart of the golfing season.
Ryan Palmer and Englishman Ian Poulter, both 34 years old, round out the list of tournament winners thus far in 2010. Poulter was a questionable selection for captain of the European Ryder Cup Team in 2008, but led the team with a 4-1-0 record and has been especially consistent over the past six months. He is ranked seventh in the official World Golf Rankings.
Palmer’s win at the Sony Open in Hawaii at the start of the season was the second of his career and has boosted him to 12th on the FedEx Cup points list.
Even with all the drama that has surrounded Tiger Woods’ personal problems this year, the PGA Tour has survived and its younger players have been able to pick up the slack.
With all that said, I can’t wait for Tiger to get back into action at the Masters. Fellow golf professionals John Cook and Arjun Atwal have told reporters that they have played with Tiger and are convinced that he is fit and mentally prepared to win at Augusta National. That is exactly what Tiger has in mind. He wants to change the story to winning the Majors, beating Jack Nicklaus’s record and collecting a “grand slam.”
Regardless of the outcome, Amen Corner and the “Back 9” at Augusta National should be something for the ages, and you won’t want to miss it!
Susan Lowrey is Toledo’s version of Barbara Walters. After sharing her journey and path, she turns the tables, looks at one directly with her big understanding eyes and the next thing you know, you’re sharing your life story and tears are falling. And all the while, she just listens.
The 60-year-old moved to the area in 2000 after her husband took a position with a firm in Monroe. As she was entrenched in her life and connections in the Dayton area, the move was a leap of faith, and one that didn’t necessarily come easy to her.
Driving up Interstate-75, a caravan of Lowrey family members following in a terrible snowstorm, the move began rather auspiciously. Recalling her uncertainty of this major transition after having raised her two children in the Kettering community, she shared the answer to her anxiety came from a family member who accompanied them. She lay across the front seat, comfortable and at peace.
As they drove nearer to their new home, she perked up as if to suggest that this could be a fun new experience. Lowrey’s dog provided the answer she was looking for.
“So I thought to myself, OK, so you’ve taught me. I want to be at peace and curious,” Lowrey said.
Lowrey has an amazing ability to listen to those around her, as well as find her path through the messages that her faith and belief in God have offered to her along the way.
After raising her children, as well as serving as a foster parent to 17 young babies when her children were young, she heard the call to serve while visiting an Episcopalian camp that her daughter was on the staff of in North Carolina. Through a spiritual walk where she encountered a special path called, ironically, “Lowrey’s Crossing,” and heard the simple answer to her question regarding her life’s path. The word was “yes.”
“If I say ‘yes’ to God, then it doesn’t matter what the question is,” Lowrey said.
Soon thereafter a brochure arrived in the mail from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, where she began her studies before transferring to University of Dayton School of Religious Studies and obtained her Masters of Pastoral Ministries, and ultimately obtained a Doctor of Ministry in Applied Ministries from the Graduate Theological Foundation.
“I discovered that I didn’t have answers for people, I just have heart,” she offered.
And she has given all her heart and her open spirit to the community ever since. As the associate for Community Life at Trinity Church in Downtown Toledo, in her part-time position she “keeps my receptors open and work with ministry partners. It’s not based on a corporate model. Invitation and opportunity come if I’m open, and particularly if I’m not fixed on my own idea of what to do next.
Many miracles have come to Trinity with their faith in letting me be the one to notice.”
This openness led to the evolution of “My Brother’s Place,” a restaurant at the church that has been renovated by community and church volunteers, individuals at shelters, and in work-release programs. Begun as a volunteer enterprise, and then a commercial venture, the restaurant offers lunch for purchase, as well as a ministry component and job opportunities for individuals trying to make a new start in their lives.
Diagnosed with breast cancer in 2003, Lowrey shared that the priest at Trinity approached her as to how she would want to handle the sharing of the news with staff and parish. Offering that nothing was secret about her diagnosis, she allowed herself to be blessed with a laying of the hands during a service.
Two parishioners wove a healing blanket for her for the ceremony. Lowrey, comforted by their gesture, thought it would be a great idea to provide fleece blankets to those in need in the community.
Thus a blanket ministry was begun, which quickly grew from 100 blankets being made and provided, to this year, 400 blankets created not by just church members, but by members of AmeriCorps, Scout troops and corporate employees.
Once again, Lowrey proved her openness to share allows the comfort that she received to benefit others. The blankets are distributed to St. Paul’s Community Center, Beach House, Mom’s House, battered women’s shelters, homeless veterans, Harbor House and Tent City.
