License plates in parking lot belie prison's claimof sensitivity to families
While in Niles July 28, I bought a Vindicator. We were very surprised to read once again a reference to how the federal prison system likes to put its inmates near home, so the family can visit and stay bonded -- especially for the children's sake. Your article was on James Traficant.
I've been going into federal and state prisons for years as a minister. Since 1998, I've been visiting our youngest son. First he was in a jail in Nevada, then shipped to Pekin, Ill., 400 miles away from home for two years, then to Elkton, Ohio, also 400 miles away, for three years. Now he's on his way to Lake Saramac, New York, 660 miles from home.
We go once a month to see him. By the time he's out, we will, as senior citizens, working full time at our business, have driven over 80,000 miles. If he had been sent near home, the total mileage would be 10,000 miles.
Now if you still believe they place the inmates near home, just drive through the visitor's parking lot at Elkton and make a list of license plates. You'll soon face a reality check. The prison system is blowing wind. Our son and his wife had a baby girl born soon after he went in. She has three medical handicaps and this has required many trips and long stays in hospitals and to see doctors in Grand Rapids and Ann Arbor, Mich., and Chicago. Travel escalates one of her conditions, so we travel to doctors and hospitals with her heavily medicated. There is a federal prison at Milan, Mich., very close to her Ann Arbor doctors and hospitals and it would just take a few more minutes to take her there to see her father. He's caused no trouble in prison, been eligible to go there for four years and even with dozens of letters written by his little girl's doctors, counselors and care givers, they keep placing him far away.
She's now 4 years old, and she begs constantly to see her Daddy, but can only communicate with him by phone once or twice a week.
They claim to try not to put parents and children far apart, but their records show otherwise. So now, as we senior parents travel 660 miles one way to see our son, we can comfort each other by reading from The Vindicator how the federal Bureau of Corrections does not place inmates far from home, but as close as they can.
The Rev. DOROTHY PRINS
Telemarketers are doing a job; no need for abuse
Don't laugh, but I'm writing this letter in defense of telemarketers. We need to take care of our families like everyone else. With the economy the way it is, there aren't that many jobs available. Someone recently suggested that I get "a real job." She hung up before I could ask her to define a real job, because to me my job is about as real as it gets. Imagine having to maintain a positive attitude every day while withstanding constant abuse. And right now it is a job that I have to have to take care of my family.
I know that we can be annoying (so can people in more respected positions), but we're still human. A simple no or a hang-up will suffice; cursing at us, making fun of us, teaching your children to be disrespectful, or comments such as, "Give me your home phone number so I can call you when you're busy," are not necessary. I receive telemarketing calls as well and I turn them down in a polite manner. I simply hang-up if they become rude.
All I'm asking is that readers have a little compassion for the poor polite people who don't have much choice but to call people like you. I'm not asking you to say yes to everyone who calls, just that you have a heart and be more humane when saying no.
LISA R. JONES
Mosquitoes get free ride
With 300 semi-trailer loads of trash and garbage from New York City coming into the area to the landfill is it any wonder the mosquitoes carrying the West Nile virus are arriving by the numbers?
Regarding Traficant, I believe the mistake he made was promoting the bill against the IRS, this painted a target on his back and all the other members of Congress were afraid of the IRS.
New Bedford, Pa.
There was a day when church doors could be left unlocked; not any more
In response to Gail White's column in which she poses the question, "Where has the love gone for the poor and the homeless within our faith communities?" I believe she owes all faith communities an apology.
To be able to leave church doors unlocked would be ideal. I have served as a pastor when churches were left unlocked 24/7/365, but times have changed. When I served an innercity church in Akron, we gave bags of goods to the homeless every Tuesday with no questions asked. Every Wednesday, we provided a hot food program that fed hundreds. We had a clothing closet; and had over a hundred members of the church that volunteered throughout the city working dozens of mission programs.
Through the church and its membership, thousands of dollars were given to local mission programs. The homeless slept at this church. Then the people to whom the church provided needed shelter began to treat the church and its assets with disrespect. Four months in a row, the church was vandalized with damages totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars. The insurance carrier refused further coverage unless the building was secured.
Not long after, the church secretary at another church was shot and killed and the pastor was shot in attempting to stop the man. They were shot because they could give the man no money; they had already given to others all that they had.
To return to the old ways would be wonderful, but the realities of today's society make that impossible. Locking doors has not prevented our faith communities from providing love, care, and needed services to the poor and homeless.
Money, invaluable and innumerable volunteer hours, 12 step programs and other support groups, lunch programs, food banks, clothing closets, rescue missions, community centers, shelters for abused women and children -- all gain support from our faith communities.
Now to the homeless man -- if this incident had occurred in our faith community today, we would most likely take the same action as the church referenced in Gail White's column. I would have to do this, not because I didn't love or care, but because I do love and care, not only for this man, but also for the 50 to 60 children who come into our preschool and for the school staff.
Do I like locking our doors? No, but that is the way it is.
Dr. GEORGE LEE, Pastor
Canfield United Methodist Church
Give me one good reason to vote for Jim Traficant
To all the James Traficant supporters, government haters and black helicopter crowd: He can't be sworn in, he can't vote, he can't attend committee meetings (oh I forgot, he doesn't have a committee to be present for that.)
Please tell me what great thing he has done for the 17th District? Youngstown has little-to-no factories left. Forbes magazine ranks Youngstown 199 out of 200 major cities. (Thank God for Gary, Ind.)
If Democrats are no good and the Republicans can do no wrong, why were you a Democrat for 18 years, Jimbo? Who helped get these old people their union benefits, Social Security, Medicare, workers pensions -- all opposed by the Republican Party?
He made his own employees give kick backs. He's a great friend of the working man.
If the people of the 17th District re-elect Jim Traficant to Congress, all I have to say is, "Beam me up, Scotty," there is no intelligent life left in the 17th District.
Teacher's voice silenced
The Vindicator has lost one of its more vocal contributors. Over the years The Vindicator has carried columns from such great writers as Erma Bombeck, Mike Royko, Lewis Grizzard, and Ann Landers. While I'm sure he would balk at the comparison, Warren Luce was such a writer. Warren was a routine contributor to the letters column for many years and always added an intelligent and articulate voice to the local scene. Whether or not you agreed with his opinions, they were always well written and from the heart.
I had Warren Luce as my composition teacher my junior year of high school. I never liked school and made a point of telling him. But rather than make that an element of conflict like so many teachers before him, he used it as a springboard to challenge me. While our beliefs may have differed, he encouraged well-written dissent. He motivated his students to write with passion about what they felt.
That alone would have been enough to earn my respect, but I maintained a friendship with him for years later. He had a strong dislike for the military due to his own service, and he advised me against it. But even after I left to points all over the globe, he often wrote to me, and with his son, Jim, sent me tapes of great music and wit.
Boardman schools lost a great teacher when he retired in 1987, and we in the Valley lost a great man when he died. Mr. Luce, you will be sorely missed.