Living a full life, and continually pushing “life’s margins,” she also offers individual spiritual direction. Serving for six years on the board of NW Ohio HEALS (Help and Encouragement After Loss), and although she laughs and suggests that she’s not sure why she has sat among those who work at Hospice and Victory Center, as well as nurses, funeral directors and the like, one senses that she was where she needed to be when called upon.
Lowrey views the breast cancer as a visitor that came to her door and paid her a visit, and then left.
She recently learned that the visitor has returned, and just as she did the first time this dark stranger paid a call, she will listen to what she needs to learn from the challenges of fighting this disease.
Don’t be in the least bit surprised if we all benefit from her listening.
Julie K. Rubini is founder of Claire’s Day Inc., the author of the recently published children’s book, “Hidden Ohio.”
The first rule of parenting should be “Never say ‘never.’” Never say that you will never drive a mini van, never say that you will never go by “Mrs.,” never say that you will never replace your 3-year-old’s wet underwear with your baby’s diaper cover in the middle of a parking lot and so on. Parenting just doesn’t work that way. Most importantly, however, no matter how wonderful your child and no matter how finely honed your set of parenting skills, never say that your kid would never do such a thing.
Before I employed her as my mother, my mom was a school teacher. Once during her teaching days, she entered her classroom to find that the class guppies had experienced gruesome deaths by stapler. Confounded by the marine murders, my mom was even more baffled to eventually find out that they had been at the hands of two star students. My mom was wise enough to learn right then and there that otherwise good kids sometimes do bad things.
This enlightened philosophy proved valuable years later when my brothers came running home from playing in the small wooded area near our house to fearfully announce that it had caught on fire. Fireworks, a patch of trees and young boys just don’t mix. Still, as easy as it would have been to place most of the blame on their accomplice of a friend, who seemed the more likely candidate to create an unauthorized pyrotechnics display, my mom astutely spread the blame evenly. My brothers were swiftly marched down to the fire station with apologies in tow.
My son is a good boy. In almost two full years of elementary school he never had a conduct violation. What was known as “getting your name on the board” when I was in school (with checkmarks following when necessary) is now a color-coded system of behavior tracking. Every child starts on green each day and can progress, or rather regress, to yellow, then red, etc. I believe there is an “etc.,” but I’ve never had to worry about it considering my good little guy never made it off of green. Until now.
Jack was about to take off with a friend for some after-school playtime when I reached for his backpack. Instant alarm came over his face, which quickly morphed into agonized sobs. Something was obviously very wrong, and that something was cautiously lurking in the depths of his well-guarded backpack. After some debate about how the damaging information was going to come to light, I finally gained access to his folder and saw the symbol of contention: his first yellow stamp.
He couldn’t have just talked out of turn or accidentally tripped someone, of course. No, my son’s first foray into the world of behavioral missteps at school was threatening a fellow classmate. He had accidentally been knocked to the ground and quickly responded with offhand verbal retaliation out of frustration. Of course, frustration or not, it was a serious offense.
As much as a parent would rather not face such a situation, with every slip-up comes opportunity, especially when it is a small child doing the slipping up. The way we help our children to handle their mistakes is likely the way they will eventually handle mistakes on their own. It is an integral part of their growing up.
Fortunately, this time around I only had to march my son right over to the phone instead of to a fire station. His willingness to make the call was a ray of light in an otherwise disappointing situation, as he seemed determined to quickly and completely right his wrong. Watching my child work to correct his slip up surprisingly also gave me an opportunity to see the good that has come of the work I have put into him up to this point.
In helping my children to promptly correct their transgressions, I am hoping to keep them firmly on the good side of the line for a lifetime. I am striving to teach my children how to live their lives as owner uppers – individuals who accept responsibility for their mistakes by owning up to their bad moments with regret and sincere apology. Perhaps the most imperative step in this pursuit is first preparing myself to own up to their bad moments by never saying that my kid would never do such a thing.
Shannon and her husband Michael are raising three children in Sylvania. E-mail her at email@example.com.
Toledo jobs are still hard to find as unemployment levels continue to hit record highs. According to the most recent numbers posted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics over 44,000 Toledoans suffer from unemployment. That is a 10 percent increase from the month before with 13.6 percent of the work force without a job.
On the other hand, many investment accounts have dramatically increased in price in the past year as the stock market has made a record come back after the bear market lows in March of 2009. Spring is here, it’s time to get out and enjoy life and many people have started to become more comfortable again with retiring. But, before the paperwork is signed, know which options have deadlines and which options give you more time.
The retirement package is full of irrevocable decisions on options about retirement and insurance plans. Two different people recently came into our office and found out too late they picked what could turn out to be the wrong option with their retirement accounts. Now, their retirement account is locked up and they no longer have access to any of the principal. Their decision is irrevocable and no matter how much we would like to help them it’s too late. If they die before their spouse, their spouse could be forced to go back to work!
Ken, on the other hand, came into our office with his retirement papers and we sat down together with him and his wife and spent a couple of meetings crunching the numbers before we submitted the paperwork. In his case, we noticed that he had 30 days from the date of his retirement to apply for insurance benefits without having to provide updated health information. This is what is called a conversion period on his group life and long term care insurance policy.
That meant he wasn’t required to tell the insurance company about his recent heart attack and was able to purchase a personal life and long term care insurance policy at a reasonable rate. Had we missed this option before the 30 days expired, he most likely would not have been able to purchase personal life or long term care insurance on his own due to his recent heart attack. By coming in right away, we were able to work together and make sure we got the insurance paperwork in before the deadline expired.
Like most people who retire, Ken also wanted to get the retirement paperwork in right away too so he could get his first retirement paycheck. He had a variety of different options. He could take an income for his life, a little less for him, but a survivorship option for his wife, a lump sum option, or a variety of other choices. Since there wasn’t an immediate deadline on this paperwork, we showed Ken how he could take money from other investment accounts for his current income needs, giving him time to allow us to work up a plan on his retirement options. With his health problems, we advised him to take a portion of his retirement in the form of an income for his and his wife’s life, then roll over the rest of the money into an IRA.
This IRA gives Ken the flexibility to invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities, bank CDs or any combination of choices that is right for him, giving him control of his money. These funds will be used for different things that come up in life, like buying a new car, taking vacations, helping family out, or whatever he desires.
The great thing about retirement is everyday can become a weekend. Just pay careful attention; some decisions need to be made right away, and others you should take some time on. Read over all of the retirement and insurance information that is provided by your company and get a good understanding of everything.
Since this is one of the biggest decisions of your life and involves irrevocable choices, don’t be shy about asking for professional help. Review the pros and cons of each option and make an educated decision. Be like Ken and leave luck for catching the big fish in the walleye run, and have a plan in place for retirement.
Securities are offered through NEXT Financial Group Inc., Member FINRA / SIPC. The Retirement Guys are not an affiliate of NEXT Financial Group. Their office is located at 1700 Woodlands Drive, Suite 100, Maumee, OH 43537.
As we approach Good Friday and Easter, our thoughts turn to the sad story of Christ’s betrayal by Judas. Judas betrayed Christ with a kiss. A story of betrayal has been fomenting in U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur’s district and in the country at large. The majority of the American people feel their elected representatives have betrayed them and sold them for far more than 30 pieces of silver.
For weeks, Kaptur has appeared to be holding out against the health care reform bill because of her pro-life convictions and belief that abortions should not be funded by tax dollars. Hence she gave hope to those who are morally opposed to infanticide. We hoped that she would hold her ground despite the heavy artillery from the extreme left. Congressman Dennis Kucinich folded like an accordion. One ride on Air Force One and the lad from Cleveland stepped down from dizzying heights to sell his vote to the promising hucksters.
But we held out hopes for Kaptur. Her office was inundated with e-mails, faxes, and calls from her many constituents. Did the calls ring her bell? I called at least 20 times and got busy tones during the course of three days. When her minions closed the phone banks at 6 p.m., her voicemail box was immediately full. And then there was the rally March 18 in front of her office, begging her to oppose the bill.
But the only voices Kaptur appeared to hear were the voices of her party’s leadership. We all saw the cloying picture of President Obama wooing Kaptur in the Rose Garden. While Harry Reid beamed, and Nancy Pelosi smirked, the commander in chief went for the kill, making the Toledo gal blush like a star-struck teenager. She gushed, “He gave me a kiss on the left cheek.” And hence Kaptur’s “nay” went to a “hurray” vote.
She was betrayed by a Judas kiss.
The same evening Kaptur was drinking Rose Garden Kool-Aid, a group of caring people met at Gladieux Meadows to support The Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo. Those assembled were pledging their support to help single and married women caught in unwanted pregnancies. No hijacked tax dollars were being thrown at the troubled women. Instead, love and compassion and free counseling are offered 365 days a year. For 21 years the center, now located near UT’s campus, has been offering compassion to those in conflict. One mother who gave testimony to the kindness of the counselors and who chose to have her children said, “Children are our future.” How profound. The Obama administration appears to want to snuff out our future — economically and morally.
Since Roe v. Wade became the (f)law of the land in 1973, it is estimated that 55 million abortions have been performed. According to pro-life advocate Bob Foust, 70 percent of women who have had abortions feel that they were coerced to have the abortion; they feel they had no choice. If the 55 million aborted babies were buried in a cemetery as closely packed as Arlington National Cemetery, the cemetery of shame would be 100 miles square—a cemetery reaching from Toledo to Cleveland.
Of the 800 women who sought help at The Pregnancy Center of Greater Toledo last year, 158 had already had a previous abortion. These women and their partners received consistent, compassionate help, free ultrasounds and pregnancy tests — all funds given without coercion and without taxpayer money.
On the flip side, Planned Parenthood stands to gain an increase of tenfold of the $154 million they received this year from tax dollars. But the devil is in the details of this bill, and members of Congress were asked to vote yes without knowing what the 2,000-plus pages contained. When President Obama was interviewed by Bret Baier of FOX news about the specifics of the bill, the president grew uptight and said, “By the time the vote has taken place, not only will I know what’s in it, you’ll know what’s in it, because it’s going to be posted and everybody’s going to be able to evaluate it on the merits.”
That’s like a slick car salesman saying, “Look! Buy the car now, and then I’ll let you look under the hood and take it out for a ride.” No wonder a portion of the population is outraged. The passage of this bill gives the federal government control of 17 percent of the economy. If the public is so anxious for this bill, why is there such opposition? If 85 percent of the population is happy with their medical care, how is 15 percent allowed to hijack the nation and bankrupt it?
The snake in the Garden of Eden brought condemnation upon all. The kiss in the Rose Garden for sure will bring poverty upon the entire nation. And what did Judas do with the 30 pieces of silver he got for betraying Christ? A cemetery was bought in his name as Judas went out and hung himself. If that 100 mile cemetery isn’t big enough, perhaps Obama can send over some of that Cornhusker money to buy a bigger cemetery.
As for me … tea is looking pretty good. I couldn’t reach Kaptur to voice my opposition. Even if I had, I’m not sure she even heard the count from her district. We don’t have the clout and bucks Obama has. He’s got our money! But don’t think that we feel totally helpless. From this defeat comes a strong spirit of resurrection. Lookout, midterm elections!
Do you have the skills it takes to succeed in college? A new reality-television show follows 15 UT students as they compete to be named the ultimate college freshman.
In “The Freshmen 15,” fifteen first-year students compete in weekly challenges that test their ability to handle typical college experiences. The winner of the show will receive a semester of free tuition.
“It’s kind of like survivor, but with challenges that pertain to things you do in college,” said Jennah Wise, an athletic training major and participant in the show. “You have to really use your head, be creative and think fast.”
The reality show was created to showcase what UT has to offer and to assist students with the rising cost of tuition, said John Andosca, creator and producer of “The Freshmen15.” A 2007 UT alumnus, Andosca’s company JPA Entertainment LLC is producing the show.
More than 200 students were interviewed to be part of the show and the cast was narrowed down to 15 students, 14 freshmen and one transfer student.
The students will compete in challenges and are judged by a panel or voted off by their peers.
“Challenges are designed to test their college life skills,” Andosca said. “We’re looking for a well-round student with life skills.”
In one challenge the students participate in an “all nighter,” with students locked in the library overnight to create a 5-page paper and presentation. Another challenge has students running a bake sale fundraiser.
“The challenges are very relevant to college students. They’re very challenging and they relate to the college student life. Some may be more extreme, giving an idea of how college life may be,” said Amit Goyal, a bio-chemistry major and participant in the show. “The show highlights the transition from high school to college.”
Andosca is working with a team of student from UTTV, a student organization that provides broadcasting around campus, to film the show. UT’s student government is also assisting with challenges.
The academic scholarship is furnished by UT Department of Marketing and Communication.
“The Freshmen 15” will air every Sunday evening at 1 a.m. on CW affiliate station W-T05. The first show aired on March 21. Full episodes are available at www.f15show.com.
Speaker after speaker streamed forward as their name was called to plead with the Toledo Board of Education to save their school, art and music specialists or in opposition to cuts ranging from school athletics to bus transportation. Several said they would support the Toledo Public Schools (TPS) income tax levy, some only if their program was spared.
The public hearing at Start High School on March 17 had the feel of a pep rally for the May 4 levy. Others suggested it was more like a well organized union rally since Toledo Federation of Teachers (TFT), TAAP and AFSCME members attended en mass, easily the largest group represented that evening. The public hearing the next evening at Rogers was not attended as well, more subdued and absent the union presence, although TPS employees again made up half or more of those attending.
Francine Lawrence, TFT president, led off the procession of speakers and was followed by Toledo Association of Administrative Personnel (TAAP) and AFSCME representatives. Lawrence was loudly applauded by teachers in attendance when introduced and again with obvious exuberance when she concluded her remarks by suggesting that Board Members need to “chop from the top.”
Lawrence offered a number of criticisms and one solid suggestion. If the levy failed, she suggested the district should adopt a four-day school week, stating it would save significant monies.
Why would Lawrence or TPS wait for a levy defeat to implement a new work week that could save art and music specialists and several school programs perceived as successful? Certainly such a change is not without challenges, but they seem reasonable as compared to the consequences. Some state laws must be waived or changed. But since legislators have struggled mightily with the state budget, they’re likely to be amenable.
One Lawrence remark was a bit of a shocker during a levy campaign. Lawrence said twice consecutively, “There is fat in this school district.”
On this, Lawrence gets wholehearted agreement from many in this community. There may be disagreements of where the “fat” is, but you heard it from the TFT president herself that “fat” exists.
Lawrence should share these cost saving opportunities with the public. Her members’ salaries are from taxpayer dollars and their ideas are an important contribution to the discussion.
Most of those who spoke at the public hearing asked that their programs or special interest be saved. The Toledo Technology Academy (TTA) was amply represented by students and parents. The students came prepared and eloquently articulated the value of TTA and their experiences. It was a testament to those involved parents and the students of TTA.
With TTA and Early College High School slated for elimination, the logical next question would be why the elementary academies at Grove Patterson and Old West End (OWE) were not listed as potential cuts. Superintendent John Foley stated on several recent occasions that all programs not required by state law were identified for board review.
The longer school days and curriculum at GP and OWE result in greater costs per student than the average TPS elementary school. GP and OWE programs are not mandated by state law.
All four programs serve about 1,100 students, or 4.2 percent of the approximately 26,000 TPS students.
So, is the current lame duck superintendent being honest with us? Were all programs evaluated and sent to board members for review?
TPS has strategically identified programs or services and offered them in sacrifice to create the greatest amount of emotional turmoil. Logic takes a holiday when proposed cuts appear callous and target programs perceived by many to be valuable and enriching. They seem even more heartless because TPS has not developed nor articulated a set of criteria by which they will make these cuts. Angst always runs higher when you cannot reasonably predict what will happen in these situations.
In the end, it is to the advantage of the entrenched educational elite to ensure that everybody’s ox gets gored and that emotions prevent clear thinking regarding a levy that will drain $18 million from the private sector of our local economy.
How else do you pass a levy in these economic times when TPS has been less than forthcoming about its operations and where great public cynicism regarding the safety and efficacious use of taxpayer dollars is evident?
Steven Flagg is a community activist and education advocate. For more information, visit www.tpsinfo.com.
The market, after a brief correction, has turned up recently and demonstrated notable strength, even after its substantial rally since bottoming in March of 2009. However, lately many well-informed market technicians (e.g.: Corey Rosenbloom) have been sighting frightening similarities between the current rally and the market’s all-time nominal peak in 2007.
Similarities have been noted both in stock market charts, as well as among other indicators like the Volatility Index (VIX). While similar chart formations may or may not be coincidence, the VIX has demonstrated a remarkable amount of complacency in the financial markets.
Considering the pain investors have been subject to over the past couple years, it is incredible that the perceived risk in the market (as evidenced by the VIX) is as low as it is currently.
All of these things tell us that, though it has continued to demonstrate strength as of late, the markets are quite likely poised to head back down.
However, if the markets do head lower, which they undoubtedly will at some point they will, rest assured that it’s not the end of the world. Since the time of Christ people have been saying ‘the end is near.’ So far, they’ve all been wrong.
Unfortunately, people are cursed with short term memories. This works in many ways; complacency develops quickly, fear spreads when things are near their worst, and excitement catches hold when fads are near their peaks.
An example: A few months ago, when gold was near its highs (thus far) many people were screaming that it was going to the moon. You couldn’t turn on a TV or open a newspaper without seeing an ad to buy gold. At that time we warned that there was simply too much hype and the run in gold was probably near its end for the time being.
So far all those celebrities touting gold have been wrong. While they shouted that the dollar was going to zero, the dollar has rebounded lately, and is likely to continue doing so. In fact, what we are now witnessing is most likely the beginning of a long-term trend, which will see a strengthening dollar and resurgence in US manufacturing, as discussed in previous articles.
Periodically it’s good for people to step back and look at the big picture. When the markets change direction, for example, that certainly doesn’t mean that there isn’t money to be made. Investors simply have to smarten up, and dedicate time and energy to outwitting the masses.
Quite often, looking at the big picture is, or should be, a humbling experience (maybe that’s why it’s so rarely done). Keeping with our example of the markets; while many investors think they know how markets should behave, and trade as if trying to bend markets to their will, a change of perspective can prove helpful.
The best analogy that comes to mind, as related to investing, is that of riding a bull. Any perception control is simply your imagination; have no premonitions that you can make that beast submit to your will, they will only end in heartbreak. Instead, just hold on when you can manage, and get off when you’re not sure what you’re doing so you can re-center and saddle back up.
Dock David Treece is a stockbroker licensed with FINRA. He works for Treece Financial Services Corp (www.TreeceInvestments.com) and also serves as editor of the financial news site Green Faucet (www.GreenFaucet.com) and as a business commentator for Toledo Free Press. The above information is the express opinion of Dock David Treece and should not be construed as investment advice or used without outside verification.
With the tourist season hovering tantalizingly — or ominously, depending on your present mindset — just over the horizon, what better time to look at some of the biggest errors routinely made by travelers. Because, as we all know, forewarned is forearmed.
Most common mistakes can be traced directly to insufficient research, which, given current technology and information availability, is frankly inexcusable.
There’s no reason why anyone embarking on a trip today — domestic or foreign — shouldn’t depart absolutely loaded down with details about the destination, the hotels, the air and train schedules and the sightseeing and cultural options.
And yet, a shocking number of people cheerfully shell out the price of a small car and then arrive at their destination asking, “So. What is there to do here?”
Add a badly conceived itinerary and you have a real recipe for disaster.
It’s very tempting, for instance, to construct an intricate flight schedule that’s meant to save a bit of money but actually opens up the endless opportunity for missed connections and lost luggage at every point.
Nothing can guarantee a perfect trip, but applying the KISS mantra (Keep It Simple, Stupid) whenever possible can save money in the long run and prevent many a personal meltdown.
And, although in today’s Internet world booking your flights online may seem obvious, we urge you to consider working with an experienced travel agent who, for a small fee, can anticipate and eliminate problems you never even knew existed. Better yet, if there’s a glitch, you’ll have someone to yell at!
Attempting to cram too much travel into too little time is another all too familiar error. In planning a trip, even experienced travelers can get carried away.
Instead of racing around to include everything into a once-in-a-lifetime experience, focus on a smaller, more manageable plan. Use a base city approach, stay several days in a single location, do day trips and take time to “smell the roses.” You can always come back later and see what you missed.
Too much stuff is the single most common — and easily correctable — error made by travel virgins and frequent travelers alike, especially in light of today’s increasingly stringent luggage allowances and multiple security checks.
Our answer, reached after decades of organizing and leading small groups around the world, is to pack everything into a single carry-on bag ( max size 22 inches), with wheels or without, which can easily be carried up and down stairs, pitched into overhead bins or the trunk of a car and then hauled for at least one mile over cobbled streets.
There are millions of articles (many of them ours) devoted to the subject of packing. And they all come to the same inevitable conclusion: “Traveling light is the best revenge!”
Beware of those “incompatible roommates.” Nothing is guaranteed to ruin an otherwise well-planned trip than the wrong companion. Vet your fellow travelers very carefully because a good friend at home can turn into a veritable monster on the road. And annoying habits like snoring, picky eating and penny pinching will only be exacerbated on the road.
It’s a problem that applies not only to the single traveler but to groups as well. We’ve heard countless horror stories in which a trip was spoiled by other travelers. Like a local banker and his wife who once found themselves on a leisurely river barge full of doctors whose talk of kidneys and prostates always trumped mutual funds and mortgages. They could hardly wait to get off the boat! Take a couple of weekend breaks with any potential travel partner before embarking on your dream trip. It can save a friendship and a trip.
E-mail Roger Holliday and Claudia Fischer at firstname.lastname@example.org.